Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Souvenirs at Disneyland??

Visiting the park these days as a once a year visitor can empty your wallet pretty much as soon as you walk in the gates! You know you'll be spending money on parking, tickets, meals, drinks, snacks, and of course those things we call "Souvenirs".  Do we really need a gazillion pairs of Mickey ears? or light up pencils that run out of batteries before we even leave the park? Of course we don't.  But what fun is that?!? And although pictures are a great souvenir... sometimes getting something in your hot little hand is just divine!
Even as an annual passholder who frequents the park a decent amount of times, I found myself buying little things here and there.  A vinylmation, pack of pens, collectors pins (don't even get me started), a shirt every once in a while, keychains... and that's for someone who doesn't really go looking for a big souvenir.

In planning a trip to the park we'll be taking in the next couple weeks, I started thinking about what we could take home for "free".  Please note: I'm not talking about stealing or doing anything illegal, because heaven forbid someone on here thinking I'm telling people to go steal things. 

Reason for this is one of the members in our group visiting the park has 3 little ones that will be staying home.  You know her kiddos are going to be begging Mom to bring them back something from the park.  Now, normally you could pick out a grand token to take home but in this situation the whole family will be visiting the park in less than a month from when we go. So they'll be wanting souvenirs when that trip occurs too.  I think it's better to wait for the big fun stuff when they're in the park.

My Mission: Operation Free Stuff!

Here are some ideas I've jotted down that could be put together for quite a fun goody bag to take home!

1. We'll need some sort of bag or packaging to put this stuff in right?  Well, you can always ask for a bag in one of the stores, but if I remember correctly stores Cast Members are trained to be hesitant on giving them out because of theft issues.  It never hurts to ask, but don't be upset if they say they can't unless you buy something.  My solution is to preorder a picnic meal in California Adventure at the Sonoma Terrace within the Golden Vine Winery.  You're going to be spending money on food anyway and this particular meal has everything included as well as a good sized FREE World of Color reusable bag!  **California Adventure officially ended the picnic meals on June 1st, 2013.  A cheap alternative would be to purchase a small carry tote from one of the stores.  I believe you can find one for around $5** 
Thanks sister! (she's such a good model ;p) *check out vegetarian meals too!
2. If you decide not to use the World of Color fastpasses that come with the meal, stick those in there too if your kids (or whomever) are into collecting fastpasses.

3. Celebration Buttons.  These are available at City Hall or Guest Services at both parks. They have them for Birthdays, Anniversaries, First Visits, Family Reunions, Engagements, Honeymoons etc.

4.  Stickers!  Everyone loves stickers right?  The driver of the firetruck on Mainstreet sometimes has Fireman badge stickers.  The people taking surveys of the park usually have stickers.  I also heard that this past weekend the booths promoting Disney's Hawaiian resort has Hawaiian themed character stickers available.

5.  Napkins. Yes, really! How many times have you grabbed a handful of napkins with your food tray and then ended up throwing them in the trash because you didn't use them.  You can't really put them back in the dispenser since you touched them and no one is going to want to grab napkins off a dirty table to use.  So instead of wasting them put them in your bag to take home.  How fun is it to have a bit of Disneyland while you're eating lunch at home!  Put some in your kid's lunches for school and I bet all their friends will be wishing they had such awesome napkins! **Disney ended it's era of printed napkins much to the dismay of many park goers.  The Starbucks located in DCA has special printed plastic cups for their iced drinks if you wanted to bring home something similar. **

6.  Just this last week I also heard about a new promotion at the Dole Juice Bar in Adventureland that's most famous for it's Dole Whips! If you haven't had one... For gosh's sakes, man! Go Get One!!
Anyway, they have Dole recipe cards available at the stand.  I'm for sure going to go see if I can grab one!
*I was able to grab some and I currently have about 4 different recipes.  As of Jan. 2013, they are still at the Dole counter*

taken from this weeks post on

8. Jungle Cruise maps.  I'm sure a lot of you have heard  rumors of these maps, but have yet to see one.  I'm in the same boat (haha) as you.  Never hurts to ask and this will be a definite pleaser if you can get your hands on one.  Same goes for the infamous Death Certificates from the Haunted mansion.  I have not heard of anyone being able to get one of these tho in the last few years. But by all means, try. (photo from Daveland's blog)

*update to this entry, I was able to get one at the exit to The Jungle Cruise! I just went up and asked at the unloading/handicapped entry for one.  The Castmembers have them in a file cabinet to the right.*

9.  Another rumor I came across was that the Sweepers, or the Cast members in white if you don't know which they are, carry buttons around with them.  Next time you're at the park see if you can mythbust this one!

10.  Autopia in Disneyland park gives out driver's licenses to riders just before getting on the attraction.  I'm sure the younger kids get a special kick out of this one! Where else could you drive a car at age 3? ;) There is also a booth where you can get your picture on the card.

11.   Since the beginning of Carsland, Castmembers along the famed Route 66 highway have been known to carry Cars themed buttons.  Many of them use a trivia challenge technique for you to earn them but in the end, you"ll end up with one.  They may be dwindling after such a busy summer but make sure to ask!

12.  The Mark Twain has certificates available if you're able to go up into the Captain's area.  Not only  will you be able to pilot the gorgeous steam boat up the Rivers of America, you'll be able to have proof you did it!

13.  If you get to the park at opening, there's a special opportunity to take advantage of! The Lily Belle is a special train car designed by Walt Disney's wife, Lilian.  It was originally designed to carry VIPs and now is available to a certain amount of guests per day.   It's a complete posh ride! When you arrive to the park, go right up to the Main street station and ask if there are any available reservations for the Lily Belle.  They'll give you a souvenir train ticket with the Lilly Belle logo and a specific return time.  If you are visiting in the summer months, try to get one in the morning as it can heat up pretty good in a more closed up car.

14.  Who says you can't take home more than one park map?? I always grab a couple when I go, not only to use for other things but also because they have different front covers.  Take some home, mark your favorite attractions, frame it, use it for character autographs, make scrapbook papers out of it, cover it with packing tape and make a wallet! Your choices are endless!

Last but not least, you can always gather up fastpasses that are discarded on the ground. Some kids (and adults alike) like to collect the passes for each attraction or the end of the roll tickets that usually get tossed on top of the dispensers or directly underneath on the ground. Grab one from each attraction throughout the day and hand someone a full set!

Bonus Ideas

Now these last entries would probably be more fairly listed under "Cheap Souvenirs at Disneyland" but I wanted to include them because they can still be great things to bring home. 

- Pressed Pennies.  At .51 cents each they can be a really neat gift to those left at home. Collect some from each land or certain character sets.  If you wanted to spring for a special collectors penny holder you can find those pretty much throughout the park. 

- Disney Dollars.  These are exactly equal to US dollar amounts. So if you want to stay cheap purchase $1's.  If you want larger amounts go for $5, $10, $20, or even $100 bills.  For my friend, I would suggest giving each of her kids 1 Disney Dollar. It's not expensive (in case it gets lost) but it's a really cool thing to bring home and have the anticipation of spending it during the next park visit.

 - Pirate hats.  The Blue Bayou Restaurant located within the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has paper pirate hats for kids. This wouldn't really be cheap because of the price of the meal, but if you happen to be able to eat there (make reservations early!) ask your waiter if you can take home one of the kids hats for a souvenir. 

That's all I can think of for this post, but if any one has any more Free ideas (that don't involve stealing!) or ideas that fit in the cheap category, please feel free to add them in the comments :D


  1. You get a free drivers licence in tomorrow land on the autobahn ride. My kids really looked that.

    1. Thank you Kerri! I'll add that in!!

  2. Autopia drivers license is no longer free

  3. If you stay in one of the resorts at WDW, the toiletries & coasters are nice to bring back home.