You cannot call yourself a true Disney fanatic if you do not own a pair of Mickey or Minnie Ears. You are barely an enthusiast if you do not own at least one Disney sweatshirt. You are merely a pedestrian if you do not purchase a Mickey balloon, giant turkey leg, bangled bracelet, bag of sour balls or box of bright yellow popcorn every time you visit a Disney Park. But, do you ever crave a distinct Disney souvenir to call your own?
Disney creativity touches everything from tradable pins to the parking-lot, and yes, absolutely the gift shops. If you commonly blow off shopping, or if you habitually shop but pretty much always for the same things, you should know Disney souvenirs are not limited to stuffed animals and shot glasses. Yes, absolutely buy another coffee mug, if that’s your thing, but exploring the multitude of avenues and options can add an extra level of adventure to an already enjoyable experience for you and the kids. Plus, you might wind up with something cool and enviable.
1. E-Ticket merchandise
Are you flooded with nearly unnerving nostalgia when you encounter something truly vintage Disney? I don’t mean a rack of contemporary Oswald dolls, but rather something akin to an old SkyWay car or actual admission ticket from the 70s? If you love Disney the way you ought to, you are aware of that incredible longing you get just from hearing the PA announcements or seeing certain parts of the park in certain types of light. Old Disneyland and Magic Kingdom ticket books are the concentrated form of that.
Incredible silver and gold plated E Ticket recreations are available for purchase in the Art of Disney, Epcot, and WonderGround Galleries, Downtown Disney, both Florida and California. These are limited edition items, which means pricey, and not always available, but if you’ve got one, you are the envy of the rest of us.
For dramatically less money, World of Disney offers vinyl magnet ticket books and tee shirts. You are beyond buying Disney shirts you say? Well, have you ever been caught in a Floridan flash rain storm? What about those times Splash Mountain gets you particularly soggy? You’ll wish you had another shirt, and why not one that gives you that happy/sad part of something wonderful feeling? The magnets, too. Cheap for a souvenir, certainly by Disney standards. The artwork is perfect. Just looking at them gives you that kid-again sensation. Your kids won’t understand why they can’t use them to hang things on the refrigerator, but you can’t fault children for not understanding fine art.
2. Buzz Lightyear attraction souvenir photos
Of all the inflated, ever increasing, oftentimes outrageously priced items, the souvenir photos offered as you exit several Disney attractions are the most indefensible. I am, of course, vehemently against theft, and the child in me still cringes at the thought of snapping your own picture of the screen rather than purchasing the photo, though the fiscally aware adult in me completely gets it. If I’m going to pay $20 for a picture of myself on Space Mountain, Selena Gomez better be sitting next to me, and the print better come with her autograph.
The Buzz Lightyear photos are different. Buzz Lightyear photos are not memorabilia, they’re evidence. They clearly show the two combatants in each cruiser and their respective scores on the ride. Yes, you can take your own photo of the screen at the end, which also shows these things, but those photos can get lost. Those photos somehow get erased when it comes time for someone to pay off their churro bet. Do not fall into this trap. When you clearly beat the person sitting next to you, despite what they declare was an oversight in not telling you the target underneath Zurg’s arm is worth like 50,000 points, purchase the official photo. Get the 8x10. Purchase the frame, too. Put it up on your mantle next to the trophies that the person with whom you’ve been sharing a life, which now seems like a lie, claims to have righteously earned.
3. Beaded jewelry of the Epcot World Showcase outpost
Got beads? Are they plastic? Why not go green, be more globally conscious and replace them? In the spirit of being excellent at everything else, Disney also does a stellar job of conservation. Okay, they go through tons of paper products, but here’s part of their effort to improve their processes, and provide a whimsical and charming gift item for guests.
Conveniently along the bustling bread- and booze-kiosk lined World Showcase esplanade you will find the Outpost. Among a healthy mix of familiar and fairly atypical items you will find a one-of-a-kind African bead stand. If you’ve ever wondered what Disney does with extra menus, maps and programs? Well some of them are turned into “sustainable and stylish” souvenir bands of beads. Recycle your glass beads, stop purchasing plastic and truly take a bit of the magic home with you.