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Resort Shopping – Best of the Best

Friday, November 23, 2012

Another Black Friday shopping holiday is upon us.  If you’re currently at Walt Disney World I highly doubt you’re giving up your attraction entertainment and dining at the theme parks to shop on Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it. 

Over the past year Disney has stepped-up their merchandise inside the resort hotels.  Case-in-point, we’ve seen the return of much more resort-specific merchandise.  My only disappointment is it seems the quality of T-shirts and sweatshirts have dropped.  The material and feel of the shirts seem to lack the quality than shirts in years past.  Nonetheless, there are still some great places to shop at the resort hotels if you are looking for that memorable vacation souvenir.  Let’s take a look at some of my favorite places to shop at the resort hotels as we celebrate another Black Friday. 

Everything Pop Gift Shop – Pop Century Resort

A huge gift shop that some say is the largest resort gift shop on Disney property (The new Art of Animation gift shop may be larger).  It’s full of retro colors and tie-dye patterns.  Most of the souvenirs at this gift shop are what you’d typically find in the theme parks, but there is a number of resort-specific merchandise that fits the resort’s decade theme. 

Bou-tiki – Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Whenever I enter the Great Ceremonial House (Polynesian main lobby longhouse) I immediately head for this gift shop.  It’s full of Polynesian-style gifts and even resort-specific merchandise.  This gift shop was recently renovated.  Disney did a great job with the renovations.  Animated tiki statues and dark brown woods flow through the shop giving it a fun festive Polynesian atmosphere.  This gift shop is my personal favorite of all the resort gift shops on property. 

Conch Flats General Store – Old Key West Resort

This gift shop is without a doubt the best DVC resort gift shop on Disney property.  Although it’s not very large it does have the best selection of DVC merchandise anywhere.  There’s also a vast selection of resort-specific merchandise in-stock.  The festive steel drum music puts you in the vacation mood as you look for that memorable souvenir.  Also available is a good selection of food and snack items to take back to your room (this is true at all DVC resorts). 

Zawadi Marketplace – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House

Zawadi means “The Gift” in Swahili; a perfect name for a gift shop in an African themed resort.  I must admit that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House may be my favorite resort on Disney property.  I usually spend time in the gift shop looking at the various African-style souvenirs.  This is the largest deluxe resort gift shop on property.  For some reason I never seem to purchase anything here.  Not that I’m a cheapskate, but the souvenirs don’t seem practical to me.  I like the look of African art, but just can’t see it hanging in my home.  The African percussion souvenirs (drums and such) also don’t seem practical since bringing them home would only result in a very noisy residence.  AHHHH!!!    

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

It’s not very often the smell of a resort gift shop will entice me to buy a souvenir, but this gift shop almost succeeds in doing it.  It’s very warm and appealing with a fireplace near the back.  This is another classic case of great Disney gift shop theming.  Lincoln logs stack the walls around the shop while resort-specific merchandise hangs from the tiered metal rods.  Recently, the shop added more resort-specific merchandise continuing this positive trend we are seeing across property. 

That’s my list of some of my favorite resort gift shops on property.  Oh!  And remember to use your discounts.  All of the Disney gift shops in the theme parks and at the resorts have been accepting annual pass discounts for the past year or two (10 or 20 percent) and recently DVC  and Disney Chase Visa cardholders can get discounts as well.  Be sure to ask if discounts are available because you never know when they might apply.  Using your discounts is not like Black Friday shopping, but every discount helps stretch your dollar further at Walt Disney World. 

If you enjoy visiting the resort gift shops or making impromptu shopping trips make sure to give my list a try.  They are some of the best on property.  I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to visit them, but if you’re in the area or staying at one of these resorts you should stop by and possibly pick-up some of the latest resort-specific merchandise.  Happy Black Friday shopping from all of us at Studioscentral.com

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About this column

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


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