One of the ways we remember our trips to the Disney theme parks is through the purchasing of souvenirs. It goes without saying that no trip to Disney is complete without a trip to the gift shop! However, if you aren’t careful, you can spend quite a hefty amount of cash in one of these stores, and before you know it you could have easily spent another night at the resort for that amount!!
There are articles everywhere with great advice on how to spend your money wisely while vacationing at Disney, but I thought I would share what I personally use the most out of all of the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ll also throw in what I don’t use or look at from my trips but still somehow manage to justify purchasing time and time again. Most of these items are relatively inexpensive too!
My TOP FIVE souvenirs that I use almost daily are:
1.A backpack for park trips
You guys have probably seen my backpack in my post on how I pack for a day at Disney. This bag is used EXCLUSIVELY for trips to Disney. It’s lightweight and has more than enough room for everything I need. This bag came with us to Disney World for Christmas! There are a ton of cute bag/backpack options in the Disney gift shops – make use out of yours by making it your go-to park bag. This tip is especially useful if you are a local Annual Passholder and go frequently – if you don’t live near the parks, be sure this bag is something you can see yourself walking around in public wearing before you purchase! Otherwise it will live in your closet and come out only as often as you travel to Disney.
2. My Starbucks tumbler
One of my 2019 resolutions was to get serious about drinking enough water every day. I’m thinking of doing a whole separate blog post on the benefits of drinking water, and what my top tips are. I’ll give you a sneak peak at one of those tips by telling you that this Starbucks tumbler changed the game for me. Its large size allows me to refill less frequently throughout the day, but the most important feature, for me, is that it is clear – I can easily see how much water I need to drink before I refill. Plus, it’s just so darn cute – I love Disney and I love Starbucks, and with this tumbler I can show both of those obsessions off.
3. At-home and travel mugs
I have a lot of Disney mugs. The reason I have mugs on this list is because I use mugs probably more than most other kitchen items on a daily basis – for coffee, water, hot chocolate, and even portion-controlled ice cream; mugs are my JAM. So when browsing around the gift shop, try to think about what items you normally use in your daily life and see if you can add a little pixie dust to those items. I’ve even found some great Disney mugs from outside the parks, so be on the lookout when shopping at your local mall! (Pro Tip: Check out the store Boxed Lunch; they have a ton of cute Disney merch!)
Probably one of the biggest categories of souvenirs in the parks is apparel. Think really really really hard before you buy those t-shirts. Are you really going to wear that regularly? If so, more power to you. Other than the spirit jerseys, which I am obsessed with, there isn’t a ton of Disney apparel that I would wear in my regular day-to-day life. However, the great thing about baseball hats, especially if you live in a sunny climate, is that they serve a function as well as looking super adorable. Like mugs, you can find some really cute Disney hats outside of the parks (again, Boxed Lunch is my go-to shop for Disney apparel and accessories outside of the parks)
Go ahead and treat yourself!! I think jewelry is the one category that is totally worth the splurge; Disney has a great assortment of Pandora and Alex & Ani jewelry. There are really adorable, subtle ways of showing off your love for Disney with any outfit – simple rings or earrings are perfect.
These items are either more costly or wouldn’t necessarily be used on a daily basis, but I still think is totally worth your money if you are debating purchasing it:
- Christmas ornaments
- Wall art (Pro tip: art and prints can be costly. Look and see if the store has the print available as a post card and get those framed instead!! You’ll save a TON of money!)
- Ride photos (some attractions take better pictures than others…make sure your entire party looks good before buying!)
And now for my quick top 5 list of items that I would strongly suggest you avoid purchasing. While these items may be really cute or fun to collect, they over time have taken on more dust in my apartment than the items listed above. I’m not saying don’t buy these items, but think twice if you already have one or two of these in your inventory:
- Collectable popcorn buckets or cups
- PhotoPass non-ride photos (Pro Tip: Photo Pass Cast Members are more than happy to take pictures with your camera or phone!)