Auntie Tip: Using Your Camera to Cut Down on Whining for Souvenirs

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, you know that gift shops are everywhere, and many attractions exit into them, so you can’t avoid them even if you try. That means your kids are going to see all the delightful things for sale, and even if your budget would allow you to buy all of them, you would end up wasting hours of time shopping rather than experiencing the Parks. So, you have to find a way to get out of those shops quickly and without drama.

I discovered a technique for this when I took a trip to Walt Disney World with my then four-year-old niece and two-year-old nephew in early December 2009. I told them that I would be buying their Christmas presents there, so if they saw anything they liked, they should tell me and then I would take a photo of it. This proved incredibly efficient—one quick photo and that was that, no whining!

My nephew was too young to really get it, but my niece definitely did. By the end of the trip, we had quite a few photos. On our last night, I left the kids in the hotel room with my parents while I visited Everything Pop (the shop in Pop Century) and picked out their gifts. They didn’t get everything they had pointed out—far from it—but I didn’t hear any complaints that they didn’t get something we had taken a photo of. (I doubt they even remembered half of them!)

It’s true that this method limits you to souvenirs that can be found in more than one location, but most things kids are tempted by are widely available. While the selection in your hotel shop is somewhat limited, you could always do your final shopping trip in the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney, and there you should be able to find plenty of things from your photo list.

Sample souvenir photo: a princess braceletTo eliminate the need to click through all your digital photos to find the souvenir ones, you could take all the souvenir photos with your phone, leaving the usual vacation snaps for your camera. Or designate one person’s phone for souvenir photos.

As you can tell from this photo from my trip, the photos don’t have to be good quality, just clear enough that you can see what the item is and, ideally, what it costs.

You might find you don’t even need to refer to the photos, because you remember which items the kids were most excited about.

The photos aren’t really the point anyway; it’s about saving time, money, and aggravation by getting out of the shop and onto the next attraction!

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Have you ever tried this technique? What are your rules for kids’ souvenirs on your Disney trips? Share your tips in the comments!