• strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_many_to_one::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /var/www/html/sc/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument_many_to_one.inc on line 169.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /var/www/html/sc/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.

Best and Worst Shopping Experiences

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday is upon us.  The day shopping deals are abundant and the green flag drops on the official holiday shopping season.  Well, you may not find a ton of shopping deals at Walt Disney World, but there are some places you may enjoy to shop for your favorite Disney souvenir or you may avoid because you don’t find the merchandise appealing.  So grab your annual pass or cast member card and let’s take a look at some of our favorite places to shop or places to avoid in Walt Disney World. 

There are a ton of options when it comes to shopping at Walt Disney World.  It seems everywhere we turn we are confronted with a souvenir shop with Disney clothing, novelties, jewelry, and various knick-knacks.  As you probably are well aware the souvenirs at Disney World are duplicated among several shops.  You may see a t-shirt at one shop and develop double-vision when you visit another shop at a resort hotel.  Trust me you don’t have double-vision.  You probably are seeing the same t-shirt.  Over the years the merchandise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland has become homogenized.  You’ll see the same merchandise in several Disney theme parks and resort hotels.  Specific theme park and resort merchandise is disappearing; although some have reported an increase in resort specific merchandise, but it is still lacking.  With this in mind finding a good shopping outlet is tough to stumble across.  Here are a few of mine based on unique merchandise, theming, and layout. 

Mouse Gear – EPCOT’s Future World

This is by far my favorite general merchandise shop at Walt Disney World.  I love the mechanical and futuristic theming of the shop.  Mouse Gear recently finished an interior refurbishment.  I was a bit worried the shop would lose some character after the refurbishment, but my worries were premature.  It really looks better than it did before. 

This shop is bigger than you think.  Although there are a lot of places to walk and several spaces to view your purchases this store still fills-up and can get crowded at times, especially when EPCOT closes at night.  You will find a lot of the same homogenized merchandise throughout this shop, however you can stumble across some specific EPCOT merchandise you won’t find in the other theme parks or resorts.  This includes some retro EPCOT merchandise like old logo t-shirts.  This is some of my favorite merchandise. 

Sid Caheunga's One-of-a-Kind – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This store is my favorite unique shop in all of Disney World.  Located just to the left as you enter Hollywood Studios Sid’s is a great place to visit to see very unique movie star memorabilia.  Although I’ve never bought anything from this store I love just looking at the various pieces to see who’s on display, what famous star has signed the piece, what they’ve quoted, and how much each piece costs.  You won’t find inexpensive merchandise here.  If you plan on purchasing something in Sid’s bring your plastic because you probably won’t be carrying the cash required to make a purchase.  It’s a great weight-loss strategy.  Walk into Sid’s full of cash and walk out much lighter in the wallet.  In all seriousness, Sid’s is a great place to visit to admire the memorabilia.  If you find yourself discovering inside Hollywood Studios make it a point to visit Sid’s.  It’s great place to see the stars both old and new. 

Christmas Shops

I’m a sucker for Christmas merchandise.  There’s something about the Christmas stores at Walt Disney World that bring out the Christmas spirit in all of us.  It’s kind of funny, but I can walk into one of the Christmas shops in Disney World and instantly become in the Christmas spirit even in the middle of the summer.  I’m very grateful they are open year-round.  The three Christmas stores I enjoy are the Christmas Shop at Downtown Disney, It’s a Wonderful Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom.  The Christmas Shop at Downtown Disney has more of a selection of Christmas merchandise simply because it’s twice the size.  Again, you will find similar Christmas merchandise, but you have more of an expansive selection at Downtown Disney.  If you enjoy Christmas as much as I do you’ll love these shops.  If you didn’t know any better you’d swear there was snow right outside the doorstep and Christmas was only a few days away. 

Team Mickey – Downtown Disney’s Marketplace

This is the place to shop if you are a sports enthusiast like me.  You will find all of Disney’s athletic merchandise at this location.  Even some “Run Disney” merchandise is available.  If you are looking for that athletic fit from brands like Nike and Adidas you’ll find it here.  Also available is Disney golf apparel and your favorite team’s logo merchandise from the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA.   

World of Disney – Downtown Disney’s Marketplace

This is the largest shopping outlet at Walt Disney World, but unfortunately it’s my least favorite to visit.  The merchandise at this location seems to be a “catch-all” for all of the other homogenized merchandise across property.  I know some of you may really like it and Disney does consider it their flagship store, but I rarely find anything in this shop that appeals to me.  It seems to be the very same merchandise you can get everywhere else.  I guess if you are looking for that last minute item and don’t know where else to go a visit to this store might be in order.  Otherwise, I avoid it as much as possible simply because it’s usually extremely crowded and the merchandise is nothing special. 

Downtown Disney’s West Side

I rarely find myself at Downtown Disney’s West Side.  I recently wondered why and then it hit me.  Most of the shops here are places I can visit when I’m at home.  There’s really no particular reason to visit the West Side unless you plan to see Cirque Du Soleil – La Nouba or see a movie at the AMC Dine-In Theater.  The House of Blues isn’t a bad place to visit either, but if you plan on shopping save it for when you return home.  Most of the shopping outlets are places you can find in or around your local mall. 

A shopping experience at Walt Disney World can be very objective depending on each guest’s wants and needs, or even what they enjoy most.  My selections are merely what I personally enjoy.  Your shopping ideas may differ from mine completely.  Just keep in mind there are a few unique shopping experiences at Walt Disney World.  Sometimes they are hidden and other times they are in plain sight.  If you are looking for general souvenir merchandise you can pretty much pop into any theme park or shopping outlet. 

If you happen to find yourself at Disney World on Black Friday don’t forget to look for those red and white clearance price tags.  You never know when a bargain maybe awaiting you, but don’t count on it as they aren’t very abundant.  In the meantime keep your eyes peeled for those unique items in the Disney theme parks and resorts.  If you thought you saw something twice you probably did.  It’s not déjà vu or double-vision.  You’ve simply stumbled on Disney merchandise homogenization where the same Disney Parks souvenirs are in different shops.  Happy Black Friday!  All of us at Studioscentral.com hope you find terrific bargains and fantastic deals. 

Friend Aaron on Facebook:  I accept reader friend requests.   

About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


You can stay up to date with A World of Opportunity with these RSS feeds

World of Opportunity RSS Feed
Studios Central RSS Feed

More columns