Buying Disney Parks Merchandise From Home

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I know that many of you are able to resist the siren song of tee shirts and totes adorned with the image of Mickey, but not me. I find the Disney parks merchandise endlessly enticing, as evidenced by my home office being completely overtaken by Disney souvenirs.

Most of the time, I buy what I want while I’m visiting the parks and then move on, not making any more Disney purchases until my next trip to Florida. Yet every once in a while I think back to “the one that got away,” the perfect Disney memento that I wanted to buy, but didn’t. I call this my non-buyer’s remorse. And sometimes that remorse needs to be salved with an at-home purchase.

I didn't buy a Disney phone case when I was at the parks last week, but I wish I had :-(

Before I discuss how to get Disney merchandise at home, let’s talk about reasons why you might not have made a purchase during your vacation:

  • You’re concerned about luggage space. I often fly to Walt Disney World using only carry-on luggage. Because of this, I’m always hesitant to buy large or fragile souvenirs. This rules out big replicas of Cinderella castle, snow globes, mugs, and many Christmas ornaments.
  • You’re concerned about price. You have a fixed souvenir budget for your trip and the item you want falls outside your price limit.
  • You’re deciding between two items. Do you want the Mickey version or the Minnie version? You finally decide on the Minnie version, but then can’t find it again anywhere.
  • The item you want is theme park specific, but you’re not able to get back to that park. This can happen if you don’t have a park hopper ticket or if you run out of time before your departure.
  • The item is a gift for someone traveling with you and you don’t want them to see it.
  • You simply forget to pick up something you wanted.

Many merchandise items are similar. Be sure note details about exactly which item you want.

Lucky for me, there are solutions – ways to acquire Disney parks merchandise when you’re far away from the House of the Mouse.

  • Visit your local Disney Store. The retail Disney Store merchandise has very little overlap with the theme park merchandise. However, the items there may be similar enough to satisfy your needs.
  • Visit the Disney Store online. Over the past two years, DisneyStore.com has added much formerly park-only merchandise to its inventory. This includes toys, clothing, jewelery, collectibles, tech accessories, kitchenware, photo accessories, and even the iconic mouse ear beanies. Some of the clothing items can even be personalized.
  • Ask a friend. If you have small children, chances are you know someone, or several someones, who will be visiting the parks. It never hurts to ask whether they would be willing to grab that Dooney & Bourke bag you forgot to buy and bring it home for you.
  • A photo of the SKU tag can help locate your item.

  • Use the Disney Merchandise Department. Did you know that Disney has an entire department dedicated to finding theme park merchandise for guests and sending it to their homes? (I guess there are plenty of other regretful non-buyers like me out there.) There are two ways to contact Parks Merchandise: by phone at 407-363-6200 or by email at wdw.mail.order@disneyworld.com. The cast members there truly want to help, but to be most effective, they need as much information as possible. You can’t just say, “I want a Mickey shirt,” and expect them to know which one you need. This means being vigilant when you’re shopping. If there’s anything you think you might want, but are hesitant, make note of the item. Jot down where you saw it and a full description. Even better, take a photo of the item and the SKU number on the price tag. You can email this documentation to the Merchandise Department and they’ll be able to find the exact object of your desire. One your item is located, they can take credit card information via phone or email and ship the merchandise to your home or office. One caveat, the merchandise folks are unable to mail most food items. If you want to bring home park food (Chip & Dale pretzels anyone?), buy it while you’re there.
  • Use an independent Disney merchandise reseller. I can’t personally vouch for any particular reseller, but I have heard good things about the service from MagicalMemoriesStore.com and LaughingPlaceStore.com. Some resellers may even be willing to make a trip to the parks to pick up a particular item for you. Expect to pay either a flat fee or a percentage of the merchandise price for this service.
  • Many formerly park-only items can now be found at DisneyStore.com.

  • Try eBay. You need to be a smart shopper and stay aware of possible price gouging, but if you absolutely MUST have something that doesn’t exist through other channels, it’s certainly worth a shot.

In addition to providing a resource for post-trip shoppers, all of the above avenues can also be a source of merchandise before your trip. Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Moms Panel frequently ask for a source of Mickey ears that they can use as an at-home prop to tell their children about an upcoming trip. Similarly, many guests want to have an autograph book in hand before their trip.

While you can usually expect to pay a bit more Disney parks merchandise if you buy it from home, even if it’s just a shipping fee add-on, there may be instances when buying from home is less expensive. In particular, keep an eye out for sales at DisneyStore.com. Their deeply discounted end-of-season closeouts might be the perfect thing to bring to the parks with you as a “souvenir” to distract your children from full-price items during your trip.

What have your experiences been with buying Disney parks merchandise at locations other than the parks? Have you had merchandise sent to your home? What source did you use? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on January 11, 2012

16 Responses to “Buying Disney Parks Merchandise From Home”

  • Disney Merchandising has a toll free number, 877-560-6477. : ) They are great to work with if you have a problem with merchandise you have bought while at the Disney. Upon returning home from a trip in October, a Christmas ornament had broke on our way home, they replaced it free of charge and shipped it for free! I received a travel mug for Christmas from my mother in law that she had bought for me while vacationing with us. The mug was defective and leaked. I currently have a new mug on its way right now!

  • This takes me back to December of 2001. We were stationed in Monterey and had purchased annual passes for the family. While at Disneyland for my husbands birthday and Christmas, he saw a pocket watch with Walt and Mickey on it. It came in a Disney Railroad replica. But how to purchase it with him there?? I didn’t. After returning home, I got on the phone to Disney Merchandising and they were able to track down the watch and mail it to me. Imagine my husbands surprise when he opened that package for our wedding anniversary in February :)

  • Let me mention buying Disney merchandise *prior* to the trip—
    We make sure we purchase Princess dresses for our daughter prior to the trip– We do the hair and makeup at the BBB Boutique. But knowing we can get the same princess dresses for a fraction of the price, outside the parks. Places like Target have official and unofficial Disney merchandise much cheaper. Even going to a Disney Store, you will find the same merchandise, much cheaper than inside the park.
    Thus, we spend $30 on a Princess dress for our daughter to wear to Cinderella’s Castle, instead of $100+ in the park.

  • We have used the Disneystore.com several times for some items not avail at the stores (ie.personalized bags)& a theme park souvineer or two- they are great!
    However… there was a little mermaid towel that got away. We had bought one while in WDW in July and my DD decided she really wanted to give one to her BFF for her b-day. My brother was going down in Aug so we sent him a sku &texted a photo. They checked EVERYWHERE over 2 weeks- no luck. We checked Disneystore and called Disney merchandising and were told that it was no longer made. This was in only a 4wk time span between trips :(
    And a warning for Canadians: we tried Disney merchandising to buy a special pin we’d only been able to find a couple of in WDW (wanted one for each family member). We called when we got home and Merchandising had them! I was so happy- until the nice man on the phone said we really wouldn’t want them because they ship from California and it would cost over $80.00 USD to ship my 6 or 7 pins to Canada! Yikes. I had to decline… crossing my fingers they have them this summer.
    Perhaps this is Disney encouraging me to buy in bulk from now on?lol!

    • Wow. I had heard that shipping through Disney merchandise could get pricey, but that seems more than a little extreme. Your situation sounds like one that would be perfect for a reseller or eBay. Perhaps you could locate the pins through out of these avenues that could ship at cost.

  • Regarding the purchase of merchandise outside the park vs in the park – specifically the Princess dresses – the Disney Parks Authentic dresses sold in the parks and at the BBB are 10X nicer than the ones in the Disney store or non Disney. They are better made and much more detailed. Totally worth the $$ in my opinion.

    • To each their own. At the Disney stores (outside the parks), they have cheap versions of the dresses for $10-$20, and the high quality versions for $30-60.
      At the park, over $100. The ones at the park don’t look higher quality to my eye, but even if they are…. Personally, I’m not going to spend over $100 for a dress that my 5yo can wear for 1 dinner and then outgrow.

      • I’m with Adam on this one. While I do agree that the princesses dresses sold in the parks are of higher quality than those sold at discount stores or through Halloween specialty sites, that higher quality isn’t much of a factor for me.

        I have three daughters. During their princess years, their princess preference changed weekly. One day Ariel was “the thing” the next day it was Snow White. Their changing interests and speedy growth rate meant that even the most cherished dress had only a handful of hours of actual play use. I’d rather spend the money on another hotel night or something like a “real” Mickey watch with longer staying power.

  • Agree, to each their own. We only have 1 little princess and she’s probably a little spoiled. Oops…She’s done the BBB twice and loves the transformation feel of getting the dress there. Also, they’re not $100 – more like $60 something…

    • Maybe if you buy a dress separately on property…
      But if you are buying it as part of a BBB package, it really is much more than that. (Unless I’m missing something in the pricing).
      The hair & nails package (with sash and wand, etc) — Is $55
      The “Castle” package — including the same stuff as the hair & nails package, plus dress, shoes and photos — starts at $190.
      So that’s $135 for a dress, shoes, and a few photos.

  • Thanks Erin- I think I will try those other avenues for the pins.
    Re dresses: we’ve done it both ways- the dress package at BBB as a special b-day gift & last year she chose to bring one her Grandparents gave her (Disney Store)& she saved her allowance to get the BBB hair etc. I actually think both dresses were about $60. She was genuinely thrilled both times, but people actually complemented her more in her DS Tiana dress (often that they liked it better than the park version)& a CM gave her a “prettiest dress in fantasy land” certificate, which she loved. Sometimes different trips call for different choices I guess :)

  • Yep that’s about right. $60 for the dress, $35 for shoes, and about $40 for the picture. The shoes are actually regular flats that my DD5 wears all the time, they’re no different than ones you would get in a dept store – just disneyfied.. Last time we did it, we got a bigger size since the ones she had previously still fit. Any way you draw it up it’s not an inexpensive deal but it’s WDW!
    P.S. – I’m now done debating and breaking down the details of the BBB, my man card has taken a big enough hit already… :)

  • Lol Rob- you’re just a good Daddy :)
    Yikes Adam- those prices have definately gone up again(like everything in WDW)Last year I’m pretty sure she paid $35-40 for hair, makeup, nails, sash (no wand)&they sent her next door for a couple “free” posed pictures on the photo pass card. Her fancy shoes were…comfy Birkenstocks! She rocked it :)

  • I bought some ornaments at disneystore.com the week after Christmas. One was defective, so I returned it to our local Disney store. The store manager said that, as of that week, they weren’t allowed to take returns of “Disney Parks” merchandise, only “Disney Store” merchandise. So keep that in mind while ordering, that it takes a trip to the post office if you need to do a return. I’m not sure if they refund your postage or not.