There are lots of children “shopping” at Disney World, and by that I mean, nearly every ride drops you off into a beautiful gift shop. So kids wind up in stores all over everywhere touching everything in sight, usually until an adult escorts them out and off to the next ride. Parents don’t typically give their children a lot of time to shop, which makes rational sense. Since time equals money, then shopping often seems like a waste of both to adults. But have you stopped lately to ask your kids what they want to do on vacation?
Many, many of them want to shop, and window shopping is a skill that will come in really handy here. It’s also a life skill they need to master to become a successful adult.
We’ve all taken our children to stores and let them look at toys. But Disney gift shops are on a completely different level. This is not your average TOYS R US store or the back corner of Target. This is Disney World, and the merchandise is colorful, character-familiar, and completely enticing. Kids love to look at toys; it’s a kid thing. Your child really will have a great time shopping and will want everything he or she sees.
Big tip here- so do adults, by the way. The Disney-wants is not just exclusive to kiddies.
I have watched children literally get dragged out of Disney gift shops kicking and screaming. I’m talking about screaming at the top of their lungs and crying hysterically. Now these tantrums could be because they wanted a toy and couldn’t get it, but there’s also a good possibility they just wanted more time to look around. Perhaps they weren’t ready to leave. You can’t buy them every toy they ask for, but you can give them more time.
A great reason to let them shop, or window shop, is that realizing you can’t buy everything that you want is a life skill. I wish I had the money to buy everything I like at Disney. If I bought everything I saw that I liked, we couldn’t pay our mortgage this month, and maybe next month too if jewelry is included. I cannot think of a time when I bought every item I wanted on a shopping trip. Can you?
Let those kids spend some time looking around in the shops. Build it into your schedule if you have to, because shopping is a lot of fun at Disney World.
Teach Kids the Skill
How do you teach kids to window shop, where you go shopping and yet buy nothing?
This one is pretty simple.
Practice ahead of your trip, because trying this for the first time in front of a display of Mickey Mouse hats is a terrible idea.
Go to Target. Go shop at Walmart. Stop in Walgreens. Explain to your child that this trip is not for purchases, but you are giving them time to explore what items they like and to see how much things cost. Let them walk up and down the idles and touch things. Go when you are not in a hurry, and after sufficient touching and pricing time, now announce it’s time to go without bying anything.
Chances are in your favor that leaving empty handed will be met with a big messy tantrum, and that’s OK. You may have to try this for weeks or months until your child understands that you will not have enough money to buy a toy every time he or she sees one they want.
Explain that on your upcoming trip to Disney World, you will do a lot of this style of shopping, drop the old fashioned term”window shopping” here, because no one can buy everything they want all the time. Point out you won’t be buying everything you want either. I do this a lot. “See that watch? I really want to purchase that, but I’ve decided I don’t really need it. Even I can’t buy everything I want, because if I did, they would repossess your braces.”
Make sure you have a lot of conversations about what type of behavior you expect before you get to the store. Little ears will hear very little new information when standing in the toy isle. Once you have practiced shopping without buying, and you can leave tear and tantrum free, you are ready to give it a go at WDW.
Make a Child’s Souvenir Budget Before You Vacation
Several months before your trip, decide how much money your child/children have to spend on vacation, and most importantly, determine where is this money coming from.
- Are you giving them a loan?
- Are you giving them a vacation allowance?
- Are they spending birthday money?
- Are they using Christmas money they saved for just this occasion?
- Can they work to earn spending money by washing cars, raking leaves, or doing household chores?
Kids need to understand as early as possible in their young lives that no one can buy everything they want. When adults do this, we wind up with massive credit card bills and wreck our credit scores. Adults that can walk into stores and not feel the urgent need to make a purchase at every location know the difference between want and need. Kids will want a lot of things at Disney, and that’s just fine as long as they have the cash to pay for things they want. And if the cash is not there, you set it down and walk away.
We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they gave their kids spending money on vacation; check out their answers.
It’s very important to explain there will be no tantrums or begging when they money runs out. At least, that’s what my husband explained to me the last time I was crying and begging for that $4,000 gold Mickey Mouse necklace I had spotted.
Window shopping – a life skill indeed.
Need more Disney parenting ideas? Try this great article with advice from Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans, a great set of Disney parents who have been there with kids and lived through it.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with your head bent over the Disney Resort gift shop jewelry counter. Please wipe the condensation off the glass, because there is undoubtedly a cheapskate waiting for their turn to peek in the glass.
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess