Is shopping a big part of your Walt Disney World Vacation? It’s a big part of mine! I love browsing the numerous stores throughout the Disney World Resort looking for a piece of the magic to bring home, but have you ever noticed that so much of the merchandise lining the shelves of one store is the same as what you find at the next? I mean, I love plush and pins and t-shirts too, but not when it’s in every store. Fortunately, there are a few places scattered around Disney World where you can discover some hard to find souvenirs which is why for today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite Disney World stores for unique merchandise!
Zawadi Marketplace – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort’s gift shop is a big favorite among Disney World guests! It’s large and very open; and in addition to your standard gift shop items, has a selection of handmade African art, collectibles, and even books about wildlife. Some items, including plush toys that I’ve seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park can also be found here too. Now I’m a big fan of the Disney World Resorts and kind of consider them like second homes, so naturally I love a wide selection of resort exclusive merchandise and Zawadi Marketplace has a lot in the form of tees, cups, magnets, artwork, and even home décor.
The BOATHOUSE Ship’s Store – The BOATHOUSE at Downtown Disney has been making waves (ha! get it?) since it first opened a few months ago. The restaurant can be found at The Landing area of Downtown Disney, soon to be Disney Springs, and is waterfront dining serving up yummy surf and turf. The Boathouse also presents the opportunity for 20-minute dream boat cruises and Amphicars (for a fee). That’s a floating car! This new establishment also has another draw, the Ship’s Store, which has quickly become one of my new favorite stores due to its classy maritime products ranging from clothing and home décor to stylish accessories to the largest variety of rubber ducks I’ve ever seen! Yes, rubber ducks. It’s a Boathouse thing. My favorite items? I love the wooden boat paddles that can be personalized either for yourself or friends and family back home, a much better souvenir than yet another standard Disney World t-shirt or coffee mug in my opinion. I also had my eye on a stylish selection of nautical bracelets. They were a little pricey with a few hovering around $50.00 a piece, but I couldn’t help but admire them!
Tren-D – One of the most popular stores at Downtown Disney for teens and women has to be Tren-D, a boutique for us grown-up Disney princesses. When you walk in, you may experience sensory overload due to the colorful décor, sparkly chandeliers, and shelves and racks crammed with stylish Disney blouses, dresses, accessories, jewelry, and bags. While some of the items in this store can be found around Disney World, such as the Disney Dooney and Bourke bags and a few t-shirts and jewelry items, a considerable portion of its products is either hard to find around the parks and resorts or only available here.
World Showcase – Epcot’s World Showcase is the ultimate shopping destination for guests on the hunt for unique merchandise. This is because the numerous shops and stores scattered throughout the eleven World Showcase pavilions contain items from their respective countries! Where else, besides at Disney World, can you shop for trinkets from eleven countries in one afternoon? Whenever I’m in a shopping mood at World Showcase, I always drop in The Tea Caddy and The Queen’s Table at the United Kingdom Pavilion to browse the selection of tea and candy and royal-themed accessories. Das Kaufhas at the Germany Pavilion is another one of my favorite stores due to its soccer and Adidas products, including shoes. If you ever find yourself in need of comfy sneakers to get yourself the rest of the way around World Showcase, consider a trendy pair from this shop. Lastly, I have to list Japan’s Mitsukoshi Department Store. It has everything from Hello Kitty to Bonsai trees to Japanese candy. Seriously, I think I would need the whole day to see everything in this store. You can even get involved in the making of your own jewelry with the store’s Pick-A-Pearl Demonstration, where guests pay to pick an oyster and then get to keep its pearl or have it set right there in the store.
Beach Club Marketplace – Disney’s Beach Club Resort is one of my all-time favorite Disney World Resorts, so I have to include its gift shop on my list for its exclusive resort merchandise; but there’s another reason why I’m including it. You see, whenever I’ve dropped by for some shopping, I almost always come across items that are hard to find. My latest discovery? A Mrs. Incredible shoe ornament!
Fulton’s General Store – Of all the Moderate Resorts at Disney World, Port Orleans Riverside is my favorite. I love the lobby, the Royal Rooms, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, and Fulton’s General Store. There’s a little bit of everything in this shopping destination, including a great selection of kitchen items. During my last visit, I was impressed with the number of exclusive resort items, particularly a Port Orleans throw blanket that I would’ve loved to bring home.
Tower Hotel Gifts – I’m a big fan of the attraction-themed shops found at the end of many attractions at Hollywood Studios, such as Tatooine Traders at Star Wars, the Indiana Jones Outpost at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and Rock Around the Shop at Rock n’ Roller Coaster. As the shops are themed to the ride, the merchandise is too. One of the best attraction shops has to be Tower Hotel Gifts at the exit of the thrilling Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. New products have recently made their way into this store and I’m especially intrigued with the Tower of Terror wristlets and tote bags.
Curl by Sammy Duvall – This Downtown Disney store isn’t filled with Disney products, but rather popular sun and surf brands for everyday use. The store is divided into sections for guys and girls offering clothes, swim suits, bags, shoes, and accessories from brands such as Roxy, Billabong, Vans, and Hurley. If you’re have any teens in your home, you know these brands are big right now. My personal favorite finds from Curl? The hand-painted TOMS shoes and an array of Lokai bracelets. If you haven’t heard, Lokai bracelets are famous for their black and white beads which contain mud from the Dead Sea and water from Mount Everest, the lowest and highest points on earth respectively. Cool, right? Of course, I had to cave and buy one.
Writer’s Stop – I almost hate to share this as it’s been a secret of mine for years, but the Writer’s Stop at Hollywood Studios is a great place for rare finds. The Writer’s Stop is mostly a café where you can get coffee, refreshments, and baked goods and it almost always has a shorter line than what you find at the Trolley Car Café or Starring Rolls. But this place is more than a bakery, it’s also a book store where you can relax at one of the café tables or settle down in one of the comfy chairs and take your pick of its bookshelves stuffed with books that you don’t normally see at resort gift shops or other stores in the parks. For example, I’ve seen everything from the Hunger Games trilogy to the original Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers to New York Times Best Sellers to books from ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Castle.
Settlement Trading Post – You already know that I love resort exclusive souvenirs; but I have to mention one more for this list! Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers two stores: the Settlement and Meadow Trading Post. I’m partial to the Settlement Trading Post as it’s closest to the boat dock and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Anyway, if you too enjoy browsing resort merchandise, the trading posts at Fort Wilderness offer a lot! In addition to the typical array of items, Fort Wilderness offers throw blankets, lawn chairs, stickers for your car, and even a gorgeous deluxe print to take home.
Summer Lace – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has the most stores of any Disney Resort and my favorite is Summer Lace, an elegant women’s boutique. Summer Lace always has a number of Disney Dooney and Bourke bags in stock and an excellent selection of jewelry, but it also has brand-name swimwear, shoes, and dresses. I even saw some Lily Pulitzer during my last visit!
Are you always on the hunt for something fresh and original to bring home from your Disney World Vacation? Are any of my favorite stores for unique souvenirs yours too? Let me know where you like to shop at the parks and resorts!