Every family knows the Magic Kingdom is full of temptations, but not everyone knows how to save money souvenir shopping at Disney World. Kids and adults alike can easily be enticed by the copious amounts of souvenirs sold on every corner. Children have been known to plead relentlessly for parents to purchase every souvenir they see. How can families control souvenir spending when they visit the Disney Parks?
How to Save Money on Souvenirs at Walt Disney World
Our family is always looking for a way to save money when we go on vacation, and a visit to Disney is no exception. It’s important our children realize the value of money and how to budget as well. Here are some tried and true strategies for you to try on your next vacation that won’t break the bank – and save your sanity, too.
1. Set a budget and stick to it
Before even setting foot in the park, set a souvenir budget. How much can you afford for each child to spend? How much will you allow them to spend? Do they need to earn their own money beforehand through chores? What can they buy with their budget? Will each child be responsible for manage their budget or will you?
By discussing these questions as a family ahead of time, families are not only teaching children valuable lessons about money management, but saving everyone some heartache in the long run. When the guidelines are set ahead of time, children are less likely to overstep boundaries, have unrealistic expectations, and appreciate the opportunities they have been given.
2. Consider using Disney gift cards
Disney gift cards can be extremely useful because they do the budgeting for you. Gift cards can be purchased before you leave for your trip, at the Disney parks, at the airport, or from local stores near the park. The gift cards can be used anywhere on Disney property, from Downtown Disney to hotels to the amusement parks. They can be used to purchased food and beverages, clothing, and souvenirs.
If you know about your trip well enough in advance, ask for Disney gift cards as a birthday or holiday present from grandparents or other relatives. This way you don’t even have to open up your wallet for any souvenirs.
A helpful tip is to write each child’s name on the gift card or choose a different design for each child to avoid gift card confusion. Having a parent hold the gift cards can also prevent losing them at the Disney parks.
3. Buy Disney souvenirs before heading to the park
A few years ago, I found Disney character autograph books online that could be personalized. I purchased them before we left on our trip so we could hit the ground running once we arrived at the parks. Not only did we save money, we saved time once we arrived.
Disney dresses, t-shirts, stuffed animals, and other knick knacks are also available online or at Disney outlet stores. In Orlando there are Disney Character Warehouses where you can find authentic Disney souvenirs. It might be helpful to try one of these before visiting the parks.
One fun idea is to present the souvenirs wrapped as gifts to your children right before heading to Disney. Imagine their surprise when they open up their Disney gift and get to enjoy it all day while they explore the parks!
4. Implement a behavior rewards system
Some will disagree with bribing children for good behavior, but it can work in certain situations. We use a behavior reward system tied to souvenir shopping with our children when we travel. At the beginning of each trip, each child receives five marbles (aka “Meltdown Marbles”) and each one is worth $5. When they were younger, we used actual marbles and we held onto them, now we keep track mentally. If they have any major “meltdowns” they lose a marble. On the last day of vacation they “turn in” their marbles for money to spend on the souvenir(s) of their choice. This system has been in place for eight years and it works like a charm. Any thought of misbehavior goes away with a simple, “Do you want to lose a meltdown marble?” This might not work for every family, but it’s something to consider.
5. Just say “no”
I have my sister to thank for this suggestion, as this is the method she uses on each and every visit to the Magic Kingdom. Her children are older, and they understand the cost of plane tickets, hotel, rental car, and admission to the parks. When you add all of these expenses together, it’s a pretty expensive vacation. The way they look at it, the memories they make are the only Disney souvenirs they need.
Disney is full of souvenir temptation. From the second you step off the plane or drive through the gates you are bombarded with chances to shop for Disney memorabilia. Having a game plan can help prevent overspending, disagreements, and meltdowns. So I want to know, how do you save money souvenir shopping at Disney World?
Check out these related posts: Disney World Ticket Secrets That Save Families Real Money and Seven Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation
Traveling Mom recommends Undercover Tourist for discount Disney World tickets.