We all plan our Disney trips down to last detail. Our travel itinerary is in place, our accommodations are booked and paid for, and our Theme Park tickets are in the luggage bag, and we may even have our dining options all picked out.
Yes, we are all set for another magical visit to one of the happiest places on Earth.
But wait! I think we’ve forgotten something: Our merchandise budget!
Just how much can we afford to spend? And how can we save ourselves from the dreaded impulse buy? Don’t be naive; the Mouse knows how to work the shoppers! Before you can say ‘Jiminy Cricket’ he will have your extra cash and all you may have in return are a few trinkets that you don’t really want.
Well, I’m here to save you and your hard-earned dollars by giving you the Top Five Must-buys when visiting The Magic Merchandiser, er… Kingdom:
Must-buy Number 5
Any Exclusive Theme Park Item. The merchandising world has produced millions of pieces of Disney memorabilia. You can pick up just about anything at your local toy store or Wal-Mart. But it just isn’t the same as an exclusive piece of Theme Park product only available at WDW.
Usually Downtown Disney will have the highest concentration of such merchandise, especially at The World of Disney superstore. But keep your eyes open for those special items. They’re usually linked to a unique ride or attraction that might not be as mainstream as the likeness of Mickey or Jack Sparrow.
Buying Limited Edition items at artist signings are always a good bet for exclusivity.
Must-Buy Number 4
Souvenir Book. Believe it or not, some of your magical memories will fade after a while. But if you purchase one of these beautifully photographed keepsakes, you’ll be able to look back and relive almost every moment again and again. Well, at least the biggest moments!
WDW 1974 and DL 1978
Must-buy Number 3
Trading Pins. My wife and I always enjoy firsts at WDW. So when we ride or visit an attraction for the first time, we always buy a Trading Pin to commemorate the occasion.
These are relatively inexpensive, and if each member of the family chooses a ‘Memory Pin’ for a different occasion, you’ll have a nice collection in no time!
Must-Buy Number 2
T-shirt. Or Sweatshirt. Or Hoody. But of the three, you can’t beat the ‘been-there-got-the-T-shirt’ classic keepsake! You can buy Disney-themed T’s aftermarket, but they don’t always compare to the styles and selection on WDW property. Be prepared to pay a premium! But when you’re wearing a T that no one else at home has ever seen, it’ll be worth it!
OK, a ‘been-there-got-the-Sweatshirt’ works too!
Must-buy Number 1
Mickey Ears. If you’ve been to WDW, or any Disney Park worldwide, and still haven’t bought your own pair of themed Mickey Ears: Shame on you! Nothing says, “I’m a Disney fan!” like wearing a pair of Mickey Ears. Of course you won’t be able to wear them around your neighborhood at home, but seeing pictures of yourself sporting mouse ears at the Parks is a memory trigger no true Disney fan should miss!
So there you have it. My Top Five Must-buys for Theme Park merchandise. But maybe you prefer something different, and if so, leave your must-buy in the comments section below! But be careful, if I like it better than my own ones, I just may beat you back to the Parks and buy it first!