Confessions of a Walt Disney World Shopaholic
Yeah, you read that right…it’s true. I admit it, ok? I LOVE to shop at Walt Disney World! I can’t get enough of the look, the lights, the sights, the smells, and the feel of each store. Enjoy our take on how we shop, why we shop, and our favorites.
Our first stop is one of the coolest stores in Epcot called Mouse Gears. Located behind Spaceship Earth, on the left side of the “Fountain of Nations,” this store has got it all. From Tiaras to T-shirts, they have several varieties of park souvenirs and clothing options. What I have learned here is that if you see anything to do with Epcot that you like, buy it. The gift shops in the parks have very exclusive stuff to THAT park- you will not find park specific items at DTD or at any of the other parks, so get it while you are there.
The World Showcase has some pretty cool gems hidden among its many gift shops. I have become fond of the perfume in Italy, the “Tour de France” items in France, and the paper umbrellas we purchased in China. Nothing is as beautiful as seeing your beautiful little girl strolling through the World Showcase, twirling her teal paper umbrella. Japan has a unique gift to purchase called “Pick a Pearl.” They let you pick the oyster, they pry it open, show you the pearl, everyone claps, and you pick the setting for it. The talk on the net is that the settings can be found cheaper on EBay and to just buy the pearl itself to save on costs.
Entering the Magic Kingdom, there is a beautiful ivory building on the left corner of Main Street-this is where the “Emporium” starts. This mammoth of a gift shop is actually several buildings that were eventually merged together. I love shopping inside, but what is more amazing are the window displays outside. Several animated movie moments are displayed like live-action shadow boxes; it is a sight to see, especially at night. Did you know that WDW placed this gift shop on the left side of Main Street, so that when you are exiting the park, you are more likely to look to your right, thus seeing the shop and wanting to pick up something on your way out! Another great one is located as you step off and up an escalator…Pirates of the Caribbean shop. Who wouldn’t feel like a pirate seeing all of the wonderful booty in this place-I admit we don’t buy much here-but it sells everything Pirates, and that’s the best parrrrrrrt.
Our favorites at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are the Animation Gift Shop, the Muppets Store, the Star Tours store, and the Star Wars Mega Store (only open during the Star Wars Weekends). The Animation store has beautiful works of art, including the occasional artist/animator working on something neat-for the artists in my family, this is a not miss! For a great laugh, the Muppets store has great jokes on the wall, and sells Muppet T-Shirts, which is the only place on property you can buy those. After leaving the “Star Tours” ride, you exit with the infamous Star Wars theme playing, and ending up inside the gift shop. Another great store for one of a kind gifts on property, along with Star Wars Life size figures for great photo ops. During Star Wars Weekends, they open up the large warehouse near Pixar Place for everyone to shop the cream of the crop in Star Wars merchandise. We bought the greatest Storm Trooper Shirt here, along with the Mickey light saber for Jessie. Along the back wall they have character meet and greets too- may the force have mercy on your credit card here.
When talking shop talk, we can’t forget Downtown Disney. For us, this is the mecca of WDW shopping. Why? Well you can pretty much pick up anything you need in this area. I get so excited walking into the Christmas store- hearing jingle bells, looking at all of the beautiful ornaments, and picking out our annual decoration from here. One of our favorite purchases is a Mickey wreath made out of red and green jingle bells. Even though pretty much every store in WDW has pins now, they don’t compare to “Pin Traders” which has every pin you could imagine, and they are nicely categorized so you don’t have to look at all of them for the one you want. Once Upon a Toy is where we bought our monorail-we never miss a Christmas without putting it under the tree. Basin is our favorite spot for to wash our hands and smell the bath bombs. Wash your hands? Yes, they have the nicest sugar and salt scrubs for your skin, and usually have a sample out for you to try. I never thought Carl would love a soap store so much, but he is in love with the sugar scrub. We also have purchased MANY of their specialty soap bars for ourselves and for others-they make great gifts!
“The World of Disney” is usually a good hour, if not two, event for us. It’s THE largest Disney Store in the country, and contains room after room of merchandise. At Christmas, they handed out free cocoa and cookies while you shopped- it was so enjoyable. We have quite the Disney collection at home, so buying anything here just adds to the fun at home. We always pick up a new magnet, sweatshirt, kitchen item, mug, candy, hot chocolate, princess items, hair items, and a throw. The throw is usually part of a promotion that most gift shops have. If you spend over a certain amount, you are eligible to buy one of the nice gifts at a fraction of the cost. Not only have we bought throws this way, but also a very nice Men’s watch and Disney lithograph.
If you have the time to spend, really explore each shop you discover. Look up at the walls, look for hidden Mickeys, and enjoy the atmosphere. Happy shopping!