Top 3 Thursdays!No trip to a theme park is complete without that trip to the souvenir shop on the way out. You’ve got to pick something up that will remind of your great day at the park. How about a t-shirt reminding you that you survived The Beast or a stuffed animal to take the place of the one that you couldn’t win. Here are my Top 3 Theme Park Souvenirs in no particular order:

Should've Used Spell Check

Should've Used Spell Check

Shot Glasses
I have no idea how theme park shot glasses became so popular. I doubt it’s because there’s some correlation between theme park goers and hard liquor. Regardless, you can find them at most gift shops. I suppose it’s because they’re like small chotchkies that you can put up somewhere and proudly display.  I’ve taken to them over the years and have quite a few.Unfortunately, they’ve spent most of their time in a kitchen cabinet because I have no place to show theme off. I’m getting better at fighting the urge to buy them, because they’re pretty much a waste until I build my roller coaster den!

Post Cards
I love taking pictures while I’m visiting theme parks, but I’m no expert. There are professionals and others with great sites (like CoasterImage!) that do a much better job than I could ever do when it comes theme park photography. For that reason I’ll usually grab four or five post cards featuring the park’s best roller coasters to hang up in my cube at work. I’ve never actually mailed one to anybody. I wonder if anyone else uses them like I do or actually sends them in the mail. Who am I kidding? No one actually uses mail for anything anymore, do they?

Busch Gardens Tampa's 'Fear' ShirtShirts are another popular amusement park souvenir. But, changes in park ownership, bankrupt parks, and re-named
roller coasters can make your t-shirts suddenly obsolete. I remember a few years ago Carowinds was slashing prices on their ‘Paramount’s Carowinds’ gear as the park transitioned to its new identity as a Cedar Fair park. T-Shirts can get kind of expensive which makes the decision to buy one a tough call in my book. I’ve learned that it might be best to buy one that can kind of work any where you wear it. My bright blue comic-book styled Alpengeist shirt doesn’t get a lot of run but, my Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and Kings Island Beast shirts do because they’re a little more subdued.

Honorable Mention – On-Ride Photos
On-ride photos are great especially when you’re with a group and can get everyone in one picture. Since I do so many solo trips, I rarely buy on-ride photos. In the last few years, parks have started to sell on-ride DVDs. Soon the on-ride media game is about to be taken to the next level with Hollywood: Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Orlando. Riders will be able to cut their own on-ride & off-ride music video with all kinds of effects and shots from different angles. No word on how much they’ll cost, but I bet these will be very popular this Summer when the ride opens. Read more about Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

What’s Your Take?
Which souvenirs are your favorite to get when you visit amusement parks? Do you have a collection of stuffed animals, t-shirts, or something else? It’s okay, you can own up to it. Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

17 Responses

  1. Matthew

    My favorite souvenir is your onride photos on a t shirt. Even though they are highly expensive than most stuff there, they are really something special after you ride a world class ride and you never want to forget it.

  2. JaMeS

    I think that the spelling doesn't really matter for that shot glass, because by the time they look at it, they'll probably be to drunk to notice.

  3. Matthew

    Ya i dont even think the drunk people even look at the spelling or the roller coaster picture on it because there thinking about the bud lights coming there way

  4. Anonymous

    Nice photos, dude.

    What are the odds the shot glass fad started in Busch Gardens? 😉

  5. Matthew

    Big time since the park was made by budweiser. And were all the shot glasses mispelled at the Six Flags you were at

  6. Judy P in Pgh

    I was impressed enough with Great Adventure's El Toro that for the first time in my life, I bought a coaster t-shirt for myself. It's a nice red shirt with the El Toro logo, statistics and a picture of the coaster structure. After a few wearings and launderings, I noticed that the statistics weren't quite right, especially the one that said it was built in 1997. Here's what the shirt says … height: 200 ft.; first drop: 205 ft.; top speed: 75 mph; track length: 5600 ft.; Est: 1997. I checked on and found out this isn't El Toro at all … it's Steel Force at Dorney Park (not even a 6 Flags coaster!) I think it's funny, but I'll still keep the shirt. Maybe I'll use a Sharpie marker to correct the statistics.

  7. Matthew

    Hey Judy, i love coaster shirts just like that. They have a shirt just like that for pretty much every ride at Busch Gardens. I love those really nice t shirts. I always buy those type of shirts

  8. JESS

    Pins, not for trading though. I don't trade my pins. I display them on my housekey lanyard that I almost always wear with me, it's a good conversation piece and identifies me as a coaster enthusiast.

    I only have one coaster shirt in my closet to this day, a Behemoth one. I find them abit overpriced anyways but that's just my opinion. Who knows, I might start aquiring more.

  9. Cpguy

    I think a coaster photo and t shirt. Photo because it shows the great moment on ride. t shirt because it shows your love for the ride .

  10. Steve F.

    Certainly most amusement parks today have gotten into the coaster photo and t shirts extensively. However, what I lament is there really isn't something all that collectable sold for every decent sized roller coaster. For example, the pins mentioned are terrific collector items. They aren't available for all coasters. At King's Island they tend to have embroidered patches that would be good also. Again, most parks do not have these. The difficulty with T-shirts is once a person has ridden ten or more coasters, if they get a T-Shirt for every roller coaster ridden, it takes up a lot of room. It would be nice if coaster enthusiasts had such an item. The shot glasses are nice.


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