Shopping Tips From a Self-Proclaimed Disney Shopping Expert

Posted:  Parks Resorts Tips

To me, shopping is a full-on hobby. I could spend hours searching the internet for my next find, so when it comes to Disney, I am over the moon! There is so much to see and buy between the parks and resorts that it can be extremely overwhelming if you don’t know what to do. Well, today, I am here to share my many years of experience (and plenty of money spent) in shopping at Walt Disney World.

Merchandise in the Resort Gift Shop at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas. There are multiple displays throughout the shop with dark wood and light sculptures on top of the displays.

  1. Always Check Out Your Resort Gift Shop

This is my number one tip if you don’t want to be lugging around your purchases all day! Stop by your resort gift shop to see what is there before you head into the parks for the day.

Exterior of the Screen Door General Store at Disney's Boardwalk Villas. The pink building has green wire letters above the glass doors.

I don’t know how many times I have purchased a t-shirt or stuffed animal from the parks and had it take up extra room in my backpack, or I had to carry around the giant Disney bag all day only to head back to the resort at the end of the night and see the exact item I purchased sitting on the shelf in the gift shop.

Exterior of Wilderness Lodge Mercantile at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. There is a wooden totem pole out front featuring Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and a bear.

I could have purchased the item that morning or the day before and brought it right back up to my room, carrying it for only a few minutes instead of hours.

Exterior of Zawadi Marketplace at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House. The sign for the store is to the right of the open entrance, and inside the store, you can see African-inspired souvenirs.

  1. Buy Now, Return Later

Now, this one might not seem like a great tip to start, but hear me out! The majority of the time, if you purchase an item at Disney World, it can be returned to any other merchandise location on Disney World property as long as you have the receipt and item. I would strongly recommend speaking to a Cast Member to confirm this policy before your purchase.

Display of colorful Minnie Ears at World of Disney in Disney Springs.

There have been a few times when I spot something in the parks on my way in, debate about purchasing it, and then decide to pick it up later because I don’t want to carry it around all day (see tip #1). However, when I decide it’s time to leave the park and head back to pick up that item, it’s no longer there. I have asked Cast Members if they have any more, and they have let me know it was a limited quantity or they will have more in a few days, usually once I have left to head back home.

Display of Olu Mele Souvenirs at Disney's Polynesian Villas Resort. Olu Mele is a turtle character who is a friend of Duffy's from Disney's Aulani Resort.

If there is something you are debating about getting, buy it right then. If you decide before you leave that you are not as in love with the item as you thought you would be or see something you liked more later, you can usually return it and get your money back. No harm, no foul.

  1. Checkout before your trip

If there is one thing I love as much as shopping, it’s a good budget. While pricing and inventory may not be the same on the website as in the parks or at the resorts, it’s a great way to figure out rough estimates of the items you may want to bring home on your next Disney trip.

Merchandise in the Resort Gift Shop at Disney's Beach Club Villas. There are multiple displays throughout the shop with light wood and sea shell sculptures around the displays.

As an out-of-country park go-er, I can always justify bringing home merchandise as “souvenirs”, compared to paying the high shipping fees from ordering online.

Display of brown leather Wilderness Lodge Minnie Ears sitting on a table.

I also find that looking at the merchandise online before my trip adds to the excitement. It’s something I always add to my planning process, and it’s a great way to get everyone involved. You can share opinions on items or even plan to split items, like board games or puzzles, to share custody once you’re back home.

Merchandise in the Resort Gift Shop at Disney's Boardwalk Villas. There are multiple displays throughout the shop featuring bright souvenirs.

  1. World of Disney

My final and most important tip is to go to the World of Disney at Disney Springs. While this store does not have everything, there is a lot of merchandise here, including seasonal merchandise, pins, ears, hats, clothes, housewares, stuffed animals, jewelry, shoes, tech accessories, games, and specialty-themed items, like Disney Princesses, Marvel, Star Wars, and so much more!

World of Disney Sign on the dark wood building.

If this is the only spot you visit at Disney Springs, it will definitely be worth it. I like to visit on my first day to set the tone of my trip and see if I can find any of the items I have been wishing for. I never leave this store empty-handed.

Mannequins on Display in the World of Disney.

I hope all my years of shopping and dollars spent have finally paid off and I was able to help someone with their shopping needs. And remember, every penny you save when you book with us is free money to use for souvenirs. Here’s to finding the perfect souvenir to remember your most magical vacation!



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