Part 6: Disney World! : Inexpensive Ideas for Souvenirs and Memory Makers

When we were planning our vacation I wanted to find something really cheap that the kids could do and/or collect that they could keep to remember our trip.  I decided for their age and participation level that collecting Autographs would be fun.  Each character has their own special (and very neat!) way of signing their name.  Some drew different little pictures for each child.  I purchased an autograph book for the kids before hand from the Disney store.  They sell the EXACT same ones there but this way I didn't have to think "oh wait, I have to go buy the books before we see Merida" because I already had them ready to go!  I love to kind of prank my kids so a lot of what I do is make them think we aren't prepared and then spring them on them.

"So how are you going to get Merida's autograph?  You didn't bring paper?  What are we going to do?  Oh, the humanity of it all!"  Sike!  And then I pull out the autograph books and they were super excited. 

*Going back to the Disney Store, I think it is well worth mentioning.  We went at the end of September and before we went all of the summer merchandise was going on clearance.  I managed to find a time at the Disney Store online where they had an additional 20% off clearance and free shipping on $75.00 or more.  With that sale I purchased their personalized mouse ears, Autograph books, two tervis type cups for the kiddos AND most of my souveniers!  Say what?  That's right folks, a lot of the souveniers I gave to people had actually been purchased online.  (If you are family avert your eyes and forget you ever saw this!) But it saved us soooo much money and time and energy.  I didn't have to scour every store looking for things to buy because most of them I already had.  (I did buy some souveniers there though). 
These cups were waiting in the car when we loaded up to go to Disney.  They were $3 each, I could keep them filled with drinks from a cooler (money saver) but the best thing was that the kids were so excited about them!  And now we still have them and the kids love using their cups from Disney!

Anyway, another cheap thing I did was that I decorated our car.  Yep, I was the crazy lady.  I bought some of those wall decal sticker letters from the Dollar Tree and souped up the back of our ride.  I didn't even tell Nick I was doing it because I knew he would completely object...and the look he gave me when he saw them for the first time told me I was right.  But the fact is that the kids LOVED it and whether he will admit it or not, it made it a lot easier to find our car in the sea of them.  Win, win! 

Another cheap thing I did to make our trip special was to print off invitations to our Character meals. 

I tried to find the link to the awesome Mom who posted all of these invitations but I couldn't find it.  If you're that mom please link up and thank you so much! Anyway, to give you an idea of what I used is the invitation I used for our Crystal Palace meal.  Crystal Palace is in Magic Kingdom and at breakfast they have a buffet and Winnie the Pooh and friends come around to meet  you.  It was so fun!  Mind you, we went to 6 Character meals.  While that may have been overkill, it was a great way to get the Character's autographs without standing in line and meeting the characters broke up the meal so that the kids weren't bored.  For our family it worked really, really well.

Anyway, I printed off my stack of invitations (I think I made them for four of our meals).  I stuck them in our travel folder.  I would put it by the door to look like it had been slid under and then would pound on the door when the kiddos weren't looking, to seem as though a character were dropping it off.

The kids LOVED it!  This is still the one thing they talk about is how Winnie the Pooh brought them an invitation.  Wow, it is amazing what they love; so, so cute!  And just a tip, in the morning, this was definitely the ticket to getting the little ones out of bed!  After the first invitation, when each one came they would throw open the door to our hotel room and try to see Pooh or Cinderella's footman scampering away.  Can you believe they never saw them in the hall? 

If you want some invitations of your own try googling "Printable invitation to ... ".  That seemed to work best for me.

 Another cheap option to do is to press pennies as you go through the parks.  Disney has oodles of pressed penny machines.  Here we are pressing a penny in Frontierland by the Country Bear Jamboree.
 You'll see in my hand a yellow container.  That is a mini M&M container.  I got it from the candy by the register at Target.
I then emptied it out (a good car snack was these little guys mixed in with some Almonds) and stacked a pattern of 2 quarters and 1 penny.  Shiny pennies work best, folks :).  Anywho, by stacking them this way when we were at a penny machine I could just open it up and take out one set of coins and be ready to go.  Huge time saver and sanity saver.  Since we had everything charged to our rooms with key to the world cards we didn't have change that we would have been able to use for the machines.  

So there ya have it...these are just some of the things that we did inexpensively to make our trip a little more special for the kiddos.  There are oodles of things to do with your kiddos at Disney.  Pinning is very popular but you have to buy a lanyard and pins.  There are hidden mickeys and other things you can look for.  There are so many blogs and websites of amazing parents that have put together things to do.  For more ideas be sure to check out my Pinterest Page which has the pins I used when planning our Disney Vacation.  

And as always, please let me know if you have any questions or have anything I can help with...I'd love to help you with your vacation :)  

Gymboree Sale On Now!