During our last trip we did very little shopping in the parks, which I regret.
It was very hot, we had younger kiddos, and had rope dropped the early, early morning times back in 2019 (yes, that alarm got my kids up at 4am so we could ride the Millennium Falcon) (worth it). Rides were our number one priority along with getting through our day and back to hotel by early evening.
This time around, we won’t be rushing as much, but my party isn’t going to want to pop into every store.
I’ve searched and searched, all the big-name sites and blogs, for a place that would have each store, a detailed-as-possible list of items and photos so I could “shop” ahead of time. I could watch youtube videos for each one, but…ooof.
Most blogs have reviews or an overview of items in stores, but some haven’t been updated in YEARS. (Same with sites that focus on Disney food, parks, etc.)
Can anyone recommend the best resource for viewing in-park stores, items, photos, etc.??
I thank you in advance.
My wallet does not thank you.
Um…walking into the shops. That sounds tongue in cheek, but it isn’t really. I think it would be difficult to show what is in store because stock changes so often. Some more than others. You will do better just checking the stores in person.
We are going for Flower and Garden and all the blogs post photos of the merch for the event in advance. I usually make a list of items I don’t want to forget. The sizing of their clothes is so inconsistent that I need to see stuff in person before I will buy it. I was dead set on getting a few orange bird things last year but I didn’t like them in person at all. I’m glad I had made the list.
I typically do my shopping while others are on rides that I don’t want to do. Maybe that’s an option for you?
Also, maybe the rest of your group can head back to the hotel while you shop Main Street at Magic Kingdom. There is very little in the MK that you can’t get in those stores unless you were thinking specialty Christmas shoppe items or ride-specific items. And many of the rides have a gift shop as you exit.
You can ask a CM if they can check where you can buy a particular t-shirt in size L, and they can look that up. But that doesn’t mean it will still be in stock when you get there.
DS and I went from the American pavilion to the Creations shop, to BC, to DS, to AK in just one day to find a t-shirt for DH. We were hopping from Epcot to AK that day anyway. No luck.
The next day we found it in the MK Emporium, which was sold out the day before, and in the Contemporary shop. Those had both shown as sold out the day before.
There really isn’t any failsafe way to know what will be in each shop until you get there.
It’s maybe different if you know in advance you want to look out for a, b and c, but you’d still need to look in each shop to see if they have it. And sometimes park specific merchandise might be out of stock in that park but available in a resort shop.
Sometimes you truly need to buy when you see it - because if you wait, it could be gone when you go back. We also do a loop through the stores on the way out of a park. If we know we are going out and coming back, we’ll just do one side, then do the other side on return.
I totally understand wanting to plan this out ahead of time. I generally don’t enjoy shopping, but it is sometimes nice to get a souvenir or a gift for someone while traveling. If you can roughly plan out where to go and what to get before arrival, it makes the process quicker on the ground.
Before my last WDW trip I perused an app (I think it was the Shop Disney app) to try and find a few souvenirs that my family would like and a gift for my aunt who loves Disney. I don’t think this works anymore - I just tried the Shop Disney app and didn’t see a way of finding park merchandise. Back in 2019, though, it (or a similar app) would let you peruse disney merch and it labeled some as “only in the parks.” I think it even indicated WDW stores where it thought that item would be in stock.
Given that the above no longer seems possible, here’s my best advice: think about the types of things that you may want to get and which stores are most likely to have them. Christmas ornaments? Try to build a visit to Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe into your touring plan. Themed merch from a specific movie or attraction? (Ex. haunted mansion, toy story) Obviously, the gift shop in the relevant area. General tee shirt, mug, key chain, magnets? Maybe a visit to a larger shop, like the Emporium or Mouse Gear.
You can also google “best souvenir from WDW” or even “best gift shop WDW” and see if there are any items highlighted that tickle your fancy. That’s how I learned about the “pick a pearl” experience in the Japan Pavillion’s shop in Epcot, which was fun to do with the kids.
I wish I had more pertinent, specific, and up to date advice! Good luck.
There are lots of personal shoppers who have Instagram accounts (probably other platforms too) and regularly post pics of merch - like, LOTS of pics. They don’t generally list prices, because of course their business is to shop for other people then ship to their paying customers, and they want you to buy through them! But, I’ve found these accounts really useful; sometimes I’ll take screenshots of stuff I want to make sure I look for and flip through my pictures while I’m at the parks to refresh my memory.
Like the other posters indicated, there is no way to know what is in each store, and no way to keep track of stock. When I went a year ago, I was there for 10 days and was hunting for a bag my mom really wanted; I looked in virtually every shop I walked by, big or small, the whole trip. On my LAST day, in my LAST trip through the Emporium, my traveling companion spotted it. I echo what someone said above: buy it when you see it. They do accept returns if you change your mind or find something else (you can return park stuff at the resorts too!!).