1. Take a Photo of Your Souvenir in the Park
Chances are, whatever you buy either wont make it home or will get misplaced somewhere down the line. Having a photo of the item before you leave the park will give you two memories in one.
Purchase his souvenir photos here.
2. Take a Free Animation Class
The Animators Academy is a free attraction for all ages at Hollywood Studios WDW and California Adventure. You and your family can learn to draw many of your favorite characters and have a great picture to frame when you get home.
3. Get a Silhouette Portrait
These iconic silhouettes are cut out of paper by talented cast members at most of the Disney parks. At around $20 (with frame), these pull double-duty as souvenir and wall art.
4. Send Yourself a Postcard
While you’re sending all your friends and family a “Wish You Were Here,” write yourself a note about how much fun you’re having. Mail the post card on the last day of your vacation, and a few days after you get home you’ll get a cute reminder of your trip. Or, have a character sign the post-card for you.
Pro Tip: You can send mail from a real mailbox on Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom and it will be post marked from “Disney World”!
5. Buy an Antenna Topper
For less than $5 you can get a Disney antenna topper for your car. There are SO many kinds, from holiday-themed to ride-themed to characters. Bonus: this souvenir is also a lifehack—you’ll never lose your car in a parking lot again!
6. Make Your Free Buttons into Fridge Magnets
As many DisneyHeads know, you can get free buttons for special occasions from Guest Services (or at restaurants if the line is too long!) Once you get home, just glue some magnets to the back of the buttons and display them on your fridge.
7. Make a Pressed Penny Project
8. Have Characters Sign a Photo Mat
Instead of spending $15 on an autograph book that no one will ever look at again, get your favorite characters to autograph a photo mat that you can hang up to display in your home.
9. Get Autographs on T-shirts or Backpacks
Characters will sign anything as long as you’re not wearing it at the time. For washable items, toss them in the dryer when you get home to heat-set them so the marker doesn’t run.
Pro Tip: On Disney cruises, if you turn in white T-shirts or pillow cases on the first day of the cruise, you’ll get them back when you leave with autographs from all the characters. Or you can make special requests, like just princesses or villains.
10. Get a Haircut at Harmony Barber Shop
Even haircuts at Disney are magical! For less than $20, guests of all ages can get haircuts, “pixie dust,” (washable) colored hair paint and the musical stylings of the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet! The ‘My First Haircut’ package for children even includes commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate. When you get home and admire your new ‘do, you’ll remember the fun you had at this old-fashioned barber shop. Make reservations here.
11. Spend Your Souvenir Budget on Something You’ll Actually Use
That way, whenever you use it you’ll remember your trip. Disney has lots of great practical (and cute) products, from mugs to waffle irons to toasters that sing “It’s a Small World.”
12. Get the Disney Park Soundtrack
Your favorite songs from all the rides are now on these official soundtracks. (Warning: your kids will want to play the same ones over and over in the car and you may regret it.)
13. Get Your Portraits Taken in the Park
Instead of the dreaded family vacation photos, why not use your vacation to take engagement photos, or family or senior portraits. If you want to splurge, you can even hire special Disney professional photographers (sessions start at $150).
Pro tip: Take the photos yourself and learn how to edit out other tourists with this handy photoshop trick (#8).
14. Get a Personalized Christmas Ornament
You can get names or dates or occasions written on your Disney ornaments for a few extra dollars. Or, DIY a version with the tiny plastic toys.
15. Make a Disney Shadowbox
There’s no end to the paper souvenirs you’ll get on your trip: maps, tickets, fastpasses, stickers. Instead of scrapbooking or tossing them, put them into a shadowbox to display. See how this fan did it here. Get your own shadowbox here.
16. Recreate Your Favorite Disney Dishes
Disney doesn’t give away all it’s secrets, but many of your favorite Disney recipes can be found in these cookbooks available at the parks and online. Relive your most magical vacation meals, and learn a few new cooking tricks along the way.
17. Turn Your Photos into a Coloring Book
If you have a photoshop program, you can make your own personalized coloring images out of any photo. Just follow these steps.
18. Make a Vacation Memory Jar
Every night of your trip, have each member of the family write down their favorite thing from the day and keep them in a jar for reminiscing later.
19. Share the Magic
Give Kids The World is a nonprofit based in Orlando that helps terminally-ill children and their families experience the magic of Disney. The Storybook village where families stay is located near Disney World and accepts volunteers over the age of 12. What better way to spend a few extra hours during your trip? Get more info or donate to the cause here.