Each year, Disney World releases exclusive new merchandise. Uniquely designed trinkets are made available, and larger anniversaries and holidays are commemorated with entire lines of themed products. In this way, Disney incentivizes guests to make purchases that correspond with their particular visit: A generic shirt is nice enough, but one with the year on it will remind a family of their specific visit forever. This also incentivizes collecting annual merchandise, as visitors might want to purchase multiple editions of the same mug or shirt for their varying designs.
While these yearly designs can be cute, purchasing more generic merchandise is a whole lot more frugal. You might want to make an exception for a landmark year (Disney World’s 50th anniversary, for example, in 2021), or if you’re commemorating your own personal milestone. Sets of ears that look like graduation caps are especially endearing.
If you’re really torn over a particular item, it’s a good idea to see if it’s also available online. If it is, you can sleep on the purchase and decide to order it when you’re not entirely caught up in the Disney magic. If the item is part of a very limited run, it could also have significant resale value in the future, if you feel like playing the long game.