Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Souvenirs ~ Preserving Your Magical Memories

Making Magical Memories Column
WDW Daily News
September 2010

Every trip to Walt Disney World is an amazing experience with the best souvenirs being those precious memories and moments you share with your family. But who can leave Walt Disney World without a few pieces of the Disney magic in your luggage – meaning souvenirs. The parks and resorts are filled with great treasures to decorate your house, add to your Christmas tree, and fill a toy box or closet. You can’t exit an attraction without being deposited into or near a gift shop. Now as a mom and Disney fanatic, I can honestly say I could bankrupt my family if I were to purchase everything I love in those gift shops. But the reality is that our luggage can only fit so much and so can our house! I pretend that I don’t know they will ship your purchases home for you – that would open a whole new issue!

Each trip we set a limit on souvenirs. There are things that we make sure we purchase each year and then we each get to pick one thing that we just “have” to have. Luckily, my kids are very good about not getting upset when they can’t have everything they want, though like everyone they have their moments. If this would be difficult for your child, before going to Walt Disney World, my suggestion would be to take your kids out and about shopping and get them used to seeing things that they can look at but can’t buy. This is pretty easy to accomplish since these days, even the grocery store is filled with things my kids claim they have to have. Even the best of us adults can sometimes find it hard to contain ourselves in the gift shops, so imagine a little one?

We do make sure when buying souvenirs that we purchase things that are meaningful. First thing everyone gets is a pin that represents something new that they tried, a character they met and loved or just something special that happened to them on the trip. For example, my son rode Splash Mountain for the first time and now has a Splash Mountain pin on his lanyard. The second souvenir we each get to choose is a Christmas ornament. These are chosen the same way we chose the pins. It represents something that was special for that trip. My son’s first ornament was a Chip and Dale ornament. On his first trip, we ate at our first character meal, Cape May Café, and Chip and Dale were by far his favorite. When we put up our Disney tree (yes, we have put up two trees ~ a Disney one and a regular one), it is great reminiscing about all our trips. Then, for the family, we chose one picture frame that will hold our favorite photo from that trip. These are all over the house and a wonderful way to remember those magical moments. Finally, we each chose one souvenir that can be anything. Now, many of these are packed away in a box somewhere, like the Buzz Lightyear Laser or the glass figurines I purchased (before kids). But it gives the kids an opportunity to choose whatever they want. Of course, I must admit that my parents come with us every trip, so my kids definitely get more souvenirs than what I have listed, but for our budget and storage space at home, this is what works for us.

How do you handle souvenirs in the parks with your kids?
What is the one souvenir you purchase every year?


Natalie said...

Great post. And can I say Dooney and Bourke?!? Love them!

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

Natalie - I am afraid once I start buying those I won't be able to stop! It's been hard containing myself, and I am not sure how much longer I can hold out without one! :-)