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Big Top Souvenirs

Think you need to spend big bucks on a necklace to hold the pearl you pick? Or are you trying to figure out how you won't regret spending nearly $20 on a deluxe autograph book? Here are several options that will get you the same (or even better!) souvenirs without breaking the bank.

1. Splurge: Picking a pearl holder at the parks

Pearl FactorySave: Choose your cage before or after your trip

If you've been to the Mitsukoshi store in the Japan pavilion at Epcot, you've heard the excitement: the store's cast members love to cheer and bang drums when a guest chooses a pearl from an oyster in a tank of water. The cost to participate in the fun is about $16 there and at other locations like the Pearl Factory at Disney Springs, but when you go to choose a setting for the pearl you found, that's when the prices really jump. The cost of a basic silver cage necklace starts around $30, and the costs just skyrocket from there. But you can save a lot of money by heading to Etsy or eBay before or after you choose your pearl. If you search for "pearl cage" on either site, you'll find a wide variety of options and prices. Currently, many of the necklaces that will hold your precious pearl are going for about $10 on the sites.

2. Splurge: Investing in a Disney autograph book

Autograph bookSave: Make your own and customize it the way you want

The autograph books that Disney parks sell are pricey —a deluxe one with room for photos costs up to $19.95, and even a basic one with nothing but blank pages (and no spaces for pictures) inside costs $7.95. But you can save a lot of money (and indulge your creative side!) by buying a blank book or lightweight photo album and adding your own embellishments like stickers and washi tape. 

3. Splurge: Spending big money on little pins

PinsSave: Buy a big lot

Pin trading is still a popular pastime at the parks, but the pins are at different price points and just like Vinylmation, those costs can quickly add up. Your cost-per-pin can significantly decrease if you head to eBay and search for "Disney pin lots" (even if you don't like the pins in your pack, you can trade them with other guests or cast members at the parks). But just make sure the bargain you find isn't too good to be true — some of the pin lots might contain counterfeit pins. Fake Disney pins don't have an official Disney Pin trading logo, prongs or serial numbers on their backs. (Don't be afraid to ask eBay sellers for photos of the pins' backs before you purchase.) More information about how to tell whether Disney pins are authentic or not is available here.

4. Splurge: Buying a special MagicBand

MagicBandSave: Make a one-of-a-kind band

You can get a plain, single-color MagicBand free with a Walt Disney Resort hotel stay (or with an annual pass), or you can buy one for $12.99. But if you want to showcase your favorite character or attraction on your wrist, you'll need to shell out at least $22.99, even if you have a resort reservation or annual pass. But there's an easy way to add some personality to your band, and it's a lot cheaper too. Just grab some rubbing alcohol (to clean off any oils from the band if you've worn it before), some rub-on stickers, Disney-design Duct Tape or nail polish. Use a razorblade to gently cut the duct tape to fit, use clear nail polish to make sure the rub-on stickers stay on or use colorful, glittery or glow-in-the-dark nail polish to make a MagicBand design that you won't find in a store!

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