4 Simple Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Souvenirs (and a Quick DIY Project!)

Buttons – By now many of you know that free buttons can be obtained from character meals, and ones that commemorate special events can be requested for free from City Hall in Disneyland and the Chamber of Commerce at Disney’s California Adventure. But what should you do with them when you get home? More than likely you’ll throw those big buttons in a drawer and never use them again. Don’t waste them! Make them into usable magnets!

First, put a little muscle into it and pull the pin off the back of the button. It’s very lightweight bendable tin so you don’t even really need a tool for it, but feel free to use some pliers or something if you need to. Then grab some single magnets (make sure they’re thicker than the button) and a glue gun from the craft store, and glue the magnet to the back of the button. Let dry and…voila!

Animation Academy – Not only is the Animation Academy in Disney’s California Adventure a great place to learn how to draw one of your favorite Disney characters (and a nice escape from the chaos of the park), but the finished product can make a great free memento of your time at Disneyland. My sketch of “Angry Donald” wearing Mickey Ears turned out so well, we decided to frame it and put it on the wall. Just make sure you bring a rubber band with you to the park so you can roll it up and bring the drawing home safely without ruining it.

Target – The Target store two miles away from the Disneyland Resort (12100 Harbor Blvd. in Garden Grove) is the perfect place to hit up before heading to the parks. Stock up on easy to carry snacks for your trip and bottles of water, as well as zippered sandwich bags. I don’t know why but I always have some in my backpack. They’re great for leftover food, wet clothes (post Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run), or whatever else happens.

But besides the basic necessities, this Target has a very large selection of authentic Disney licensed merchandise! It’s spread out in a few places around the store, but most of it can be spotted as you enter and also in the clothing section near checkout. Pickup t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, water bottles, hoodies, magnets, keychains, lanyards, stuffed Disney character toys, and a whole bunch of other knick knacks for souvenirs or as gifts. They’re a fraction of what you would pay inside the park for similar merchandise. However, most items sold at the parks are Disney Parks exclusive merchandise, so don’t expect to find the exact same items at Target. Also note that the pins they sell are not tradeable Disney Parks labelled pins, but are still real licenced Disney merchandise and can still make a great souvenir.

Disney Store – It pays to go to an actual Disney Store, or www.disneystore.com, before your trip to purchase items such as autograph books for characters to sign, stuffed toy characters, or authentic Disney Parks clothing since they have frequent promotions and sales that the Disney Parks stores won’t. Granted, your selection isn’t as vast as it is inside the parks, but it’s still great. And on some occasions I’ve seen the exact same item regularly priced at the park, but on sale at the Disney Store’s online site.

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A Simple DIY Display for Disney Pin Traders

20170305_175357-COLLAGEMy kids and I decided to give pin trading a try when we went to the Disneyland Resort a couple weeks ago and if you’re already aware of the practice, you know how addicting it is. It was so much fun that even my husband wanted in on the action!

Now that both my daughters have a lovely collection of pins that they’re proud of, they wanted to make sure they weren’t just left on their lanyards and thrown in a drawer somewhere. They also want a way to admire and display them in their rooms.

I’ve seen many folks put their pins on large cork boards, but we wanted to store them with their pin backs so they wouldn’t get lost. We were also wanted something that wasn’t brown. And do you know how hard it is to find a cork board that isn’t huge? We were thinking something no larger than 8×10.

So I came up with something the girls could easily personalize, keep the backs with their pins, and keep things small and inexpensive.

Here’s what we picked up at our local craft store:

1 or 2 colors of acrylic paint
Paint brush
Adhesive embellishments like foam, felt, or sparkly stickers
8×10 white canvas boards, or any size of your choosing
A tarp or some newspaper to lay down on your table or work surface 

743e4549-9182-4513-90e6-e24dddf6c821-1First, the girls picked their favorite color and each painted the canvas. Make sure they paint in one direction to make sure the color is nice and even. Then, they used a secondary color (they both chose a sparkly silver) to paint the 4 edges. Let dry for a few hours.

Then, they got to embelish the edges of the canvas. Since those areas are unusable with the wood backing, they could decorate with stickers or glued on gems. They turned out so cute!

Then, place your pins on the board and display! The girls decided to hang theirs on the wall. And best of all, there’s still some room to add new pins after our next trip to Disneyland.

It was a great craft for a rainy Sunday that was both affordable and functional! And I love how they could personalize to their heart’s content. Give it a try!