So on our family vacations, we had a shopping rule. As we all know, kids, heck adults as well (ya’ll can put your hands down now) go crazy over the merchandise. There is something about that T-Shirt that has your favorite ride, that bag that has your favorite character, or the allure of just “having” that exclusive item. We would tell the kids that we would make them a deal- they can window shop all they wanted during the course of our vacation, but they couldn’t buy anything until the last day. Then we would hit Springs (Downtown Disney/Disney Marketplace then) for a fun and deserved shopping spree. What we found, trip after trip, was the disappearance of the impulse buy and more thought out purchases. It would be discussed during that week “that if you got this, you wouldn’t be able to afford that.” We wanted the kids to think about what they really wanted. And honestly it was fun to see what we brought back and what has stood the test of time since moving here.
One of the biggest challenges I have had living near the Theme Parks is just that, the merch. I do pretty well on avoiding looking as much as possible because I just know that I will want it. Problem is, is that after awhile you have hundreds of t-shirts, bags, vinylmations, pins, collectibles, prints, popcorn buckets, and so on. I have noticed that it happens around the Festivals and Anniversaries the most. I would buy a couple things at RunDisney events, and ride openings are always a fun one, but again, I found myself wondering where it ends. The lines were time spent, the merch was money spent, and the stress of getting some of them in the first place was sanity spent. And you all know what I’m talking about if you have ever been to the first hour of the first day of an event/festival/etc- it’s usually chaos.
Now I wear the heck out of my Disney shirts, and if you have followed my journey since 2009, you know that I wore them whether I lived in WI or in FL. I just own so many now since living here that I think I’m at a point that I could wear one each day for the entire summer and never have to do the wash until Fall. That being said, as I have gotten older, I am trying to purge what I don’t need and give more thought to my purchases. I have been on board with this “Minimalize your life” movement where less is more. I have relatives who are hoarders, and I can’t stand it- I don’t want temporary joy for permanent stress. And if people like it, so be it, not here to tell anyone not too, it’s just something I am trying to move away from for my sanity. Going out to eat, adventures on the road, a walk in the Parks, etc- the challenge is to spend money on activities, experiences, and connections OR save it for the next journey. To come away with nothing in your pocket, but be filled with a happy heart and soul. And maybe a few hundred pics on your phone…hey, I’m human.