Together with shows, attractions, and dining, shopping is one of the most popular things to do at Disney World. After all, purchasing some Disney merchandise is a great way to help you remember the joys of your vacation and bring a little magic home to decorate your house – or share that magic with others who weren’t fortunate to join you on your vacation.
But with buying stuff on vacation comes with this age-old question: How do you get it home?
If you are driving and didn’t go on a mega-shopping spree, you can probably fit your new goodies in your car.
But if you are flying from your home to Disney World, you have a different challenge to overcome – how to get your treasures safely back home.
Fortunately there are six different ways that you get your loot back home:
1 – Bring An Extra Suitcase
Approach: Bring an additional suitcase on your trip, either by putting it inside another or checking it with the airline separately. Now you can fill up this empty suitcase with your newly purchased Disney merchandise and check it as luggage with the airlines.
Pros: This approach will give you plenty of extra shipping space at a fixed price – as long as the weight doesn’t go over the airline’s limits. And if you have an airline-sponsored credit card, you might even be able to get your extra, Disney-filled suitcase on your flight for free.
Cons: For many folks there will be an extra fee for an extra piece of luggage. Also, airlines aren’t known for being especially good at gently handling luggage – and sometimes they aren’t know for even getting it to its destination at all. Some especially delicate items (like glass collectibles) or simulated guns, swords, or water-filled snow globes might also present their own problems.
2 – Ship From The Store At Disney World
Approach: Most stores on Disney property will pack and ship your item directly from where you purchase it in the store to your home. Ask the Disney Cast member about this option when you buy your merchandise at the register.
Pros: How easy can it get? You don’t have to carry your gifts around the parks, to your hotel, to the airport, etc. Most consider that Disney does an excellent job of packing your goods securely, so they are more likely to make it home safe and sound.
Cons: Convenience comes at a price. Disney charges a fixed fee based on the amount of your purchase – currently starting at about $10 shipping for up to $50 in purchases, up to $40 shipping for $500 in purchases. Prices for shipping outside the continental United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, can be significantly higher.
3 – Ship From A Disney Convention Center Business Office
Pros: These business centers will securely pack and ship anything you bring in to them, from the giant posters you used at your business meeting presentation to the handbag you purchased at the Orlando Outlet stores. They will only charge you based on the standard FedEx or UPS shipping prices, plus a small handling fee, and they sell plenty of supplies like boxes, packing materials, tape, etc. to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Cons: If you aren’t staying near one of Disney’s convention centers, then getting yourself and your stuff there can be a bit of a hassle – especially if you don’t have a car. And these business offices generally close at 5pm or 7pm. Call ahead to check their hours of operation.
4 – Ship From An Offsite Location
Approach: There is nothing that says you have to work through Disney to ship your stuff. There are independent shipping locations located nearby Disney property. There is a FedEx Office (formerly known as Kinkos) not far from Disney Springs, and a UPS Store in the nearby city of Celebration.
Pros: Just like the business office locations, these nice folks will ship anything you want. The FedEx Office location at 12181 S Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836 is open 24 hours a day and is also nicely equipped to help with any printing and desktop design services you might need. As always, call ahead to confirm the store’s details.
Cons: You will need to find and get to these locations, which could be a hassle.
5 – Buy Online – From Disney Or Elsewhere
Approach: Recently Disney has been adding tons of merchandise that was only available at the theme parks to its on-line store, DisneyStore.com. From hats to clothing, from jewelry to collectible figurines, you can find a lot of high-quality Disney merchandise on this site. If you are looking to purchase a book or music, you can check out the price and availability on your smart phone through sites like Amazon and Half.com.
Pros: You can shop from the convenience of your home, before or after your trip – or maybe even on your trip with your smart phone. You don’t need to haul anything anywhere. And Disney does run sales on the DisneyStore.com site of up to 20% off, plus offers free shipping with a minimum purchase amount.
Cons: If you aren’t buying something you saw in a store on Disney property, you don’t get the Disney shopping experience. You don’t get to see the color of the actual item with your own eyes, touch it, and feel it. You also miss out on the fun of being inside a Disney store with its fun displays and hustle and bustle. And you might not find everything you want.
6 – Buy From The Disney Merchandise Gift Services
Approach: Has this happened to you? You find an item in a Disney store but you aren’t quite sure if you want it. You think to yourself that you will get it later. Or in another shop. Then life gets in the way and you don’t get it at all. And you regret it. Fortunately, Disney has a service for this. It is called Disney Merchandise Gift Services, and they can pretty much help you purchase from home anything you see in a store on Disney property.
Pros: To use this option you need to be prepared. Get ready while you are looking at the item in Disney World. If you think you might want to use this service, your odds of finding the exact item you want will improve with the amount of information you have. Write down or take a photo of the product code on the price tag, as well as the price, description, and store where you found it. All this information will help the nice folks at Disney Merchandise Gift Services locate your item and get it to you.
Cons: There is a fee for this service. And sometimes they might not be able to locate your merchandise, either due to a mix up with descriptions or items being out of stock.
Have you ever shipped stuff from Disney World to home? How did it go?