10. Check your restaurant receipts
A couple of times per year, Disney offers discounts off of merchandise at certain locations, and at certain times of day, to guests who have previously dined at certain quick service restaurants. You’ll know if this is the case for you, because the bottom of your restaurant receipt will instruct you to present the receipt at the specific merchandise location at the specific time to receive the discount. If you do happen to have one of these receipts, just make sure you follow the instructions carefully. The discount is really only valid at the location and times mentioned, and bringing the receipt into a different shop will be useless, as there is no way for the cast member to work around the receipt’s instructions on Disney’s register system.
9. Give kids a spending limit
If you’re worried that the kids might drive you crazy wanting to buy everything they see, consider giving them a limit as to how much they can each spend. I’d recommend loading the money onto Disney gift cards, so they can use them on their own and see how much money they have remaining.
8. Check the outlets
There are a couple of Disney stores located in the outlets around the Orlando area. If you’re able to get over to the outlets, you might find yourself saving a lot of money. The Disney outlets, my favorite being the Character Warehouse, located at the Orlando Premium Outlets, generally sells the surplus items of what is sold in the park. I’ve had some great luck here with things like beach towels, Disney makeup collections, and pins, along with a variety of seasonal items.
7. Buy practical gifts
The most difficult part about shopping in Disney is buying gifts for friends and family at home who might not be the biggest Disney fans. If you find yourself shopping for someone who isn’t the Mouse’s biggest fan, I’d suggest either heading to World Showcase, where you can find plenty of non-Disney themed gifts or to World of Disney at Disney Springs, where you can find a number of more practical and useful items, with a subtle Disney theme to them.
6. Know what discounts are available
Believe it or not, Disney does offer some merchandise discounts. If you’re a Disney Vacation Club member, annual pass holder, or using a Disney Visa card on a purchase of $50 or more, simply tell the merchandise cast member that’s ringing you out. You’ll need to show your discount card for the first two instances, as well as a photo ID, and the form of payment needs to come from the person who the discount belongs to.
5. Look for deals
Sometimes you can actually find deals at Walt Disney World. Every now and then there are specials where if you buy multiples of the same items in one transaction you can get them for a discounted price. This is generally the case with plastic character playsets, ornaments, glasses, or plush.
4. Don’t carry your purchases through the park
If you’re staying at a Disney resort, the items you purchased can be sent back to your resort’s gift shop. And if you’re not staying at a Disney resort, they can be sent to package pick up at the front of the park.
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3. Check the Disney Parks section of the Disney Store website
Some of the merchandise sold in the parks can be found online through the official Disney Store website. Check what merchandise is available there before your trip, so that if you want any of those items you know you can easily have them shipped home instead of trying to figure out how to get them home from the parks.
2. Don’t shop at the beginning of your trip
I suggest not shopping at the beginning of your trip for two major reasons—you’ll make more impulse buys if you shop too quickly, ending up with more items than you need or want, and you’ll spend more money quicker than you would have liked, and on impulse buys at that. Unless it’s something you really like and feel like you need to have, take some time to think it over.
1. If you see something you like, buy it
This point is what I mean by that last sentence. Disney’s inventory of items seems to change almost instantly, so if you see something you really like and need to have, just buy it. You never know when merchandise will be discontinued or moved around, so it is better for your own peace of mind to buy the things you feel you need to own.