Every Walt Disney World resort has at least one shop on site; several have more than one store. Here are ten things you need to know about the stores in your Disney resort hotel.
1. The merchandise mix varies from store to store.
While many of the items sold at the Disney hotel shops is the same, there are enough differences to make it worth your while to take a peek into the store if you happen to visit a hotel other than your own.
Many of the hotels have their own branded t-shirts, baseball caps, and holiday ornaments that you can only get at that location. If the hotel has a prominent theme, there are will also be non-Disney-branded items sold that relate to that theme. Some of my favorite examples of this include: New Orleans beignet mix sold at Port Orleans French Quarter, African handicrafts sold at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Hawaiian chocolates and macadamia nuts sold at Polynesian Village resort. There are even some variations in prosaic items like frozen food.
2. They may have items available for purchase that are out of view.
Rain gear is the key example of this. Your hotel shop may only display items like umbrellas and ponchos if there is an impending storm. If there’s something you’d like to buy that you don’t see out on the floor, ask a cast member.
3. You can return items from any Walt Disney World store at your hotel gift shop.
As long as you have your receipt, you can return items purchased at any Disney-owned shop on site at your hotel. For example, if your daughter is off with grandma at Magic Kingdom and you’re not sure which size princess dress to buy her at the Disney Springs World of Disney store, buy both, have her try them on at the hotel, and return the one that doesn’t fit at your hotel gift shop.
Note, that this won’t work for items purchased at non-Disney-owned shops such as Uniqlo or Anthropologie at Disney Springs. Those items must be returned at their point of origin.
4. The hotel gift shop can mail purchases to your home for you.
This is true of any Disney-owned store on property. Buy your souvenirs and ask the clerk at the register to arrange for home shipping. Fill out a small form and your items will be on their way to you. Fees apply.
Note that some items such as food and alcohol cannot be shipped.
5. It may be easier to buy some souvenirs online than at your hotel store.
Some of the items sold at the hotel gift shops are also available online at shopDisney.com. If you’re purchasing something Disney branded, but not specific to a particular hotel, it make senses to see if that item is also sold online. There are often sales and discounts offered on the website that are not offered in person. Additionally, the website typically has codes for free shipping, which the hotel will not have access to.
6. There is at least one store at every hotel that sells basic luggage.
I’ve been in more than one travel situation where a suitcase zipper broke or an airline cracked a wheel on a rolling bag. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a luggage mishap, your hotel store will have a few options of large and small size suitcases.
7. When it comes to food items, you may want to check both the hotel food court and the gift shop.
There are food items sold both at your hotel food court and the gift shop. While there is lots of overlap (Dasani water and Coca-Cola, I’m talking to you), some items will be different. For example, there may be different beer brands in each location. Or 8-ounce cartons of milk will be in the food court, but full half gallons will be in the store. If you need something specific, check both locations.
8. Not all the clothing has Disney logos.
Particularly at the Deluxe-level resorts, you can find some resort wear items that don’t scream MICKEY MOUSE. Typical brands offered include Tommy Bahama, Vineyard Vines, and Lilly Pulitzer.
9. Some toiletries and sundries are available in both travel-size and full-size versions.
If, for example, you need just two Tylenol, look on the hanging racks at the top of most Disney gift shop toiletry displays. If you want a whole bottle (sometimes it’s that kind of day), check out the surrounding shelves. The per-use cost will likely be higher for the travel-size item, but sometimes the convenience is worth the price.
10. There are some items you’ll never find at your hotel store.
Two of the most common items that are forbidden for sale at Disney World are gum and non-Coke beverages. If you have a hankering for Double Bubble or Diet Pepsi, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Try a delivery from a service like GardenGrocer.com or bring your own from home.
Have any other tips and tricks about Disney resort hotel gift shops? Let us know in the comments.