When it comes to planning a Walt Disney World Vacation. there are a lot of things to consider. Like where to stay, what to do each day, where to eat – but one thing you might not really think about ahead of time is what to BUY while you’re there. If you have never been to Walt Disney World, you probably assume “ok, they have some gift shops, we can pick up a couple of souvenirs, no biggie” and not give it anymore thought. Then – you arrive at WDW – and you realize JUST HOW MANY SOUVENIR STORES THERE ARE. They are hundreds. Big stores, little stores, stores at the end of each ride, carts full of merchandise, people walking around selling merchandise, etc etc. So I personally recommend you plan ahead when it comes to Souvenir shopping – here are some tips:
Budget: This is the most important souvenir tip of all – SET A BUDGET for each person when it comes to souvenirs – if you don’t, things can get really out of hand REALLY fast. Whether it be a dollar amount per person, or an item amount – be clear to all of your family members what that amount is. Personally – I think $50 for each person is MORE than enough when it comes to budgeting, but of course that is up to you!
*Pro Tip – I mentioned talking to everyone about the budget, this rings true especially for the kids – make sure they understand how much they can spend, and to motivate them to earn their “own” souvenir money, you can have them do extra chores to earn it, and you can even make a Disney Chore chart to track their progress. I think it’s a lot nicer for the kids when they can feel that sense of pride by spending their “own” money that they “earned” on the souvenirs
Quality Over Quantity: While your first thought might be to say “ok, how many items can I buy with my budget of $X?” (as who doesn’t want to maximize their spending, right?), I recommend you think more about the actual souvenirs themselves. Think about what you REALLY want, and more importantly – ask yourself – “Will I use this once I am home?” If it’s not something you can see yourself using in your day to day life, I recommend you pass in favor of something else.
**Check out my top souvenir picks for adults and kids to get some ideas
Wait Until The Last Day: If you see something you LOVE in the first souvenir store you visit, your instinct might be to grab it right then and there. But i strongly suggest you resist that urge, and wait to purchase any and all souvenirs until the end of your last day at Disney – not only does this give you time to think about it and make sure it’s the thing you REALLY want, but it also gives you time to scope out all the awesome stuff that Disney has to offer at it’s MANY shops. If you are still desperate for that thing at the end of your trip, then you know it’s the souvenir for you!
SIZE Matters: Whether you drive or fly to Walt Disney World, at the end of the day – none of us have unlimited cargo space – whether it be in our car/van or suitcases, we have to limit our packing at some point. This is an important thing to consider when you’re picking out souvenirs. That giant stuffed Mickey that’s as big as your toddler might seem really cute – but the reality of it is, that’s gonna be hard as heck to get home safely and in one piece. Speaking of pieces, you will want to think about what your souvenirs are made of too – many are breakable, and if you pack some wine glasses or mugs in your checked luggage, there’s really no guarantee they will make it home unbroken (sad, but true!). Smaller, durable items are what you want to aim for here, trust me – it’s the practical way to go!
STAY STRONG: Above all, set that budget and STICK TO IT – whatever it may be, DO NOT WAIVER. No matter how cute that 3rd set of Mickey ears is, and no matter HOW MUCH the kids beg or cry or scream – remember that while souvenirs are important and worthwhile, they aren’t worth losing your mind over, and it’s best to stay calm, stick to the budget, and remember that the trip is about the memories, too!
Worse case scenario – you max out your credit cards and end up having to buy two new Mickey suitcases to bring home your haul. Ok seriously – NO ONE wants that – so follow my tips to keep tabs on your souvenir habits, and you will be good to go!