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Disneyland is a great experience and, the chances are, you’ll want to have souvenirs of your memories. Buying them at Disney can really bust your budget. Don’t worry, though, we figured out the hacks to save money on Disney souvenirs. You’re going to love these!
Think Outside the Box.
Souvenirs don’t have to be expensive t-shirts, cheap plastic figurines or bubble wands (we see you, Fantasmic). Souvenirs can be as simple as park maps, family pictures (that you take yourself) and buttons or stickers from the park.You don’t have to go to great lengths to save money on Disney souvenirs when most kids would be totally happy with hanging onto the paper from your turkey leg (don’t do that).
We have an entire article on TOTALLY FREE Disney souvenirs, check it out here. Read on, if you want cheap souvenirs.
Pack Your Souvenirs Ahead of Time.
The cheapest way to get souvenirs is avoid buying them at Disney parks. You can save money on Disney souvenirs by purchasing them before you leave. You might be able to find them at other places close to Anaheim that are not related to the Disney brand. If you’re purchasing before you leave, check the Dollar Tree for things like Disney-character flashlights, small figurines and more.
Your local Wal-Mart, Target or other supercenter has Disney stuff, too! Check Amazon for cheap toys and Disney-related stuff. The products are identical to what you would find at the park, but they don’t come with the outrageous markup. While they won’t be as cheap as getting them from the dollar stores, they will certainly be cheaper than purchasing them at Disney.
Most souvenirs don’t take up a lot of space in the bag. If you want to act like you purchased them at the park so your kids think they have souvenirs from the park, it’s easy to stash them in a cosmetic bag in your luggage. Just make sure you put it somewhere your kids won’t find when you get to your destination.
Pro tip: pack a bunch of souvenirs and include figurines. Hide them around the room or stick them under a pillow for the kids to find in the morning each day of your Disney trip. It really adds to the magical experience!
Make Your Own Shirts to Save Money on Disney Souvenirs.
Who doesn’t love matching Disneyland pictures where everyone in the family is dressed alike? If you want just one photos like this, you probably have looked at prices for shirts from Disney so you can match…and quickly backed away because of the outrageous prices. The good news is, many of these shirts are easy to DIY.
You can pick up t-shirts in different sizes at your local craft store for just a few dollars each. Stock up on the fabric paint and the puffy paint and get to work on the shirts. If you want them to look semi-professional, leave the kids out for this DIY. If you want to let everyone make their own version of a Disney shirt, let the kids go wild.
Still not satisfying your need for Instagrammable family pictures? Don’t despair. You can sometimes get matching Disney shirts from Wal-Mart or Target on the cheap. You may also be able to find them from small business sellers on Etsy even though you’ll likely pay a little more. The chances are you have someone close to you who sells them at craft fairs. Do you know someone with a Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine? Let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll probably be able to make them for you for much cheaper!
- Cheap shirts + fabric paint – $, looks homemade
- Cheap shirts + friend with a cutting machine – $$, looks almost professional
- Buying the shirts from an Etsy seller – $$$, looks professional
- Purchase premade Disney shirts at a store – $$$$, looks mass produced
- Get your shirts from Disney – $$$$$$, same quality as from stores
Customizing your own shirts or purchasing from a small business seller who likely customizes them for you is the best way to go. It’s the easiest way to save money on Disney souvenir shirts.
Buy Pins Outside of Disney.
Let’s talk about pins. The first time we went to Disney, I didn’t even know about the pin phenomena, but it’s a huge deal at all the parks. When you get to Disneyland, the chances are your kids will want to trade pins and get cool ones to go along with the experiences they have. The pins are awesome because they serve as great souvenirs and they’re actually one of the least expensive things you can purchase in the parks, but there are still ways to save money on them.
Look for cast members with green lanyards on them (or teal if you’re in the Florida park). They will have pins and they have to trade with your kids if your kids ask. To avoid having to purchase the pins from the kiosks, head to Disneyland with your own pins! You can purchase them on eBay prior to going and save tons of money.
Your child will also need a lanyard. You can purchase a Disney-themed one at the park, but it’ll set you back some money. Ebay has a lot of lanyards available for purchase. If you want a custom-made one, check Etsy. We even spotted some Disney princess ones at our Dollar Tree, but not all stores carry the same stock!
You’re Going to Need Ears.
If you’ve been to Disney, the chances are you’ve seen “THE EARS.” They’re all over and you really can’t avoid them. Years ago, Disney sold hats with Mickey and Minnie ears on them, but the times have surely changed. The hats were hot during the sweltering SoCal summers and they were hard to get over a ponytail. Now, Mickey and Minnie headbands are the hot ticket item. When we took our gaggle of girls to Disney World for the first time, we had no idea about the headbands. They saw all the teenagers with them on and immediately had to have them. At around $30 for each pair from the park, we paid over $100 for ears that were coming apart by the end of our trip.
You can make your own ears! It’s the easiest thing to do and really requires very few skills. You don’t even really need any tools. If you have a glue gun (you can get one for less than $5 at the dollar store), a 20 pack of plastic headbands from Amazon and some fabric (less than ¼ of a yard which is usually around $2-$5), you can make ears for each day at the park. Make ears to match outfits, make ears to match rides you plan on going on that day and make ears to match your kids’ personalities. All the supplies will cost you around $10, but you can make anywhere from 5 to 20 pairs depending on how much fabric you can get for your money.
Here’s our favorite tutorial on how to make the ears. (Pinterest has great inspiration for figuring out what style you want your ears. Tutorials are also available for people who want to sew their ears).
This is a DIY project great for adults, but not so great for kids. Not only can the glue gun be dangerous for kids to use, but the project does require you to be pretty precise about what you’re doing. Save it for when the kids go to bed or while they’re in school.
Save the project for a time they’ll never see it. Pack the ears in your luggage and give it to the kids as a surprise before you head to the park!
Want more cheap travel information? A dirt-cheap way to organize your travel experience WITHOUT a travel agent? Or, secrets on how to really start saving money on travel experiences? Check out more information here!