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Why We Buy Our Souven”ears”

One of the most asked questions we hear is “How much money should we bring for souvenirs?”  THAT is a tricky one! It all depends on what you love, what you like to collect, what will fit with your home décor, what your kids enjoy, and what will last in the long haul. Here is what we have purchased over 11 trips and why we bought it.

Several years ago, Walt Disney World started the Monorail Collection which started off with just the Monorail itself. Its purpose was meant to mimic the idea of the train around the bottom of your Christmas tree. We bought the red lined Monorail, and decided to wait on any of the other accessories. Listen folks,  that was a BIG mistake. I have learned in life, don’t wait! We should have purchased all of the WDW Resorts that were offered and the WDW signage for It as well… for when we went back the next year… ALLLLLLL sold out!  They had no plans of making more, I have YET to understand that!  So we wound up buying the Contemporary Resort online on Ebay- at a pretty price too!  We also purchased the original Spaceship Earth which the monorail track attaches to, along with extra monorail tracks.  Last year we finally bought the Castle, actually Jessie bought it with her own money to play with.  We love all of these pieces and they will be coming with us to our new home in Florida.

Since Carl and I have been married, we have been in love with the Disney Lithograph.  It started with the Disney Store giving out a free one when you pre-paid for the next DVD coming out. We loved this promotion because we had to take a small trip to a nearby city to pick it up, as our city did not have a Disney Store.  We always picked up the Lithograph and then would head to Target for the black 11×14 frame that fit it perfectly. The lithograph eventually got smaller, but we framed as many as we could.  Ones we weren’t able to get, we have purchased off Ebay. I would say we have easily 75. We have our favorites framed in our home’s hallways- we change them out when we get bored with them.

On the same topic of art, the best souvenirs cane be the free ones, sort of speak. We attend every Animation class as much as possible when we are at “Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”  Every drawing is kept and we frame these as well at home- our favorites anyways.  Currently we have on our walls in our living room- Goofy, Minnie, Daisy, Doug, Tigger, and Stitch.We each get to pick our favorite two to hang up.  They have been a great conversational piece when we have visitors, along with our professional drawings that we had done while in WDW.

A new obsession we have started is collecting the WDW Attraction Posters. We have started with our favorite, the TTA, aka “People Mover,” which hangs in our kitchen.  I think we are going to buy “Pirates” next.

Now, you can’t speak of Walt Disney World souvenirs without saying the words “Mickey Ears.” Now, we don’t really collect them as much as we see a pair now and then and obtain them. (Yes, I’t trying to convince myself of this LOL). We have the original black ears, the ones that have the ears light up, and we got lucky at a garage sale last year and found the Groom and Bride Mickey ears.  When we finally move there, we will get the ears with our names on the back- yes, its about time!

Over the past couple of trips, I have been smitten with the special Walt Disney World edible goodies. I love to collect the candies, chocolates, teas, coffees, and hot chocolate in the special WDW packaging. It used to be you could only buy these special items in WDW, but they do now offer these online. I still buy them  IN the parks. Want to know something sad? I don’t even eat or drink any of it. We did try the hot chocolate, and the candy never lasts… but I have an Alice in Wonderland tea that has never been opened, along with Mickey Mac N Cheese. We have a white hutch in our kitchen that we basically litter with these items. Along with the food goodies are the refillable mugs we buy each year, glassware that’s specific to the WDW Resort we stayed at, and we always bring home extra WDW napkins, cups, and soaps to enjoy until our next vacation.

We found that the bonus souvenirs are the ones you really weren’t counting on or looking for.  At some of the WDW gift shops, they offer something for a reasonable price when you spend so much money.  Carl bought the coolest watch last year, and we seem to acquire many a Disney throw through these promotions.  I do love them though, every time I cuddle up in one I think of when we bought it.

Our Jessie loves to buy the small water globes and anything that has to do with her hero “Jessie” while Belle loves to buy the coolest jewelry and anything theme to “Nightmare Before Christmas” or with Eeyore. A stuffed animal usually makes the cut somehow, but we try to contain the spending so that they can enjoy what they have purchased and not wind up throwing it away months later.

We usually buy a new sweatshirt on each trip as well, either with them new theme or the year. I wear out mine so much, but I will tell you they hold up well. I know they cost alot, but they are definitely worth the money!

Last but not least is the Disney pin obsession. Now, we do have quite a few, but nothing crazy.  It started off very simple…we had received a coupon from WDW for a free lanyard with a free pin. We each got one, and the trading began.  What people need to realize is that you can purchase a “lot” of them on Ebay for half the cost of the park’s pins, and then trade away while you are on vacation. Make sure you deal with some reputable, as some pins are fake and junk.  We have enjoyed the pin collecting and we look forward to doing it more in the future as Florida residents.

So what is your favorite souvenir? Let us hear all about it and have a magical day!

~Ellie Peters

7 Comments »

  1. Have you folks tried the Disney Outlet store at the Tanger Mall in the Dells? It’s huge, has fantastic pricing, and if you stand in the middle of the store, close your eyes, and just soak it in, you get a little piece of the parks in the middle of Wisconsin.

    The wife and I are going back in a few weeks, as the Halloween costumes for the little princesses usually set us back…unless we go outlet shopping.

  2. I really enjoyed this blog! I especially loved seeing the photos of your souvenirs. Everything is framed so beautifully, too! I LOVE (I mean love, love, love) the “People Mover” poster in your kitchen.

    In the summer of 1978 (My first trip to WDW when I was 6), my mother bought me a Mickey Mouse backscratcher. Of course, I have lost the backscratcher since then. I did see the same exact backscratcher at a few stores during our last trip in February. Of course, I didn’t buy it. I’m really hoping to find it during our post-Thanksgiving trip. I have recently decorated my guest bathroom in a vintage Mickey Mouse theme and this backscratcher would go so perfectly. You’re so right: Buy it, don’t wait!

    Also during my first 1978 trip, my mother bought me a beautiful Minnie Mouse rag doll. She bought one for herself, too, thus starting her love affari with anything relating to Minnie Mouse. In 1979, my mother brought home a Labrador Retriever puppy and sadly, that was the end of both Minnie Mouse ragdolls. I’ve been looking for them eveywhere, but nothing comes close on ebay.

    My favorite souvenir in recent days is a Cinderella Castle bank with Mickey and the gang posing in front of it. We have dubbed the bank “The Disney Fund”. This plastic piggy bank will forever be special to me because it signifies the moment when my husband was hit with the Disney Fever. We were at MK on the last day of our trip in February 2008. We ducked into a gift shop to buy some souvenirs and DH was clutching something, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. When I met up with him at the cash register, he was holding the bank. I looked questioningly at him and he said, “I love this place. We’re coming back. Let’s start saving.”

  3. You have a pin board, too!! As (recent) empty nesters, we are converting our daughters’ room into a Disney themed guest room and the first thing you see when you walk in is a cork board covered with Disney pins.

    We also used some lovely Mickey shaped ornaments as curtain tie-backs – that’s what most people comment on first.

    But my favorite thing in the room is my giant Fantasia 2000 wall hanging. My friend who worked for a movie theater gave it to me – it’s a scene from the Rhapsody in Blue segment and it covers the entire wall behind the bed. I love the artwork in that segment and it fits the room perfectly.

    Having it Disney-themed has helped fill the empty space we felt about going into that room after all the girls’ stuff was moved out. And our oldest daughter is a WDW Cast Member, so she definitely approves of the theme!

    We’re looking forward to shopping specifically for more guest room decorations during our next trip in 67 days! (Yay!)

  4. Our two “mainstays” are coffee mugs (always a matching set if possible) and a Christmas tree ornament from every year we’ve gone as a couple, beginning with our honeymoon trip.

    After buying into DVC last year, we started looking for DVC-specific souvenirs, too, but they are sadly hard to find (aside from the very basic items you can find in any park or hotel). Here’s hoping they start releasing resort-specific, or at least more interesting, DVC merchandise….

    Of course we haven’t yet added a Disney young’un to the family, so I imagine we’ll be expanding on the list of “must gets” in a year or two. 🙂

    – John

  5. Love all your pics! I especially love the ride posters – I didn’t know about those – where do you get them? We have a pin collection – my daughter pins them to the valance curtain in her room and I always get a year pin for each year we go and pin them to the cork board in my kitchen. I get the resort mugs and I also like to get photo albums and picture frames for our favorite pics from each trip. I like to get my daughter a resort t-shirt and as she grows out of them, I save them and will be making a quilt out of them for when she goes to college.

  6. I too have the lithographs hanging all over my house. We’ve been collecting them since 1994. I’ve got so many still needing frames! We collect mouse ear hats, regular hats, t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, toys, and pins! I’ve got my whole house decorated Disney! My restrooms are Cars and then the other is Winnie the Pooh and the other is Mickey Mouse!! I too can’t wait to move to FL as well. We are looking at 5 years and counting down! I also have bought double of my favorite pins because I use a plastic cover on my phone. My hubby modifies the pin so I can glue it to the back of the cover. I loved your pics!! Thanks for sharing.