To Disney Cast Members they are known as “tangible memories.” They are a way for you to take a slice of magic home with you. We budget a good chunk of our vacation fund towards them. They are souvenirs. Searching for the perfect souvenir at Walt Disney World can be time consuming, but also so much fun. I have put together a couple tips that will hopefully help you on your next Disney hunt.
If you see it and like it, buy it: Throughout your trip you will notice different products and souvenirs in each and every shop you visit (autograph books, character pens, etc.). However, some merchandise will be exclusive to a single store or area on property. For example, you can only find Dooney and Bourke purses at a few select shops (Uptown Jewelers – Magic Kingdom, Mouse Gear – Epcot, Sunset Club Couture – Disney’s Hollywood Studies, TrenD and World of Disney – Downtown Disney, Grand Floridian Resort). Also, you will not be able to find a Magic Kingdom sweatshirt at Animal Kingdom, or a Port Orleans t-shirt at Wilderness Lodge. My suggestion is if you see something you really like – buy it then and there! You may not be able to find it again the next day at a different park.
World Showcase is a shopping dream: If you are looking for a unique souvenir or gift to bring home with you, try strolling around World Showcase at Epcot. The different pavilions offer goods from those countries. Pick up some French perfume at the France pavilion, or tea from the United Kingdom, or maybe even some colorful candy from Japan. One of my absolute favorite places in the World Showcase is the shops at the Mexico pavilion. I just love the nighttime atmosphere and how it feels like I am exploring different street shops under the stars.
Have your bags sent to your room: or to the front of the park. It’s easy to get bogged down in bag after bag throughout your busy day, and it’s a bummer to have to try and cram all your souvenirs into your flying pirate ship for Peter Pan’s Flight. But of course, Disney has thought of everything! Every store in the parks offers free shipping to your resort. So, if you buy more than you were planning to at the Emporium early in the day, just have it sent to your resort (for free!) and it will be waiting for you later that day. This is only offered if you are staying at a Disney resort. However, Disney also offers end of the day pick up, where you can send your purchases to a central location in the park, and pick them up at the end of the day before you leave. Please note, any food item such as rice crispy treats, candy, etc, cannot be shipped to your resort or be held for you. Those you will want to carry with you, or wait until the end of the day to purchase.
Disney gift cards: These pieces of magical plastic can be used throughout the parks for food, beverages, and of course, souvenirs. I like to ask for Disney gift cards for my birthday and other holidays and save them up for something special on my next Disney vacation. Just keep in mind that some stores at Downtown Disney will not accept these, as they are a third party vendor. Just ask a Cast Member and they will be happy to let you know.
Set some time aside for World of Disney: Located at Downtown Disney, World of Disney is the largest store on property and is 50,000 square feet. I like to visit this store at the beginning of my trip to pick up some new Mickey Ears and get my first look at all the new merchandise, and at the end of my trip so that I can pick up any last minute items that I didn’t purchase during the rest of my visit.
Fear not if you feel regret: After your trip, if you are still wishing you would’ve bought that perfect item that you talked yourself out of – fear not! Try disneystore.com or contact the Disney Merchandise Department at 1-877-560-6477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will help try to track down your item for you. Now if you are feeling regret about how much you spend on Alex and Ani bangles, they probably won’t be able to help you with that one.
For me, shopping at Disney is almost as much fun as experiencing some of my favorite attractions. I love checking out all the new merchandise and wandering through the stores in each park. I hope these suggestions will help you and your family on your next shopping mission at Disney. If you have any tips of your own, I would love to hear them! Let me know in the comments!