Souvenirs, hats, ears, shirts, things, stuff. All items easily obtained from Disney for the mere price of a second home, or a particularly favoured organ. There is the endless round of stuff buying that begins when you step on property and goes up until the last dollar is rung from you buying one of those little whirring spinny things that light up. Seriously, what does that thing do???
In addition, after a while, the stuff starts looking…well, really the same. There are some unusual or must have items throughout the World and ‘Land, and I will cover some of those in a later article. What happens when you want some cool Disney swag but don’t want to spend a fortune to look like everyone else? This especially holds true for the kiddos in your party. There are just groovy ways to stand out from the ear-topped crowd and still bask in the awesomeness that is dressing like a tool in public and not caring.
First I will cover some of the “conventional wisdom” ideas for keeping the little (and not so little) ones happy and avoiding the “I wants”. They have been covered on many sites, so we will touch on them briefly.
1) Buy stuff ahead of time. Dollar stores, discount stores, flea markets, etc all have a wealth of Disney crapola-and I mean that lovingly- available for sale. The quality may not be the same, but if you are just staving off the bored, kneejerk, overstimulated gimme reaction that is natural upon arrival, then a small, Disney-themed toy you got for a buck can help quell that. Listen, I DESPERATELY want a bubble gun. Like, it’s so bad you would think I need to protect myself from an army of Scrubbing Bubbles, and this gun is all that stands between me and death. But I am not paying 14 beans for it. The flea market has the same thing for $6 and I can get it there and then bring it to the park pretending with all my bubble-blowin’ soul that I bought it there. My husband and I recently took our niece’s friend with us on a family trip. It was her very first trip and I wanted her to have some swag to start out with so she didn’t feel like she had to outfit herself right off the bat. We bought some simple, very inexpensive ears from the party store-headband style-and she got TONS of compliments on them, because they can’t be bought in the parks and were thus a little different from what other kids had.
2) Put some limits on the kids’ spending by putting them in control. I have seen this tip a few places and I think it is brilliant. Give your child her own Disney gift card (remember to take down that number!), and tell her that is hers to spend as she wishes, but when it is gone, it is gone. Whenever she asks for something, remind her she can certainly buy it with her money. It’s a great teachable moment, and reduces tears.
Now to the second part of the equation. Maybe it is just me, but I LOVE having Disney gear that isn’t like everyone else’s. I love having guests and cast members ask where I got my groovy ears or really artsy shirt. Cuz where did I get them? Cottage industry!
If you are at all crafty, or even if you don’t think you are, you can make some really neat headwear, shirts, and accessories yourself and be truly one-of-a-kind when you waltz down Main Street. I recently had a cast member chase me down the street to find out where I got this little number:
Here’s a better shot:
That there was thrown together with an old set of mouse ears for a base, with the features and ears coming from a mutilated Pook-a-Looz Stitch toy (I never said there weren’t casualties) attached over a Mod Podged patchwork of felt triangles. It was really easy.
Then there’s this:
We went to ‘Ohana the night before and got cute little leis. I wanted to wear mine, but not around my neck so I wrapped it around my cheetah ears.
And lastly, for Star Wars weekend:
A real live Ewok? (hey, no short jokes!) Nope, just your standard Duffy ears with the sailor hat part covered by a strip cut off an old t shirt. These ears were the talk of the park, and I swear I threw it together LITERALLY a minute before we left that morning.
This isn’t bragging, good people. You, too, can be the talk of the park, with some puffy paint, an old shirt, maybe a crafty crocheted Mickey bottle holder (I think that’s in storage). I have see the most insanely awesome, handmade tie shirts, and weird hats, and all sorts of neat garb and souvenirs that didn’t cost the wearer much more than a few dollars and imagination. So try your hand at making something fun and stupid looking yourself. How many places is that allowed when you’re grown up?