How to Do Mouse Gear and Not Go Home Broke

Epcot Mouse Gear
Photo via Disney Parks

I know what you’re thinking. That title is misleading; that is just not possible! Especially if you’re at Epcot with kids, right? I used to agree. However, I’ve been visiting the World since my youngest was an infant, and I’ve learned some ways around all the “I want!!!” (That’s my husband I’m quoting there, by the way, wink-wink!)

  • Set a budget. It’s one of the hardest things for us to do, but if we know we have only so much money to spend, it makes it easier to say NO to those non-essentials.
  • Pre-purchase Disney gift cards. You can get one for each member of your group. Parents can hold onto the ones for kids who are not ready for the responsibility, of course. But, this goes along with the budget point. If you have only so much to spend, when you run out of funds, you have to stop spending.
  • Make a wish list. Before your trip, have each family member write down the things they’d like to buy at Walt Disney World. If you’ve been before, you probably have a rough idea of each item’s cost. If not, look them up at the Disney Store online. Refer back to your budget to determine how many of those items, if any, you’ll be able to purchase.
  • Agree on ONE splurge per person. You know what? It’s DISNEY! You’ve gotta get at least one thing you don’t really need but that you really, really want. Be sure to factor this into the budget. It doesn’t have to be a big-ticket item, of course.
  • Redeem Disney Visa rewards points (if you have a card), and apply them to your purchases. You can cash in points for Disney Gift Cards…and you already know what to do with those.
  • Assuming you use your Disney Visa responsibly (We’re trying to avoid going into debt here!), use it to receive 10% off purchases of $50 or more. Plus, you earn points you can cash in when you get back home, and that will make the magic linger. I might also advise you save those smaller ticket items to buy all at once, so your total reaches at least the minimum for the discount.
  • And finally, don’t take the kids into the store with you. Yeah, right!

Now, I would imagine it’s much easier for locals and Guests who frequent the parks several times a year to bypass all the souvenir shops. My family only gets to visit once a year, so we are always drawn right in to the stores. We have bought clothes, shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, figurines, sports equipment… I think, though, if I were there more often, I wouldn’t feel the need to take so much of Disney back home with me. Chime in here, guys, if I’m wrong!

I hope these tips work for you. My family hasn’t come home penniless—yet. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve got some wallet-saving ideas for surviving a stop at Mouse Gear.

You might also like: See what one of Jodi’s favorite splurge souvenirs is here!

Jodi Whisenhunt’s MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort is now available in print and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and  CreateSpace. (Kindle and Nook versions also available!) Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!

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