Walt Disney World is well-known as being a premier destination for quality attractions, entertainment, and dining. However, it is also a place with some pretty amazing and unique shopping opportunities.
Throughout the parks you will find no shortage of typical souvenirs and specialty merch that is only available on site, as well as the ability to “shop around the world” for items specific to the various countries at EPCOT.
Below is a list of what I believe to be the top 10 shopping experiences inside the Disney parks (stay tuned for a separate post focused on Disney Springs). Make sure to add these to your must-do list and get ready to shop till you drop!
The Emporium (Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom)
Spanning almost the entire length of the left side of Main Street (if you are facing Cinderella Castle), this store is like the Energizer Bunny – it keeps going and going and going. It is your one-stop shop for general WDW or Magic Kingdom merch, including clothing, accessories, toys, housewares, Mickey ears, and more. A little overwhelming but chock-full of fun, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for all ages.
Main Street Confectionery (Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom)
I think this shop is where they coined the phrase “like a kid in a candy store.” Once that sweet smell of sugar gets you inside, you won’t want to leave, at least not without purchasing a delicious treat from the enticing glass display cases or colorfully stocked shelves. With a wide variety of cookies, candy, fudge, cupcakes, caramel apples, pretzel sticks, cake pops, and more, it will be pretty hard to choose! (Note: The Confectionery is currently closed for refurbishment.)
Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… all year long! You can’t help but be jolly as you step into this shop and peruse the beautiful displays of unique ornaments themed to the parks, attractions, movies, and characters that we love. You can even get many of them personalized right in the shop as a way to commemorate your trip, and enjoy the merry music while you wait!
Plaza de los Amigos (Mexico Pavilion, EPCOT)
This one definitely gets the most points for ambiance. The plaza is a collection of small shops and carts located inside the dimly-lit pyramid of the Mexico pavilion, giving the desired illusion that you really are at a Mexican street fair at night. You won’t be able to resist checking out (and maybe purchasing) the authentic and bright works of art, crafts, clothing, and jewelry, plus Day of the Dead merchandise. Mama Coco would be proud!
Germany Pavilion, EPCOT
It might be cheating to include the whole pavilion here, but it was too hard to choose between these quaint shops (which, in my defense, are interconnected) that feature authentic German beer steins, cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, Swarovski crystals, teddy bears, caramel treats, glassware, and more. It’s like a wonderful little slice of Bavaria right in central Florida!
Mitsukoshi Department Store (Japan Pavilion, EPCOT)
Inspired by Japan’s 300-year-old department store (and owned and operated by the Mitsukoshi company), this outpost carries a wide variety of Japanese goods, including popular characters like Hello Kitty, plus items like silk kimonos and paper fans (which you can have personalized). One very unique and popular experience is “pick-a-pearl”, where you select an oyster and a Cast Member opens it to reveal the pearl inside for you to purchase.
United Kingdom Pavilion, EPCOT
Yup, I’m cheating again, but the United Kingdom pavilion has such a great variety of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh products that I can’t help it. Find everything from a fine selection of tea and tea accessories, to richly-scented soaps, lotions, and perfumes, to themed merchandise for beloved British stories like Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, and Alice in Wonderland. It’s always a jolly holiday shopping in the UK!
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities (Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios)
Discover loads of hidden treasures throughout this shop, overseen by the collector himself, Dok-Ondar in animatronic form. While there is a great selection of Star Wars themed merch to peruse on the shelves, including different colored kyber crystals and famous characters’ lightsabers, big-time fans will enjoy inspecting all the props, artwork, and Easter eggs from the series covering the walls and hidden in every nook and cranny.
Mombasa Marketplace and Ziwani Traders (Africa, Animal Kingdom)
Though situated in Disney’s fictional African town of Harambe, many of the products in this shop are 100% authentic African goods. Take some time to enjoy looking around at the craftsmanship of the handmade art, clothing, jewelry, crafts, instruments, and toys. You will also find some African food and wine that may tempt you. It may look unassuming from the outside, but this store is definitely worth a stop!
Windtraders (Pandora, Animal Kingdom)
This shop is quite literally out of this world. Designed to appear as if it’s been taken over by roots and other Pandorian plant life, the roots have become not only part of the scenery and the backstory, but are in fact used to display items for sale, including Na’vi cultural artifacts and toy banshees in every color. You can also pick up science kits and apparel in this stunning and fully immersive store.
As you can see, there is something for every kind of shopper at Walt Disney World, whether you want traditional souvenirs and collectibles, mouth-watering treats, authentic products from around the world, or immersive experiences from your favorite fictional land.
Be sure to make some time in your busy theme park schedule to visit some of these amazing stores for a little retail therapy. It’s okay to treat yourself – you’re on vacation after all!
What are your favorite shops in the Disney theme parks and why? Let us know in the comments!