Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Best Free or Cheap Disneyland Souvenirs


Disneyland is hands down my favorite place in the world to take my kids. There is nothing as magical as watching your child experience Disney for the first or 20th time. While I think Disney is worth every penny, it can get pricey fast. Especially if your kids want to bring home a lot of souvenirs. 

But souvenirs in the park don't have to be expensive. In fact, you can get some AMAZING ones for little or nothing at all. Here are some of my favorite cheap but amazing souvenirs:


  • Animators Academy — This was probably one of my favorite things from the whole trip. Located in California Adventures, you go into a large auditorium and an animator will teach you how to draw a Disney character. The pieces of paper you are drawing on say Disney's California Adventure on them and you get to take your drawing home at the end. I love how all of ours turned out and I think I want to hang them all together. There is a schedule of the different characters they will be drawing that day so make sure you check in to see when they are drawing a character you want to try your hand at. The animator is very good at teaching you how to make your character.

  • Buttons  Whether it is your first visit, your birthday or your honeymoon, Disneyland has a special button for it. You can ask for these pins on main street and they are free. My husband and I got them while we were there on our honeymoon and it was so much fun to wear them because everywhere we went people told us congratulations. For this trip we asked for the 1st Visit buttons for our girls. They also have some more generic ones that say "I'm Celebrating" and such. 

  • Smashed Pennies — There are smashed penny machines all over Disneyland and California Adventures. Bring a roll of quarters and a roll of pennies and let your kids smash them to their hearts' content. It takes two quarters and a penny to get a smashed penny. In a few places they smash dimes instead of pennies. Those take three quarters and a dime, but most of the machines are for penny smashing. 

  • Silhouette — There is a fantastic silhouette studio on main street, where an artist will cut out your profile using super tiny scissors. It is so much fun to watch these creations come to life and most of the artists can add people or animals into your portrait as long as you have a profile picture of them. You can also choose to add your favorite Disney character into your silhouette. It costs around $10 to have it done, and you get two copies. You can choose to purchase a frame, but since the silhouettes are done on a 5x7 piece of paper, I find it just as easy to frame it when I get home. 

  • Jungle Cruise Map — When you go on the Jungle Cruise, ask an attendant for a map!

  • Buzz Lightyear Ride Pictures — On a lot of the rides you ride at Disneyland, you get the opportunity to purchase a photo that was taken of you during the ride. On the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland, it lets you email the picture to yourself for free! 
  • Autographs and Pictures — In most of the character meet and greets there is a photographer taking pictures that you will have the opportunity to buy, but you are absolutely allowed to take photos with your own camera. Some of my favorite pictures from our trip aren't the posed pictures of my girls with the characters but the pictures of them chatting with the characters or dancing that I took while we were there. You can also ask each character for their autograph. Autograph books are a little pricey in the park so I brought some Frozen notebooks with us. I bought these ones here and they were great! I would recommend making sure the books you bring are spiral bound or bound well to keep the pages in. Make sure you also carry a pen with you. 


  • Confetti — In the Disney Jr. Live on Stage show, gold doubloons drop from the ceiling in the form of shiny gold paper. If you have a Jake and the Neverland Pirates fan like I do, they will love running all over after the show collecting them.
  • Stickers — My kids were offered Mickey Mouse stickers all over the park by different employees. If you ask, I am sure they will scrounge one up for you. 

  • Restaurant Fun — This isn't exactly free, because you have to pay for the meal, but if you dine in one of the character restaurants they will give your kids crowns, stickers and crayons to help keep them occupied.  

  • Keychains — these cute little keychains were in most of the shops and cost $6 for 3 of them. They would make perfect little gifts to bring home to friends. 

  • Charms — These cute little charms run about $5 a piece. We let our daughter pick one on every trip. It is a small, fun way to remember each vacation.
  • Maps and Tickets- I always make a vacation box for each of our vacations and we save park maps and our tickets to put inside. 

  • Badges — Your kids can earn badges at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California adventure. Make sure you have your kids try the Smoke Jumpers while they are there, My girls LOVED it! I wish adults could go on them! 

If you are thinking of planning a trip to Disneyland check out Get Away Today's California Vacation deals. Use the code Housewife15 to get $10 off your trip!

What do you get to remember your trips to Disney? 

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195 comments:

Masshole Mommy said...

Don't forget Kidcot at Epcot. They make a cook mask and it's completely free.

Julie is Coco and Cocoa said...

My kids are obsessed with getting maps on the places we go! And I already have a button/pin collection started for when we get to take a trip so the kids can trade.

Crystal said...

Where did that pressed coin organizer come from? My kids would love that.

Lydia Filgueras said...

We've done the smashed pennies for a number of years. I'm also interested in the organizer.

Stephanie Pass said...

What wonderful ideas! We always do the smashed pennies and the autographs.

Maddi'sMommy said...

The smashed pennies are always one of my favorite souveniers wherever we go.

Debra Hawkins said...

It actually came from Disneyland. They are on top of a lot of the machines. It was $8.95.

Sarah Hirsch said...

That's great that there are so many free and cheap souvenir options. That way the kids can feel like they have a memento to keep without spending lots of money.

Rachel said...

We get smashed pennies everywhere we travel. I like the pockets for the pennies to display them!

Affording the Mouse said...

Many of these are the same for WDW too. Pressed pennies are our favorite!

Jesse77 said...

Great tips

Shar said...

Good to know you can get stickers there - our little girl is a sticker lover!

Dawn Forman said...

These are great tips that would help us get free or nearly free souvenirs from our upcoming trip. Thank you!!!

Rachel Young said...

We always get the buttons and pennies!!

Trisha Mourot said...

Our family loves to draw and going to Animator's Academy was a highlight during our January 2015 Disneyland vacation!

Trisha Mourot said...

Our family loves to draw and going to Animator's Academy was a highlight during our January 2015 Disneyland vacation!

Melinda Berlin said...

Great budget ideas!

mberlin1967 said...

Great Budget ideas!

mberlin1967 said...

Great budgeting ideas!

Michelle P in BC said...

Excellent list! My kids' favorite freebies are the maps and signatures! I have adorable pictures of them looking at a map together in their stroller and planning their day!

Lee Burns said...

Great to know how to save a little money at Disney!

Heather Sebastian said...

What clever tips! I logging these in my iPhone for when we visit next. Really FUN ideas that don't break the bank :)
xoxo

Heather Sebastian

C poole said...

These are great!

wpoole said...

These are great!

marymichelotti said...

I love free things!

Art said...

Pin trading is a good activity too. You can get some cheaper ones online and trade with them. Just make sure they are official Diney pins when you go to buy them.

Michelle Bartley said...

Thanks for the ideas on how to keep souvenir costs down!

Paula W said...

Great tips for saving money!

BOBBI McCORMICK said...

Great tips!

Heather said...

We LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the Animation Academy. Not only is it an awesome souvenir to take home and display at in your house but its so much fun to try and learn to draw these characters. Plus its great to see the kids concentrate so hard!

andraya said...

We do pins and mugs. As I type this I'm drinking coffee from my Pirate Princess mug and looking at a corkboard full of our pins. I love being able to remember our vacation while doing everyday activities at home.

Sarah said...

Ah, pressed pennies. I wish I had saved mine from when I was a kid. I saw the best pinterest tutorial on turning them into a charm bracelet

monica ray said...

love this

Lauren Adler said...

Didn't even know cheap or free was an option at Disney! Thanks!

Holly O'Gorman said...

Lots of great money saving tips :D

Jennifer Williams said...

These are such great ideas! Thanks!

Diana P said...

Love that the buzz light year ride emails you a picture!

Gabrielle said...

My daughter loves smashed pennies, and I never realized we could get them all over Disneyland. Definitely doing that the next time we go!

kmk1180 said...

Some of the best things at Disney are free.

Vicki Davenport Fischer said...

Fun ideas. thanks!

Amanda said...

We like to buy Christmas ornaments on all our vacations, and there are some great ones at Disney

Jennifer S said...

We had silhouettes done of the kids last year and love them! We had a second set done for the grandmas.

joni metcalf said...

Love all the budget ideas! Great article!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great ideas!

momz said...

we've done all but the silouettes! I didn't know that one, darn we'll have to do that one next time- thank you!

Godesseablu said...

thanks for the great tips

Ducky said...

If it's free, it's for me!

mel barker said...

cool tips - thx

Winona said...

Pins Pins Pins- how fun to stop strangers to trade with & meet great people!

Kerry J. said...

I love cheap and free!! Thanks!

Leo Ching said...

great tips

Corry L. said...

I'm all about saving money and when you're at Disney, any tip that helps you do that is appreciated! Thanks very much for sharing!

Jordan Wolf said...

Great info!

Maribel Moroni said...

We went to Disneyland a few weeks ago and went to the Animators Academy, it was so much fun and great souvenirs!

JulietMU said...

Gotta love something cheap or free, especially at WDW!

Shannon Fowler said...

These are some great ideas! I didn't know there were so many activities for kids that would let them have souvenirs.

Kathy Kuykendall said...

We have never been to Disneyland...yet! I love the smashed pennies! We love cheap ideas for souvenirs. You will remember them just as much as spending a bunch of money on something they will outgrow or get lost in a toy chest with all the other toys. Those pennies you could display for everyone to remember for years!

Elizabeth Resch said...

I love these tips, they are great!

Heather B. said...

Love the smashed pennies and have never been to the Animation Academy. We will check that out the next time we are there. Thanks!

Kim O. said...

Great info. Good to know

Sara Bruce said...

Thanks for the ideas

Josh and Sara said...

Your blog is so fun to read !!

Michelle Elizondo said...

I love souvenirs!

Malinda said...

Such great ideas!!

Anonymous said...

Going in April so we will use this advice!

Hawksbeard said...

I love the idea of bringing your own autograph book! That is so much better than spending the money at the park, where it will cost significantly more. We will definitely be doing this!

Marta said...

Great ideas! I also like to do the smashed penny machines.

Amy said...

I knew some of these, but I learned something new. Thanks!!

POONAM GOSAIN said...

Love reading all tips

Brian Villalta said...

I love collecting pins.

Tricia said...

Great advice. Thank you.

Amy H. said...

Great tips!

Daily Pixie Dust said...

Love to get free stuff!

Samantha Plotkin said...

We get something for the home, like a soap dispenser or hand towel, so we see it and are reminded of the trip each day.

Cindy Harris said...

We also collected maps from each park,kept our collector cups but buttons are available at hotels inside park also,my grandson collected Disney world pins which can be swapped out at different locations!

Kathie Williamson said...

I've always been a Christmas Ornament Collector when I go to Disney not neary as cheap as these great ideas though!

Chelsea McGrath said...

Love these! My daughter would love the charm bracelet!

Devin J. said...

Fun stuff!

Natasha Lamoreux said...

I love all these great ideas. I have taken my daughter to Disneyland and the souveniers put a large dent in my wallet. Next time I will use some of these tips.

Tiffany S. said...

I love the idea of free (or nearly free) souvenirs. Honestly, they're often better than the pricey alternatives! Great post!!

angela griffin said...

I've never done Disneyland but my family absolutely loves Disney World, they really need to get the animation studio for Disney World, my daughter would be in heaven as her favorite thing to do is get on YouTube and copy people drawing various characters. We do collect the smashed pennies though! Those are all great ideas that will be saving for my next Disney adventure :)

angela griffin said...

My family have never been to Disneyland as it's further than Disney World coming from Michigan. I really wish they would put the animation studio at Disney World too, my daughter would be in heaven, she loves copying people drawing various characters off YouTube videos. Now the smashed penny we do, kids love it! Great ideas for our next Disney vacation, thanks!

Jen Raybould said...

Never knew about the jungle cruise maps! I'll be sure to ask next time!

Taryn L said...

We do the pennies! So much fun!

Kate Powers said...

What great ideas! I love that you can email pictures from Buzz Lightyear ride. I never knew that!

pam shepherd said...

I Love This,I Have Never Been To Disney. I Would Love To Take My Grand Kids.

pam shepherd said...

I Love This. I Have Never Been To Disney. I Would Love To Take My Grand Kids.

Robo said...

there are cheap shirts, keychains, and stickers at every drugstore in central florida

Melissa R said...

I've never been to Disneyland but these are great suggestions! Thanks :)

Nora Grahe said...

Thank You for all the great ideas! I think it is so sad when they get all that money and can't give every child a free gift to keep all those memories in!

Nora Grahe said...

They need to give out free gifts to each child, always!

Catherine Robichaud said...

Great ideas you have. I love the penny organizer, we have lots of stamped pennies but I've never seen an organizer like that to put them in, very clever.

Ogden Family said...

Those are some great ideas. We've done the autographs and smashed pennies but now we have more ideas.

Ogden Family said...

Those are some great ideas. We've done the autographs and smashed pennies but now we have more ideas.

Kimberly said...

These are so great ideas!

USA sherilyn24txt125Z said...

Can't wait to go!

Janet Twokay said...

I love the idea of getting a Silhouette done on my family's next Disney vacation. Thank you so much for that wonderful idea! The cost sounds reasonable, too.

Janet Twokay said...

I love the idea of getting a Silhouette done on vacation. I think my family will do that on our next Disney vacation. Thank you for the idea!

Leslie Crosbie said...

I think collecting pins for souvenirs when traveling or visiting new places is a great and inexpensive idea!!

Leslie Crosbie said...

Collecting pins as souvenirs is a great idea!! Inexpensive way to save a keepsake of your travels!!

tiffers122 said...

The Silhouette is our favorite souvenir to get for our son! It's cheap, and you can compare each visit! Kids grow so fast. :(

carla9359 said...

Great tips. Thank you!

Danyelle said...

My kids are most fond of the smashed pennies.

Louanne B said...

Loved all of the pics and especially loved the idea of the smashing pennies! Very cute! Thank you for sharing.

Rachel Thomas said...

I love these ideas!

Heather T said...

My kids pick out a trading pin each year we go. It is a small souvenir that can easily be collected without taking over my house!

Jessica Naca said...

I love the smashed pennies idea! Fun and frugal!

Tracy Shygera said...

We did all the pennies!! But grad that book first as we didn't get one and they sold out

HelloKaileyG said...

Wow, these are great ideas! I've wondered about the silhouette and never knew they were so inexpensive. Thank you!

Emily Cox said...

Love it! Thanks!

Sabrina said...

My daughter and I love smashed pennies!

Stephanie Anfinson said...

I have silhouettes of both my kids and I always have the artist sign their work!

Lynn Putnam said...

Great ideas! Thank you so much!!!

E. Casagrand said...

Great ideas! I love the penny idea the best.

Lisa Chesnut said...

My boys love taking home maps, and the pennies. At least those do not take up a lot of room and are easy to pack.

Brittani Donahoo said...

Love these ideas! I will definitely keep these in mind

Carmen C. said...

I love all the free idea. To me, the ones you work on yourself or pick yourself (like confetti) are the best and most memorable. Great Post!

Rowanvamp0 said...

I love getting maps of all the Disney areas

Jen H said...

My kids have two books of smashed pennies from all of our travels! It is a great souvenir. Also, looking at the silhouettes - that brings back memories of Disneyland when I was a kid - My parents did that for me!

April Bray said...

Thanks for sharing these. They will come in handy.

Lisa Urwick said...

We bought Mickey & Minnie dolls for our kids that they can bring to WDW every visit. Great photos over the years and no new souvenirs needed!

Jennifer S. said...

I still have a Tinkerbell bracelet from when I was very young (like 25 years ago). And a Snow White figurine I picked up when I was in high school. Wish I still had my mouse ears!

Gina said...

Animation Academy is our favorite - hope there are new characters to draw the next time we go.

Sharyl R said...

I love to collect extra Fastpasses and keep them for scrapbooking!

laborders2000 said...

Great tips! I have not been yet so this helps me plan for some things for my kids.

Domestic Krys said...

I learned about stickers before our last trip and that was one of my favorite parts of our trip! I had my girls put them in their autograph books so it turned into more of a scrapbook.

Anita Duvall said...

I love all of these great tips for an inexpensive way to take something home from your visit!

Fab40 said...

We always take a map home of each park. There have been lots of changes since we first started going.

Neal said...

We did the smashed pennies and that's such a nice souvenir. I love the silhouette idea, so cute!

Kathryn Hoehn said...

Those are good ideas for inexpensive souvenirs!

Liz said...

Great ideas!

Lindsay said...

I love the smashed pennies! I try to get one from every trip we go on so getting them from Disney would be a must for us! I also love that you can learn to draw your favorite Disney character. My oldest would never want to leave! These are all great things I will have to remember.

ik said...

Great ideas!

Maria S said...

Great, useful ideas!

Mike Gismondi said...

These are great ideas!

Laura Snow said...

We've been pressing pennies and getting silhouettes since I was a little girl. Love them so much!

jamie mehren said...

awesome tips!! i printed this!

Kerry said...

Buttons are great and free. Just ask at your Disney resort or customer service. You can get different ones like "Celebration" or "Happy Birthday".

Nikki Kavanaugh said...

So wishing I had done more pressed pennies now!

neonderlyn said...

good read and helpful tips

Lara said...

Great tips - I've bookmarked this page!

Emily said...

These are great tips! I had no idea there were so many free/cheap things at Disneyland!

Amie D said...

I love the buttons and my kids love smashed pennies. Thanks for the great information! 😊

Rebecca said...

Thank you for the great article!

Shelly Davis said...

Great Tips!

Deb R. said...

I think the silhouettes are the absolutely best thing a family can bring back from their trip. I have a friend that has a wall of them and it is amazing to see each of the kids change over the years.

Nancy C said...

Can wait to go to Disneyland and do these tips

Monica M said...

We always do photos and autographs but haven't really tried any of the others, we'll keep it in mind

sonyamorris (Sonya Morris) said...

Loving all the great Disney tips!

Amanda Thomas said...

You can also get a first time visiting button

Pauline Linares said...

Love the suggestions & tips

David said...

It's no longer an option in Florida (except at Art of Animation) but the drawing classes at Disney California Adventure are the best souvenir we've ever gotten. Certainly, the only ones that hold value more than a week after the trip.

MSBeachy said...

I love these! Especially the drawings with an animator.

Jennifer castaneda said...

I loved the ways that you shared that you saved money here! It is nice that you didn't break the bank with souvenirs!

Ed Haas said...

Very helpful

Ed Haas said...

Very helpful

sarah alexis said...

Thanks for the tips... souvenirs can be expensive!!! and hard to resist when you pass the shops every day while your are at the parks!!!

angela griffin said...

We just went to DisneyLand and the autographs were a highlight for us.

Angela Thomas said...

Awesome tips! thanks so

A Nicholas said...

I really enjoy your ideas, thank you for sharing them.

Whitney M said...

LOVE the Animation Academy! Our favorite! Thanks for these tips!

lisalonglash said...

Look at all these fun things I didn't know! Thanks!

debbie nubile said...

love the animator academy idea and the smashed pennies!

Tarah Manning said...

These are all great ideas! I love the smashed pennies. My boys love to collect them from all of our stops!

Alison said...

Great ideas - I did not realize how many different things you can get - such clever ideas and there are quite a few around. I have never been to Disneyland, but would love to go - we live much closer to Disney World. Thanks for these!

Amelia Drew said...

Great tips- thanks!


Margarita Arcenas said...

Awesome Tips!

Jody Cook said...

Love Disney .cant wait To go back.

Bonnie Esken said...

And the kids will enjoy those little less pricey things alot more .. with 4 kids were always on a budget. Nice to know there are things there for them.

Jill Nauyokas said...

I try and pick up cheaper things before we go, that way we would have more money for the parks.

Sandra Caballero said...

Wow! I didn't know that Disney had stuff for free and great stuff to buy for cheap! So awesome!

Jennifer Garrett said...

I cant wait to go and take my daughter, I know we will make a way to afford it, it is going to happen soon, I can feel it!

Savannah Hadden said...

Perfect ideas! I LOVE the silhouette!

Josh and Sara said...

Great article ... I love Disney !!

Joanne Frank said...

awesome article thanks for sharing

Millbilly Mom said...

We always see the silhouette in MK but we never stop. I wish I had known it was so inexpensive!

Natasha Scott said...

Wow thanks!

Derrick Cordova said...

I love collecting buttons, maps, and the pennys!

Derrick Cordova said...

Great ideas!

Alicia Lefebvre said...

Awesome tips! Thanks so much!!

Natalie said...

The silhouettes are my favorite!

Delores Harris said...

Wow, great info to have. Can't wait to do the silouettes.

Spark said...

I love smashed pennies!

Rebecca Thomas said...

The charm bracelet is such a cute idea...and it can grow with her!

-rebecca
rthomasdtr@yahoo.com

Brittany M said...

I love this article! So many great inexpensive ideas, thank you!

corey1971 said...

Great way to save some money!

Rebecca Holland-Cowling said...

Love this post!! Love finding the free & cheap things to do at the Disney Parks!!

Tiffany Pierce said...

Thanks for some great info!

audrianna goodell said...

Thank you for the awesome tips!

Jessica Tartaglia said...

This was a great page for tips on saving or free souviners. I love the free buttons on Main St. We can all get one for free. I also like the penny smasher. And the silhouette pictures. We will definitely get a few key chains as well. Omg i want to go now!

Heather W said...

So many great ideas! Both of my kiddos love maps. I would definitely keep as many as possible, but I would never have thought of getting one from the jungle cruise. Love it!

A Bloodworth said...

Love the charm idea to help your child remember every trip!

Paula Adams said...

I've always loved the Silhouette drawings, and will definitely put this on our list of things to do. Great keepsakes of our little ones!

Cheryll Shubert said...

Wow!! I had no idea they offered so many cheap/free memories!! How very cool!! Really great article...thanks so much!!

Michael H said...

Great info!

 
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