Monday, July 9, 2012

Seeing "the World" Tip #2: Free and Inexpensive Souvenirs

Free....  That's not often a word you see in Walt Disney World.  And after you've spent all of that money on your vacation, sometimes shelling out more money for souvenirs can be tough to do.  Fear not, my trusty blog readers.  I'm here to help.  In this edition of Seeing "the World," we will be talking about some of the well-known, and lesser know, free and inexpensive Walt Disney World souvenirs.

1.  Celebration Buttons (Free) - Celebration buttons are handed out at all four theme parks and Downtown Disney at Guest Relations.  There are buttons for numerous occasions, including Birthdays, Honeymoons, Engagements, Anniversaries, First Visits and Family Reunions.  If none of those fit your occasion, there's also an "I'm Celebrating!" button that can be customized to fit your needs.  Not only are the buttons a cute souvenir, but they have also been known to bring extra attention (and the occasional freebie) from cast members and other guests.  When I celebrated my birthday at Walt Disney World, I was serenaded by several citizens of Main Street and was given free desserts at several restaurants.  Additionally, many of the characters wished me a happy birthday, including a few special autographs commemorating the occasion. 

Some examples of the various celebration buttons (image credit:

Lilo shows off a special birthday treat (This photo was taken at PCH Grill at Disneyland in California, but the idea is the same) 

2.  Maps (Free) - This may sound silly, but pick up a few extra park maps when you go to the parks.  They make great materials for scrapbooking and are a fun way to look back at how the parks have changed between trips.  For extra fun, grab a map in a different language.  All the parks offer maps in Spanish and Portugues, while Epcot offers maps in several more foreign languages, including Japanese, Chinese and German.  And don't just get park maps.  If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, ask for an extra map of the resort at check-in.

Duffy World Showcase activity (photo credit:  Deb Willis at
3.  Duffy Activity at World Showcase (Free) - Sadly, especially for those of you with young girls in the family, Duffy the Disney Bear is neither free nor inexpensive.  He's going to set you back about $30 naked, $50 with an outfit.  However, there is a way for your children (and you) to get something Duffy related for free.  Just go to any World Showcase pavillion at Epcot and find the Kidcot station.  There, you will be presented with a cardboard version of Duffy on a wooden stick.  Continue to find all the World Showcase Kidcot stations (they're usually near a gift shop) and get your Duffy stamped at each pavillion.  Additionally, cast members in China, Japan and Morocco will write your name in the country's respective language on the back of the Duffy.

4.  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards (Free) - Lately, the internet has been abuzz about the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game at Disney's Magic Kingdom park.  The best thing about the game: the free cards!  There are 60 cards to collect for this game (so far), ranging from very common to extremely rare.  And all you have to do to get some is sign up for the game at the Main Street Fire Station.  At that point, you will be given five spell cards plus a key card that will allow you to access portals in the parks.  Your key card will save your progress in the game so that you can continue the next time you go to the park, so don't lose it!  The key card also allows you to get five more cards every time you go to the Magic Kingdom park.  So, the more you go, the more cards you get.

One of the many Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom spell cards

5.  Expired/Void Fastpasses (Free) - Have a Fastpass that you accidently allowed to expire?  Don't throw it out!  Save it!  Each ride that offers Fastpass has unique artwork, making fastpasses a great accent to scrapbooks, or just a great way to look back on your trip.  Want a whole collection without wasting a pass?  After getting the fastpasses you really want, stick any used park ticket into the Fastpass machine to get a voided Fastpass.  The artwork will still be there, but instead of the return times, the ticket will say "Not a Valid Fastpass."  You can do this at any Fastpass machine for any attraction until you are eligible for another Fastpass.

6.  Special Event Items (Free) - Certain special events at Walt Disney World will have free activities that sometimes come with freebies.  At the Food and Wine Festival, special Epcot maps are provided that act as checklists for people who wish to keep track of which food kiosks they have eaten at and which they still need to explore.  Some special events will include giving out buttons.  In the past, buttons have been given away for Earth Day and the Brave Highland Games among others.  The buttons for Brave identify which clan you will play in the games for.  If you are visiting and have a certain clan you would like to represent (go Clan Dingwall!), politely mention that to the cast member who controls the buttons.  Many of them are willing to give you the button you want.  Star Wars Weekends also has special event maps for each weekend which include information about the weekends' events and special guests.

"I'm a Dingwall" button given to participants in the Brave Highland Games at Epcot

7.  Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Buttons ($1) - The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund was set up by the Walt Disney Company for a variety of environmental projects including assisting the Jane Goodall Foundation and doing a variety of work for sea turtles at Disney's Vero Beach Resort in South Carolina.  At a variety of locations at the Walt Disney World Resort, you can help the Worldwide Conservation Fund by purchasing a Conservation Hero button for $1 (all proceeds go to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund).  The buttons are available at a variety of locations including Animal Kingdom, The Seas with Nemo and Friends and The Land pavillions at Epcot, Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter.  The buttons from each location feature slightly different artwork, allowing you to create a collection of these buttons.
Conservation Hero button from Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
Know of any other free or inexpensive Walt Disney World or Disneyland souvenirs?  Let us know about them in the comments!

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