Whenever you’re taking a trip to the most magical place on earth, it’s understandable if you want to take some of the magic home with you after spending a few good days at the parks. We all want to keep that good ol’ Disney magic coursing through our veins, right? Why wouldn’t you?
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While the Disney Parks do offer a fine selection of products, they’re still a company looking to turn a profit. And some souvenirs aren’t worth the plastic they’re made of. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of the splurge-worthy and save-worthy souvenirs you can find at Disney. Your wallet will thank you.
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10 Save: Magic Band Accessories
Unless you plan on buying a special edition band or something, stick with the basic colors. Trust us, you won’t even notice your Magic Band until you use it. The little bits for accessorizing your bands are cash-grabs targetting children and, more than likely, will get lost or damaged before the trip is over.
Consider also that unless you plan on wearing your Magic Band after the trip is over, you probably won’t even look at it again until your next venture into the parks. Skip the silly bits of plastic and steer towards something you can show off on the regular.
9 Splurge: Pins
If you’re looking to save a little extra dough, we recommend trading for better pins than buying left and right. That being said, some pins are shop exclusives and you’d be very fortunate to find them just floating around the trade circle. Take it from some seasoned Disney Pin enthusiasts, some pins are worth it.
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Holiday pins, limited releases, and special characters are definitely worth a little extra, just try not to go crazy with it and you’ll be fine. If you insist on trading, a good way to get some rare and valuable pins is to trade with the Cast Members. But if you’re looking for a certain one, go ahead and buy it.
8 Save: Golf Balls
The only exception to this rule would be if the intended souvenir is for the golfer in your life who wants something to display, and not take to the course. Otherwise, it’s probably best to avoid wasting your souvenir fund on something that could get easily lost or damaged on the course.
To be fair, why on earth would you want to take one of these for regular use in your golf game in the first place? A good rule of thumb is to find something you can show off or use on a regular basis. Golf balls hardly meet the rule.
7 Splurge: Ear Hats
Okay, we have to include this one for obvious reasons. It’s practically a Disney right of passage for every fan worth their salt to have at least one set of Mickey ears in their collection. Some Disney fans even have entire collections dedicated to the famous headwear, and even customize their own.
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Ear hats are practically the symbol of Disney souvenirs, so don’t feel bad about spending a little bit on something to give you that Disney look. They’re diverse, collectible, and an easy souvenir to find. Definitely, something that will brighten anyone’s day.
6 Save: Balloons
Yes, they look pretty and whimsical. Yes, they’re a symbol of the Disney Parks. Yes, they’re bright, colorful, and Mickey-shaped. But keep in mind, they’re inflated rubber sacks of helium that probably won’t last very long. And even when the trip is over, how are you going to get them home?
They might be in the iconic shape of Mickey’s head, but keep in mind, they’re still just balloons. Though there are ways to save and preserve them after your trip is over, at the end of the day, they’re just not worth the purchase. Buy something that lasts.
5 Splurge: Coffee Mugs
Disney Park mugs are always a wise investment, especially if you’re a collector. Not only are they collectible, reusable, and practical, but if given the proper treatment they can last a good while in your cupboards and by your coffee pots. Nothing like starting your day with a little magic in your morning, right?
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You can find a mug for almost any character, park attraction, movie, or whatever suits your Disney fandom. From a mug with a stripey Tigger tail to one with a pair of mouse ears, Disney mugs are always delightful and splurge-worthy.
4 Save: Autograph Books
Character Meet and Greets are definitely one of our top-tier favorite things to do while we’re at the parks, and getting their autographs adds that extra layer of immersion to the experience. That being said, Disney’s autograph books are cheap notebooks you’re better off buying before you even arrive on park property.
Remember, kids. Never buy what we can make ourselves. We’ve been to the parks and seen dozens of awesome hand-made autograph books brought by guests that not only do the job but look great while doing it. It’s definitely a project we’re going to try before a future Disney trip.
3 Splurge: Park Shirts
You can get your standard Mickey wear at almost any Walmart in the vicinity of Orlando. That being said, if you’re looking for a cool shirt though, stick to Disney tees you can only get at the parks. They’re definitely worth it at the end of the day.
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We’re not talking about your standard Disney Park logo shirt or something with your favorite character, but shirts that represent your favorite attraction, park, or ride. Something that counts as park memorabilia and not just the Disney brand. If you want our recommendation, Memento Mori has a splendid spectral selection. Food for thought.
2 Save: Anything That Glows
Yet another cash-grab aimed at easily-amused youngsters, the glowsticks, magic wands, or anything that screams chemical-luminescence or eats up double As like Pac-Man should be avoided like the plague. You’re more than likely to find these at vendor carts before the Nighttime Spectaculars, but do not be glamoured by the glow.
These dinky things are only temporary distractions, and more than likely don’t have that long of a lifespan. When there are more magical pieces of merch you can find in the parks, chances are you’ll regret purchasing these on your trip. Toys are great souvenirs, but you can do much better at Disney.
1 Splurge: Seasonal/Special Plush
Speaking of toys, Disney definitely makes some of the best plush you can find. That being said, if you’re looking for something special out of a stuffed animal, stick to the ones you can only find at Disney. Plush versions of Mickey and the gang can be found anywhere, but what about Mickey as a Jedi?
If you’re a collector, you know that Disney offers special and seasonal plush versions of their characters during holidays and special events. Sometimes they even offer plush of their rarer characters. Do you know how long we looked for one of Robin Hood? They’re a great way to bring home the magic with a little character too.
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