Since we’re more than halfway to the holiday season and Disney has already announced its festive plans for later this year, I’m feeling in the mood for shopping.
Who am I kidding? I’m always in the shopping mood—especially when I’m at Walt Disney World! There are some really great finds here that you can’t easily get anywhere else. Even if something might be available on Amazon, it simply won’t feel as authentic—or, magical—as purchasing it at a Disney Park. No room for discussion.
We could go on and on about shopping at Walt Disney World in general, especially with all the amazing stores that have popped up in recent years at Disney Springs. Seriously, Crystal Arts has more tiaras than the Queen of England! And there’s even a shop with everyday items just for the left-handed crowd at Lefty’s. There’s no need to mention all the upscale shopping offered here as well. In fact, there’s over 100 shops from Alex and Ani to Zara! A shopaholic’s dream come true!
Despite the happily ever after and beyond at Disney Springs, there are even more unique finds at Disney Resort hotels and parks. Particularly, at EPCOT.
EPCOT offers (arguably) the most unique shopping experience on property. Though shopping around the world does come with a warning: it may be difficult to stay below budget. At the World Showcase, you can shop around the world Duty Free and without a passport in up to 11 countries. Well, 10 countries, because technically The American Adventure is, well… American.
One of Japan’s premiere department stores, Mitsukoshi, is home to a plethora of Japanese items from the traditional Samurai swords and luxurious Kimonos to the cute culture, or Kawaii, merchandise of sushi cats, Pokemon, and anime.
Step foot into a pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion and shop at an outdoor mercado, indoors. Save the giant sombreros for Margaritaville, and instead, set your eyes on handcrafted jewelry, leather goods, exquisitely carved wooden dolls and vibrantly painted spirit animals. Pura Vida.
Tea sets, pottery, ornate jewelry and home decor abound in the shops and alleys of The Medina and Souk-Al-Magreb at the Moroccan Pavilion. Plus, after a very recent refurbishment, the streets of Morocco are once again as lively as a bustling village market.
Cobblestone streets in the United Kingdom lead to quaint shop windows and open doors to everything imaginable from the British Isles. The Tea Caddy is a cozy shop selling essentials for that perfect spot of tea. The Sportsman’s Shop features gear for football fans (that’s soccer for Americans) and golfers on the green. Even replica swords of the Round Table and the Crusades adorn a hall for history enthusiasts to purchase and, thankfully, ship directly home!
Of course, I can go on infinitely about all the wonderful and unique shopping at each pavilion in EPCOT, but that would make this a long and tedious read. So, I’ll leave the rest for you to explore on your own on your next visit to the World Showcase.
Sometimes, though, the most special purchases don’t even require a park ticket. As I mentioned earlier, Disney Resort hotels do offer one-of-a-kind merchandise. I have found both amusing and memorable gifts (for myself) at the hotel gift shops of all the resorts. So, take a look, it’s in a book…the Reading Rainbow. Sorry, I couldn’t help it.
Seriously, take a look at the gift shops—they’re not just just sundries and snacks!
Three of my favorite hotel shops are: Zawadi Marketplace, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House), for its wide selection of African art and woodwork; Wilderness Lodge Mercantile at, need I say, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, for some of the most hilarious oddities like Bear’s Breath chapstick and Beaver’s Butt soap; and, finally, La Boutique at Disney’s Riviera Resort. La Boutique’s stand-out feature is the Art on Demand Kiosk where you can select and buy any one of the paintings displayed throughout the resort!
I think I can find (or create) a few bare spots on my walls that would just love to be dressed with the Riviera art collection. That just may very well warrant a teeny spending spree on my next trip to Walt Disney World!
Which gift shop do you think is home to the most unique items at Walt Disney World? Head to our Facebook page to let me know!
Here’s to happy shopping!