by Practically Perfect Diva
When people think of Disneyland, they don’t normally associate the word “free” with it. Quite honestly, the pricing of Disney merchandise can be over the top. Fortunately, you can get some pretty cool free souvenirs if you know where to go. I have been visiting the Disneyland Resort for over 30 years and I have quite a collection of magical souvenirs, all of which I got for free. Here’s what I got and how I got them:
Celebration Buttons: City Hall and other Guest Services locations are amazing places for Disney freebies! (Diva Tip: Look for the green umbrellas with a podium underneath. These are the Guest Services locations and they can do anything City Hall can do.) You can get a free button for all kinds of celebratory events. My own button collection consists of “Birthday,” “Anniversary,” “First Visit,” “Just Married,” and “Celebration.” My personal favorite is the birthday button, because the cast member writes your name on the button and dots the “i’s” with tiny Mickey Mouse heads. When a Cast Member sees you wearing a birthday button, they always wish you a “Happy Birthday” too, which makes you feel extra special. I have seen other buttons too, like “Family Reunion.” (Disney thinks of everything!)
Other Buttons: There are also very special free buttons, like “Honorary Citizen.” How do you become an Honorary Citizen at Disneyland, you ask? Well, if a cast member sees you doing a good deed, they will reward you with this button. What kind of good deed, you ask? It varies. My mom was made an Honorary Citizen by a cast member at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique when I told her that my mom paid for our trip to Disneyland. Free buttons are also given at various restaurants, like Ariel’s Grotto and Goofy’s Kitchen, and to participants in shows, such as the new Jedi
Training: Trials of the Temple. (Diva Tip: If your child is between the ages of 4 and 12 and wants to participate in this particular show, register first thing in the morning. Although registration does not take place during Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning, you are allowed to wait in line to register during those times.) In Cars Land, cast members give various Cars character buttons to guests for answering Disney trivia questions correctly, although I am sure they would still give out buttons if guests answered incorrectly. It isn’t called the “Happiest Place On Earth” for no reason!
Stickers: There are many places and opportunities to receive free
stickers at Disneyland. When you first walk through the turnstile, you may be selected by a cast member to answer a few questions. You just got in the park and will most likely want to get your day started, but answering the questions will get all the children in your group a cute Mickey Mouse sticker. In other words, do it!
Your kids will love you for it. (Diva Tip: I’ve done this survey numerous times and it takes less than a minute.) Ride-themed stickers are also given to some lucky guests on certain rides, like Space Mountain (Currently known as Hyperspace Mountain) and Soarin’ Over California. If it is your first time on a ride, definitely let the cast member know and you will most likely get a sticker. Another opportunity to get a sticker is at First Aid. While getting a Band-Aid or some Asprin (Pain medication is free at First Aid by the way), you can also get a cute sticker of Minnie Mouse dressed as a nurse.
Signed Photographs: Although they don’t always have them in stock, City Hall has autographed black and white photographs of Disney characters you can get for free. All you have to do is ask a cast member for one and they will check for you. So far, I have a photo of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Tinker Bell. (Diva Tip: To give the photograph a better chance of not getting bent, do this on your way out of Disneyland.)
Photos With Characters: If you have a Chase Disney Visa, you can go to a private Character Meet ‘N’ Greet and receive a free 5” x 7” photo with a Disney character. At Disneyland, you can meet and get a photo with Darth Vader. He is located at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland from 4:00 to 8:00pm every day. At Disney’s California Adventure, you can meet and get a photo with either Minnie Mouse or Stitch, depending on the time of the day. They are located behind the “House of Cards” in Hollywood Land from 10:30 to 1:30pm. (Diva Tip: You are allowed to get one photo per day at each park, so if a photo didn’t come out as well as you hoped it would, you can always try again the next day.)