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Best Disney Souvenirs To Buy BEFORE a Disney Vacation

Best Disney Souvenirs To Buy BEFORE a Disney Vacation

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Shopping for the best Disney souvenirs before you go on vacation? Yes, that seems a little backwards, but there are some great practical reasons why you should purchase souvenirs before a Disney trip! Keep reading for the best Disney souvenirs to seek out ahead of a vacation along with finding the top items at the lowest prices.

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This article originally published on Feb 9, 2017 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

Best Disney Souvenirs

Disney parks are the most magical place! And naturally, your family wants to bring home a piece of the magic. While there are some items that can really only be found in the park (or at a premium price on Ebay), many souvenirs can be purchased ahead of your trip.

Wishable plush found at shopDisney

Is there a list of the best Disney World souvenirs? What are the must-have items for a Disneyland vacation? What are the absolute best Disney souvenirs?

Narrowing it down to the best Disney souvenirs is really a matter of personal preference. While some guests prefer practical souvenirs like t-shirts and coffee mugs, others gravitate towards popcorn buckets, Minnie Mouse Ears and bubble wands.

Gift shops are inside each of the Disneyland Resort hotels

I’ll be outlining a few of the best Disney souvenirs with a focus on the items that can be purchased ahead of your vacation. Keep reading for the ultimate guide of best Walt Disney World souvenirs and Disneyland souvenirs to buy before you go!

Mouse Ears are just one of the things you should buy ahead!

Why Buy Disney Souvenirs Ahead of Time?

Planning to bring home Disney World souvenirs after your trip? Why should you consider buying your Disneyland souvenirs before your vacation? These are three top reasons to pre-buy souvenirs.

#1 is the cost benefit – You’ll save a great percentage buying items at home and bringing them with you versus purchasing them in the Parks. If you want cheap Disney souvenirs, this is a great reason! Many licensed Disney products are found in lower retail stores like Walmart and Target.

#2 is that you’ll have more choices – No need to feel “stuck” with the limited choices available in the Parks, at Disney Springs or Downtown Disney. You’ll have the option of picking from the entire world wide web if you order before you leave home!

How Much Will a Disneyland Vacation Cost? - Check out this Free Printable Checklist and tons of money saving ideas.

#3 is that you’ll save precious vacation time – Why spend your vacation shopping for trinkets when you could be maximizing your Park time, swimming in the resort pool or sipping another Dole Whip float? This is particularly important if you have a short Disney vacation planned and there’s little downtime for shopping in the souvenir shops.

Bonus Reason – Going into the souvenir shop and toy store can be meltdown inducing for many young kids. Avoid the stress of shopping on vacation with toddlers in tow by purchasing ahead of the trip.

Best Disney Souvenirs on a Budget

When figuring out a Disney vacation budget, working in the cost of souvenirs is part of the planning process. Setting aside money for souvenirs is just as important as budgeting for a hotel or dining, especially if this is a once-in-a-lifetime Disney trip! You’ll want to research which souvenirs are worth the expense.

Disney souvenirs bought in the Disney parks can be expensive! Yes, there are sometimes exclusive Disney souvenirs that can only be found in the parks. These are definitely the items you should purchase in the park rather than getting price-gouged on Ebay. Limited edition popcorn buckets are an example.

If you’re planning your first Disneyland vacation, you might be unsure what to budget for souvenirs. More often than not you can purchase many items while at home for a reasonable price. There are also some cheap Disney souvenirs that you can purchase ahead of your trip and take them with you on vacation to use in the Disney parks!

Souvenir kiosk inside Toy Story Land.

Start the budget planning by looking at the price of items on the shopDisney website. Many items like Mouse Ears and Spirit Jerseys will have similar pricing in the parks. Other items like plush, toys and dolls are higher priced at Disneyland and Disney World shops.

Work those must-have souvenirs in when planning out how much a Disney vacation costs (use this free printable worksheet!)

Keep reading for my list of best Disney souvenirs to buy BEFORE you go on a trip. Read more if you’re planning a First Disney World Vacation!

Can You Ship Items to the Disney Resort Hotel?

No need to fill up your suitcases before your trip. Order items to have them arrive when you return from your trip as a surprise for the kids!

Or choose to have items sent directly to meet you at the Disney Resort hotel. You can have souvenirs shipped to you at the hotel for some Disney magic when you check-in. These are the stipulations, from Disney:

From the Disney parks website: If you intend to receive mail during your vacation, be sure the letter or package” –

  • Includes the mailing address of your Disney Resort Hotel
  • Clearly features the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival
  • Please note that a per package handling fee will apply to all packages that are received through the Front Desk (except groceries) at Disney World. There is an additional fee if you request to have items delivered directly to your Disney Resort hotel room.
Can’t buy Disney balloons anywhere else other than inside Disney parks!

MagicBand+

They’ve been an essential part of a Disney World vacation for years. And now, MagicBands have finally arrived at Disneyland too!

Purchase an interactive MagicBand+ before vacation to fully charge and get it set up at home. The MagicBand+ must be paired to your smart device. This version can be used on both coasts and comes in a variety of styles.

Disney MagicBand+ from shopDisney

Disney Mouse Ear Souvenirs

Those iconic Mickey Ear Hats and Minnie Mouse Ear Headbands aren’t essentials, but they definitely add magic to your Disney wardrobe. Did you know you can get the classic Mickey Ears hat before your first Disney trip?

If it’s Minnie Ears you’re after, the prices at Disney and the prices online are the same. ShopDisney sells Minnie Headbands at the same price as in the parks and you can often apply a discount code to save money.

Disney Accessories

As an alternative, consider purchasing handcrafted and unique designs on Etsy. Yes, these handmade styles are often more expensive than the Disney versions. However, they are usually also more comfortable and wearable! 

Minnie Ear Headbands – Artisans craft uniquely creative and beautiful Minnie Headbands, like these from MelozityCreates.

Cinderella Couture Mouse Ears Headband (Image credit: MelozityCreates on Etsy)

Hair Clips – These Magical Pigtail Clips from Golden Dot Lane are a sweet choice, especially for younger visitors. Very reasonably priced and won’t cause discomfort like headbands often do.

Minnie Mouse Ear Clips (Image credit: Golden Dot Lane)

Hat – For those looking for additional practicality, choose Disney hats that will shield the sun from your eyes. A Disney baseball hat will be wearable after your trip.

Disney Pins for Trading and Souvenirs

Disney trading pins are a fun and small sized souvenir. Some guests like to trade pins with other travelers or with Disney cast members in the parks. Pin trading is both a fun activity and a way of acquiring unique souvenirs.

Important to know that some of these souvenir Disney pins are PRICEY! Purchase ahead of time and shop for individual Disney Parks authentic trading pins from ShopDisney.

If you must buy them in the Parks, choose only those pins that can’t be purchased elsewhere or that are limited edition event specials.

Disney Princess Dresses

The mark up on Disney Princess dress in the parks is extreme. Yes, these are the exact same dresses you can find online or in retail shops at a discount.

Purchase the Disney Princess dresses and accessories online before you vacation at a savings, especially when you can take advantage of a sale or use a coupon code.

Use this guide to the Best Places to Buy Disney Princess Dresses, with tips for buying high quality and low priced costumes for kids.

Some of these dresses cost $300+

Even if your child is participating in Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, they can still wear a pre-bought Disney princess dress. There are lower priced packages at this Disney parks make-over salon that eliminate the cost of the outfit.

Skip the in-park upsell completely and do your own DIY Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the hotel room!

Bring your own princess dress versus buying at the park

Kid’s Dress Up Alternatives

When looking for the best kid’s Disney outfits, seek outside the normal princess costumes and go for comfort! There are lots of cotton basic designs that are perfect for a day in the theme park and much easier to play in.

These adorable cotton princess dresses from Amazon are under $20 each and can be worn after vacation is over.

Disney Lanyards

Lanyards can serve multiple purposes. Use lanyards to hold trading pins, paper park tickets at Disneyland or your medical identification.

Purchase these in the Parks or find them online. Some even have a coin purse or pouch to hold cash. ShopDisney has Park Authentic lanyards or find these at Amazon.

Set of 2 Disney lanyards

Disney-Themed Coffee Mugs

Many of the same Disney coffee mugs and water bottles can be found online ahead of your trip. Purchase online and have them shipped home to avoid the possibility of breakage in your suitcase on the return flight!

The exception to this rule is the Starbucks line of Been There mugs. These park-specific Disney mugs are found inside the respective theme parks (or at inflated prices on Ebay). The You Are Here line of Starbucks mugs were briefly sold online but have now been discontinued. The Been There coffee mugs have shown up on shopDisney but it’s no guarantee.

So if you want these popular mugs for your coffee cup collection, count on purchasing in the parks. At around $20 each they are a decently priced Disney souvenir (and are personally my favorite to buy!). Starbucks Tumbler Mugs are regularly found on shopDisney.

Disney Souvenir T-Shirts

I saw a souvenir t-shirt at Walt Disney World that I was considering for my baby girl on my last visit. That was, until I saw the price tag of $30, yikes! You can get three for the price of one if you shop wisely beforehand.

Target, shopDisney and Amazon all have fantastic authentic Disney designs and you won’t be paying more than you should for one tee.

If you’d prefer a more unique look, try shopping the small businesses on Etsy for your Disney-themed shirts. You’ll be unlikely to see anyone else wearing the same shirt you are in the parks!

What should kids wear at Disney parks? These Disney vacation outfits for kids will have them cute, cool and comfortable in the parks! Tons of ideas on dressing up for Disney, with tips from head to toe for Disneyland and Disney World vacations.
Minnie and Minnie Me T-shirts from Etsy (Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Minnie and Minnie Me T-shirts on Etsy (similar to what is shown on my daughter & me in the photo above)

Polka Dot Pixie Shop on Etsy has tons of creative designs, including this it’s a small world themed tee.

Small World T-Shirt (Photo credit: Polka Dot Pixie Shop)

On another point there are deals to be found at the Disney parks, if you know where to look! This special rate of quantity purchased tees was found at Downtown Disney at Disneyland. There are unique designs not to be found in other retailers and the price is comparable.

Souvenir Disney Plush

Buying a cute little stuffed animal in the Parks come at a premium price. Why not buy them upfront and take advantage of frequent sales and special offers? Online stores like shopDisney have deep discounts on popular Disney plush characters.

You can still get Mickey and Minnie but you’ll likely get them for a steal when you buy them beforehand. Some plush toys, like these found inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, might not be found outside the parks. 

Handmade plush toys at Toydarian Toymaker in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Some items you won’t find anywhere but inside the parks

Disney Snacks to Pack

Tote in your usual snacks and if you must “Disney” them, pack them in a Disney-themed container. Retailers offer Disney-themed snack foods like Goldfish, fruit snacks and these Foodles snack packs.

Disney Foodles kid's snacks
Found these Foodles at the local grocery! Cheaper than snacks in the park.

Disney Autograph Book

Collect the signatures from your favorite Disney characters in a Disney autograph album. Gift the kids personalized autograph books and a pen as a great souvenir.

Favorite characters sign their autographs in some meet ‘n greet locations and Disney World or Disneyland character dining experiences. For a completely unique souvenir, save space in the autograph album to add a photograph next to the signature.

Personalized autograph album (Photo credit: SecondSisterDesigns on Etsy)

Disney Pandora Jewelry and Charms

Okay, I’ll admit it, I can’t seem to stay out of the Pandora shop! I’ve purchased myself Disney Pandora charms at both the tiny shop in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and the dreamy Main Street U.S.A. shop at Walt Disney World. Okay…and at the World of Disney too!

Pandora seems to have a set price on their charms so you won’t find that the price higher or lower by much. They do sometimes put the Disney Pandora charms and accessories on sale at shopDisney.

If you have the inclination to purchase Pandora charms, check shopDisney first and see if you can use a discount code.

Discounted Disneyland Tickets

My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted Disneyland tickets and Anaheim-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

Disneyland tickets purchased now are good through January 12th, 2024. Purchase your multi-day tickets through Get Away Today now.

When you’re ready to book your Disneyland vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.

Souvenirs to Save the Memories

Capture your memories on vacation, then have a place to display them when you return from the trip. Don’t leave your pictures trapped in the camera. Buy these items ahead of time as a reminder to go through images and print the photos!

Picture Frames – Perfect for framing those coveted Disney character meet ‘n greet images. These Disney inspired photo frames from ChameleonFrames are a colorful display for your memories!

Toy Story Inspired frame set – Image credit: ChameleonFrames

Photo Magnet – Show off the best shots from your trip in a prominent spot! These Disney fridge magnets from OneLittleSprk come in both Disneyland and Disney World versions.

Disney photo magnets from OneLittleSprk on Etsy

Photo Albums – This stunning Disney wooden photo album is personalized with the family name for the ultimate gift.

Personalized photo album from shopDisney

Photo Ornament – Display on the Christmas tree or all year round, these snapshot-style ornaments from FarFromHomeCo on Etsy can be customized with your choice of personalization.

Personalized Mouse Photo Ornament – Photo credit: FarfromhomeCo on Etsy

For the Disney Resort Pool

Resist the urge to buy the new bathing suit, sandals, sunglasses or towel in the Disney Resort gift shop. Get two for the price of one by purchasing Disney swimwear and towels before you leave home.

Best Disney Souvenirs to Keep Cool

Going to Disney when it’s hot? Read this article for more tips to Surviving Disneyland in the Heat and other items to buy before your vacation.

Misting Fan – This colorful Mickey version has a USB rechargeable battery, rotating handle and misting feature to give you a blast of refreshing cool air throughout the day.

Cooling Towel – Simply wet and snap this Mickey icon cooling towel. Drape around your neck to reduce core temperature on scorching days in the theme parks.

Sunglasses – A must have on bright and sunny days, the Disney souvenir shops do sell sunglasses at a premium price. Bring a pair of these Minnie Polka Dot Sunglasses with you. There are over 15 colors to choose from!

Disney Souvenirs to Keep Warm and Dry

Yes, I have several “souvenir” sweatshirts from day trips to Disneyland when the weather was chillier than expected! $80 later I wasn’t cold anymore. But I could certainly buy a nice Disney-themed sweatshirt or jacket for much less at home. Here are a few ideas on what to buy ahead of your vacation to keep you cozy.

Sweatshirt – Love this Neverland Sweatshirt from Polka Dot Pixie Shop on Etsy!

Neverland Sweatshirt – Image credit: Polka Dot Pixie Shop

Cold Weather Hat – During cool months, choose a warm Disney beanie that will keep your head toasty. 

Spirit Jersey – A Disney Spirit Jersey will cost the same in the parks versus online ahead of your trip.

The benefit of buying online is the ability to use a discount code on your purchase! Consider signing up for a website bonus like Rakuten, that sends you cash back simply for shopping through their link.

Disney Spirit Jersey from shopDisney

Rain Poncho – Don’t forget to pack rain ponchos if showers are in the forecast! Read these tips for what else to bring to Disneyland on a rainy day.

Yes, Disney sells rain ponchos but at a premium price!

Disney Souvenirs to Light Up the Night

Light up items are one of the best Disney souvenirs but many of the toys in the parks are highly overpriced. No need to skip glow items, just buy them before your trip and pull them out when night falls!

Glow Sticks – I’m a big fan of these inexpensive bulk glow bracelets and necklaces. Makes it easy to spot my kids after sunset. I use a few to wrap on the handle of the stroller so I can find it in the crowd once it’s dark.

Light Up Toys – As soon as the sun is setting, the Disney Parks crew will pull out the carts stocked full with fun toys that glow and spin.

Come prepared with your own light-up souvenirs for the kids, like the Mickey Mouse Glow Wand. You’re going to save yourself a ton of money having these already purchased before your trip!

What Disney Souvenirs SHOULD Be Purchased in the Parks?

Are there any souvenir items you should always purchase in the parks? Buying your souvenir in the theme park can be a sentimental way of memorializing the special occasion of a your first trip. If you plan on shopping on vacation, try the World of Disney Store along with shops inside the parks to find the best souvenirs.

These are some of the top Disney Parks merchandise items to consider purchasing on vacation:

Mickey Mouse balloons

Pressed pennies – There are pressed penny machines located all around the theme parks and hotels. The penny designs represent different locations around Disney property, an excellent (and inexpensive) memento of the trip. My son has this Pressed Penny Collectors Album to store his pennies.

Christmas ornaments – Disney ornaments representing a variety of styles and characters can be found in shops throughout the resorts. Decorate the Christmas tree with the perfect souvenir from Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Magic Kingdom or Plaza Pointe at Disneyland.

Special event souvenirs – These unique Disney souvenirs are only sold during special events, including the Disney Food & Wine Festival. If you fall in love with something that commemorates a special event at the theme park, better buy it there. You probably won’t find that sold anywhere else!

Snacks and treats – Certain snack items and sweets are only sold within the theme parks. If these are a must have take-home item, buy them before your vacation ends.

My friend Becca and I offer tons more details on the best and worst Disneyland souvenirs on this Disneyland With Kids podcast episode.

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