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Here it is, a few days after returning from my latest Walt Disney World adventure. This time, it was just my twin boys, Casey and Alex and myself. We had an awesome time on our "boys only" trip. But now we're home. The bags have been unpacked. The laundry has been done. It's time to pour through the photos, check those PhotoPass pictures online, and regrettably attempt to settle back into the real world for a spell.

It's also time to go through the new stuff…the new souvenirs that made it home with us this time around. There are the usual suspects like pins and T-shirts for me. My kids have the latest mini-figure collection and a bunch of new Disney plush animals. There's also something that makes it home from each trip that I haven't talked about here before. Each trip it's something different and it's something I always look forward to when I'm heading down to Disney—and that's the special "purchase with a purchase" items.

If you've spent anytime in the parks in recent years, and have made it anywhere near a cash register, you've probably seen the signs offering an item at a special reduced price once you spend a certain amount of money. Get a Limited Edition Watch for only $9.95 With Any $40 Purchase! The special items are not readily available on the shelves to the general buying public. They're only available to the lucky patrons who have already spent or are about to spend money in the shops. It's a surefire way to get you to spend more money. I realize that, but I buy into it all the time and I do feel like I've gotten some good purchases over the years.

Here's what was available last week all around Walt Disney World. There was a Coastal Tote—which I presumed was Disney-speak for beach bag—a Trading Pin Starter Set, and a Backpack.


This sign and backpack could be found at most retail locations throughout Walt Disney World last week. Photo by Chris Barry.


Here's the "purchase with a purchase" Trading Pin Starter Set on display at Magic Kingdom's Emporium on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Chris Barry.


The beach bag...sorry, Coastal Tote, on display at the Emporium. Photo by Chris Barry.

Depending on the store you were in, there was also this Expanding Duffel Bag, which I went for at $18.95 once I had spent $40.


I spotted several passengers carrying these new Walt Disney World duffles in the Orlando airport on my way home. Photo by Chris Barry.

After seeing the same four items in stores all week, I was surprised to see this fantastic Mickey watch offered as a "purchase with a purchase" in Der TeddyBar in the Germany pavilion at Epcot.


The elusive limited release watch from this year that I stumbled upon in Epcot's World Showcase. Photo by Chris Barry.

Germany was the only place that I spotted this watch, but the cast member in Der Teddybar told me that it was available in the Italy and United States pavilions as well. Luckily, I had spent a total of $40 between Italy and Germany and was able to get in on this year's watch. As you can tell from a past column of mine, I'm a sucker for a Mickey Mouse watch.

The great thing about these promotions is that you don't have to spend the required dollar amount at that very moment. In Germany, I showed them a receipt from Italy from a previous day and a receipt from Germany for the current day. As long as they totaled $40, I was eligible for the purchase. The trick with the watch was that the receipts could only come from the stores that were carrying the watch. I couldn't, for example, show them a $40 receipt from Main Street's Emporium and qualify because the watch wasn't available in the Emporium. My receipt from Germany's crystal shop, Kunstarbeit in Kristall, also didn't qualify because that is an Arribas Brothers shop and not a Disney shop. It all seemed like a fair deal though and I didn't complain. Plus, I liked the watch too much to pass it up!

Over the years we've bought several of these "purchase with a purchase" items and they were never really frivolous purchases. They are good quality items and we use them all the time. I've managed to get several of my favorite watches through these promotions. Here are a few of them.


A collection of watches amassed throughout the past years as a "purchase with a purchase." Photo by Chris Barry.

We got several canvas bags across a few different trips. They were a bargain. We use these all the time for weekend getaways, daytrips—or to stuff towels, goggles, and sunblock in for the beach or pool.


These Walt Disney World canvas bags are extremely durable and equally as handy. Photo by Chris Barry.

Speaking of the beach and pool, these beach towels were available a couple of trips ago:


Two of these Walt Disney World beach towels found their way home with us.

A few years back fleece throws were available and are particular favorites of ours. They are ridiculously soft and comfy and have held up well over the years. They have permanent places in our living room, basement rec room, and on our daughter's bed. All you had to do was feel them in the store and you wanted one right away. We bought three. Our friends that were traveling with us with also bought three, and I think we each bought one for the grandparents and shipped them home.


There are three of these incredibly soft Walt Disney World Pooh and Tigger throws around our house.

We snapped up this rolling duffel bag at the now closed and much missed World of Disney on 5th Avenue in New York City. This was not a Disney Store per se. It was run by Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, so they got in on the whole "purchase with a purchase" thing as well.


A well-used bag from the NYC World of Disney. Photo by Chris Barry.

We've frequently used these promotions as souvenirs for people at home. Let's face it, anytime you can get someone a quality souvenir from Walt Disney World at a discounted price…you've scored. Nobody has to know it was such a deal. Although…now I suppose they will.

The bottom line is this: yes, this is a marketing and sales technique to get you to buy more stuff. We all realize that. The fact of the matter is we've never increased our spending in order to reach $40 to get one of these promotions. It's a pretty safe bet that with 5 people in the family, we were going to spend $40 anyway, so why not get something else at a discounted price while doing so? Sometimes I'm not crazy about the item or the design and I resist. I didn't love the backpack or the pins, so they stayed on the shelves. I liked the duffel and loved the watch. I had spent the required money anyway, so surprise, surprise…I spent a little more. Judging from the amount of cast members wearing these pins, guests were buying them and trading them. It also seemed like every other person on my flight home had either the backpack or the duffel bag as a carry-on so I'm not the only one who was taking advantage of these promotions.

A trip to Walt Disney World is about many things. We had an amazing time for eight days in the parks and hotels. We had great meals. We experienced our favorite attractions. We tried attractions, rides and shows for the first time. There were new characters to meet like Russell and Dug in Animal Kingdom. I'm still amazed that new experiences are possible considering how many times we have been there.

Most importantly, my boys and I got to experience all of the magic and wonder together and make memories that we'll never forget.

And…maybe second most importantly…as always, we brought home some cool, new Disney Stuff.

What do you all think of these "purchase with a purchase" promotions? Have you taken advantage of them? I'd like to hear about them, so click on the "Discuss This Article on MousePad" link below and let us hear your thoughts.



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(Send an email to Chris Barry)

Chris Barry lives on Long Island in New York with his wife and three kids. He has had a lifelong love of cartoons, comics and animation. Those who know him well say he has truly, "earned his Disney PhD." Chris has been involved with Television Production for 20 years and began his career working with The Muppets at Jim Henson Productions in NYC. Currently teaching TV Production to high school students, Chris has been writing about many different facets of The Walt Disney Company for several years now.