I've worked at Disneyland and Disney World, and there are some things I'll never buy at the parks.
The balloons and bubble wands may seem like a lot of fun, but they're impractical souvenirs.
The popcorn buckets and giant lollipops aren't worth the hype or the price.
I wouldn't bother buying a balloon.
Don't get me wrong, I love seeing the brightly colored balloons every time I walk down Main Street, but I'd personally never waste my money on one.
They average between $12 and $17, and they just become a hassle for you all day.
You're not able to bring your balloons on any rides, so you'll either need to tie it to a stroller (if you have one) or see if a cast member, what Disney calls its park employees, can hold it for you by the attraction entrance.
If a balloon is an absolute must for you, I'd recommend waiting until the end of the day to buy one to avoid the headache.
I don't even think buying one popcorn bucket is worth it - and I definitely wouldn't collect them.
This may be controversial because there are some diehard popcorn-bucket collectors out there, but I always skip them.
They usually range between $17 and $25, and new buckets are released seasonally at the parks. On release days, people can spend hours waiting in line to buy limited-edition buckets and I'd personally rather spend that time riding a few rides.
If you're a major fan of Disney popcorn, you might be able to buy enough discounted refills to make the savings worth it. But you also have to lug the buckets around the parks with you all day.
Although they're cute, I ultimately find the popcorn buckets to be impractical. I've only ever purchased one, and it's just sat on a shelf collecting dust since I brought it home.
Your pets probably won't appreciate how much their Disney toy cost.
As a proud fur mom, I love the Disney Tails collection and think it has great product design. But I never buy any of the pet toys.
The toys range from $18 to $26, and I just can't justify spending that much on something my dog will destroy in 12 hours.
If you're absolutely dying to bring your pet a special treat from your Disney trip, I'd recommend a collar, harness, or even a spirit jersey instead.
The lollipops are never as exciting as they seem.
As a child, I remember begging my parents to buy me a lollipop every time I saw one of the giant stands. But as an adult, I never bother with them.
The lollipops average between $3 and $7, but there's nothing truly spectacular about them.
Other than the pretty plastic packaging that just gets thrown away, it's a regular-tasting lollipop you could find anywhere. There are so many better park treats in the same price range.
I'm not interested in dropping that much cash on the National Geographic line.
Last year, Disney released a National Geographic merch collection in the parks. It mostly offers hooded sweatshirts, joggers, puffer vests, and jackets that range from $40 to $190.
But I think the collection feels out of place. If I'm going to spend $190 on a jacket, it's not going to be at the Disney parks.
If you find yourself cold and in need of a jacket or sweatshirt, there are other options ranging from $50 to $90 throughout the parks.
As someone who used to sell them, I don't think the bubble wands are worth it.
As a former "glow" cast member who sold things like light-up toys and bubble wands, this one hurts.
I loved getting to play with all the bubble wands, but I'd never spend $25 to $32 on them.
They don't come with much bubble liquid, meaning you'll need to buy refills if it's being played with all day. I've also found that they can be easily breakable.
There are other more durable toys in the same price range available at the Disney parks.
The key chains are a little steep for my liking.
The Disney key chains are cute and can make a great souvenir to bring back to a loved one, but I never spend my money on them.
They range between $9 and $15, which I find to be pretty expensive for a small piece of plastic.
If you're looking for something that will last longer and serve as a better reminder of your trip, consider picking a mug or a pin for a similar price.