Taking home some memorable Disney souvenirs is a fun part of any vacation at Disneyland. Souvenirs at Disneyland, however, are often quite expensive and can threaten to wreck the family vacation budget if you aren’t careful.
One of my favorite tricks (especially with younger kids) is to buy Disney souvenirs in advance. By hitting the dollar section at Target.com, your local Disney Store (Check out the latest DisneyStore.com Special Offers), and many other retailers, you can often find Disney gear for less and dole it out to your little ones during the trip.
But most families want to take something home from the parks too. Whenever I visit Disneyland, I’m always on the lookout for cheap and free souvenirs that still are full of Disney magic. Here are my picks for some unique cheap or free souvenirs at Disneyland sure to make you and your kids happy when remembering your Disneyland vacation.
1) Pressed pennies: One of the best and easiest-to-find souvenirs is a Disneyland pressed penny. For $0.51 (two quarters plus the penny to be pressed), you can visit one of many machines scattered throughout the park and take home a Disneyland scene. ParkPennies.com has a complete list of the Disneyland machine locations if you want to collect them all with your kids (and they even have an app!).
2) Buttons: If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or first trip to Disneyland, be sure to tell a cast member at Town Hall or at the ticket booths. Buttons to commemorate these milestones are available for free. There are other less common buttons if you find yourself in the right place at the right time. My favorite? A celebration button available at Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland. Be sure to tell the cast member helping you when you are getting your child his or her first Dole Whip.
3) Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans Square: The Jambalaya Jazz Band and the Royal Street Bachelors who perform in New Orleans Square often have beads in their pockets at the ready for kids who are enthusiastic about the music. A cute little freebie!
4) Shrunken Ned Cards: Hidden inside the South Sea Traders store in Adventureland is a wacky machine featuring the disembodied head of witch doctor Shrunken Ned. Shrunken Ned will talk to you and give you a “diagnosis” card for just $0.50. The machine dispenses a variety of collectible cards.
5) Pirate Red Cards: Similar to Shrunken Ned is the Pirate Red machine located in New Orleans Square next to the Pieces of Eight shop. Your little pirate loving kiddos can add $0.50 to hear a song and receive a souvenir fortune card.
6) Jungle Cruise Map: A little known Disneyland fact is that your Jungle Cruise skippers have a map to give away at the end of your voyage – just ask as you get off the boat at the dock! (Hat tip to Growing Up Goofy for this suggestion.)
7) Jedi diploma: If your child is lucky enough to get picked to fight Darth Vader at the Jedi Training Academy (tips for getting picked here), your child will be presented with a diploma at the end of the galactic battle. Definitely worthy of inclusion in the Disney scrapbook.
8) Autopia drivers license: For just $5, your child can have a photo made at the photo booth at the exit of Autopia and turned into a “drivers license.” This a great personalized souvenir for the Cars-obsessed kids in your family.
9) Glow drink cube: Many of the kid-friendly drinks available at restaurants all over the park are available in a glowing version that includes a glowing or flashing plastic “ice” cube. Drinks with this cube included are a few dollars more than the standard kids drink, but totally worth the marginal cost difference. Our daughter still regularly plays with her collection of cubes from our last two trips.
10) Pirate booty bag of jewels at Pieces of Eight: Over in New Orleans Square, your child can fill his or her own bag of pirate jewels and gems at the Pieces of Eight store for about $7.
11) Fastpasses: With Disney World now having transitioned completely to My Magic + wristbands, the days of Fastpasses on printed paper at Disneyland are definitely numbered. My family inevitably ends up with Fastpasses we are unable to use, so I save them as souvenirs while I still can. They are colorful and the perfect size for scrapbooking. Here’s a layout I did with Fastpasses using Project Life scrapbooking products.
12) Silhouette: Last but not least is my favorite souvenir and one we get nearly every trip! On Main Street USA, there is a little studio about half way down where you can have an artist create a hand-cut silhouette of your child. The artists work fast enough that even our squirmy 15 month old stayed still long enough for his image to be captured. At just $9.95 for two mirror image silhouettes (frame is extra but still reasonably priced), these silhouettes are a great value. Many Disney-loving families get one done on each trip.
What are your favorite inexpensive Disneyland souvenirs?
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