Any kind of hat can turn out to be an extremely useful souvenir, as in addition to making a fashion statement, hats are important for providing protection from the sun in Florida. Whether you go for a baseball cap, or a floppy hat, fedora, or anything in between, a hat is never a bad investment, especially if you visit Walt Disney World frequently. Conversely, if you visit the parks during the winter, a beanie or knitted hat can be equally useful, both during the colder seasons at the parks and at home if you are from somewhere else with cold winters.
2. Pin lanyards/cases
Whether or not you would consider the pins themselves to be a useful souvenir is a debatable subject, however if you’ve already given in to collecting pins, there are some pin accessories that are must haves for carrying them around the parks and storing them at home. A lanyard is something every pin collector should have. Even if you do not want to wear it all the time in the parks, it is easier to pull a lanyard out of your bag while trading pins than to dig around for individual pins. And for storing pins at home, Disney sells a variety of binders, bags, and other carrying cases that are made specifically to hold the pins.
3. Water bottles
Re-usable water bottles are always good to have, even when you’re home after your Disney vacation. I use my water bottles I’ve purchased at the parks at work, home, and the gym, making it one of the most useful souvenirs I’ve purchased.
4. Coffee mugs
Coffee mugs are a useful souvenir within reason. If you drink coffee, you’re obviously going to get some use out of them, however they are easy to collect and you might end up with too many of them. A coffee mug is an example of a souvenir I find myself buying all too often, and while I do use all of the ones I buy, I might need to invest in some extra cabinet space to store them.
Much like the other items on this list, Disney purses and backpacks have a very obvious practical use. I can understand not wanting to splurge on a Vera Bradley or Dooney and Bourke purse during each Disney trip, but this items in general can be very useful in day to day life.
This might sound like a strange point to add to this list, but especially since Walt Disney World has begun selling Crocs, I think shoes are definitely worth mentioning. About a year ago, I wore shoes to the park that I thought would be extremely comfortable and they turned out to be quite the opposite. Rather than spending time hobbling out of the park to go back to the resort, I went to Mouse Gear and splurged on a pair of Crocs. (Before you ask, no not the clog ones—a pair of beige boat shoe-like Mickey ones). My feet were comfortable for the rest of the day, and since then I would definitely put shoes (of any kind) as one of the most useful souvenirs.
7. Jackets and sweatshirts
If you’ve ever visited Walt Disney World in the winter under the assumption that it wouldn’t be cold because it’s Florida, you’ve probably come home from your trip with a new sweatshirt or jacket. These are also items that can be very useful outside of the parks when you’re home from your trip.
Dinnerware is something you use everyday at home, so it is never a bad idea to buy some plates, cups, or silverware while in the parks. I’ve recently purchased some wine glasses and salt and pepper shakers—both things I would need to buy anyways, and things that I will get plenty of use out of at home.
Disney board games are some of my favorite souvenirs. While not necessarily anymore useful than the games you could buy at your local toy store, if I had the choice between purchasing the classic version or the Disney version, I would probably choose the latter for many of the games. My favorite recent game purchase as been the Tower of Terror Jenga!
Snacks are obviously useful, as we all love to eat them, but I think they’re even more useful to have at home. Some of my favorite things to munch on when I’m away from the parks are Mickey rice krispie treats and the Main Street popcorn. If you have unused snack credits on the dining plan, you can also use those for some packaged snacks to take home.