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Vote of the week: Favorite theme park souvenir?

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Published: July 20, 2007 at 10:30 PM

You swear you were going to watch what you spent on that theme park visit. "No souvenirs!" you vowed. But every time you go, one of these manages to suck a few bucks out of your wallet.
What is that thing for you?

As always, please explain your pick in the comments, or offer a suggestion about souvenirs at your favorite theme park.

[Personal note: I'll be flying to Orlando for business tomorrow, so I'll post reports from Disney's Animal Kingdom (Sunday) and at least one other Walt Disney World theme park (Tuesday).]

Readers' Opinions

From Matthew Baker on July 21, 2007 at 5:28 AM
Gotta have a silly hat, preferably the kind with jingly bells on it. Although its debut would be delayed till after the visit: I only got one head :) and when I'm there my one head is already occupied with a funny hat I bring with me such as my homemade one.

Actually I'm not really one to buy theme-park souvenirs, apart from the edible kind. :) As far as funny hats go, which I can be extremely attracted to, my suggestion would be for variety, both themed and unthemed. For example, the past couple seasons at Disneyland I've been somewhat disenchanted at a lack of variety, especially when I see some that other guests have (designs that are out of production), or ones on ebay from overseas DL resorts.

From Lena Messana on July 21, 2007 at 5:53 AM
I am usually pretty good with not buying all the souveneirs. We go on avg every other year, so its an easy thing to ... mostly... stick to! But somehow, that darn disney plushy catches my eye...lol. Last time I went to IOA, we did the etched photo of my kids. next time we are doing the family. This will be my new souveneir from now on... they were very reasonably priced too... (I purchased mine in the cat in the hat store... they take your picture and then they send you the final product about two weeks later)
From Robert Niles on July 21, 2007 at 7:28 AM
I totally forgot about "on-ride photos" as an option in the vote. (Can you tell that I never buy those?) Sorry....
From Mike CP on July 21, 2007 at 8:18 AM
I would have voted for the On Ride Photo, but since that is not an option, I have to go with the shirt.
From Claudine Deshaies on July 21, 2007 at 3:00 PM
You forgot refrigerator magnet, too.
As a kid I always HAD to have the park logo T-shirt, but after (many) years of buying them but not wearing them, I have settled on the must-have magnet and occasional sno-globe.
From David Kildal on July 21, 2007 at 5:19 PM
I get a refrigerator magnet every time I go to a theme park. I have an Expedition Everest, Spider Man, and Kings Island magnet.
From Shannon Beauchemin on July 21, 2007 at 6:06 PM
I own too many T-shirts from various places or events. I now look for the refrigerator magnets. Picked up a Holiday World and Dollywood magnet just last week.
From Larry Zimmerman on July 22, 2007 at 4:34 AM
T-shirts are always available, no matter which chain's park you're visiting. Add to that the almost infinite variety of park-related designs (the park map, a particular ride, or just a park logo), along with the multiple styles (tank, sleeveless, long sleeve, halter, sweats), and you've got your ubiquitous souvenir. While the pins and the 'tenna toppers are fun, for lasting memories, give me a shirt!
From Eric Malone on July 22, 2007 at 8:39 AM
Candy. Sure you can get plushes, t-shirts with the logo and little license plates with your first name on them, but ninety percent of the time they get put away and you never use 'em after that day you buy 'em. Candy, however, is instant gratification. Plus, once you're done with 'em, you just throw out what's left over. No muss, no fuss. ;)
From Bruce Lane on July 22, 2007 at 9:23 AM
As others who've read my trip reports may already have guessed, I'm as picky about souvenirs as I am about the parks I visit. Any such widgets that I buy have to be attractive, practical, or both.

So far, the best souvenirs I've gotten came from the former Marine World (LONG before Sick Flags warped them into the abomination they are today), and from the Mexican parks. The old Marine World yielded several items, including old-logo (the "Elefish") and new-logo jackets, a polo shirt, and some mugs.

Xcaret and Xel Ha both yielded gorgeous charcoal-gray polo shirts, with an embroidered Via Delphi logo (this is the same one that some of the trainers wear when off-duty) and the park name just above it. I also found a hand-painted mug, done in cobalt-blue glass. That one, although practical, doesn't get used. It's truly a show piece.

My wife is nearly as picky, but she was a Disneyland regular in her childhood. She's got a couple of large-size 'Tigger' mugs (they're nearly big enough to qualify as steins, I think). They're ceramic, done in dark-green glaze with raised reliefs of Tigger around the outside. One is in use, the other is stashed away as another show piece.

Beach towels are another good score, if you can find such that have decent artwork.

Keep the peace(es).

From Robert OGrosky on July 22, 2007 at 11:17 AM
When I visit a park that isnt my local park, I always buy a t-shirt, if not with a park logo on it, one with my favorite ride. I also like to buy a hat if they are good and will also buy a plush if I like them like Figment etc.
While i oftern feel ripped off by the cost of park food. I have no problem at all if they have souvenirs that i like. Usually when we got to WDW/USF we need a good porztion of a suitcase for the sweatshirts/t-shirts and other odds/ends we can find.
I also like collecting park maps of every park I vissit, and the good thing is they dont cost any thing(yet LOL).
From Joseph Boone on July 23, 2007 at 12:06 AM
I buy theme park tee shirts all the time and they are easily my favorite souvenir. But the theme park logo is the least interesting version of what these shirts can be. I love how creative some of these shirts are whether they are funny or just have beautiful art.

One of my all-time favorites is an Animal Kingdom shirt with Winnie the Pooh looking through a magnifying glass at a bengal tiger saying "Tigger, is that you?" Priceless.

From Chris Wilkes on July 23, 2007 at 5:14 AM
I most often submit to the call of the souvenir ride photos and (if you can believe it), crushed pennies...
From Mike Duchock on July 23, 2007 at 7:57 AM
How about key chains and postcards?
From Mostly Anonymous on July 23, 2007 at 8:55 AM
My must-have souvenir isn't on the list, but that's probably because it's a little unusual. I have a collection of theme park books, so that's what I can't resist if I see it.

Many parks at least have some kind of souvenir photo book, like Disneyland has always had. But sometimes there are even better books, that give the whole history of the park, and I can never resist those.

It's easy to get books about the Disney parks, but it can be harder to find books about other parks. One of my favorites is a book on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and probably my rarest book is on Luna Park, a defunct park in Seattle.

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