Whether you are buying souvenirs for yourself on a Disney vacation or buying them for others, it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect souvenir. If you are looking for a souvenir for yourself, you are trying to pick one or two items to remind you of all of the memories and great times on the trip. If you are looking for a souvenir for a friend or family member back home, you are trying to find something that they will like and use.
Many of the Disney stores have similar merchandise items. If you are looking to bring back Mickey ears or an autograph book, you will have no problem finding these items in every park and multiple stores in each park. If you want something different however, you will have to look in specific stores in Downtown Disney or in the stores I highlight below.
For one stop souvenir shopping: The World of Disney store in Downtown Disney is the most comprehensive store and they will even ship items to the resort you are staying at or back home to save having to carry things around. This store is great for those who only want to look in one place for souvenirs and want to do all their souvenir shopping at once. Disney Visa Card holders do get a discount here as well once you spend a certain amount. The World of Disney store can be very intimidating if you have not been there before and it is easy to get lost. The store can also be noisy and crowded, especially when it is storming outside. If you go into the store with family, pick a time and meeting place to meet up within the store. You might think that you would just call a family member or text them but I have had trouble reaching my parents and sister when they were shopping and couldn’t hear their phones ring.
For character focused shopping: If you like a character or the person that you are shopping for does, your best bet is to see if the character has an attraction or ride associated with them. If the character does, then it is extremely likely that a gift shop will be located at the ride exit and will have items related to that character. I thought this shirt below was a funny gift for someone who likes Dory and I did not see it the rest of the trip after exiting the Seas with Nemo and Friends. If you see something that you like and it is not a classic Walt Disney World souvenir (like ears or pens or pins), then purchase it where you notice it because you might not find it again.
For unique or different souvenirs: Maybe you have visited Walt Disney World every few years or the person you are buying for goes there more often than you do. If this is the case, then you know right away that you are not going to buy a “I Got Soaked on Splash Mountain” t-shirt or a Disney scrapbooking kit. For different souvenirs, I would definitely recommend visiting stores in Downtown Disney such as Tren-D. I have also found that the stores on the main level of the Contemporary Resort which I believe is the Concourse (you can see the monorail right above you) have great options for souvenirs. One of the stores has nicer shirts and swimsuits which I had not seen in other stores on the trip. The other resort store which is a good place to stop is the main store on the Boardwalk. You have to go through the lobby, down some stairs and then to the left I believe to get there. Both the Contemporary and Boardwalk stores are way less crowded and less noisy than the Downtown Disney shopping atmosphere.
For non Disney souvenirs: Why would you want a non Disney souvenir? Well maybe you wouldn’t but maybe someone you are buying a gift for is not as big of a Disney fan as you are. The ESPN store on the Boardwalk has sports related items which are good for sports fans. Downtown Disney has many shops where Mickey is more subtle on their items, such as soaps with a little hidden Mickey or socks with only the Mickey outline. Or you could just get the non Disney fan a Cirque du Soleil magnet.
Souvenir shopping is fun but can be challenging, especially when shopping for other people. Don’t spend too much time shopping though otherwise you will miss out on experiencing your trip to Walt Disney World!