Collecting mementos and souvenirs can be one of the best ways to encapsulate your vacation for years to come. One of my favorite souvenirs are theme park based Christmas ornaments. No matter what time of year the visit takes place, a Christmas tree ornament is a great way to commemorate a special vacation.
I’d like to share with you some ways to make purchasing, sharing, or gifting a theme park ornament even more special. Let’s also take a look at some special theme park ornaments collected throughout the years.
One of the best ways to make a theme park ornament extra special is to get it personalized. Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando offer ornament personalization. At Walt Disney World nearly any ornament can be personalized. This can be done at the 12 Days of Christmas store as well as Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom. Just know that the closer you get to the holidays the longer the wait for your ornament. Pricing runs about $4 per word, name or date, plus the cost of the ornament.
Universal Orlando has two Christmas shops, one in each park. The personalization options are a little more restricted here both in terms of what ornaments can be personalized as well as what can actually be written. I shouldn’t be surprised, but when I picked out a large yellow bulb and asked for “Happy Hufflepuff” I was turned down. Apparently, JK Rowling is a Grinch (just kidding, she’s just fantastically strict about quality control – understandably so). When I got my ornaments personalized last year there was not a per word, date, or name charge, it was for the finished product. The total cost of a large round ornament with personalization and decoration around the entire bulb cost about $21, with tax and AP discount.
Commemorate a big moment
Is your kiddo finally tall enough to ride that ride they’ve been dreaming of? Maybe you were there when your best friend finally got to meet their favorite character in person. Whatever the special moment, if you know that it is going to happen ahead of time pick up an ornament to mark the occasion and then surprise that special someone right after (or during) the big moment. I assure you whenever that ornament goes on the tree the memory will come flooding back and a smile will instantly appear.
Another big moment to commemorate with an ornament is a marriage proposal. When I was a Dream Squad Cast Member we helped with quite a few proposals. One of my favorites ways to help with this was to suggest a Cinderella glass slipper Christmas ornament. The options available have changed through the years, but you can almost always find a glass slipper or at least Cinderella themed ornament. I purchased the one pictured below during my time as a Dream Squad Cast Member to commemorate all the proposals I helped with; each year when I place this ornament on my Disney themed tree, I smile.
Share a set
SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and Walt Disney World all offer a great selection of ornaments. In fact, I am particularly fond of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and their ornaments. However, Disney offers a wide variety of boxed sets of ornaments. From character figures to whimsical abstract glass balls, there’s plenty of options to suit all décor and themes.
If you’re traveling with family or a group of friends and you live in separate houses, here’s a way to re-connect every holiday season. Purchase a box set of three or four ornaments. Select one ornament to give to each household. Take it a step further and when presenting the ornament to each person tell them your favorite moment of your trip together. Then each year when each of you are putting your tree up you will think of the memories you made together.
Some of my favorites
I am a Christmas fanatic, what can I say? I have three different Christmas trees, each one a different theme. The first one I put up each year is my Disney tree. There are so many ornaments that have such special memories associated with them. Here are some of my favorites, in hopes that you’ll be inspired to make memories using theme park Christmas ornaments yourself.
This ornament was released around 2007 and features about 30 different Disney characters holding Mickey Mouse shaped ornaments and decorating a Christmas tree in front of Cinderella Castle. They also sold ornaments of the characters themselves holding mini Mickey ornaments. I have Genie, Belle & Beast, and Alice that match this bulb. Whenever I hang this ornament I think about the beautiful trees that are at Walt Disney World and all the times my family and I have admired them.
The next two are bittersweet because they come from Disneyland. I love Disneyland during Christmastime. Every inch of the park seems to get into the holiday spirit. No place at Walt Disney World seems to come close to this, although SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration comes very, very close. The above ornament is of an actual decoration / moving figure inside the Haunted Mansion Holiday. I love how this ornament replicates one of the most fun moments of this holiday attraction.
The reason these Disneyland ornaments are bittersweet for me is because it might be a few years before I get back to Disneyland, much less back to Disneyland during the holiday season. I adore this ornament because my home has always been Orlando, home of Cinderella Castle. This ornament is two sided, with Sleeping Beauty Castle on the front and a special “From our castle to yours” wish on the back. I love this sentiment because of my proximity to Cinderella Castle, I mean I can consider it mine, right? So it feels like Sleeping Beauty Castle is wishing my castle, Cinderella Castle, a Merry Christmas.
The holidays are such a special time and visiting theme parks can be very special too. I hope I have inspired you to capture the memories of two very special moments, together.