Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Memento Mori: A Hauntingly Good Time

by on October 7, 2014

IMG_0196Hello all you guys and ghouls! Just in time for Halloween, a new gift shop has opened right in front of The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom. To be precise Mementi Mori, opened on October 6, and we were there to check out all the new goodies so we could share them with you.

If you plan on stopping by, be aware that you might encounter a line just to enter the newest store in the Magic Kingdom! At roughly 7pm the line stretched nearly to Fantasyland and took just shy of 20 minutes to wait through. Once inside, the tiny shop was crammed wall to wall with people. Luckily, everyone inside was a fellow fan of the ride, and everyone was pretty civil. 

 

So want to see what horrors are inside this creepy shop? You’ll have to read more to see! :)

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Disney’s Newest (Adorable) Collectible Craze: Tsum Tsums!

by on October 2, 2014

Tsum Tsum Tag

Even the Tsum Tsums tags are adorable!

Have you heard about the newest Disney collecting craze? No? Let me tell you what they are:  A series of collectible plushies (stuffed animals), drawn from a wildly popular mobile game in Japan, featuring Disney characters. These plush toys are called Tsum Tsums, which means “stack, stack” in Japanese, from the game’s objectives, and is pronounced “tsoom tsoom” (which basically sounds like zoom zoom). The toys are designed to be stacked up in a pyramid shape, much like the objective of the game.

Clear as mud, right? Let’s take a closer look…

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: September 25, 2014 with Food & Wine

by on September 25, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re spending a blustery morning at Animal Kingdom, making a rare trip to Universal Orlando for a behind the scenes tour, and visiting Epcot to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. So who’s ready for a super fun week? Let’s get going! :)

I’m always a fan of visiting Animal Kingdom in the rain because the animals love a good shower. However, this weekend was a bit of an exception. Normally rain passes quickly here, but Saturday morning it looked like there was no end in sight! Even the animals seemed to be hunkered down for the storm. The entire first half of the safari all we saw was a sleeping rhino! The poor driver, he kept rattling off facts, but you could tell he was having a tough time. Luckily, a group of giraffes came to our rescue, and the safari improved from there.

Lots of female elephants were out. They love the rain, and I was hoping to catch one taking a bath, but they were all above water munching on some breakfast. Want to see how cute they were? Well, you’ll have to click to read more!

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: September 18, 2014

by on September 18, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! I have so much to share with you this week. We’re stopping by Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Downtown Disney, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios for some epic catch up after my trip to Tokyo Disney Resort. (If you missed that, you can find it here.) So without any further delay, let’s jump right in!

Our good friend, the crane over Cinderella’s Castle, is back to install the Castle Dream Lights. I don’t think anyone can deny how beautiful these lights are once they’re installed, but the crane is such an eyesore! It seems like it’s there a third of the year anymore between installing the lights and removing them after the holidays. If they can ruin thousands of once in a lifetime photos in front of the castle I think they can close the Haunted Mansion a few weeks out of the year to install Haunted Mansion Holiday. Okay, I know I’m the only one that thinks that way, and we’re never getting the overlay, but you’d think they could not have the crane up for so long every year. But I’m getting ahead of myself, my day didn’t start in the Magic Kingdom. I started with one of the epic breakfasts of Disney World! But you’ll have to click below to find out more! :)

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Seven Disney Souvenir Buying Mistakes

by on July 8, 2014

The 1,200 Vinylmation figurines staring at me from the shelves of my home office right now will tell you that I am a veteran Disney parks shopper. I truly understand the desire to troll the theme park shops for the perfect souvenir. But as satisfying as it can be to come home with just the right thing, there are plenty of pitfalls to Disney parks shopping. Here are seven potential Disney souvenir shopping mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

1. Thinking that you have to pay for souvenirs.

Believe it or not, you can score many items for free at Walt Disney World. They practically throw Mickey stickers at kids during resort check in and there’s always a reason to grab a free celebration button. You can also get free bookmarks by participating in the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction at the Magic Kingdom, free stick puppets at the Epcot Kidcot Fun Stops, or a lei at the Polynesian resort. These free items can go a long way toward scratching that “but I MUST bring something home” itch, with no additional outlay of cash.

And don’t forget that the best Disney souvenir is usually a memory. “Remember when Cousin Billy spilled his milk on Goofy’s shoe at Chef Mickeys?” “Remember when Baby Sally hugged Cinderella for the first time?” “Remember when we finally got Grandma to go on the Teacups and she actually had a blast?” Assuming that you’ve got a digital camera or a camera-equipped phone, these memories can all be captured gratis. Disney PhotoPass photographers will even take group shots using your camera, at no charge. Isn’t a photo of Mom wearing Mickey ears a better souvenir than a snow globe?

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Things to Do Near Port Canaveral before Your Disney Cruise

by on July 7, 2014

Cruising, especially Disney cruising, can be a vacation in itself, but what if you find yourself in the area a day or two before your cruise? Port Canaveral, the home for Disney’s remarkable ships: Dream, Fantasy and Magic is nearly an hour drive from Orlando International Airport so unless you live nearby, it’s a good idea to stay the night before your cruise somewhere between Orlando and Canaveral. Obviously, spending the extra day at Walt Disney World is a great option, but there are interesting diversions much closer to the port that can be relaxing or exciting as well as educational and surprising.

Disney's Cruise Ship Fantasy passes by the fishing pier at Jetty Park.

Disney’s Cruise Ship Fantasy passes by the fishing pier at Jetty Park.

In particular, there are 4 sites that are wonderful to visit, whether you have the whole family with you or if you’re kid-free. All have been popular attractions for many years and all will give you experiences that are quite different from the cruise you’ll be taking.

Considering that the four provide significantly different experiences, I have decided to list them based on distance from the Disney Cruise Line Terminal, rather than ranking them. The furthest is only a 30 minute drive, while the closest is literally right around the corner from the terminal.

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Personalized Souvenirs of Walt Disney World

by on May 30, 2014

As a child with a strange name I longed to find personalized key chains and pencils when souvenir hunting. Even though it was never there, I always hunted through the racks hoping against hope that one day my name would magically appear. Maybe that’s why I’ve scoured Walt Disney World to find the best personalized souvenirs to remember your trip! If you, too, have a weird name, then have no fear, we’ve got you covered.

IMG_4553

Mickey Ears to fit every style!

Mickey Ears: This is an easy one, but anyone can get their his or her name embroidered on a pair of Mickey Ears. Disney has also lightened up on the policies about what can be put on ears these days. I’ll never forget a few years ago when a cast member actually said she had to see my drivers license to put my name on my hat! Locations are available to personalize hats in all four parks and Downtown Disney. Remember, now that fancier fonts available, you normally have to come back later in the day to pick up your personalized hat.

Parasols: While this option can get pricey fast, what little girl doesn’t want one of these? Not only can they be personalized with names, but I’ve even seen art work from Frozen starting to appear on these cute, little umbrellas. Several colors are available. Be sure to stop by early in the day to allow time for the paint to dry on your unique and personalized work of art. You can find these for sale in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom and France in Epcot.

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Frozen Out: Searching for an Elsa doll at Disney World

by on April 10, 2014

Elsa doll Disney World

Searching for an Elsa doll or toy at Disney World? Join the club! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

My family up north doesn’t necessarily share or understand my theme park obsessions, but every so often they call upon my Orlando expertise. Recently, my young niece lost her mind over Frozen (much like half of America, it seems) and wants an Elsa doll more than life itself.

Unfortunately, it seems Barbie-sized “Sparkle Princess” figures of this frigid sister are scarcer than snowmen in summer, as toy stores throughout the New York and Philadelphia regions are chronically out of stock. So I gallantly volunteered to play the heroic uncle by finding one and bringing it to her during my upcoming visit. Surely it would be simple to find an Elsa doll inside one of Walt Disney World’s infinite gift shops…or so I foolishly thought.

I was so wrong.

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How Much Do Disney World Souvenirs Cost?

by on April 17, 2013

I often hear guests planning Disney World trips ask, “How much should I budget for souvenirs?” I find this tricky to answer because there is a near unlimited supply of things to buy at Walt Disney World, with prices ranging from free to tens of thousands of dollars. Depending on your personal preferences, you can spend anything from nothing to a full year’s paycheck on Disney souvenirs during a single trip.

To give you an idea of what you might find during your Disney visit, here’s a sample of merchandise available for purchase in the WDW parks and resorts. These photos and prices were gathered during two Disney trips in early 2013. The exact items may or may not be available during your trip later in the year, but the general pricing should remain in the same ballpark. For example, the exact same t-shirt may be out of stock in the fall, but you will find plenty of tees at a similar price point.

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Buying Disney Parks Merchandise From Home

by on January 11, 2012

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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