I remember going to Disney World as a kid and collecting everything along the way that wouldn’t rot to help me remember my magical vacation. Those little scraps of paper and plastic held memories that I could revisit long after the trip was over, and held me over until my next trip came along.
The good news is that, even in this day of smart phone apps and web sites – where so much information lives only digitally – there are still plenty of free physical souvenirs that you can collect on your vacation. You probably won’t frame any of these items (although on second thought, why not?), but they are fun little mementos to gather up along the way.
Let’s take a look at six fun and free souvenirs you can bring home from your next vacation:
1 – Park Tickets / Magic Bands
Everyone needs a ticket to get into the park, of course. And at Disney World, the ticket is much more than a boring little plain paper stub you might get for a movie or a concert. At Disney, if you are a day visitor, you will probably get a credit-card like ticket that is a miniature work of Disney character art. It is colorful and beautiful in its own right. If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, your Magic Band is an amazing and colorful piece of technology you can accessorize.
2 – Resort Room Amenities
Wouldn’t it be fun to write a note to your friend on Disney stationery, perhaps using a “Walt Disney Resorts” pen? How about hanging up a Disney-themed “do not disturb” sign on your bedroom door when you need just a few minutes to yourself? Or how about starting a special day with Mickey Mouse soap and shampoo? Pick up these free items from your Disney hotel room and take them home to relive a bit of the magic.
3 – Mickey Mouse Stickers
You can’t guarantee that you will find a Cast Member handing out free Mickey Mouse stickers, but these days they seem to be everywhere. Keep your eyes open for smiling children, and follow the stream of them to the source – a roll of stickers! Resist the temptation to peel and stick it immediately – save the fun for another day.
4 – Celebrate Buttons
If you are indeed celebrating a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary, or first visit, stop by Guest Services at the entrance to the park you are visiting and ask for a free button. They will personalize it with your name. Wear it that day and you are almost guaranteed to get plenty of friendly greetings from both Cast Members and fellow guests alike. Then take it home to celebrate again next year.
5 – Shopping Bags
The shopping bags that Disney uses to pack up your purchased goodies are works of art that have changed over time. Way back in the day, the bags were unique to each theme park. Over time, Disney standardized a single bag design for all parks (Florida and California) under the “Disney Parks” banner. I hope that someday Disney will get back to at least property-specific bags, but even today’s bags still have beautiful and colorful artwork. They are great for carrying goodies at home, in grand Disney style.
6 – Park Guide Maps
The Disney Guide Maps are a great way to help you find your way around the parks. They are also a little snapshot of the ever-changing Disney landscape, showing what Disney World looked like during the time you visited. If you collect these maps over time, you can check out the changes not just in the design of the maps themselves but also the changes in attractions that come and go over time.
What is your favorite free souvenir from Disney World?