One of my very favorite theme park activities has nothing to do with roller coasters, character meet-and-greets or caramel apples (although it's true I love those things too). One of my highlights of a theme park trip—especially Disney World—is shopping. Now, you frog friends know I don't need an occasion to shop, but I usually do use my visit to the theme parks as an excuse to check out what's new in the way of merchandise, souvenirs and gifts. Believe me when I say there are Disney World stores for everyone. Without further ado, here are the top 5 hoppiest places for Disney World shopping.
Top Disney World Shopping Destinations
5. It's A Wonderful Shop
It's certainly not the largest or most extensive Disney World store, but this entire shop tucked in the backside of the Muppet Courtyard in Disney's Hollywood Studios is the place to find Christmas ornaments—and, well, ornaments and souvenirs for Valentine's, Easter, New Year's Eve ... any holiday really.
4. Disney's Days of Christmas
Stocked with ornaments, stockings and other holiday-related memorabilia, this Disney Springs store is where you'll find the largest selection of Christmas items inside Disney World. What I especially love is that it offers engraving and personalization on many of its items, which always adds that little something extra.
3. Castle Couture
For the princess in your life, there really is no better place to shop than at the castle itself (or right behind it). Castle Couture in Magic Kingdom Park is stocked with all of the princess costumes and full accessories, plus plushes, toys and other princess-themed merchandise. It's also home to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which will turn your little one into a real life princess!
2. World Showcase at Epcot
I couldn't possibly pick just one of the World Showcase shops, because they are all so unique. Many of the Disney World stores you will find scattered around the World Showcase pavilions offer items that you can't find anywhere else in the U.S. For Tad and Lily, Der Teddybar in Germany is a favorite because of its selection of German teddy bears and wooden toys. Leap loves Sportsman's Shoppe in U.K., where he has picked up a soccer jersey or two. As for moi, I am quite partial to the shops in France, including Plume et Palette and La Signature, which carry an extensive selection of French fragrances and cosmetics. If left to my own devices, I could spend an entire afternoon in there, trying on perfume.
1. Main Street Emporium
My very favorite place for Disney World shopping is at the Emporium on Main Street U.S.A. The Emporium in Magic Kingdom has a little bit of EVERYTHING all in one store, including seasonal and special event merchandise. This Disney World store takes up the whole block, with separate entrances for each of the different departments. While all of the shops on Main Street stay open an hour past park closing, I like to shop when it's less crowded before the parades (have your family save your spot!) and in the evenings. For me, what makes it such a special experience, is that the cast members are all so friendly and willing to help. This is where I picked up Tad's Jack Skellington book bag on our September trip.
Disney World Shopping Honorable Mentions
You really didn't think I could stop at five, did you? This is Disney World after all! Here are a few of my other favorite places Disney World shopping destinations. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Disney Springs has a ton of stores—major chains and Disney-only outfitters—plus dining too. It's a mecca for shoppers like moi. Here are a few of my favorite Disney Springs shopping destinations.
World of Disney at Disney Springs - The largest Disney store in the world resides at Disney Springs. While it doesn't have every ... single ... Disney ... souvenir found in the parks, it sure does have a lot of them.
LittleMissMatched at Disney Springs - Perfect for the little girl in your life who doesn't quite "fit," the shop features clothing and accessories that are perfectly mismatched. Socks are sold three to a pack.
Mickey's Pantry at Disney Springs - For the foodie in your life, you can find all manner of Disney cooking and kitchenware. Inside the shop is The Spice & Tea Exchange, where you can find fancy salts and custom-blend spices.
Tren-D at Disney Springs - My favorite place to find a mix of Disney favorites and other fashion-forward labels with a dash of whimsy and lots of fun accessories.
Mombasa Marketplace at Disney's Animal Kingdom - You'll find authentic African imports, including wines, toys and art, at this Disney World store near the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Serka Zong Bazaar at Disney's Animal Kingdom - Remember your trek up Everest at this post-show, funky souvenir shop, which carries Asian gifts and plenty of Yeti-themed clothing, books and merchandise. The shop's decor of Asian artifacts is worth the trip alone.
Chester & Hesters Dinosaur Treasures at Disney's Animal Kingdom - The kitschy, roadside souvenir shop inside DinoLand U.S.A. houses an assortment of trinkets and souvenirs, including the always popular dinosaur egg.
Crystal Arts at Magic Kingdom - Watch the glass blower create a masterpiece right before your very eyes. You can find très expensive, one-of-a-kind creations as well as a selection of more affordable keepsakes and gifts. I found a tiny crystal Mickey Mouse with Lily's birthstone that she absolutely loves and keeps on the dresser in her room.
Island Supply Company at Magic Kingdom - For those on your list who love beachwear, this is the shop. It offers men's and women's clothing, hats and shoes in popular beachwear designers.
Mouse Gear at Epcot - The biggest Disney World store inside any of the four theme parks, Mouse Gear carries a little bit of everything. This is where Leap bought my fancy Minnie apron, which is what I wear when I do my baking.