I decided to do a little series on some of my favorite things around Disney World. Sort of like a “best of the best” things in WDW. This is, of course, completely my opinion, but if you didn’t want my opinion would you even be on this site right now? uhhh no, no you wouldn’t.
Here are the Diva families FAVORITE places to SHOP!
*Important Diva tip – Why carry your bags around with you the whole day? They just weigh down your stroller or backpack. Instead have your items sent to the front of the park and pick them up as you leave, or if you’re staying on property just have them sent to your resort’s gift-shop for pick up. This is a FREE SERVICE and will save you a lot of hassle (as well as eliminate the chances of the item being broken or lost before you even leave the park).
In Magic Kingdom
The Emporium has everything, BUT it is always insanely crowded. We rarely purchase in the Emporium, but find it to be the most excellent short cut to avoid crowded Main Street, especially at park open. (more of that in “best shortcuts” to follow in this series…)
For Christmas ornaments: Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (Liberty Square) : Diva family tradition dictates that a ornament must be purchased for EACH Disney trip. This shop has the coolest selection and although the Christmas store in Downtown Disney has larger quantities we never miss Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe.
For Trading Pins: Frontier Trading Post (Frontierland) : “Tinkerbelle” often sneaks her treats for 8year old son from this store. LOTS of great pins here to pick from and nicely laid out.
For small knick-knacks: Mickey’s Star Traders & Merchant of Venus (Tomorrowland) : These two stores, which are practically next door to one another, are usually where I find any other odds and ends that might make good souvenirs or “Tinkerbelle” gifts for the children behaving.
For all things Mickey: Mouse Gear (Future World): **DIVA’S FAVORITE SHOP AT WDW** If I’m going to drop some money at Disney World THIS is where I’m going to do it. Mouse Gears is a better-laid-out version of the Emporium in MK that is nowhere NEAR as crowded. There are always some really cool t-shirts, hats, flip flops, purses, jewelry, photo frames, kids stuff (dress up, clothing & stuffed animals/toys), kitchen accessories, watches, you name it-Mouse Gear has it. And its easier to find!! LOVE this store, it is my main-stay for shopping each trip.
For old-school Epcot T-shirts: Imageworks (Future World- Imagination! Pavilion. go inside the triangle that houses the Journey to Imagination Ride). If you ever went to Epcot when you were a child you will recognize some of the old-school designs, very 80’s classic with the faded look. A unique way to “wear” Disney while at WDW, and not be embarrassed when you get home.
The Diva Family does not buy any souvenirs from any of the countries because we much prefer to buy souvenirs because we have actually BEEN to a country/ attraction, not because we have been to a replication of that place. But that’s just us. When we go to Japan or Morocco we will buy Japanese or Moroccan things, till then we will buy DISNEY WORLD things, since that’s where we ACTUALY are. (This doesn’t apply to food and drinks because I would die at WDW without an éclair from France’s patisserie. )
There’s nothing specific I buy at Hollywood Studios, its sort of just mulling around. Their main shop , Mickeys of Hollywood, is always insanely crowded and is just terribly laid out, so I recommend you avoid it all together. I will tell you that I prefer the small-shop shopping on Sunset Boulevard to that of Hollywood Boulevard.
For neat Adult clothing: Island Mercantile- Discovery Island: I’m trying to picture the name of the place that has the cool clothes I like and I THINK this is the one. Please forgive me if its not. I don’t shop in AK all that frequently either (especially since the Diva family considers this a 1/2 day park). If I remember correctly it has some nice shirts. polo-style and Hawaiian style as well as some dresses that were very unique for WDW.
As in world showcase, the Diva’s don’t buy African or Asian souvineers while at WDW because they plan on actually going to Africa one day and would hate to have a friend see something in our house and say “oh did you get that in Africa?” and we say “nah, we got it at Disney World”. hahahaha
Overall I have found that most of the items in resort gift shops are unique TO RESORTS and are not found all over the parks. This includes some toys or other accessories. So if you find something in your resort shop you like, buy it there as there’s no guarantee you’ll find it anywhere else (and vice versa).
For tasty beverages: Your Resorts cafeteria: I highly recommend that you buy the refillable cups at your resort. Its worth the money as you will easily drink more coffee/ juice/ soft-drinks & water than you will pay for the cup, plus you get a nice mug to remember your trip by. We honestly recommend this to everyone. ESPECIALLY if you make frequent trips in close proximity to one another. They change the mug image every few years, BUT I’ve never seen anybody stop anybody for using an outdated mug and that’s just the honest truth. If you do ever have that happen please let me know and I’ll correct this as I don’t want people getting into trouble.
For nice accessories and unique shirts for kids/adults: The Contemporary’s gift shop. I love this gift-shop. I just love the neat things I find in there and its set-up. It also has many items I rarely see at other places on Disney property. It is honestly a relaxing place to shop in my opinion and a great time-filler while waiting on your dining reservation at either Chef Mickeys or California Grille.
For MORE nice accessories and unique finds: The Screen Door General Store at Boardwalk Resort. I also really like the General Store at Boardwalk. Again, I just always seem to find things there that I don’t see at other stores on-property.
Obviously, Downtown Disney is the mother-load for Disney Shopping, but it just doesn’t have the same feel to me as shopping in parks. If I’m buying its probably at one of these stores:
For anything that I looked at multiple times in the park and never bought – World of Disney. This is LITERALLY the largest Disney character store ON EARTH. And it feels that way. If you are looking for it, and its Disney-fied, then you will find it here. Common purchase for the Divas are kitchen accessories (oven mitts, coffee cups), scarves (best selection of cute, discreet, mickey mouse dresses where the pattern is cleverly woven in allowing you to continue to be mad about the Mouse without everybody thinking you’re a freak of nature. I wear my scarves all winter long and people rarely seem to recognize the pattern), costume jewelry – at least one watch, ring, or pair of earrings will always be bought here (unless I already got them at Mouse Gears). *Warning, this store is always packed, EXTREMELY EASY TO GET LOST/ SEPEAREATED FROM YOUR FAMILY IN, AND JUST GENERALLY OVERWHELMING* Like I said, different feel from shopping in park. I normally feel more rushed and frantic in World of Disney (so more impulse buys maybe?)
For tweens and/or teens – TrenD Really some super cute and unique things in TrenD. Love some of their Alice-styled things. Mostly has things that my right thigh couldn’t even fit in though, so that’s why I suggested the tweens/teens.
For SERIOUS Pin Collectors- Disney Pin Traders : If you’re looking for a pin and its not retired you’re likely to find it at the Downtown Disney Pin Traders shop. Its huge huge huge. (I personally don’t do pin trading, but know many people who are obsessed with it. We use them with my son to mark rides he’s been on and collect the ride pins exclusively).
For kitchen accessories – Mickey’s Pantry – I usually get something that can go in my kitchen at Mickey’s Pantry. While our kitchen is in no-way overrun with Disney things there are some things I love like my measuring cups/ spoons, oven mitt, apron, wine glasses. So it’s a good way to bring a little mickey home with you and have something replaced that you “got as a wedding gift 10 years ago”. haha
For posters/ paintings – The Art of Disney – Each time we leave Magic Kingdom I drool over the vintage ride and movie posters in the exit tunnels. They are simply magnificent and one day I swear I’ll buy one, and when I do I’ll know where I can go to get one – The Art of Disney. They have a touch-screen computer there that allows you to find every kind of Disney art-work you could imagine. If you’d like a beautiful poster or painting, here’s the place to find it.
And there you go, here’s all the best shopping at Disney (in my opinion!) Hope you’ll check out some of these shops and tell me what you think. Do YOU have a favorite store here you think other visitors should check out? Comment here and tell us what you normally buy there. This site gets over 300 views a day so you really could be helping many people out.