In addition to park touring and dining, shopping ranks right at the top of popular activities at Walt Disney World (at least with me anyway). If you ever find yourself ending your vacation with more stuff than you started, there are lots of ways to get your stuff back home. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about this topic:
Wait! Before you get started with all the info about shipping, I drove to Walt Disney World and don’t have to worry about shipping (there’s loads of room in the car!), but I do have a quick question about carrying around purchases I’ve made in the parks. Basically, I don’t want to do it. What are my options?
No worries. Nearly all of the in-park merchandise shops have two ways of helping you deal with purchases in the short term. You can either have your merchandise sent directly to your hotel, or you can have it sent to a “Package Pickup” office at the front of the park.
What does “Package Pickup” mean?
Package Pickup is an in-park delivery/holding service. You buy something and instead of having to carry it around all day, it’s sent to an office at the front of the theme park (or possibly back if you’re at Epcot) so you can pick it up later.
How does this work?
Let’s say you’re at Mouse Gear at Epcot and you want to buy a couple of sweatshirts for the folks back home. You don’t want to schlep them all over the World Showcase while you spend the afternoon drinking around the world. So, WHILE YOU’RE AT THE REGISTER, tell the sales clerk that you’d like to use the Package Pickup service. They will give you a very simple form to fill out (name and address basics). You get a receipt and you’re on your way. Later in the day, return to the Package Pick Office, hand them the receipt, and your sweatshirts will once again be yours.
Is there a charge for this?
Nope. No charge at all. Disney wants you to buy lots of stuff and they’re trying to make it as easy as possible for you to do so.
So where are the Package Pickup offices located?
They’re right at the front of all the parks, plus there is a second Package Pickup desk at Epcot, located near the International Gateway. Check your map if you need a refresher.
There are two Package Pickup offices at Epcot?
Yep. Make sure you specify which one you want to use. If you’re staying at one of the Epcot area resorts (Yacht & Beach Clubs, Boardwalk, Swan, or Dolphin), chances are you’ll want the International Gateway Package Pickup office.
How long will it take for my purchase to get to the Package Pickup office?
You should ask the clerk when you’re making your purchase, but generally expect it to take about three hours. Do NOT plan to use Package Pick Up if you’re just spending an hour or two in the park. If you’re there for just a brief time, but can’t carry something around, consider renting a locker.
Are there any restrictions on who can use Package Pickup?
Nope. This service is available to everyone. You don’t have to be a staying at any specific hotel, on Disney property, or have any particular type of ticket.
I’d rather not have to deal with a bulky purchase on the bus back to my hotel, what are my options?
If you’re staying at a Disney resort, or a handful of other off site locations, you can take advantage of Disney’s Resort Delivery service.
How do I do this?
Again, WHILE YOU’RE MAKING YOUR PURCHASE tell the sales clerk that you’d like your merchandise sent back to your hotel. They will give you the quick-and-easy green form to fill out. They’ll hand you a receipt and you can be on your way. Your merchandise will be sent directly to your hotel.
Is there a charge for this?
Still no. This service is free.
Guests of which hotels can take advantage of Resort Delivery?
This list is subject to change, but currently guests staying at the following hotels can have their purchases sent directly from an in-park shop to their resort: All Star Movies, All Star Music, All Star Sports, Animal Kingdom Lodge (and Villas), Art of Animation, Beach Club (and Villas), Boardwalk (and Villas), Caribbean Beach, Contemporary (and Bay Lake Tower), Coronado Springs, Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian, Pop Century, Port Orleans (French Quarter and Riverside), Saratoga Springs, Wilderness Lodge (and Villas), Yacht Club, Shades of Green, Swan, Dolphin, Doubletree Guest Suites, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Royal Plaza, and Buena Vista Palace.
Will they send my package directly to my room?
Sorry, no. All Resort Delivery packages will be sent to a central desk at the resort. This is always located within one of the hotel gift shops. If your hotel happens to have more than one gift shop (some of the deluxe resorts do), just ask where to go. To claim your package, give your green receipt to the clerk at the Package Pickup desk at the resort. They’ll go to the back office and bring it out to you.
How long will it take my purchase to get back to the resort?
You can usually get your package at your hotel after 3:00 p.m. THE NEXT DAY. For example, if you buy a sweatshirt at Mouse Gear at Epcot at 11:00 a.m. Monday morning and ask for it to be sent to you at Port Orleans Riverside, it will not show up at POR until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Be aware that the resort delivery service is NOT something you can do on the last day, or even two days, of your trip.
Besides not wanting to carry around a big bag, are there any other reasons why I’d want to use resort delivery?
Well, it can help with hiding purchases from your kids, or your snooping spouse.
Is there anything that can’t be sent back to my hotel using the resort delivery service?
Disney will generally not allow food to be sent via Package Pick Up or Resort Delivery. This applies even to something like packaged cookies or candy. If you buy a sweatshirt and a box of Mickey Mouse shortbread, they will usually make you carry the cookies out of the store with you. During my most recent WDW visit, I bought some astronaut ice cream at the Mission Space pavilion. The cast member sales clerk took pity on me and allowed it to go through the resort delivery service, but this barely even qualified as consumable. This was the only time in dozens of uses of the resort delivery service that I had a food item make it through the system.
OK, I got all that, but I’m flying home with only a carry on. What are my options for getting my purchases home?
The vast majority of shops on property will ship items directly from the store to your home. They’ll pack it up, pop it in the mail, and it will show up later on your doorstep. This is a great way to deal with anything large, bulky, or fragile. Direct shipping may also be the best way to deal with items that may pose a problem with TSA/airline regulations. Examples of this might include items containing liquid (such as snow globes) or replica weapons (such as the swords sold at the UK and Japan pavilions at Epcot).
How much will it cost to have my purchases shipped directly home?
Disney shipping rates are calculated by the price of the items to be shipped, NOT by the weight or volume of the items. The current shipping rates (which are subject to change at any time) are:
- GROUND (10-15 days)
- Purchase total = $0.00 – $50.00; Shipping rate = $9.95
- Purchase total = $50.01 – $75.00; Shipping rate = $14.95
- Purchase total = $75.01 – $100.00; Shipping rate = $19.95
- Purchase total = $100.01 – $150.00; Shipping rate = $24.95
- Purchase total = $150.01 – $250.00; Shipping rate = $29.95
- Purchase total = $250.01 – $500.00; Shipping rate = $34.95
- Purchase total = $500.01 – $1000.00; Shipping rate = $39.95
- AIR EXPRESS (1-3 days)
- Purchase total = $0.00 – $50.00; Shipping rate = $34.95
- Purchase total = $50.01 – $75.00; Shipping rate = $39.95
- Purchase total = $75.01 – $100.00; Shipping rate = $44.95
- Purchase total = $100.01 – $150.00; Shipping rate = $49.95
- Purchase total = $150.01 – $250.00; Shipping rate = $59.95
- Purchase total = $250.01 – $500.00; Shipping rate = $74.95
- Purchase total = $500.01 – $1000.00; Shipping rate = $89.95
These rates are for shipping within the 48 contiguous U.S. states. Rates are higher if you’re shipping to Alaska or Hawaii.
You’ll notice that as you spend more, a smaller the percentage of your purchase price will be spent on shipping. For example, if you buy a $50 item, you’ll spend $9.95 to have it sent home via ground shipping, or about 20% of the purchase price. But if you buy a $1,000 item (or combination of items), you’ll spend $39.95 to have it/them sent home, or about 4% of the purchase price. This means that it makes the most financial sense to do all your shopping at once, requesting one big shipment, rather than shopping over several days and making many small shipments.
Is there any way to get free shipping at Walt Disney World?
I have heard of one shipping promotion. Sometimes the Arribas Brothers locations in the parks and at Downtown Disney will offer free shipping if you purchase more than $50.00 worth of merchandise. If you’re buying crystal, glass, or figurines it’s certainly worth asking if this promotion is in effect at the time of your visit.
I live in Canada. Do regular Disney shipping rates apply to me?
Sorry, unfortunately not. The rates for international shipping are much higher. For example, on a recent trip to WDW I saw a darling t-shirt dress with an image of Bambi. I tweeted this to my Bambi-loving buddy Kirsten, a resident of Ontario. She asked me to buy the $52 dress and have Disney send it to her at home. Instead of the $14.95 it would have cost to ship it to my home in New York (U.S. domestic), I was quoted a price of $50 to send this single dress to Ontario.
Disney will ship to international destinations, but the rates may be staggeringly high. Always ask before committing.
I’m not staying at a Disney-owned hotel. Can I still have a Disney gift shop mail a package to my home?
No problem. Anyone can use this service.
Does Disney do a good job of wrapping the packages it ships?
In my experience, yes. Everything I’ve ever had them send to my home was securely wrapped. Whenever there were breakables, they were always well padded with bubble wrap and additional fill. I have a friend who did experience some damage to a fragile item she had shipped from Disney. She made a quick phone call and they sent a replacement out that day.
I’m planning on doing much of my shopping at Downtown Disney. Can I have packages shipped from there?
It depends, there are many shops at Downtown Disney that participate in the Resort Delivery service and the Disney ship-to-home service. I have personally used both at World of Disney, Trend-D, and D-Street. Other stores not owned by Disney itself may or may not participate. Be sure to ask before assuming that the service is available.
I went “off campus” and bought lots of stuff at the Orlando outlet malls. What are my options for shipping stuff home.
The primary way to deal with shipping any non-Disney-merchandise-shop purchase is to visit one of the five on-property business centers. They will ship anything for you – from your Harry Potter loot bought at your sojourn to Universal to the air mattress you used in the hotel so siblings Johnny and Julie wouldn’t have to share a bed.
Disney will ship things you didn’t buy there?
The business centers are on Disney property, but they are not run by Disney. They are operated by IKON Office Solutions/Ricoh. As long as it’s legal, Ricoh doesn’t care what you’re shipping.
Where are the business centers located?
The business centers are attached to the resorts that have adjacent convention facilities. These are: the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Yacht Club, the Boardwalk, and Coronado Springs resorts.
Do the business centers have specific hours?
Yes. While you should always double check with the front desk of your hotel before heading over, the hours are generally:
- 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the Boardwalk and Grand Floridian
- 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the Contemporary, Coronado Springs, and Yacht Club
I need a box to ship my stuff home in, can I buy one there?
Yes. The business centers have everything you need for basic shipping. They sell small, medium, and large boxes, as well as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, packing tapes, labels, and other related materials.
Do I have a choice of shipping methods?
The business centers offer shipping via either UPS or FedEx, your choice. Just tell the clerk at the office which you prefer.
What are the rates?
The business centers ship using standard UPS and FedEx rates. These are based on the size/weight of the package, the distance the package needs to be shipped, and the speed shipping required. They’ll quote you price while you’re standing there. If you want a quickie estimate, you can do this on your smartphone via the UPS or FedEx website.
Here too, be aware that international shipping can be significantly more expensive than shipping within the continental US. I took that Bambi t-shirt dress to the business center at the Grand Floridian to ship to Kirsten in Ontario. Because of it was going international, the Ricoh clerk could not (would not?) quote me a price, he just asked for my credit card info and said that FedEx would bill me directly. To avoid unpleasant surprises, I STRONGLY encourage you to use your phone to check the FedEx website for an estimate before agreeing to any international shipment.
Other than the standard UPS or FedEx rate, are there any other additional charges?
Yes. In addition to the shipping fee charged by UPS or FedEx, the Ricoh store will charge you a service fee of $3.00, $5.00, or $10.00 depending on the size of the package.
Packages up to 4 pounds incur a $3.00 service fee. Packages from 5 to 20 pounds incur a $5.00 service fee. Packages from 21 to 70 pounds incur a $10.00 service fee. These rates are subject to change.
I’m not staying at one of the hotels with a convention and business center, do I have any other options for shipping?
Let’s say you’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside and want to ship something home, if you have lots and lots of stuff, they may simply tell you to take it to a business center. However, if you only have a box or two, they will very likely help you right at the hotel. Simply bring your box to the front desk and ask for help with shipping. They will will provide you with UPS or FedEx forms to get your shipment started. You will likely need to provide a credit card number for the shipping manifest.
I’m not staying at one of the hotels with a convention and business center, what are my options for getting a shipping box and packing materials?
You’re somewhat on your own for this. You will probably be able to find a nice cast member who will rummage around in the back office and find you an old cardboard box you can repurpose, and they’ll most certainly have tape you can use, but they won’t have a ready supply of other packing materials.
If you need a specific size box or something like bubble wrap, then the business center is your best option.
If you’ve sent a package to yourself at the start of your vacation, SAVE THE BOX AND PACKING MATERIALS so that you can use them again for the shipment home.
All I want to send home are things I’ve purchased in the Disney gift shops. Am I better off having them sent to my house via the store or by taking my purchases to a business center myself?
It really depends on the item(s). The Disney shop shipping rate is based on the purchase price of the items, whereas the business center shipping rates are based on the weight of the items and the distance to be shipped.
Let’s take the example of a $950 diamond Mickey necklace. (And yes, these exist.) It’s a surprise for your lovely wife (awwwww) so you don’t want to carry it with you. If you have the gift shop mail it to your office, they’ll charge the $39.95 noted above. But if you take it to a business center, the basic rate will likely be much lower because the package is so small and light. Also note that you would have the option here to purchase insurance or make other adjustments to the shipping order.
This all seems like overkill. Do I have any other options?
Well, depending on what type of souvenir you’re buying, it might make the most sense not to buy it at Walt Disney World at all.
Over the past few years, DisneyStore.com has added hundreds of items to its inventory that were previously only available in the parks. This includes collectibles, housewares, clothing, jewelry, ornaments, and even the iconic ear hats. It’s the exact same stuff they sell in the parks. DisneyStore.com has frequent sales of 10% or 20% off (sometimes more), and almost always offers FREE shipping for purchases over $75. Be sure to look for the free shipping promotion code at the top of the site.
If you’re looking to buy a book, DVD, or other media item, it may be available less expensively on Amazon.com or another online retailer. If you have a smartphone or tablet with you in the park, there’s no reason not to do a little price check while you’re standing there in the store. WiFi is now available and free in all the WDW theme parks.
Believe it or not, buying your Disney parks souvenirs online may end up being significantly easier and cheaper than buying them in the parks.
You should also consider whether it might be easier/cheaper simply to bring an extra suitcase. Depending on which airline you’re flying, what your frequent flyer status is, and how much you’re buying, the fee for bringing extra luggage on the plane may be less than a shipping fee.
And of course you could always decide not to buy so much on your trip that you need to think about shipping options.
Nah, that doesn’t work for me either 🙂
What have your experiences been with shipping items home from Walt Disney World? Is this something you’ve done in the past or will consider doing in the future? Let us know in the comments below.