The Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Walt Disney World

It is a well-known adage that time flies; perhaps you wish you could be a kid again and enjoy your trip to Walt Disney World more thoroughly. True, being a child helps when you’re visiting Orlando, Florida’s theme park wonderland, but there is certainly much more to do here than kiddy rides and cheap souvenirs. Consider Walt Disney World as a savvy shopping destination; you can find some great buys here that will make your trip to the Magic Kingdom even more memorable.

Remember that everyone’s a kid when they visit Disney World! On that note, your first shopping stop should be the Chapeau on the architecturally stunning Main Street. (You might be interested to know that Main Street is designed after the town in which Walt Disney grew up). Here you can pick out “Mickey Ears” and the helpful staff will even embroider your name on the back! It may seem silly, but it’s Disney World; visitors reserve the right to be a little bit silly!

My daughter felt she was a bit old for “the ears” when we visited but then leaving on the monorail, we noticed two teenage boys (and we all know how teenage boys prize their image) wearing Mickey Ears with their names embroidered on the backs! Needless to say, this made her feel much better. Getting the ears is a must-do shopping experience at Disney World.

We also knew that we had to visit the souvenir shop inside the base of Cinderella’s Castle. The beautiful murals covering the walls outside of the shop were quite enough reason to visit, but we were impressed with the intimate atmosphere of the shop; there were very few people and a huge selection of everything from photo albums to models to pillows, and everything in between.

In the fun pavilion known as Adventureland, where you can enjoy a cool ice cream treat and rest under the shade for a few special moments, there is a place called Pirates Bazaar. You can find clothing, jewelry, ship memorabilia, pirate “stand-bys” like eye-patches and peg-legs, and much more. If you enjoy nautical souvenirs or just happen to like the romanticism of pirates, you won’t go away empty handed. If you are a fan of the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean, you will find many items pertaining to the movie here.

In the rootin’ tootin’ Frontierland you will find the Frontier Trading Post and small outsize bazaar areas that offer many unique and fun items. I can vouch for the leather name bracelets; pick a bracelet, choose the charm you want embossed into the bracelet, and wait for the armband to be “branded” with the name of your choice. It’s an artsy gift that looks great on both kids and adults, for a reasonable price and makes an excellent souvenir. You will find Native American and Old West items at the Trading Post in this area of the park also.

If there are Disney-related items you weren’t able to find elsewhere on your trip through the park, chances are you’ll find it at the Emporium. This is Magic Kingdom’s premium souvenir stop, carrying tons of Disney gifts and souvenirs. You may want to plan this for the end of your “Disney Day” so that you will not need to carry packages around more then necessary.

While you’re in the vicinity of Main Street, check out The Art of Disney where you can purchase animated goodies (for a price!) or stop by Arribas Brothers, where you’ll find magnificent European-style glassware. Cirque Du Soleil Shop carries items related to Disney’s renowned circus, and the Candy Cauldron offers tons of treats for both kids and kids-at-heart.

Main Street even sports a pet shop! It’s called Disney Tails, and you can find pet favorites like food, play things, and tags, flavored by Walt Disney art. Disney’s Days of Christmas is a great place to find holiday items such as a special dated ornament or whimsical home decor. For a cool souvenir that it’s guaranteed no one else will have, stop in at Superstar Studios. Your little dude or dudette (or you, if you’re musically inclined!) can record your best work to your favorite music or make a smashing video. Then you can purchase a copy of your performance to take home with you! This is definitely one of Main Street’s best shopping surprises.

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