Disney world: it’s fun, it’s magical, and… it’s expensive! Parents save and save just to get their kids there. Then you finally set foot inside the parks, and the kids have the audacity to ask for MORE! The reason? There are fun and exciting toys and souvenirs around every corner! The kids don’t stand a chance against the genius of Disney marketing. The key is to figure out which Disney souvenirs to buy and which to skip (or buy ahead of time for a better price!) Here are the 5 best Disney souvenirs, and 5 not worth your money.
Best Disney Souvenirs
Make your own light saber
A huge hit with all the Star Wars fans visiting Disney World! The price varies depending on how elaborate you want to get, with the simplest single blade design selling for about $25 and the most elaborate double blade designs (like Kylo Ren) going for around $45.
There are several locations in WDW where you can make your own saber. Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios can be very busy since it attracts most of the Star Wars crowd, so check out Once Upon a Toy at Disney Springs for the same experience with a shorter line.
Another cool option is the Build a Droid available at the same locations for about $15.
Here is a fun video showing the process:
Photo Autograph Book
This is an easy and inexpensive way to capture the memories of meeting Disney characters!
Instead of just getting the basic autograph book for characters to sign, buy one with slots to put photographs in. Then when you meet a character, snap a photo of the kids (or yourself, who am I to judge?) with the characters to put in the book alongside the autograph.
We actually filled two books with all the characters we met on our last trip, so we did one for just princesses and one with all other characters.
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My kids ADORE looking through these! It helps to preserve their memories of the trip too. (Have I ever mentioned how I can’t stand it when people say not to take young kids to Disney World because they won’t remember it? Preschool age is an amazing and magical time for a Disney trip!)
Ok this one isn’t exactly the most Disney-esque of all Disney souvenirs, but it is probably the best bargain around for a truly lovely keepsake.
For only $10 per person you get TWO portrait silhouettes (the way they are cut leaves you with two copies, one facing left and one facing right).
They are done extremely quickly. We were in awe watching the process, and even our toddler was able to sit long enough to get hers done. It was shocking to me how wonderful they came out. They captured our children’s profile at that age perfectly. I absolutely cherish these silhouettes!
The carts selling silhouettes are stationed in several locations throughout WDW. We did ours in Liberty Square because we weren’t able to find the one on Main Street near Town Square (maybe the artist was missing that day?).
You can also get them done in Disney Springs and sometimes in the France pavilion at Epcot.
HOT TIP! Learn from my mistake and make sure to bring cash or credit card with you when you get these done!
We are so accustomed to just putting all expenses on our Magic Bands when we’re in WDW that we don’t even bring a wallet to the parks. But the silhouette makers are considered independent contractors and can not accept Magic Bands! I almost had to run all the way back to our hotel to get money after we had ours made, but luckily I was able to recite my credit card number for memory and they ran the transaction by typing it in.
My husband was a little alarmed by my ability to recite my entire credit card number, but that’s another story for another day 😜
Personalized Mickey Ears
The most classic of all Disney Souvenirs has got to be the Mickey Mouse ear hat. Go with the classic or pick your favorite character: Buzz Lightyear, Piglet, R2-D2, and tons more.
They have sparkly Minnie Mouse ears attached to a headband, an ear hat with a bride’s vail attached, and even light up ears that change color to the beat of the fireworks music. Prices range from $15-$25 depending on the style you choose.
While these may not be the most practical choice for theme park attire, there is just something special about a kid wearing them on their first trip to Walt Disney World. And it makes for all kinds of iconic photo ops.
One way to make these extra special is to have them embroidered with your child’s name on the back. Choose your font and stiching color, and within the hour your Mickey ears will have their owner’s name on them for only $3. You can also add two lines of text for $7.
You can get your Mickey ear hat embroidered at The Chapeau on Main Street of Magic Kingdom or at Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories in Disney Springs. If you want to order them ahead of time for your trip, you can order them through Disney Floral and Gifts.
All over the parks, restaurants, and Disney hotels you will see pressed penny machines. Normally this is the kind of thing I try to steer clear of, but when traveling to Disney World with small children it’s one of those tools to keep in your arsenal. When there is downtime, things like this are a great distraction for kids and they get SUPER excited about it.
Here is the book we use to store them in:
They love going back and inspecting each one to see the different characters and rides on them.
Disney Souvenirs Not Worth Your Money
I feel like such a Disney grinch saying this, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $12 on a souvenir that won’t even survive the duration of the trip.
While they will delight your kids for a moment, they will likely drift into the sky minutes later causing a flood of tears. Best case scenario, they end up tied to a stroller that gets parked somewhere for the day while you go on rides.
HOT TIP! If you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, they do not allow balloons of any kind on the premises. They are hazardous to the animals on property. Avoid disappointment if you are staying there and don’t try to bring one back to your room!
For the 12 inch (Barbie size) Disney Princess dolls, buying in the parks will cost you around $20. The same dolls are sold at any Disney Store nation wide for $10 when you buy two or more.
Delight your kids by taking that same $20 and buying two at home before you leave for your trip and surprise them when you get there 😃
Princess dress up dresses
One thing every little girl wants to do in Disney World is Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Girls get princess makeovers with hair, nails, and shimmering makeup by cast members called “Fairy Godmothers-In-Training”. The basic package costs a hefty $65 for the experience lasting 30 minutes to an hour. If you want the package that includes a new princess dress, it will set you back $200!
My advice would be to buy a dress elsewhere and stick to the basic package. Disney store, JCPenney, Amazon, Etsy, etc all have similar dresses.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a special experience due to the interaction with cast members and feeling of being pampered. It really doesn’t matter much where the dress comes from.
FYI: Without considering BBB, just to buy the dress alone that they sell in the parks goes for $70. This dress is considered “deluxe” meaning it is a bit more ornate than the regular Disney store dresses. But I truly don’t think most kids would notice the difference between that and the $45 Disney store dress that is still shiny, sequined, and has the Disney label.
Light up Toys
When the sun goes down in Walt Disney World, the light up toys come out. Glowing swords, necklaces, spin toys, etc are everywhere you look.
Of course every kid will want one and of course they are way overpriced. I have fallen for this one before but then I got smart and came equipped with this:
Light Up Galaxy Spinner with Flashing LED Lights
The kids were enthralled and I spent $7 on it. WIN!
Amazon also has a light up princess wand that would do the trick:
Then when it breaks or gets lost in an hour, it doesn’t ruin your night 👍
Large stuffed animals
Please try to talk your kids out of buying a big stuffed animal in Disney World.
First of all, you can get them anywhere. Choose a souvenir that is more unique to the Disney parks.
Secondly, what are you going to do with the thing while you walk around the park and go on rides all day??? Yes, Disney has thought of everything so they do offer the service of holding it for you or sending it back to your room. BUT, how many kids are going to be ok with shipping off the giant Mickey they just talked you into buying? Then you know who is going to end up carrying it around… MOM!
What are some of YOUR favorite Disney souvenirs?
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You are so right about buying the dress ahead of time! My daughter was totally cool with it (she was 4) also, if you can’t get into BBB you can get a “princess package” for like$45 (don’t quote me lol) at the Ivy Trellis salon in the Grand Floridian. They can do many different hair styles ❤️
Great tip Bobbi, I didn’t know about that!
Oh my, this is such a great list! I am visiting Disney World for the first time this year.
How exciting Jenna! Have a fantastic trip!
The photo autograph book is so smart! It definitely makes it more of a keepsake. I remember having the regular autograph book when I was little, but it ended up getting thrown away at some point because just the autograph book itself isn’t that cool after a few years. Oh, and Mickey ears are a must!
The photos definitely help cement the memories. My kids still remember what the character was saying to them when the picture was taken! Pocahontas asked if their arms were tired from paddling down from CT in their canoe 😆
I am definitely guilty of dumb purchases in the park. I waited until we arrived to buy a fanny pack that put us back $35 and it wasn’t even cute or stylish and it’s been sitting in the back of my closet every since! Loved your recommendations!
Oh my gosh 😆Guess when you need a bag you need a bag!
I loveeeeee this post! We are a huge Disney family over here. I completely agree about the Mickey balloons and didn’t know that AKL doesn’t allow balloons- makes sense though! They push the light up toys for sure, especially as night falls. Great list!
This is awesome. Some of the stuff is so expensive!
Some of it really is, like those princess dresses. But I can see why people buy them, because you feel like you put so much into that trip and you want it to be super special for the kids. With some advanced planning though, you can make it just as special without paying over-the-top prices.
Okay I’ve been wanting to take my son to Disney since before he was born but your post just made me desire to go SKYROCKET. I seriously NEED (Not exaggerating this is an actual need) a pair of mickey ears with his name on them. Why don’t I have a few thousand extra dollars lying around?!?!
😂 I hear you on that one!
Great souvenir ideas. I’m taking my daughters on a Disney Cruise and I will make sure to get a signature book for the trip.
Just went in May for the first time and I could not agree more with the choices that you have provided above. Some of the souvenirs can easily be found for a fraction of the price outside of the parks. I even noticed that there is plenty of Disney Souvenir stores around Orlando with heavily discounted items. Some things are not worth bragging that you got it out of the park. I love the idea that you mentioned about buying it before leaving and surprising the kiddos with it when you get there.
Good point about the outside souvenir shops, that could be very convenient for people driving!
I am all about the souvenirs…but this is a great list for me to keep my money! I am doing better by not buying all the things, but at one point they would’ve gotten me for everything! HA! And way to go on that credit card number…I bet your husband’s mouth dropped open!
😆 I was a little impressed with myself for that. He certainly was not!
when we went ot WDW we brought our own glow sticks from the dollar store and our own autograph books from amazon.
I have a question about the fast pass, so we are renting a house and not staying at Disney can we still use the Fast Pass? Please let me know any pointers you have for first timers.
Yes! Everyone with a ticket is entitled to use FastPass! The only difference between staying on Disney property is you can book them 60 days ahead whereas everyone else can book 30 days ahead. It is a big misconception that not everyone can use FastPass or that it costs extra. You automatically get 3 Fastpasses per day that you can pre-book, and after you use those you can book more one at a time using the kiosks in the parks. I don’t have a post written about FastPass yet but here is a site I trust that has a good explanation of it: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/fastpass-plus-mymagic/
My best pointers would be to make sure you book your three as soon as you can (so right at the 30 day mark), book them for late morning or early afternoon time slots, and make sure you are using them wisely. This means choosing the rides that tend to get the longest lines.
Good luck with your trip planning and I hope you have a magical time!!
I did most of these money saving tips when we went. I did alot of research so that we could have a great time and still save a buck.
That’s awesome! Disney is definitely one trip where doing your research totally pays off!
Traveling to WDW with only my eldest of 3. Would love to have a silhouette done of my 2 left at home. Do you know if the artists can work off of a picture? I would take a side view pic before I left.
You know, I’m really not sure if they’d be able to make one off of a picture, but it is certainly worth a try! They are very good at what they do so I wouldn’t be surprised if they could pull it off.
I love this list. I’m glad to see I actually purchased a couple of these items for our first trip this coming April. My son is obsessed with star wars so the light saber is definitely being added to the list.
Your first trip is only a few months away! So exciting, I hope you all have a magical time!
We bought the dress at BBB. It was our big splurge of the trip. My daughter was 4 at the time and couldn’t believe that tinker bell knew her favorite princess and her dress size. (That’s what the cast tells you when you go to the dressing room). When we came home, that was the detail she told most people first. Tinker bell knows her and her clothing size. It was worth it.
The pennies are definitely great! I started collecting them when I was 4 and still collect them to this day wherever I go. They are cheap, don’t take up much room, and provide a picture memory that will last a long time. I probably have have hundreds of dollars worth of smashed pennies in book that I have collected over the years and never tire of going back and looking at them. Tips for the pennies, start collecting copper pennies (made before 1982) prior to the trip. They may not be the shiny new ones, but the new pennies are coated to be shiny and when they are pressed, the shiny part starts chipping off. Use vinegar or ketchup to clean copper pennies to make them clearer.
Collecting pennies is not for everyone. My brother stopped collecting them in high school but I find them a great memory (at a cheap price).
Wow that sounds like an amazing collection! Thanks for sharing the tips, I’ll be on the lookout for those older pennies and clean them before we go next time.
Last trip we bought a bubble wand and it was worth every penny. It’s very well made. Buy some extra bubbles at Disney as theirs are better for some reason. We also didn’t use it unless we were outside the park to avoid that face full of bubbles down main street.
I don’t agree with the light up toy. As long as you are responsible not losing it. It is perfectly fine buying one.
Such a good list! I love getting clothing from Disney parks and the pressed pennies! Next time I am picking up a silhouette!
Disney clothing is hard to resist! I hope you love your silhouettes as much as I do!
My girls (13 at the time) did the pearl necklace thing in Japan at Epcot on our last trip. I pre-purchased the case on Etsy before hand (a princess carriage and Minnie Mouse head), and took it with us. They still wear them and love them. It was a pretty cool process.
I have heard of that pick-a-pearl in Japan but never done it before. Will have to check it out next time, my girls would love it too I’m sure!
I disagree with the balloon. We went in 2010 and the balloon was one of our first purchases (I think I also brought a weight from home) and tied it onto my son’s stroller. He played with it some in the room, but it was invaluable when getting off of rides to find the stroller. There was even a point when I was separated from the group & found them via balloon. We were there for 10 days and it stayed afloat the entire trip. He was upset when we had to deflate it for the plane. We were there in January, so it shriveled up some outside, but was good once we got back to the heat of our room.
I have heard from several people that having the balloon tied to the stroller is a great way to find your stroller! Maybe it’s just the thought of having to buy four balloons for my four kids that turns me off 🙂 With one kid it could be perfectly fine. Thanks for sharing your experience, Courtney!
There are three Walt Disney World souvenirs that I enjoy.
#1- Popcorn buckets (when available) [Refillable]. The good news… They are a good value since they are refillable (Even the gourmet popcorn). The bad news… They take up a bit of space.
#2- Trading pins. The good news… They are small and have many different characters and designs. You can trade with cast members and at various venues. The bad news… Can be an expensive hobby when you buy many pins. Also, you must be careful with the rubber pin backings since many tend to slip off. (Buy metal backings for the ones you truly want to keep.)
#3- Consider the value of Disney’s PhotoPass service. It can give you great photo/video moments (especially if your visit isn’t a short one).
Have A Magical Day!
Love these! Thanks for sharing!
The light sabers (to me) are the same as the stuffed animals – you can buy them anywhere. You may not be creating it yourself, but the difference in cost between that and a store bought one from Target hardly seems worth it.
One Disney souvenir we like to get is the Pick-A-Pearl in Epcot’s World Showcase. You can buy Disney-themed pearl cages on Amazon to make a nice necklace, for a child or an adult. It’s always fun trying to pick the perfect oyster that will yield the biggest or most unusual pearl.
Going soon via “Make a wish”, I collect iron on patches. Will I find some?
Someone might know of a place somewhere, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen iron on patches in WDW. Try asking a cast member while you’re there to make sure. I hope your trip is memorable and magical!
Hey for anyone dead set on getting their kid a make over go with the mermaid package at Pirate’s league.
Around 40 bucks includes the palette nail polish and color changing accessories. It was so pretty and my toddler loved it. Feels much more worth the price versus BBB and they have 2 other girly options now too
We always get a pair of Beach Towels. They are our swim towels, some are over 20ys old.