Photo Credit: DisneyWorld.com
Most people have some sort of budget for souvenir spending when they visit Walt Disney World, so you have to make sure you spend it wisely! Over the years we’ve brought home lots of souvenirs—some of them I look at years later and I’m instantly transported back to the magic of that vacation, others I look at and say, “Man I wish I had that $25 back.” There are some things that I seek out every trip—as a tradition of sorts or to build a collection. Here are my top 10 souvenirs to really remember your trip to Walt Disney World:
Now, this one goes both ways. We have some Disney plush that accumulate and I think “why?” But others are very special and commemorate a specific happy memory from a trip. There is the “wilderness” Pluto from my son’s birthday trip to the Wilderness Lodge when we were chosen to be the Flag Family. Or one of the Brave triplets as a bear for my curly red haired toddler. And everyone needs a Mickey on their first trip.
9. T-Shirt, Hats or Clothing
Another one that can either be a love it or regret it. For our family we have the tradition of getting a t-shirt with the year on it. I’m not a huge fan of how generic the designs are on these, but I do have a plan—some day in the future when my boys move out I am going to make those shirts into a quilt for them so they can remember all of our happy times as a family at Walt Disney World (and maybe let us take the grandkids . . . . way in the future here). As a big Disney fan, I like the shirts that have Disney quotes on them, and I like the resort specific t-shirts to remember my stay there. Of course, there is always a hat including of course the famous Mickey Ears with your name stitched into the back.
I think art makes a great souvenir and way to remember your Disney Vacation. I have several prints that represent resorts where we stayed—a little bit of that relaxing vacation at home. The sketches by animators also make great souvenirs. You will see these items in the gift shops throughout the parks and resorts, but the best place to look is the Art of Disney shops in the parks and at Disney Springs. Here you can find prints and the collectibles. There is something for everyone’s taste.
7. Something for the kitchen
The best way to be reminded of your trip is to buy something that you use frequently. Disney has several collections of kitchen items of different designs. I have a Mickey pizza cutter—every time we have pizza there’s a little bit of magic in the kitchen. Mickey popcorn bowls, measuring cups, spoons and serving platters have all made their way into my home. Kitchen towels are one of my favorite things to bring home to thank someone for watering my plants or checking my mail. And, don’t forget a coffee mug!
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Pin Trading is big business at Disney, but my family has never gotten into that. We do have a collection of pins, however, that mean something to us about that trip, and when we get home we put them together in a shadow box. We usually get a pin with the year on it, one from our resort, and then 2 or 3 that are significant to something special we did on that trip. We have a pin that represents the fireworks cruise we took one year, one for the Behind the Seeds tour, and a Test Track pin for when we were chosen Family of the Day to open Epcot. The nice thing about the pins is that they are fairly affordable . . .as long as you don’t get too many.
This definitely applies more to the women in your travel party, but jewelry is a great way to remember your vacation. I might have taken this a little overboard with the amount of different things I’m “collecting,” but Disney has so many nice offerings. The Chamilia bracelets (compatible with any charm bracelet like this) are sold with exclusive Disney beads (both the name brand, and inexpensive ones). I like to get one bead each trip to symbolize something we did. The Kameleon Jewel Pops now come in Disney styles—and there is a Disney Mickey ear pendant too. Watches are good choices for men and women and they are offered at a variety of price points. Another favorite activity and souvenir is the Pick A Pearl experience in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion where you can select your oyster, see the pearl revealed and then have it made into a piece of jewelry. Of course, if you are in the market, there are some fine jewelry options as well.
4. A Book
One of my favorite souvenirs going way back to the 1980s is the souvenir books that Disney sells. I have one from our very first trip and it is so neat to go back and look at the photos of the extinct attractions and the way the world looked when it was only Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Periodically they put out a new version so I try to get one each time I see a new edition (the current version is Let the Memories Begin). If you want something with a bit more “meat” to it, the Imagineering Field Guides are great options, along with the relatively inexpensive paperback “Disney in Detail.” If you are a foodie and want to recreate some of the meals you enjoyed on vacation Disney offers a variety of cookbooks you can take home with you that include park and resort recipes. There is a special edition if you are visiting during the Food & Wine Festival and want to make some of the foods you enjoyed at the kiosks.
My family collects magnets from everywhere we travel. Our fridge is a menagerie of magnetic madness. My favorites are the resort specific magnets, but unfortunately not every resort where we have stayed has one. You can get the year you visit (I like the clip kind for this), a frame, or a park specific magnet. Like the pins, these are a relatively inexpensive way to commemorate your vacation. And, if they are on the refrigerator they are always there to remind you!
2. CD or Music Download
Park music! Ah, such a nice getaway and return to your vacation. I listen to it while I’m working, while I am driving, and while I’m cleaning house. In the past, CDs have been available with special event music (like Fireworks, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), parade music, the Candlelight Processional, and more. Some of these titles are still available, you just have to check the gift shops because they don’t all carry the full selection I’ve found.
1. Memory Maker
My number 1 Walt Disney World souvenir—pictures of my family! I usually add Memory Maker (formerly PhotoPass or PhotoPass+) to all of my vacation packages unless we are only visiting for a couple of days. Those photos are priceless. And yes, you do get some that are not great, but in my experience the good ones far outweigh those. On our most recent trip I got an absolutely priceless picture of my two year old looking up at Woody—I would’ve paid the $199 pre-purchase price just for that picture! I am the family photographer and Memory Maker allows me to be in the photos too. Not to mention the “magic shots,” stickers, autographs and borders you can add. And now that the package includes the select restaurant and attraction photos I feel like it is an even better value.
So, there you have it, my list of the top 10 souvenirs I look for at Walt Disney World. I don’t get one of each every time I visit, but there are 3 or 4 that I do seek out to remember each trip. What is your favorite souvenir to help you remember your Magical Vacation once you return home?