11 March 2013

All Goods Genuine, Never A Substitute

We all know that there are such things as classic Walt Disney World souvenirs. Yet, when pried, we may not be able to come up with a list of what these time-tested souvenirs are. In fact, I’d wager that more than one of the definitive souvenirs hasn’t made it into our various home collections.

First and foremost, we are not talking about t-shirts and plush dolls. While they may be the currency of vacations, and scream about where you’ve been, they aren’t necessarily iconic. Mouse Ears, or the Pluto and Goofy hats, however, are most certainly among the quintessential list of Walt Disney World Souvenirs. For starters, most of us wouldn’t wear these at home, but it is perfectly fine to see a grown man donning a hat designed to resemble Mickey Mouse’s ears. And to do so with some swagger! Heck, my wife took a picture of me in Disneyland on our honeymoon where I was pretending to drive one of Mr. Toad’s buggies, with a bright yellow EPCOT Center shirt on, and topped off with a pair of Mouse Ears, and you know what? I made that outfit look good. The hats aren’t an everyday accessory, but they are all but required Walt Disney World wear.

Sticking around the hats for a second, what about the coonskin caps of Davy Crockett? Yep, they are a classic Walt Disney World souvenir, and required for all young and young-at-heart adventurers. Add to that list the muskets of Frontierland, the rifles, pistols, swords, and ball and chains of Pirates of the Caribbean. Princess cone hats, magic wands, and the garb of the princesses have changed quite a bit over the years, but I’m willing to consider these items just as iconic take home gifts as those pieces of the armory above. Now, it’s almost blasphemous of me to say, but I don’t believe Star Tours’ lightsabers are quite there yet. Yes, they’re awesome creations to take home, but they haven’t been around quite long enough to make them a part of the Walt Disney World souvenir canon. Come back and see me in about a decade and we’ll talk.

Then there are those great little pieces that we sometimes forget to include, or consider toss-aways, and either don’t have a need for or just plain overlook. Souvenirs like autograph books, Mickey shaped pens and pencils, Epcot’s passports, or Mickey Mouse backscratchers. They’ve been around as long as I can remember, probably since before I was born, but they are the perfect little touch of Walt Disney World that we tend to look at and say, “I’ll get one of those next time.” Problem is, there always seems to be a next time.

Last, but certainly not least, are the postcards. As a child how many of us wouldn’t voraciously snatch up any and all postcards we could? Not necessarily to send, although one or two might have received a hurried note to our grandparents before finding their way to a mailbox, but to collect and marvel at once we had returned home. Today, with digital cameras and smartphones, we send pictures and videos out to loved ones and the world and capture our own images of what an attraction actually looked like at the moment we experienced, leaving postcards to collect dust on the stand. Maybe they are a piece of the bygone days of vacationing, but they certainly belong on the list of classic Walt Disney World souvenirs.

What about you? What are the classic souvenirs that you always want to pick up and never seem to get around to or that you require friends and families to grab just as soon as they come through the gates? There are many items, more than I’ve even listed here, that are quintessential Walt Disney World souvenirs. Sometimes these great pieces get overlooked, but somewhere in our hearts they shine for all that they are worth!


Mini-V said...

I still think a Mickey Plush is an iconic souvenir, maybe less so since they can be found in Target and Disney Merchandise shops. I do keep my eyes open for interesting artwork.

KJ @ PlustheMagic said...

My favorite souvenirs include Epcot postcards (which I forgot to go back for on my recent trip! Darn it!), and pins. Since getting into pin trading a few years back, they are really what I love to bring home, and they bring back the best memories for me. I love the cast interaction I get when I find the rare CM who's actually into it. I also love a good coffee mug...

Dan said...

The big souvenirs for me are the guide books from the '80s and early '90s that spotlight so many attractions that are gone. They have excellent photos and look great on the shelf. I picked up some as a kid and have grabbed a few more in recent years. It's too bad that Disney doesn't do anything of this quality today.

Rich T. said...

You zeroed in on my #1: The backscratchers. Every single trip, I plan to pick one up and never do! Next time for sure. Really.

I used to love the pens with the Jungle Cruise boat that would slide back and forth within the tiny water-filled diorama!

These days, vinylmations and smaller attraction poster reproductions seem to get the bulk of our souvenir budget.