Picture it with me: You had a wonderfully magical day at Magic Kingdom. Everyone is getting along, you got all the princesses’ autographs and even ran into Mickey Mouse, you had an amazing breakfast with all the characters, you rode Space Mountain twice, you just saw amazing fireworks, and then just as you are exiting, your daughter spies a little Rapunzel plush doll (her favorite) in a window on Main Street. She looks up adoringly at you, bats her eyelashes,and asks for the doll. You are feeling so warm, fuzzy, shiny, and vacation happy….that you have a momentary lapse in judgement and totally forget ALL the other souvenirs you bought her on your trip,and say, “Sure, Honey”….until you get up to the counter, only to find out, that the teeny tiny plush doll costs $22. You buy it, but a little luster of the evening faded as you way over pay for a souvenir. This exact scenario happened to me in 2011. It was only made worse when I saw said doll in the Disney Store a few months later for $8. Ugh.
Disney can nickel and dime you, because they can. Because people like me, say Yes to their children….because they are under the Disney spell. We have found that you can actually save a lot of money by purchasing items like ponchos and souvenirs before you leave your hometown.
On our next trip, I decided to do things a little bit differently in the souvenir department. Before the trip, I took a drive up to the Disney Store outlet, bought 5 items (one souvenir for each day of our trip)and spent about $50. I packed the items and some fun gift sacks in my suitcase, and gave our daughter a Disney gift each morning on our trip. She loved it and looked forward to it every morning. This didn’t stop her for asking for things on the trip (she is still a kid, after all), but it did allow for me to remind her that she already had received a souvenir that morning, and would get another one the next morning, which did curb the level and frequency of asking for “stuff”. The simple act of bringing souvenirs ended up saving a lot of money in the long run.
Also, we have found that it is much cheaper to bring your own ponchos on a Disney World vacation. Depending on the time of year you go, you will experience the almost daily afternoon Florida shower. Plus, if you don’t like to get wet on water rides, but still like to experience them (I’m thinking specifically of Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom)….a poncho is always good to have in your backpack. Ponchos sold at Disney usually run around $9, so almost $40 for a family of four. For a little rain, this is so crazy expensive. We like the idea of $2 ponchos from Target better.
So, the moral of the story is to BRING, don’t Buy..For our other Vacation Planning Tips, click here