Six Savvy Souvenir Shopping Tips for Disney World

The Walt Disney Company knows how to create magical experiences whether it is a Disney character meal that gives you a chance to give Mickey Mouse a hug or a show that just makes you smile.

Somehow Disney also extends this magic to shopping. The merchandise that Disney offers is presented in ways that just make you want to buy lots of stuff. The merchandise itself is high quality and carries a corresponding high price.

Because many of us have closets that are overflowing and bank accounts that aren’t as full as we would like, it’s important to be a savvy souvenir shopper at Disney World.

Here are six tips for making the most of your Disney shopping experiences:

1 – Look for Free Stuff

Did you know that you can actually get some free stuff at Disney World? Did you know that some of these free items can make nice souvenirs? No, you aren’t likely to find any free t-shirts with Mickey Mouse on them, but you can get items like guide maps and celebrate buttons (both available at the entrance to each theme park and at Guest Services), stick puppets to color at the Kidcot stations in Epcot, and Disney-branded soaps and shampoos for those folks staying at a Disney Resort Hotel. Often these little remembrances are plenty for a kid back home or for helping you get a dose of Disney magic between visits.

Guide maps can be a fun and free little souvenir.
Guide maps can be a fun and free little souvenir.

2 – Buy Stuff You Will Use

Disney has quite a way of making everything look wonderful in their shops even if the merchandise doesn’t fit your style at all. Before you make a purchase, think a bit about whether the item which looks so good in the Emporium will be something you will actually use or wear once you get back home. Does it fit your style? Do you have a place for it?

3 – Buy Consumable Gifts

If your house is overflowing with too much stuff, buying something that you can use up is a good idea. This is also a good idea if you are purchasing something as a gift for someone back home. Consider purchasing cookies, caramel corn, tea, a note pad, a pen, or something else that you or they can use up and enjoy without adding to your feather dusting routine.

Cookies are a great gift.
Cookies are a great gift.

4 – Look for Disney Store Discounts

Although you may see an occasional promotion that will encourage you to buy more, you won’t often see merchandise on sale at Walt Disney World. However, the Disney Store online carries some of the same merchandise you can find in the parks and sometimes offers it as a discount. Take advantage of your smart phone, tablet, and Disney’s free Wifi to do a quick check online for more expensive items. If you are a super savvy shopper, you might even take this a step further for expensive items to see if you can get a deal on Ebay.  Also look at your dining receipts. At the bottom of most dining receipts is a coupon for 15% off at certain Disney stores including World of Disney in Disney Springs.

5 – Think About Transportation

As you select your treasures, remember that you still need to get them home. If you are into snow globes and you are flying, remember that the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) will not allow liquids in your carry-on items, so you will need to put the snow globe in your checked luggage. Be sure to pack it securely so it doesn’t get broken. In the same way, some large and bulky items like toys or art can be difficult to get back home.

Snow globes can't got in carry-on luggage on the plane.
Snow globes can’t got in carry-on luggage on the plane.

6 – Ask for Discounts

While you won’t usually find sales, you might find discounts at Disney World merchandise shops. You always have to ask if a particular discount is applicable, and you have to ask the Cast Member to apply it. Here are a few that you may be able to use which usually provide a 10% discount on select merchandise in select locations:

  • Disney annual pass holders
  • Disney Visa by Chase for merchandise purchases of $50 or more
  • Disney Vacation Club member
  • Disney Cast Members
  • AAA members for merchandise at the World of Disney in Disney Springs

These discounts do change occasionally, so be sure to ask when you are at the register.

What is your best savvy Disney souvenir shopping tip?