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by Military Diva

Anyone that follows my writing knows I am pretty budget conscious.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I am cheap, but we work hard for what we have and want to get the most value from our purchases.  That being said, I am not a huge fan of random souvenirs. I have realized throughout our travels that t-shirts often fade, kids’ toys don’t make it to the airport and many other items often end up in a box/thrift store pile.  That is why I often recommend these  souvenirs instead-photos, jewelry charms and Christmas ornaments make our family’s list of “favorite things”.

Favorite #1-Photos and Photo Books

Let’s face it, families can never go wrong with investing in photos and photo books.  There is something special that comes from revisiting a special vacation over a beautifully designed photo book. And it doesn’t have to be expensive!  All you need is a cell phone (or camera) and a trip to an online photo store. Shutterfly offers Disney specific book themes starting at $19.99 while Snapfish and Amazon Print have great travel book options starting around $9.99. Look here for tips on creating your own personalized Disney Photo books.

Customizable Covers!

Personalized photo books make the best vacation souvenirs!

Now, if you’re looking for more creative photos be sure to look into photo pass options available for your specific vacation.  Disney photographers are trained to capture those most magical moments and turn them into forever memories.

  1. Disneyland offers PhotoPass+ for one day (all one day photos for $39.00) or the PhotoPass+ for One Week (one week of photos for $69.00)
  2. Disney Cruise Line offers single prints as well as packages that can be pre-ordered or purchased up until the last day of your cruise
  3. Disney World offers single print download as well as Memory Maker, a package that gives access to all photographs/videos taken by Disney Photographers ($149 pre-order, $169 at time of photos or after).

Download these photos and create your own personalized photo book or other souvenir via Disney Photo pass or one of the above mentioned sites for a practical yet personal memory from your favorite Disney vacation.

Favorite #2-Disney Charms and Bracelets

Thanks to a very generous gift from my husband I am addicted to both Pandora and Alex & Ani jewelry. I quickly saw the danger these both posed to our family’s budget and agreed to only purchase additions when traveling or celebrating a special occasion.   These pieces are on my most prized list. Putting on my bracelets remind me of memories such as running my first Disney Half Marathon with my husband at my side or watching my father smile when I took him on his first Disney Vacation.

Authentic Disney Parks’ Pandora charms and Alex and Ani pieces can be purchased in the Disney Parks, the online Disney Store , and many retail jewelry stores in your own area.

Official Disney Parks/Pandora Sorceror's Hat Charm

Official Disney Parks/Pandora Sorceror’s Hat Charm

Official Disney Alex & Ani Carriage and Belle Bracelets

Official Disney Alex & Ani Carriage and Belle Bracelets

Favorite #3-Disney Christmas Ornaments

Our family celebrates a Christmas tradition of purchasing one ornament to represent that year’s most special moment.  Each of our children also have their own tree and their own yearly ornaments.  Our Christmas trees are literal time lines of our favorite memories.   We have used our runDisney medals as ornaments, hand crafted objects, photo creations and of course actual Disney Christmas ornaments.  These can be purchased in Disney parks, Disney stores,  and the Shop Disney Parks app-many for less than $10. (Don’t forget to check out the Disney Character Warehouse in Orlando for some great deals on items like these!)

Ornaments representing our first trip to Disney World and my husband's year in Baghdad while we missed him from Disney World.

Our first trip to Disney World and the year our children and I went to Disney while my husband was in Baghdad.

When planning your next Disney Vacation take a minute to consider your souvenir budget and think about how you want to spend this money before leaving home.  Prevent impulse buys and overspending by planning for some of these “Favorite Things”.  Your money will be much better spent on these forever memories and savings for your next vacation!

My name is Patricia, aka Military Diva, and I have a soft spot for Disney Destinations! After a two year post-9/11 deployment, our family was able to reconnect during a Disney World vacation. While counting on time together, we did not expect the touching service we received from Cast Members. We were treated like royalty! It is my mission as a writer for "Tips from the Disney Diva" and as owner of "All for Dreams Travel" to help other families experience their own special connections through travel.