My family and I just came back from an AMAZING Disney vacation. There were some items I already knew you could grab at no charge, but I’m always finding out new ways! While most souvenirs you’ll take home from Disneyland were paid for, there are quite a few awesome ones that are absolutely free! Yes… FREE!
I’ll go over all the ones I personally know about, as I’m sure there are many more that I still have no idea of! I’ll start off with the obvious ones..
Disney Character Autographs
Your favourite and most loved characters will sign almost anything! (Nothing that you are physically wearing, though..). Mostly people buy Disney autograph books, which yes.. will cost you some money (most are $9.99!) but there are no additional charges for meeting and grabbing the autograph of your favourite characters! I’ve been seeing a ton of creative ideas outside of the typical autograph book… for instance on this past trip a family had the Disney Character Encyclopedia’s and were having those signed, and I thought that was a genius idea! Other items I’ve seen or heard about are pillow cases or picture frame inserts. The possibilities could be endless! So far, we have stuck with good old fashion autograph books.
Just like the autograph books, photos with your favourite characters don’t cost you even a penny extra! Just jump in line, or approach them if there is no line and snap a photo! Many characters, but not all usually have a photo pass photographer that will take photos of your character experience for you. They are more than happy to use your phone or camera as well. The photo pass photographers are great, and they can even add a touch of magic to the photo they take! These are known as magic shots. After they take your photo they will scan a photo pass card which will hold all your photo pass photos. Everytime you see a new photographer just give them your card to scan! After your vacation you can choose to buy your photos in many different forms, or if you’re happy with the photos taken from your own device, simply print those out!
Sourdough Bread Samples
While this isn’t a souvenir.. it is still worth mentioning. In California Adventure, you’ll find Boudin Bakery. There is a quick self guided tour where you can see them at work making all their sourdough breads, including absolutely adorable Mickey shaped ones! Next time.. I’m buying one! At the end of the tour there will be a cast member handing out free samples! I did manage to snag a couple extra, as it is just so good! (Please note, there may not always be a cast member present handing out samples).
Disney buttons are some of my favourite items to collect! Disney is often releasing new ones! The ones you are always guaranteed to find at The Disneyland Resort are the 1st Visit buttons, Celebrating buttons, Happy Birthday buttons, Disneyland Honorary Citizen buttons, Happy Anniversary buttons, and the Happily Ever After buttons!
Jungle Cruise Map
I read on one of my Disney Facebook groups a while back about getting a free map from the jungle cruise! I gave it a shot on this last trip, and they had it! After you cruise through the jungle, and hop off the boat, see the cast member over at the podium and ask them for a jungle cruise map! It is better to ask them earlier in the day, as if you wait too long, they may be out! This makes for a super cool souvenir. Frame it to add to your wall, or add it in your scrapbook if you do scrapbooking! There are many possibilities!
Many cast members around the park will carry stickers.. custodial workers have a Mickey sticker with a broom for example.. head to the DVC booths and ask them for a sticker as well! One I received on this last trip was from taking a quick survey on an iPad. They asked me if I was free for a quick moment, I answered the questions and then she handed my son and I a pretty big Mickey sticker!
There’s nothing like a good ride on Autopia! Autopia has been a favourite of mine since I was a kid. Jump in a car and cruise around the track! While in line, grab yourself an autopia license! To make it even more special, head to the booth at the end of the exit to take a photo to add to your license for only $5!
Indiana Jones Decoders
We completely forgot about this one, and my son remembered after we got off. He did, however, ask for the decoder and was given one! Use the decoder to decipher Mara-Glyphics throughout your Indiana Jones adventure! (while you’re in queue!) You can now also play a game as you head deeper into the jungle called Indiana Jones Adventure – The Gifts of Mara in the Play Disney Parks App!
Railroad Tender Rides
Did you know that your child (and probably an adult without a kid) can ride tender on the Disneyland Railroad Train? It’s best to head to the train station first thing in the morning and ask a Cast Member. It took us a bit to get on, as the first time we went to the station we were told that there was only one train running with the tender option, and they had to run it a few times and make sure everything was good. We came back later, and again were told we would have to come back in a couple of hours. We finally went back and were able to get a ride! We had to wait about 25 minutes for it to do a run, but it was worth the wait! We got to sit right in the front of the train! We learned how he train is powered, how the controls work, that there are two jobs up there.. the engineer who runs the train and someone who runs the engine, and makes sure the flame stays lit and at the right temperature! It was fantastic and incredibly educational! At the end of the ride, we were both given a Junior Conductor button! It is two free souvenirs/experiences in one, and highly recommended!
Fast passes are not only a way to avoid waiting in a long line! They also make awesome souvenirs! The last time I was in Disneyland (2015) you had to hand in your fast pass when you came back at your scheduled time to ride, now you just simply scan your park pass. Which means, you can save them! I like to use them for my scrapbooking projects, or even to frame with some of your favourite photos from your trip. There are so many possibilities for you to use these fast passes for, but it is an easy, and free souvenir! To get a fastpass you simply go to the fastpass distribution area, insert your park ticket and a fastpass will pop out. On the paper is a 1 hour time frame, simply head back to the ride anytime in that hour and head for the fastpass entrance!
Splash Mountain Ziploc Bags
Ok… this ones a little odd! But as a crazy Disney souvenir collector.. I love it! If you ride Splash Mountain early enough, ask them for a ziploc bag for your phone… I could have used this a couple days before, but they were out. Thankfully my phone didn’t get ruined, but it almost did. Stuff your phone in the bag, zip it up, and shove it in your pocket. A cool, and reusable, Disney souvenir! Now when you get drenched on Splash, your phone will be perfectly dry! You’re welcome!
Disney Animation Academy Drawings
Want a little break from walking and/or the heat? If you’re in Disney California Adventure stop by The Disney Animation Academy. Here you can learn the secrets behind drawing your favourite Disney Characters. Every 30 minutes a free class will begin with an animator. Once you’ve drawn your picture, you can take it with you and keep it as a souvenir!
Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters Ride Photo
You can get a ride photo from any of the Disney attractions that take a photograph.. BUT Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is the only ride that allows you to email your photo to yourself for free! While I have found they aren’t the greatest quality, it’s a souvenir that won’t break the bank!
Disney Vacation Club Tour
While this one isn’t technically a souvenir, it is a lot of fun! Back in 2015 we decided to do the Disney Vacation Club tour. We were taken over to The Grand Californian Hotel. My son got to hang out in their kids area, playing video games, having some snacks and hanging out. We were taken on a tour of sample options for DVC, they were not pushy whatsoever, and we were given a DVC tote bag, and several fast passes to use at ANY attraction of our choice. When we went this past Sept/Oct we were told that each person who attended would be given 2 fast passes each for our time. The fast passes can be for a souvenir, but it was so much fun finding out all there is to know about DVC, and hopefully one day, we can become DVC members!
Head to the DVC booth also to grab DVC exclusive stickers!
Character Meal Buttons
While there are many free buttons that you can get within the parks, certain buttons are only available with Character Dining. During our last trip, we went to Storytellers Cafe for Mickey’s Tales Of Adventure brunch, and received an adorable Mickey button! Take a look at Disneyland’s website for a list of their character dining options!
Citizens of Buena Vista Street
If you see any of the Citizens of Buena Vista Street go up and say Hi! They may just have something for you..
Donna Linn De Larria – The Unofficial Mayor of Buena Vista Street. Along with Donna, you’ll always find her furry little friend, Lady.
Molly and Millie – Molly and her sister Millie, are in charge of The Buena Vista Street Messenger Service! If you see them, ask them if they have a message for you! You never know! Maybe someone sent you a telegram.. these make super fun, and unique souvenirs!
Officers Calvin and Clyde Blue – Be careful what you do around these officers, or you might just get a citation! But don’t worry.. they’re never for anything negative! Back in 2015 my son got one.. we were heading to Grizzly River Rapids, and Officer Clyde wanted a report after the ride!
Phiphi Farouk Francis – Phiphi is the travelling photographer of Buena Vista Street! The first time we saw Phiphi was on my son’s first trip back in 2013. We were passing by when she noticed his hair. He had been earlier in the day to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and was transformed into a knight. His hair had a blue and red Mickey head and some Mickey confetti! She was absolutely fascinated by him, and started taking photos of him. Especially when he showed her his dance moves!
Dare to see what the future will bring? Stop by and grab your fortune from the mystic tellers. The one we visited was right beside the Haunted Mansion shop in New Orleans Square. I also saw one by the Crystal Arcade on Main Street USA. This is one of the practically free souvenirs.. it costs a whopping .25 cents to receive a paper fortune (great souvenir!).
What are your favourite free (or practically free) souvenirs from Disneyland?? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!!