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You may recall I mentioned our issues list when  it came to our Disney World vacations. For our new readers, it’s a list our family came up with that detailed all the little things that would come up from time to time while we were on vacation. Let me clarify THINGS: who will sit where during the RV trip, snack buying, potty trips and one of the major topics – kids and souvenirs – specifically them constantly asking for toys and treats. Our first trip to Disney World cost us about two mortgage payments in toys and souvenirs – no joke. We even got stuff for our family and our family’s family if you know what I mean. Yeah, we went way overboard but I think that’s a first-timers right of passage. Other trips were not as bad, but the continuous asking for toys really got at our nerves. I guess our kids just have a hard time grasping the concept that when we swipe that lovely blue plastic rectangle thingy through that little square machine with all the numbers on it, the money really does have to come from somewhere.

Jerry and I worked together with the kids on a great solution which was put to the test during our last trip to Disney World. I’d say it worked so well – it was beyond our expectations!!! We knew we would be leaving in December for our two week stint at Fort Wilderness Resort which includes several park visits and some Downtown Disney evenings during that time. We needed to get our plan in action well in advance as these oh so cute toys are oh so not cheap!

So for many months, Caitlyn and Jacobbegan splitting any money they received from holidays, chores and birthdays into yet another category – Disney World souvenirs. They saved well over $140 each and we all sat down for the 2009 SMSC - a.k.a. Souvenir Money  Spending Conference. The kids were allowed to bring whatever they thought would be an appropriate amount for the specific park we were visiting that particular day.  Jake loves Legos, so when we went to Downtown Disney, he brought more than when we went to Animal Kingdom. We were so very proud of him when he chose not to spend any at Hollywood Studiosbecause nothing really caught his eye. In the past, he would have got something just because Caitlyn did…not this time using his own money! Because this time when their money was gone…it was GONE. There was no Bank of Mom or Bank of Dad.

Now as for Caitlyn, hers is a bit of a sad story with a great lesson to be learned. We were at EPCOT and went in to a store in Japan. She saw these cute little cats that were only a few dollars each…no problem so far right?! Well, there were 12, yes 12, different cats. Although I did mom duty to double and triple check, she really just could not live with just a couple cats – she was sure she needed all of them! My heart did break a little at that moment in fear of the regret she would likely feel a later time. Once we were back home, she confided to me that she had wished she did not do that. She cried. As I typed this she said to me “I wished I could get the money back.”  Moms and dads, read this to your kids. Caitlyn said there is a lesson to be learned. “When your mom asks you, ‘are you sure you want to get that?’, you should take a second thought on that and maybe walk around the store a little bit.” Thanks Caitlyn. I’m sure you’ve helped out a Disney friend with your advice.  

There are many ways you can help your kids and yourselves when it comes to Disney World souvenirs. Although it’s sometimes painful to see our kids learn a lesson the hard way, it’s a right we can not take away from them. The joy comes during the next occasion when they realize something isn’t really a great idea and they demonstrate the knowledge learned from their blunder. Here’s to a happier souvenir spending experience and another resolution to our “issues” list.

You can’t end a Disney story on a sad note, so I will share with you a picture of Caitlyn and her most favorite Disney souvenir from our December trip…the one and only Thumper! Jacob absolutely loves his Disney watch. We looked at many throughout the Disney World parks before he settled on a nice black watch featuring the mouse himself… our beloved Mickey Mouse.

Until next time…Melissa 

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Location: Animal Kingdom

Description: An Exotic African Theme

Prices: $240-635

Phone: 14079383000

Link:http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/animal-kingdom-lodge/