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9 Points To Know About Shopping At Walt Disney World

9) Not every store carries the same merchandise

A lot of guests tend to breeze through gift shops at the end of attractions because “it’s all the same stuff, I’ll buy it on my way out of the park.” Sometimes this is the case, but sometimes it isn’t. Yes, there will be some Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise in the Emporium, which you’ll walk by on your way out of the Magic Kingdom, but the bulk of the merchandise will be at the attraction. If you see something specific to where you are, but think you’ll just buy it on your way out, think again, because even the big stores near the front of the park do not carry everything from the other gift shops.

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8) You can ship merchandise to the front of the park

One major reason why some guests would prefer to shop on their way out of the park is so that they don’t have to carry everything they bought with them. Thankfully, Disney has found a way around this issue. If you make a purchase (as long as it is not food or drinks) you can simply fill out a form at the register, and pick up the items at the front of the park when you exit. This service can take a couple of hours for the items to get there, so make sure you’ll be spending some more time in the park before you do this, but it can be a great way to buy what you want, when you want it, without carrying it around with you all day.

7) Or back to your resort

If you’d rather not pick up your items at the front of the park, you can also have the items sent back to your resort, where you can pick them up in the main gift shop at your convenience. This service does require 24 hours, so you should not elect to do this if you’re checking out the next day, but this is another really convenient way to purchase everything you want without carrying it around for the rest of your day. (And best of all, it’s a complimentary service!)

6) Or back home!

While not complimentary like the other two options, (it varies by the items purchased) you can choose to have the items shipped directly from the shop where you’re purchasing them to your home. I imagine this is going to be going out of style a little bit with the Shop Disney Parks app, (only because I assume the app is the cheaper way to ship things home) but if you have no budget to stick to and want the most convenience out of a Disney shopping experience, this could be the way to go.

5) Look for deals

I know, I know, Disney gift shops are not exactly the best place to find a deal, but occasionally it happens– mostly on plush, playsets, and pin accessories but hey it’s something! Read the signs with the prices carefully while browsing the shops. Occasionally you can come across a deal where the price per item is cheaper if you buy more than one, which can actually work out perfect if you have more than one child, more than one pin addict in your party, etc…

4) And purchase with purchases!

Purchase with purchases are essentially Disney’s extra little sales pitches that you can find at the registers. They’re usually items like blankets, tote bags, or pin lanyards. The deal would be something like, “Spend $40, and get the pin set and lanyard for $19.99.” It’s a good deal for what’s included in the lanyard, and it’s the only way you’re able to get that specific product. (As a side note, and as a former merchandise cast member, please do not get upset at the cast member at the register if you can’t purchase the item separately without spending the initial amount of money. It was not the cast member’s decision to make the item’s sale work this way, and they will still do everything in their power to help you with whatever you need while shopping.)

3) Check out the outlets

There are actually a few outlet stores just outside Walt Disney World property that are official stores, meaning they carry discontinued or extra unsold merchandise at a much lower cost. It can be kind of hit or miss about whether or not they’ll carry a specific item that you’re looking for, but it can be a nice way to save money on souvenir shopping if you’re able to leave Disney property during your trip. It’s also important that if you see something you like at the outlets, you buy it that day, because their inventory is primarily based on leftover items from the parks, so once it’s gone, it’s really gone.

2) Shop at World of Disney

If you’re looking to get all (or at least most) of your souvenir shopping done in one trip to a store, World of Disney located at Disney Springs is the place to go. I especially like going to World of Disney if I’m shopping for souvenirs for friends and family at home or Christmas gifts, because there are so many different things that you’re able to find in one place that way. Just be careful if you’re putting off buying other items from the park until you go to World of Disney however, because while they do carry tons of Disney merchandise, they don’t necessarily carry every item from the parks.

1) Know what discounts you can use

There are actually some ways to get discounts on merchandise at Walt Disney World, so it’s important to know what you’re eligible for. If you’re an annual passholder, Disney Vacation Club member, or using a Disney Visa card on a purchase that’s over $50, you’re eligible for a 10% discount. Just make sure that if you are eligible for a discount, you have the accompanying discount cards and identification, and you’re polite if the cast member asks that the payment come directly from the person with the discount. While it might sound silly that your friend cannot use your passholder discount, or that the cast member cannot see your passholder status from your Magic Band alone, the person at the register is simply doing their job and following the rules, so please do not give them a hard time if this happens. Know what discounts you can use, and how to use them before your trip, and happy shopping!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.