Top 10 Ways to Pay it Forward at Disney

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A great discussion began a short while ago on the You Might Be a Disney Addict Facebook group (YMBADA for short). It revolved around ways to ‘pay it forward’ or spread some pixie dust while at Disney. These are all great things that both adults and kids can partake in. We love to see the smile on someone’s face at Disney when you do something positive that they weren’t expecting, so here are my Top 10 Ways to Pay It Forward at Disney – consisting of a lot of the ideas that you came up with.

  • Glow Necklaces/Bracelets – Lois’ story is what prompted the discussion after someone left money with a cashier to help pay for her groceries. Lois then decided to purchase glow necklaces and bracelets to hand out to kids who didn’t have any at night in the parks. Way to pay-it-forward Lois!
  • Stickers or Temporary Disney Tattoos – Keli noted that her daughter likes to get extra stickers from the gift shops and then hands them out to kids waiting in ride lines. Penny’s kids do something similar and wear temporary tattoos in the parks and then bring extras to hand to other kids as well. It’s their little way of spreading the Disney Magic.
  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards If you’re like us and don’t play the game very much, you can still stop at the Main Street Fire House and get your pack of cards from a cast member. They not only make a great souvenir, they are also great to pass on if you happen to have a double of a card. Have no intentions of playing the game or taking the cards home? Then pass the cards on to a kid you meet while waiting in line for a ride.
  • Balloons – If you travel by plane to Disney instead of driving, then you are often met with the dilemma of what to do with those expensive balloons you purchased in the parks since you can’t take them on a plane. A great idea given by a visitor to our website is that you can give them to another family before you leave so that they can also enjoy having a balloon. They will last for a couple weeks, so why not give them away instead of seeing them thrown away? I personally love this idea!
  • Trading Pins As noted before, we’re big pin traders and we love to spread our love of pin trading with other guests. We always bring extra pins to give away. It never fails that we spot a kid who wants to trade a pin with a cast member, but the kid does not have any pins to trade. So, we swoop in and give the child a few pins to trade. We did this for a Make-a-Wish family a couple years ago and it made my day since we were able to help spread some Disney magic to a family that needed it the most. This is really how we got started with pin trading – a cast member gave my stepson a pin to trade on his first trip and the rest is history.
  • Homemade Pin Lanyards – Mary-Lynne posted a great idea on the YMBADA page and even gave everyone instructions on how to make homemade pin lanyards using Disney themed ribbon. She likes to give these to kids she meets throughout the parks that may not have a lanyard yet. What an awesome, yet simple, family craft project that you can work on before your trip. If you want instructions, be sure to visit the YMBADA page and look under files for the how-to instructions.
  • Send a Dessert to Someone Celebrating – There are always people celebrating anniversaries and birthday’s, among other things, at Disney, so if you see someone celebrating, send a dessert to their table to help them celebrate their special life event.
  • Pressed Pennies This is also a popular souvenir at the parks since it is relatively inexpensive (unless you’re trying to collect them all). Bring some extra quarters and pennies with you when you visit the parks and give them to the child that you see standing in front of one the machines that maybe doesn’t have any coins to get a pressed penny that catches their eye.
  • Gift Cards or Disney Dollars Laura suggested that you purchase Disney gift cards in small denominations and give them to an unsuspecting family. If you’re able to purchase Disney Dollars, you can also hand those out, as they make great souvenirs or they can be spent at Disney instead.
  • Postcards “signed” by the character – You can find postcards in all the stores at Disney World and they’re relatively inexpensive. Purchase some of those postcards, find the character greeting line for the character featured on the postcard and have the character autograph the postcard. You can then hand those out to those special princesses and princes you meet along the way.

Disney is all about making dreams come true and spreading Disney magic. You don’t have to work at Disney World to make that happen, so next time you visit the parks, bring something with you to help spread the magic. What are some other ways that people can pay-it-forward at Disney World?

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14 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways to Pay it Forward at Disney

  1. We just got back from Disney 2 weeks ago to the date. We had a family that was leaving and going on a plane and they gave my daughter their balloon, you would have thought they gave her a million bucks…so we did the same and payed it forward when we left. To see the joy on another little girls face was a great feeling as we rolled our luggage to the resort lobby.

  2. My 24 year old son ASD (autism spectrum) son and I have made many trips to WDW. I always bring Texas postcards with an autism pin attached saying thank you so much for your excellent service to give to castmembers – whether they are in the parks or in housekeeping at the resorts. On our last trip (Oct. 2012) we made a homemade autograph book and had only cast members, not face or costumed characters sign it. It opened the door to many conversations regarding differently abled guests, and also thrilled many castmembers to be asked for their autograph. I remember particularly the castmember greeter at Expedition Everest who said “No One has ever asked for my autograph before!” she was just beaming to have been asked.

  3. I have to admit, these are great ideas on sharing the Magic at WDW. If I can afford it, it’s something I would LOVE to be able to do. Thanks to everyone for their creativity!

  4. Our last trip was during the summer, and it was disgustingly hot, even by Florida standards. We bought one of those spray bottles with the fan on it on our first day in the parks. Since they’re kind of big, I didn’t really want to pack it in our luggage. On our last day, I let my son pick a family checking in at our hotel lobby, and he gave them the spray bottle and showed their little girl how to use it.

  5. Our favorite pay-it-forward idea is giving jewels to a mom or dad waiting for Philharmagic. When Ariel opens her jewel box and they come floating out, drop them in your Childs lap. Magic. My daughter still doesn’t know how Disney does it!!

  6. Since we don’t travel with kids and don’t care about the arcades at our resorts, we give our arcade credits to a child. One time there was a young child sitting on one of the “rides” with his dad. They were pretending it was running. We gave it to the child so he could make the ride really work 🙂

  7. That was one of our main things we did before, but with FP’s going away soon, I left it off the list since it won’t be an option for too much longer :-/

  8. I love doing the pin trading thing. I pick 1 young child without any Disney pins on, on my first bus of the morning and struck up a conversation about if its their first time or how many times they have gone to Disney. I always try & figure what type of pin they might like & as leaving the bus give it to they & day have a magical day. The other thing I do is try to collect American themed Disney pins like Donald with the flag pants and if I see someone with a veterans hat or military backpack I ask them if they were in the military if they say yes, I hand them a pin and say thank you for your service have a very Disney day & walk away. Makes them feel great & me feel great.

  9. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to go to WDW but I always tried in little ways to spread magic. Helping people figure out the penny press, giving fast passes away, helping a small child see a parade, that sort of thing. On our last trip my husband and I helped out a very nice but very lost Japanese couple. They were trying to get to their monorail resort from Epcot. After noticing the helpful cast members trying to explain but just confusing them more, we stepped up and told them to follow us that we’d get them to their hotel. It delayed our plans but they got there safely. When we next go, I’ll add this to my ideas. I love spreading magic especially to kids since I haven’t any myself.

  10. Little bottles of bubbles might be a good idea. Especially for the parents of a child who is close to meltdown. 🙂

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