Monday, May 7, 2012

Disney Vacation Planning Part 2 (souvenir prep)

Who doesn’t love to shop for souvenirs at amusement parks? Especially a Disney park? Souvenirs can be extremely costly if you don’t plan things out ahead of time.

When family asked what our kids wanted for Christmas, we suggested Disney gift cards. They really don’t need any more toys and we have a ton of clothes I still need to filter through. We ended up with 4-$25 Disney gift cards, 2 for each kid. If your children have birthdays coming up before your vacation, you could do the same.

I have been googling the most popular Disneyland souvenirs to figure out what we might buy at the park, or what is usually purchased there. I have decided that with the gift cards, the kids will be picking out their own Mickey Ears hats (personalized) on day 1 of our visit. That will leave them each with an additional card to use on the last day of our visit, after I get a better idea of what they might actually play with or appreciate.

To avoid melt-down mode because they want all the Mickey Mouse stuff they see, I purchased a lot of “souvenirs” at the dollar store. This includes a small party favor pack (paddle ball, stickers and a notepad) Mickey and Minnie coloring books, Magic Towels of Mickey and Minnie, pens, a few Disney Princess trinkets and some Toy Story ones as well.

I am taking their mailboxes that their Valentine’s cards came in (one is Marvel the other is Disney Princess), and before we leave the hotel for the day, I plan on sneaking a souvenir in each mailbox. At the end of the day when we get back to the hotel, their mailboxes will be waiting for them with a gift.

The most frugal souvenir type thing we are doing is…taking our own toys! The kids both go crazy at the Disney Store when they see the stuffed animals, Cars toys and Toy Story toys…I’m sure seeing a bunch of kids walking around with all their favorite toys won’t cause a melt-down or anything ;) We are taking our plush Buzz and Woody dolls, a princess doll, and our Disney Busy Books (love these!! The figurines are also perfect for a homemade birthday cake). We are also taking our character cups that the kids have been given for birthdays and Christmas. These will go with us into the park, and we will just have them refilled with water.

The “souvenirs” I am most proud of are the autograph/scrapbooks that I made. I purchased 2 hard cover sketchbooks from Michaels ($4.99 each, 40% off coupons on 2 different purchases). From Joann’s I purchased 3 sticker sheets for the covers and the autograph pages. I plan on turning each autograph book into a scrapbook for each kid. (tutorial and pictures coming soon!)

Do you buy park souvenirs? What are your best tips for saving money on them, or what is the one souvenir you splurge on?

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