by JollyFrogger Diva
We all know vacations aren’t cheap. By the time you factor in travel, lodging, and food, it can cost a pretty penny to take a trip, especially if you’re paying for several people. However, if your family is like mine, you want to pick up a souvenir or two to remember your vacation. This rings especially true at Disney World where there are shopping opportunities everywhere you turn. Sometimes you want a souvenir that is practical and can be used once you get home, other times you just want something cute to show your Disney spirit and remind you of the fun you had. If you’re not careful souvenirs can take a heavy toll on your wallet, but it doesn’t have to be another huge item on your budget list. Here are several my of favorite Walt Disney World souvenirs, each under $20.
Classic Mickey Ear Hat
These are probably the most iconic Disney souvenir out there. Everyone in my family has at least 1 pair of Mickey Ears with their name embroidered on them, and I love to take pictures of them wearing said ears in the park. You can buy your ears in advance through the shopDisney app or the Disney Store’s website. At the time I am writing this, you can get your very own pair of Mickey Ears for $14.99. Even with the $5.95 customization charge for adding your name, you can still stay right about $20. Tax and shipping will put you a bit over budget, so if you’re really wanting to stay under, $20 it’s probably best to wait until you get to Disney World. You can buy these beauties at several locations throughout Disney property, so you should have no problem finding a place to get your very own pair.
Diva Tip: If you’re more a fan of the Minnie Ears headband, they are outside our $20 budget. However, you can make your very own Minnie ears before your vacation and save your souvenir money for something else on the list. Sleepy Diva has a great how-to article to help you make your own pair. If you are an annual passholder or DVC member you will get a discount on merchandise to help you stay under budget!
This souvenir is less conventional, but it’s also one of my favorite on this list. My favorite place to buy this souvenir is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, but you can also visit their locations at Disney Springs, Blizzard Beach, and Disney’s Beach Club Resort. I like the Japan Pavilion best because they do a pearl opening ceremony that adds a little fun to the experience. You can read about Fancy Free Diva’s experience here. At the time of this article, the price to pick-a-pearl was approximately $17 after tax. There are settings available for purchase at the store if you have more room in your budget, but you don’t have to buy one to enjoy this experience.
Diva Tip:You can find lots of cute settings for your pearl online. I bought my pearl while at Disney and then came home and bought my pearl cage later when I had saved enough money to buy the one I wanted.
This is another classic Walt Disney World souvenir option. I still have my autograph book from when I was a child. Part of the fun of visiting Walt Disney World is meeting some of your favorite characters. Character interactions can create some priceless memories- my daughter still talks about meeting Gaston and how he and her daddy had a flexing contest. One of my favorite ways to remember the characters we met is to ask them for an autograph for our book. Disney sells some really cute autograph books that you can purchase in advance through the shopDisney app or online at the Disney Store’s website. At this current time, Disney charges anywhere from $7.99 to $19.99 for an autograph book, depending on the size of the book and how elaborate you want it to be (some autograph books include photo pages or space for you to write about your memories from meeting the characters). You can also purchase these books once you arrive at Walt Disney World if you want to skip paying for shipping. For my oldest daughter, we bought the simple book that just includes blank pages for the characters to sign. It lasted us 2 trips, with characters signing both the front and back of each page, so we definitely got our money’s worth out of that particular book.
Diva Tip: It’s a good idea to write your name and contact information in the front of your autograph book in case it gets misplaced. A name is especially helpful if you have more than 1 autograph book in your party, so you can remember whose is whose. I also like to write the date on the 1st page we use on each trip, so I can remember when we met those characters.
I will issue a word of caution with this particular souvenir- Disney Pin Trading can be addicting, so while there are several options available for less than $20, you may find yourself with a new hobby. My father actually introduced me to the world of pins, and I’m not ashamed to say I have several books of pins that I have amassed over my many trips to Walt Disney World. Now that I have children and a much more limited budget, I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 pins each trip, which puts me at just about $20 depending on the pin (prices for a pin start around $9.99 and vary depending on the size and design of the pin). My husband still wears 2 special edition Pirates of the Caribbean pins that he found at Epcot on his work lanyard. I particularly like pins that commemorate special events I attended or holidays I celebrated on that trip.
Diva Tip:If you want to display your pins during your vacation, consider purchasing a lanyard before your trip to save money. You can also put them on hats or backpacks. For display at home, consider a pin book or a cork board that you can hang on your wall.
If you’re like me, a cup of coffee or tea is an almost daily part of your routine. I frequently choose my favorite Walt Disney World mug because it puts a smile on my face and helps me remember favorite moments from vacations past. There are all sorts of coffee mugs to choose from- resort logos, favorite characters, park specific, and more. You can find mugs in a variety of sizes as well, so you’re almost sure to find one that’s just right for you. Prices vary depending on the character and size, but I found a wide variety of options on the Disney Store’s website for around $15.
Diva Tip: If you find a mug you love but fear it might be damaged on your journey home, Disney will ship it to your home. Just ask about shipping when you make your purchase. I did not factor in the price of shipping so depending on the mug you choose and where you live, this might put you over the $20 mark.
I have a love/hate relationship with Disney’s PhotoPass service (you can read more about that here). That being said, a photo is a souvenir of your Disney vacation. Disney’s Memory Maker is great, but much more expensive than our $20 budget. However, you can always ask any PhotoPass cast member to take a picture with your device. You can also purchase your favorite PhotoPass image for less than $20. You can get 2 4″x6″ prints or 1 5″x”7 print for $18.95 or a digital download of any PhotoPass picture for $16.95 from Disney’s PhotoPass website. I personally prefer the digital download because you can use it for social media as well as print it to use in your favorite frame. Note: Prices are subject to change.
Diva Tip: Disney’s PhotoPass website has lots of cute stickers and frames you can add to your picture so be sure to check those out before you order your print or digital download. If you are an annual passholder, Memory Maker will be included with your Annual Pass purchase price where all downloads are included.
Let’s assume that after reading this article, you have your souvenir in mind but you feel like you want a little more. Here are a couple of free souvenirs you can pick up during your visit (yes, you read that right- FREE!)
Disney offers several cute celebrations buttons that you can pick up at your resort or the Guest Services locations in every park. Example of these buttons include birthday and 1st visit. They’re fun to wear in the parks (you’ll frequently find that Cast Members wish you happy birthday if you’re wearing a birthday button) and they made a great souvenir.
Free Disney Visa photo
If you’re a Disney Visa card holder, there’s another free souvenir opportunity you might be unaware of. There are 2 Disney Visa photo spots- one at Epcot and one at Hollywood Studios. All you have to do is present your Disney Visa and they will allow you and up to 5 guests to have a private meet-and-greet with some popular Disney (Epcot) and Star Wars (Hollywood Studios) characters and you even get a free downloads of the photos taken during that meet-and-greet. You can visit the Disney Rewards page for more information. We have done the one at Epcot in the past and found it to be popular, so be prepared to wait in line a bit for this experience.
As you can see, it is possible to get a great souvenir or two while still staying on budget. Disney offers lots of affordable options to commemorate your magical vacation. If you need help planning your next trip or just want to get a FREE quote, just contact Patricia from All for Dreams Travel.