As with so many other things, Disney does shopping well. From shops with fun themes to terrific displays to the high quality merchandise itself, you could literally spend days and unlimited funds exploring, enjoying, and participating in all the shopping that Disney has to offer.
While you may want to allocate some of your vacation time to shopping at Disney, you probably don’t want to dedicate too much time to shopping and miss out all the other fun that Disney has to offer. After all, finding the perfect Mickey Mouse plush toy is great, but not if you miss the chance to see Mickey Mouse in a show, give him a hug at a Disney character greeting, and share a meal with him at a Disney character dining event.
Much of this comes down to these top six Disney shopping strategy decisions.
Unless you are independently wealthy, you probably want to set a budget for your merchandise expenditures. Most adults do this, either formally with a written plan or informally with an idea in their head.
Dealing with shopping when it comes to kids can be a greater challenge. Many parents find it helpful to set a budget for their kids. Allow them to use money they have earned to spend as they wish, perhaps giving them some extra money at the start of the vacation – since we all know that the merchandise at Disney World is very expensive.
2 – Decide On Time
While many people think about planning the financial side of their Disney shopping experience, they don’t necessarily think about planning the timing side of their shopping. And not having at least some plan for your shopping time can create issues.
Here are some questions to consider and decide upon:
3 – Decide On Spontaneous Vs Planned
Will you be spontaneous sometimes or all the time, and stop in stores to browse, or will you set aside specific dates and times dedicated to shopping? Of course you want to be flexible. If you may have 15 minutes to blow before you can use a FastPass, the time can be well spent checking out a store, but have an overall approach.
4 – Decide On Disney Springs
Will you spend some time at Disney Springs? It is home to the world’s largest Disney merchandise store as well as many other specialty shops. It also has plenty of fun restaurants and entertainment such as Disney Quest, Cirque du Soleil, and the House Of Blues. Disney Springs can be a great way to spend an evening when you visit a park that closes early during the day, like Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
5 – Decide On Browsing Vs. Buying
This one is hard. With so many goodies to look at, you need to balance the feelings of “I saw the perfect souvenir the first day” vs. “I may see something better later on”. Because Disney is huge, you may not get back to the special store you visited on your first day. On the other hand, many types of merchandise are available in many different stores.
6 – Decide On Off-Site Vs. On-Site
There is something special about buying a souvenir in the Emporium on Main Street USA. The atmosphere is magical, but that buying experience is also expensive. Decide if you will make purchases before or after your Disney vacation. Sometimes having a new toy before going to Disney World can save you lots of shopping time while you are there. Also, you can save big bucks if you take note of your favorite souvenirs and then purchase things like trading pins on eBay. Beyond all that, there are plenty of outlets in Orlando – including the Character Warehouse which is located in the Orlando Premium Outlets, not far from Disney.
Plan, But Have Fun
There are plenty of considerations for your shopping plans at Disney World. Take a little time to think through these topics, but remember to be flexible and have fun. There are no perfect approaches, and always keep in mind: you are on vacation.