While nothing compares to a day IN the parks, there is still plenty of fun to be had in WDW without having to shell out for a park ticket. My personal favorite activity? Shopping! Inside the parks, you find a lot of the same merchandise (the World Showcase is an exception to this), plus you're usually juggling drinks, FastPass times, crowds, and more. Over the years, I've found that some of the best shopping in WDW exists outside the parks - stores with unique finds, different selections, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Here are some of my favorites:
Basin (Downtown Disney - Marketplace): For anyone who bathes or showers (which should be everyone), this is a must-visit. Filled with soaps and bath goodies in just about every scent combination you can think of, Basin is a great place to stock up on gifts for loved ones, and for yourself!
Bayview Gifts (Contemporary Resort): This one makes the list because of its carefully curated selection. Located on the main floor of the Contemporary Resort, Bayview Gifts sells an upscale mix of kitchen items, home decor, clothing, jewelry, and handbags. I think of this store as a "best of WDW" shop, and never come out empty handed.
Summer Lace (Grand Floridian Resort): This one can be dangerous to the ol' wallet, but it's probably my favorite store in all of WDW. It's the only place on property (that I know of, at least) where you can find designer clothing, plus it carries swimwear, jewelry, handbags, and branded Grand Floridian merchandise. I rarely make a purchase here, but it's a great place for browsing.
Art of Disney (Downtown Disney - Marketplace): A favorite of Disney fans, the Art of Disney carries just that - limited edition prints and original artwork inspired by Disney films, characters, and attractions. More of a gallery than a store, this is another great place to browse/dream.
Zawadi Marketplace (Animal Kingdom Lodge): Every resort has its own store, but the one at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is easily the most unique. Here, you'll find an array of African-inspired clothing, housewares, artwork, musical instruments, accessories, and more. Some of these items can also be found in various shops inside Animal Kingdom, but it's much more relaxing to shop here.
Mickey's Pantry (Downtown Disney - Marketplace): Do you have a kitchen? Do you like Disney? Then this is the place for you - you'll find everything you could possibly need (and plenty of things you probably don't, but would like to have anyway). You can also find specialty teas, olive oils, salts, and more.
Do you have a favorite place to shop in WDW? Share your comments below!
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