The Best of the BEST Shopping at Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Best of the Best Shopping at Walt Disney World

Updated for 2016!

While many people associate Disney World with roller coaster rides, I immediately think of shopping. After all, window shopping is THE Olympic sport of the Cheapskate Princess. So if you are planning a trip to Orlando and have wisely built-in some time away from the parks, for a free day or days, where are the best spots to do some shopping?

We’ve put together a Best of the Best Shopping Guide for those of you with a Disney Visa Card burning a hole through your pocket, with addresses and phone numbers for your convenience.

Planning a Disney Vacation? Why You Need a Disney Change Jar!

1. Disney Springs

1490 E Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830

Open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. 

This is the ultimate in Disney retail shopping. World-class restaurants, entertainment and unique Disney-themed shops line the lakefront right next door to Saratoga Springs Resort and across the street from water park Typhoon Lagoon.

 You can shop in the world’s largest Disney store, enjoy a meal with life-size prehistoric creatures at TRex, bowl a game at the 30-lane bowling alley Splittsville and so much more. Parking and admission to Disney Springs area are free.

ProsSo much Disney merchandise in one place, and when you throw in food and street entertainment, it’s almost Mickey shopping overload.

Pros Disney Springs is still becoming an incredible shopping, dining and entertainment hotspot, and with the names of upcoming stores being announced all the time, this place will be amazing upon completion.

ConsThere is an incredible amount of remodeling going on right now. Traffic is a nightmare, and while two above ground parking lots are complete, it still  can be nerve wracking and time consuming getting to a parking place, especially the later in the day you arrive. This won’t last forever, but it will be an inconvenience at a minimum for possibly another year to come. Good luck on parking, but it’s worth the effort.

ConsThis is retail Disney shopping, and you may spot a couple bargains, but you would find better deals on Disneystore.com. But then again, that’s not as much fun as shopping while you are actually in Orlando.

Tip It is suggested you give yourself an hour to get there because of traffic and road work, especially if you have dining reservations.

Better Tip Our best tip is to go first thing in the morning, when traffic is more manageable, and follow this plan: Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

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shop at Downtown Disney

shopping at World of Disney at Downtown Disney

World of Disney best shopping in Orlando

2. Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom

It’s not often you will shop in early 20th century small-town America.  You can get a haircut at a real barber shop, plus shop for  souvenirs including plush toys, shirts, trading pins, and Mickey-ear hats at The Emporium. If you are hungry, Tony’s Town Square and the Plaza Restaurant offer table service meals, while Casey’s Corner, at the end of Main Street, sells hot dogs and fries. Your Main Street shopping experience has ended when you run into the iconic Cinderella Castle. Jewelry, snacks, ice cream, and souvenirs…all calling your name.

Pros- My goodness, what an amazing place to shop for Disney merchandise. You can almost envision Walt himself walking down the street as a child, except this main street is reportedly far nicer than the one of his childhood town.

ConsThese stores are crazy busy during certain parts of the day.

Tip – Unless there is a special party at the Magic Kingdom that night, these main street stores close an hour after the actual park does. While the whole world runs for the exit, this can be a great time for you to shop.

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3. Disney’s Character Warehouse

Not as fancy as a traditional mall Disney Store, but pretty close, you will find all sorts of brand new merchandise at mostly deep-discounted prices. With t-shirts for as low as $10.00, Vinylmations for $2,50, and scarves for $8, you can find some true bargains at the Character Warehouse on a good day.

Pros This is definite discount Disney shopping, with prices up to 70% lower than normal WDW retail.

Pros One of the Disney’s Character Warehouses is located in the The Premier Outlet Mall, which is a discount shopping mall. You will find better deals here than other retail malls. Our family has found all sorts of discounts at the Premier Outlet, and we live in an Alabama tourist city with a 120 store outlet mall. We have found many sales to be better in Orlando for the same brand names we shop at home.

You definitely want to make some time to look through shops other than this one Disney store.

ConsIf you like it, you better buy it, because chances are over 90% (based on our previous experience) that your desired item will be gone the next day or within days.

ConsParking is a complete zoo at the Premier Outlets on Vineland, and the mall seems to be busy all the time, based on our years of shopping here and from what we hear from locals.

Tip You can use your Disney MagicBand to charge items to your room. There are not many places I can think of off Disney property where swiping a Magicband will get you anything other than confused looks.

There are two Character Warehouse locations in Orlando, but our suggestion is the Vineland Ave. location.

Disney’s Character Warehouse 
at Orlando Premium Outlet International 

4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Monday through Sunday 10:00 am to 9:00 p.m.

407-354-3255

Disney’s Character Warehouse 
at the Orlando Premium Outlet Vineland Avenue

8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821

Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

407- 477-0222

The Day You Arrive at Disney World, Don’t Waste Your Tickets on This…

where to find Disney's Character warehouse in Orlando

Character Outlet discount shopping in Olando

discount Disney World merchandise shopping Orlando

4. Mall of Millenia

4200 Conroy Road OrlandoFL 32839

407.363.3555

The Mall at Millenia is a beautifully designed, 1.2 million-square-foot center, offering 150 of the world’s finest stores, services and eateries. You won’t believe the stores here:

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Gucci
  • Prada
  • Chanel
  • Cartier
  • Apple
  • Michael Kors
  • kate spade new york
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Banana Republic
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Anthropologie,
  • lululemon athletica
  • Pottery Barn
  • MAC Cosmetics.

Department stores include Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.

The Mall at Millenia also offers outstanding dining options like: 

  • The Capital Grill
  • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Brio Tuscan Grille
  • California Pizza Kitchen

Pros- It’s just a stunning mall with many, many upper line shops that you don’t normally see in most hometown malls, like my favorites Rolex, Brighton, and Pandora. Can you say window shopping at it’s best?!

Pros- The food court is open and airy with a multitude of seating and food options.

Cons It’s retail shopping, so you will pay the full price for the most part. And when you look at those brand names, you know I do mean full price.

TipBe sure to visit the Ikea store right next door while you are here. If you drove all this way from your hotel, you might as well pop in for lunch, like $.50 hotdogs and $1 cinnamon buns.  Oh, and the two stories worth of discount home furnishings are a definite plus, if you have room in your car to take anything home. (We never do, which kills me…)

How NOT to Lose Your Kids at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

best malls in Orlando

mall of Millenia in Orlando

Gucci Rolex stores in Orlando mall

5. The Grand Floridian Resort

4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, OrlandoFL 32830

Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication at this spectacular resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Relax in the lobby as the live orchestra plays ragtime, jazz and popular Disney tunes.  This Victorian-style hotel is quite reminiscent of Palm Beach’s golden era.

Pros This isn’t a mall, but you will be shopping at one of the most beautiful of all the Disney resorts with a band or a pianist playing elegant music in the background from late afternoon until evening.

Pros There are five different stores in the Grand Floridian, and although they are not huge, you will have lots to see.

ProsDuring the holidays, there is a two-story Victorian-styled gingerbread house in the lobby, plus a Christmas tress so large you won’t believe it. Also, Mickey and Minnie are here during holiday season, posing for photos for free.

Cons This is retail shopping, and I’m not sure they even keep SALE stickers rolls under the counter at the resorts. Many price tags are actually turned over so you have to ask the prices; I’m specifically referencing the jewelry cases here.

TipYou have really GOT to buy a bar of $5 soap at Basin White, which is a true bargain.

Another Tip – It’s just one stop to Magic Kingdom on the complimentary Resort Monorail or a quick boat ride. 

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shop at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

best places to shop at Disney World

shop at Basin White Disney World Grand Floridian

6. The Contemporary Resort

4600 North World Drive. Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8413

An ultra-modern resort hotel with award-winning dining, you are just a quick walk to Magic Kingdom park. You can catch a monorail to the Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Magic Kingdom.  The iconic 90-foot-tall mural by Disney legend Mary Blair (think small world ride) celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest.

ProsThere are gift shops in all the Disney Resorts, some larger and more impressive than others. Two of the Contemporary gift shops don’t even have an actual roof, so you can see and hear everything going on in the resort around you. When the monorails travel through, you actually feel the floor shake a bit. Top that, outlet mall!

Pros Go grab a bite to eat in the Contempo Cafe. The prices are Disney-resonable, meaning you will certainly pay more than lunch at Burger King, but it’s not character meal high prices, and the food is really tasty. Snack prices here are under $5.

ProsThere are three stores to choose from at the Contemporary, ranging from $3 snacks to $400 Dooney & Bourke handbags.

ConsYou will pay retail price here about 90% of the time. 

TipThere is often a pin trading board located in Fantasia gift shop.

Another Tip Choirs, Disney characters, and a large gingerbread tree are here during the Christmas holidays.

How Many Miles Will You Walk on Vacation in the Disney Parks?

best places to go shopping at Disney World

best places to shop at Disney World

Bay View Gifts Disney World best shopping for Disney Moms

Theme park rides empty right into gift shops, and resort lobbies attach to more gift shops. You can’t take 20 steps in most any direction on Disney property without literally almost tripping into a gift shop. So prepare yourself. Merchandise is expensive, and it’s almost all calling your name, from key chains to coffee mugs that you never thought you wanted…until you saw it and suddenly needed it.

Anything you buy will have to make it home in your luggage, unless you mail it back, so this advice can help:

To Get Home From Disney With Your Souvenirs, Bring Less of This….

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you on the monorail headed for some retail therapy at the Grand. You may see my car waiting yet again for a parking spot at Disney Springs.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney Dooneys Too Pricey? Disney World Handbags Under $40

Dooney & Bourke handbag

This article was published back in 2013. Some of these handbags may not be available in 2017, although some are still sold on property.

A Cheapskate Princess current with fashion trends knows a Dooney and Bourke handbag is the height of Disney Princess fashion. Other than gold jewelry, there aren’t too many Disney souvenirs I can think of that are more pricey than a D&B purse. The majority of Dooney and Bourke handbag owners say they are very happy with almost every aspect of their Dooney handbag, from quality down to every day appeal.

What seems to hold most princesses back from purchasing a Disney Dooney is the cost. Have you seen the prices on Dooney and B0urke handbags this year? Use this link and then check back here.

 Read: Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford a Dooney & Bourke Disney Handbag?

Dooney & Bourke logo

We’re not all prepared to drop $100 to over $300 on a vacation-themed purse. What sort of options does that leave us with if we don’t want to kill our vacation budget but still be able to wear our love for Disney on our arm?

Priced at a quite reasonable $34.95, the Disney Parks are offering several options for Disney Princess fashion at a Cheapskate Princess price.

This red Minnie Mouse handbag features her classic red, black and white theme with an image and Minnie’s signature. $34.95.

Minnie Mouse Disney World purse

Can You Afford Disney’s New Dooney & Bourke “Rainbow Letter Collection?” Grab Your Disney Visa…

This black handbag rings in at $34.95, with Minnie’s name featured prominently and her trademark red (satin in this case) bow fastened to the side.

Minnie Mouse handbag

This white handbag features both Minnie and Mickey Mouse and Pluto in what I call the “old cartoon style.” $34.95

Disney Princess, cheapskate vacation

Read: Move Over Disney Dooney & Bourke…Make Way for the Disney Vera Bradley!

And our last bag in this style, also ringing up at just $34.95, has Bambi, Dumbo, the Disney logo, plus Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse’s signatures. This is the most colorful handbag of the bunch.

Disney purse

While these handbags were photographed at BVG (Bay View Gifts) at the Contemporary Resort, you can find them throughout the parks and resort gift shops.

Want to show the gals at work or PTA meetings your love for a Disney vacation without sacrificing a mortgage payment?  These handbags may be just what you need. You’ll have to pick them up on property though, because they do not appear to be available at the Disney Store.  If you would like to see the bags they do have available online, use this link. 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Mike Ellis

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

 

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

 

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1st Trip to Disney World? Should You Buy Souvenirs Before Your Vacation?

where to buy Disney World souvenirs in Orlando

Updated for 2017!

What two things keep me from saving money on a Disney vacation? Food and souvenirs. I can save money on accommodations, be it staying off property or waiting for a super sale, you know, the kind advertised on television right now where you can save up to 30% on select WDW resorts. I could save money on food if we could travel during the Free Disney Dining promotions, but we can never seem to get away during the golden days of free food. I can also bring my own meals and snacks into the parks, and that saves a great deal of money, even if it’s not as fun as eating a counter service meal at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.

But souvenirs?

[Read more…]