It is fun for most Disney aficionados to buy mementos that remind you of your “Happy Place” when you’re at home. Looking at your collection can help you get through the “Disney Blues” when you have just returned from a vacation, or have a long way to go until your next visit.
As anyone who has gone to Walt Disney World (or any Disney park worldwide) knows, there is no lack of souvenir shops. You can purchase items that are priced relatively inexpensively, things that are extremely costly, and everything in between.
As everyone’s budget is different, this blog is going to concentrate on Disney items you can buy/collect that are on the less expensive side. I’m not going to discuss freebies that Annual Passholders or DVC members are entitled to; the blog will concentrate on things anyone visiting Walt Disney World can get.
So what is free for everyone? Let’s start with maps of the 4 parks at Walt Disney World. Even if you know your way around, it’s fun to collect the maps and see the changes made in the parks over time. For those who do need a map, I suggest you take two when you arrive at the park of your choice; one map to actually use, and one that you can save in mint condition for your collection. This is an easy item to collect, and one that won’t take up much space in your home.
Celebration buttons are also free and can be found at the large stores (such as Mouse Gear in Epcot or the Emporium in the Magic Kingdom, as well as most Guest Relations areas and most Disney Resort Hotels). You can get a number of buttons, including; 1. Birthday 2. I’m Celebrating 3. First Visit, and for those celebrating an anniversary or wedding 4. Happily Ever After. Sometimes the front desk of your resort will give you buttons if they know you’re celebrating a special occasion; otherwise, you’ll need to request one. They will write your name on the button for your birthday, and the number of “ears” married for your anniversary.
Moving on, let’s talk about souvenirs you can buy that won’t break the bank:
- Posters: There are a number of places to purchase various size posters at Walt Disney World. Naturally, the smaller the poster, the less it will cost. Most of the art galleries at Disney have a kiosk where you can see what is available and purchase what interests you in the size you want. The kiosks selections are divided into categories such as “Animated Features,” “Walt Disney,” “Park Attractions,” “Princesses,” and more. Another option is to search for Disney posters on Amazon or eBay, where you can often find great bargains. eBay has the option to save searches, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away, you can have them notify you if someone puts what you want up for sale.
- Disney Pins: While purchasing brand new pins from a Disney shop can become costly, there are other options. eBay has many sellers offering pins, most at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at Walt Disney World. If you are looking for a specific pin, try finding it on eBay. And for those who enjoy trading pins at Disney, you can find some real bargains on eBay. Many sellers will offer what they refer to as “pin lots,” which are a number of pins at amazing prices. For example, 25 pins for $12.50 is not uncommon. These will be random pins; you won’t know what you are getting until you receive them. But they are a super deal for those who enjoy trading with Cast Members for pins they like better. I have a huge collection of pins, very few of which I bought new; the majority were trades at Walt Disney World. I have them displayed on three corkboards in my dining room, and I get enormous pleasure from looking at them.
- Small Snow Globes: Of course, you can get full-sized snow globes, but they can be quite expensive. The mini snow globes are a fun item to collect, are reasonably priced, and are available with many different characters and designs. And don’t forget to check eBay for bargain snow globes!
- Books: For those who enjoy reading, whether it be Disney history, Walt Biographies, Park “secrets,” or any other number of topics, there is a Disney book for you. Muppet fans, Pixar fans, and fans of Disney Imagineers will find plenty of selections as well. While you can buy many of these books at Walt Disney World, to save money, check Amazon and (yes again), eBay often they have used books in perfect condition, sometimes there are new books as well.
- Refrigerator Magnets: My fridge is completely covered, I have been collecting these since the early ’80s. Not at all costly, and a terrific reminder of attractions and/or Disney parks, resorts, etc. The big stores often have a large selection, but don’t forget to check out the smaller shops too. Sometimes an attraction shop such as Test Track will sell magnets specific to the attraction that you cannot find anywhere else.
- Mugs: It’s fun to collect mugs because every time you drink from one, you are reminded of the happy times you spent at Walt Disney World. I have some I only use for display because they are very special to me, and I would be heartbroken if I dropped one and caused it to break. I especially recommend buying mugs that celebrate a special Disney event; they will be unique. But of course, if you love a particular character, attraction, movie, etc. that’s a lot of fun to have as well.
- Small Character Sets: Although you may think the small vinyl characters sets sold at many Disney shops are for kids, they are a really enjoyable souvenir for the young at heart as well. These are not pricey, and often include the entire set of characters from your favorite movies. I myself own the sets of Muppets, Toy Story, and Inside Out. I keep them in my bathroom, lined up along my large vanity sink.
- Commemorative Plates: These can be costly at Walt Disney World, but check out eBay for some terrific bargains. There are so many commemorative plates out there, and most are beautiful and lovely to display. My own collection includes a number of Disney Resorts and Animated features, as well as some of Walt Disney himself.
- Small Plush: The larger plush characters can be costly, but the smaller ones are usually affordable for most guests. (They also take up a lot less room than the big ones). Generally, these are found in the bigger shops in The World, but I have seen them in smaller shops, such as the Hundred Acre Goods store near Winnie the Pooh in the Magic Kingdom.
- Scrapbooks: Fun for the whole family, putting together a Disney scrapbook is very inexpensive. You can buy any generic large loose-leaf book and a packet of clear page sleeves with holes that will fit in the book. You will also need some construction paper. Glue maps, photos, park tickets, etc. to the construction paper and insert in the clear page sleeve and then into your loose-leaf book. You can make it as elaborate as you would like, adding stickers or stencils if you so desire.
- Ornaments: Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Disney ornaments are a relatively inexpensive item to collect. Many are not “Christmasy,” they are ornaments with Disney characters with no connection to the holiday (and some are clearly a shout out to Christmas). Look for deals; often if you buy two at Walt Disney World, you will get a discount. These are not as cheap as some other things I have mentioned, but they aren’t too costly, especially if you just buy one or two per trip.
- Shot Glasses: I don’t drink shots, but I do enjoy displaying my Walt Disney World shot glasses. They are usually reasonable, and sometimes you can buy a set of four at a really good price. The shot glasses have all sorts of Disney designs to choose from.
Disney memorabilia helps you feel the magic when you are at home.
I love looking at my souvenirs; it never gets old. I hope this blog gives you some ideas on how to save money while still having a very nice Disney collection. In addition to the suggestions already mentioned, you can get bargains at Garage Sales, Thrift Stores, and (if you live near or visit one), Disney Outlets. Happy hunting!