[Updated May 2016]
Price of a Walt Disney World sweatshirt: $59.95.
Price of a Sorcerer Mickey mug: $14.95.
Price of a Disney iPhone case: $34.95.
We’ll give you a second to get over the sticker shock, but yes, those are the real prices for Walt Disney World souvenirs.
You should know, though, that it is possible to score some freebies in this famous Orlando theme park. You just have to know where to look. Here are some to seek out on your next visit to the House of Mouse…
1. Celebration pins
Celebrating a birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding or family reunion while at Walt Disney World? There are pins to mark these milestones and they’re absolutely free. Stop by your hotel’s front desk or at the Guest Relations/Services location in any of the parks and ask for one. (Hint: Even if you’re not celebrating one of these specific occasions, you can snag a more general “I’m Celebrating” button. Because after all, if you’re at a Walt Disney theme park, you are!)
2. Flower leis
Guests staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort automatically receive flower leis upon check-in, but those who are not staying there can stop by the front desk to say “Aloha!” and ask for flower necklace souvenir of their own.
3. Disney Dining Plan mugs
Vacationers booking a package with a Disney Dining Plan receive mugs for each member of their party. While the mugs can only be refilled at your resort, you can still take them with you to the parks and fill them up at a water fountain. They’re useful when you return home, too.
4. Mardi Gras beads and coins
It’s Walt Disney World’s version of Mardi Gras all year long at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Ask the check-in desk for colorful beads and coins and a Cast Member will give them to you, gratis.
5. Birthday cards
How often can you say Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella gave you a birthday card? When you’re making vacation or dining reservations online or over the phone, you’ll be asked if you’re celebrating anything during your stay. If you say that it’s your birthday and you’re dining at a restaurant with characters, you might just get a birthday card signed by them. This has been known to happen when dining at Epcot’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.
6. Restaurant photos
When you arrive at certain character-dining restaurants, remember to smile! You’ll have your photo taken with one of the characters by a professional photographer. Restaurants like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella’s Royal Table will give each party a souvenir photo at the end of the meal to take home.
Epcot offers free activities for children throughout its World Showcase. See the Cast Members at the 11 “Kidcot Fun Stops” throughout the park for a complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear. Kids can decorate him with supplies found at each station. Cast Members will even relay stories about their native countries and give them a stamp of Duffy in each country. You can make a game of it and collect them all.
8. LEGO model
Head on down to the LEGO Store in Disney Springs on the first Tuesday of every month, when kids ages 6-14 can learn how to build their own model — and take those models home as keepsakes. The LEGO Store Monthly Mini Model Build event is free and has a different theme each month.
9. Items left by housekeeping
Housekeeping — or “mousekeeping” as Disney calls it — sometimes leaves guests little surprises when they go back to their room. They’re not always guaranteed, but they can vary from towels folded to look like animals wearing sunglasses, a signed photo by the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse, and more.
10. Sprinkles cupcake
This last one isn’t so much a souvenir, but rather a delicious treat. With the recent addition of Sprinkles to Disney Springs, there’s an opportunity to nab yourself a free cupcake — just join the Sprinkles Perks program and upon registration, you’ll be able to redeem a freebie. Yum!