DON’T BLOW THE BUDGET
You’ve scrimped and saved and pinched every penny, you’re eating PB&J for a week, but you LOVE that shirt and it’s ONLY $34. What do you do? Well, it’s not realistic to ignore the fact that you are going to want souvenirs from this wonderful vacation. You might also have people back home that are watching the family dog or watering the houseplants that may enjoy a little something from your trip. Here’s a few options to keep spending to a minimum.
- Determine a Souvenir Budget per person. Give each family member a specific amount to spend as they wish. Some people use Disney Gift Cards, but I think cold hard cash is easiest. Have individual envelopes for each family member, and put change and receipts back in the correct envelope when a purchase is made. When the envelope is drained of money, then you know you’re done souvenir shopping.
- There are some items which are only available at specific parks or resorts – these will have a hang tag that reads “Walt Disney World”. Items which are more generic and may be available outside of the parks (or online) will be labeled “Disney Parks”. If you want something that you are not likely to see thousands of people wearing, stick with items tagged “Walt Disney World”.
- Disney Springs has a store called Marketplace Fun Finds which includes Disney merchandise at different price points. Everything I’ve seen there is also available at the same price elsewhere, so it’s not really a discount store. However, they do have $9 Grab Bags which can be a fun way to guarantee your kid will get more than $10 worth of Disney stuff for a decent price. Unfortunately there are no “boy” and “girl” options.
- If you have a car, you can shop at the Disney-owned Character Premier at the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall. http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/orlando-vineland/stores/disneys-character-warehouse. This store has the best selection of authentic Disney World merchandise at very good prices.
Unless you’re really wanting to visit specific stores or restaurants, I’d recommend avoiding Disney Springs if at all possible. It is packed with stores that carry overpriced merchandise, none of which is exclusive to Disney World, and much of it is extremely enticing to kids.
LEAST EXPENSIVE SOUVENIRS
- Food items are some of the least expensive souvenirs you can buy, and make great gifts. All the stores carry a wide variety of treats that can fit any budget.
- Collectible pins start at $4 and can be a great way to remember a special ride or your favorite park. Be sure to read the pricing chart (pins are color coded) so you don’t accidentally grab a $15 pin. A small assortment of pins, along with tickets and a few pictures can be placed in a shadow box and hung on the wall as a neat reminder of your visit.
- Coffee Mugs and other kitchen utensils. Coffee mugs usually are around $10 and are a fun way to remember your trip with something you’ll use every day. Mickey re-useable ice cubes, mickey chip clips, and plenty of other little accessories also can make smart choices – if it’s something you’ll actually use!
DON’T PACK YOUR PURCHASES
If you do buy anything in the parks, have purchases sent from the store directly to your resort if you’re staying on-site. You must allow 2 days for delivery, so shop early on in your trip.