Souvenirs are really a matter of taste, but if you’re anything like me, you want something that not only helps conjure up the good memories of your vacation but that is also fun and functional even after the trip is over.
These ten souvenirs are practical and can be pretty unique. You’ll remember your vacation every time you use them.
10. Christmas Decorations
Ok, this is certainly not one you’re going to use very often, but it falls in the personalized category, so it makes the list.
Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in the Magic Kingdom and Days of Christmas in Disney Springs have a huge selection of Christmas decorations all year round, and most of the decorations can be personalized. You could get the whole family custom stockings or even individual ornaments with their names painted on. The Cast Members at these locations do a great job with the personalization aspect, and they’ll do it while you wait!
This is a great souvenir idea if you do an annual trip to Disney World. You can buy an ornament every year. When you unpack the decorations, your family can tell stories from each vacation!
Again, this is not something that you’re going to wear to school or to the office (unless you work at Disney!), but they’re a must have if you’re visiting Disney World. There are literally dozens of designs from the classic Mickey and Minnie ears to ear hats that look like characters. There are also special designs for each country in Epcot‘s World Showcase and limited edition ears for special events like the Food and Wine Festival and the Flower and Garden Festival.
Sure, there are ears everywhere, but this is about special souvenirs. Head down Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom and stop by Le Chapeau. The talented cast members will embroider your ears while you wait. There are also locations in the Art of Disney Store in Disney Springs, Edith & Adrian’s Head to Toe Shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and in Epcot’s Mouse Gear.
Pins aren’t super special because they are so easy to find, but because there are so many of them, you can really get exactly what you want. There are literally hundreds of options, so be as specific as you want and don’t settle until you find exactly what you’re looking for.
What’s really great about the Disney Pins is that they make for in-park entertainment, too. Many Cast Members carry a pouch or lanyard with trading pins and are required to trade with guests. It’s a fun interaction! You can also swap with other guests, though they obviously aren’t required to do so!
The personalization here comes in the experience. Buy what you want, trade what you want, and have fun doing it! You can also sign up for World of Walt’s Pin of the Month club and get a pin every month! You’ll probably love them all but you can trade any you don’t particularly care for on your next trip to Disney World!
7. Disney Books
I really like functional souvenirs, and Disney books are great for that purpose. Some teach about Disney history while others help navigate the parks. They come in the form of guidebooks as well as classic reading books, and they’re perfect for some light reading on the plane or hardcore planning ahead of time.
Another great version of this is the park maps. They’re not quite as good as they used to be, but they provide for a nice, free souvenir. When things change, as they often do in Disney World, the park maps will be fun to help you remember what you did and what was there when you visited. You can also easily see what’s different now!
If you’re buying a book, check Amazon or another online bookstore. The prices are often less, and you get the same thing. Plus, you also won’t have to carry a heavy book home in your luggage!
One of the best parts of visiting Disney is hearing the music and the familiar sounds. Anytime I hear a Disney song, it takes me back to a place, a time, or a memory. Although Pandora or Spotify work well for this, it’s best to personalize your own music selection.
Whether you purchase CDs in Disney World or individual songs from iTunes, you can always get exactly what you want. This is a very practical souvenir too because you can listen to the music while you’re driving or working out or whatever. And your play list is completely customized to your likes!
5. Pressed Pennies
This may not be a very functional souvenir, but I do love them nonetheless. Pressed pennies are small, inexpensive souvenirs that can be made just about anywhere in Disney World. Some penny machines press customized attraction pictures while others print characters, years, etc. There are also resort-specific penny machines in almost every Disney Resort Hotel. Look in the gift shop or the food court.
At just 51 cents each, this is a great souvenir for children especially if you’re going to get a pressed penny book. Pennies can be collected on every visit to Disney World, but you can find these machines all over the country. They make great souvenirs anywhere you go, and they help you remember all the places you’ve gone!
4. Vintage Merchandise
I’m a fan of truly classic Disney merchandise. I love Oswald mostly because of the story behind him, and I love giving a nod to Disney history.
Is there an attraction you loved but is no longer with us? What about a character that doesn’t get as much screen time or park time as he or she deserves? These fun tributes are not flashy, and some people might not even get it if they’re not Disney fans, but you like it and that’s what’s important. What’s more, you can rest assured that there will be very few other people sporting the same vintage Disney shirt as you.
Collecting Disney mugs is fun because there are tons of options, and once you’ve amassed a collection, you can choose your mug based on your current mood.
It’s not just mugs that I like though; it’s all cups. The refillable resort mugs are fantastic for daily use as are the water park mugs, which are nice because water park-specific merchandise is a little difficult to find and there isn’t a lot of variety.
A good place to find mugs and cups is in the Disney Store Clearance online. They have semi-annual sales in January and June and merchandise is usually 50-70% off. You also won’t have to worry about breaking your mug on your way home through the airport (because we all know how careful those luggage handlers are with our bags!).
Vinylmations are cute characters that kind of look like Mickey but can be just about any design. They’re not as popular as they used to be, but there are still some diehard collectors out there, and you can still find them in Disney Springs and Epcot’s Test Track After Market Shop.
These inexpensive figurines come in mystery boxes or you can choose a design. I like to buy the blank ones and customize them for each trip with the year and any special designs that are specific to that vacation. You can really personalize these things and make a very special collection.
Caricatures are cartoon drawings, and they can be found at a few locations in Disney World. My favorite is in Disney Springs. There’s a little hut outside of Guest Relations, and there’s only one or two artists. We usually try to get the same artist every visit, and we like to compare our caricatures over the years. It’s a fun keepsake and a picture that’s not a photo.