Image - Flickr, gardener41

For some, the magic of a Disney vacation comes from the feeling of escape – being freed of all worldly obligations for a few days. For others, it comes from the beautiful resorts or the stunning restaurants. Some derive their pleasure from the attractions themselves, while others are there for the fireworks and parades.

And some, yes, are there for the merch.

That sweet, sweet merch. We all know the craving: You seem something in a store, debate it over in your head for a while, then ultimately decide that you do indeed need that mug shaped like Mickey Mouse's pants.

We've all been there.

But, not all merch is created equal. Some items are there for the more refined Disneyana palate: Things like art prints and limited edition shirts. Others are there for the masses, like plush Mickey Mouses and generic Lion King t-shirts.

Still, there's a small group of items that exist in the pantheon of Disney merch. These are the products that every single guest will buy at least once. Or, at the very least, will look at long and hard.

They're items that have a kind of universal call, and which have an appeal that transcends age, gender, and era.

Let's take a look:

5. Refillable mugs

Image: Fuschia Foot, Flickr (license)

There is no law that says you must buy a refillable mug. In fact, if you're really keen to save money on your vacation, Disney nearly always offers glasses of water for free. That, plus the occasional soda or coffee as a treat, and voila. There's some money saved.

And yet, look at those mugs! Aren't they rad? How can you possibly say no?!

Disney has been selling mugs that offer free refills for decades, and the mugs themselves have become collectors' items. Of course, they used to be resort-specific, which made them even more desirable, but even the modern generic ones have a charm all their own.

And now, seeing them time and time again at your favorite Disney resort, they've become a comfort all to themselves. Hanging out by the register of the resort dining areas, they'll tempt you.

Ultimately, you'll probably buy one at least once – just to try the craze out.

4. Mickey-shaped pens

Aly working in Animal Kingdom merchandise

Image: Aly Schmidt

You always need a pen. Even in this time of cell phones and iPads, there are times when you just need to write something down in the old-fashioned way. Perhaps you sign a lot of documents for a living, or maybe you're just a particularly festive doctor. Either way, if you find yourself in need of a pen, Disney has you covered.

You can find them in nearly any Disney gift shop – pens shaped like Mickey Mouse himself. They're unmistakable, fun to look at, and even come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Now, I will admit that you probably won't actually use this thing very often. It's not very well balanced, it's a bit small on the end for writing anything lengthy, and they all seem to be nearly out of ink. But in the moment, it's hard not to be overcome by the promise of using it.

“Oh!” you might say to yourself. “I'll keep this on my desk at work and it'll be a nice conversation piece.” And, just like that, you'll find one in a plastic bag in your hand. It's hard to resist.


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