Monday, November 8, 2010

How NOT to Break the Bank on Disney Souvenirs

Samantha Barnes

You will want to take home a few souvenirs to remember your trip to Disney World. Your kids want something around every corner. Goodness knows, Disney gives you a ton of opportunities to buy stuffed animals, pens, shirts, and much much more. With a little strategy, you can really save some cash! So, here are a few tips:

Autographs - Kids love character autographs which only require an autograph book and a fat marker or pen (easier for the characters to hold). Wait until you arrive to buy an autograph book, so that it will be a special treat.
Pressed Pennies – All around The World you will find machines to flatten pennies with unique Disney designs. You only need a penny and 2 quarters for each impression. It can be fun to pick a theme for your collection. Maybe you collect pennies with Donald Duck, thrill rides, countries from Epcot, etc. So, give the kids a few dollars in quarters and find some bright shiny pennies and then set a daily limit (2-4 pennies a day). There are also books that you can buy all over Disney World, to place your pennies in. It keeps each penny in a little clear pocket, and showcases your whole collection!

Transportation Collector Cards - Whether traveling by bus, boat or monorail be sure to ask your driver if they have any of these great collector cards! There are 18 cards in the "Official Walt Disney World Transportation Collector Card" series. There are 3 cards for Walt Disney World's busses, 3 cards for Walt Disney World's boats and 12 cards for Walt Disney World's monorails. Ask your bus, boat or monorail driver if they have any and don't be deterred when you are told no. These collector cards are pretty hard to come by, so just keep asking!

Buttons – If you are celebrating a special event such as a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or anything else. You can get a free celebration button from guest services!

Stickers – Cast members are often found handing out stickers on Main Street USA. You can also ask for them at the shops when you are checking out. A ‘Clean Plate Club’ sticker can also be found at the 50’s Prime Time CafĂ©!

Email e-postcards to your friends and family from Epcot. You can find the kiosks in Innoventions, or at the after-show of Mission Space! Don’t forget to send yourself one!

Paper ephemera – If you are a scrapbooker you will be in paper paradise! You can collect everyday paper items like: unused fastpasses, children's menus from restaurants, napkins, resort newsletters, park maps, and much more!

Epcot Kidcot stations offer great souvenirs that your kids make themselves. Make a mask and add charms and decorations in each country. You can also ask the cast member in each country to write your child’s name or a message in their native language.
If you want to buy the traditional souvenirs such as picture frames, jewelry, t-shirts, stuffed animals, snow globes, etc., I suggest saving those for your last day. I know it is hard to convince the kiddos to wait, but go to the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney, where you can find just about everything in one place (ride-specific items are only available in the parks themselves). When you check out, you can ask to have the items sent to your home so you don’t have to lug them on the plane, and as an added bonus you won’t have to pay sales tax if you live outside of Florida. There is also a bonus Discount if you have a Disney Visa Card.

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