The Twelve Days of Shopping

by Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
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Greetings readers, and happy holidays! We're at the end of another Mouseplanet year, and I'm in a festive mood—so I'd like to share with you a compilation of 12 great Disney shopping experiences that you can't find anywhere else, presented to the tune of that holiday classic, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

On the first day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

Located at Disney Springs, Disney Design-a-Tee lets you design your own custom shirt. You go to an electronic kiosk and select one of hundreds of images of classic or new Disney characters or films. They then allow you to select up to four lines of text to appear beneath the image. The kiosk shows you exactly what the T-shirt will look like when you're done. You hit a few more buttons and like magic, the T-shirt appears a little while later for you to take home. These come in many different sizes, long and short sleeve, and so on.

Location and Price: Disney Design-a-Tee, Disney Springs; prices vary depending on what you choose, but T-shirts are typically in the $29.95 range.

On the second day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

When we were growing up, this was my little sister's favorite thing to do at Walt Disney World. At Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot's Japan pavillion, a friendly cast member in traditional Japanese garb waits to give you a unqiue experience. At her station is a tankful of oysters (no, not for eating). You select one, and then she makes a ceremony out of opening it for you and revealing the contents. She cleans it out and pulls out a genuine pearl. She makes a show out of it by ringing a bell and showing off your pearl to the crowd that's usually gathered. She then measures the size of the pearl and tells you something about its color.


A happy customer gets her one-of-a-kind pearl at Mitsukoshi. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

It's a lot of fun and you get a truly one-of-a-kind keepsake at the end to take home. My sister collected these for years and eventually made a necklace.

Location and Price: Mitsukoshi Department Store, Epcot's Japan Pavilion; $18.00, including tax.

On the third day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

For the Star Wars fan in your life, young or old, Disney has long offered the opportunity to create your own custom lightsaber. You select a base and one of several colors of blades. There are choices of many different kinds of embellishments to make your saber on of a kind. With the advent of the new Star Wars films, you are now given more choices such as building a saber with a double blade.

Location and Price: Tatooine Traders, Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Once Upon a Toy or the Galactic Outpost at Disney Springs; prices range from $24.95 to $46.95 depending on what you choose.

On the fourth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

Arribas Brothers has long been a Disney partner in creating beautiful handmade glass and crystal products. Today, we're going to look at what I feel is another classic Disney experience. They have a variety of items available that can be personalized, such as glassware, picture frames, plates, vases, etc, but my favorite is the simple glass mug with the image of your favorite Disney character (shocker - mine is Mickey Mouse) etched in the front. You can then have your name etched below the character image. It makes for a great personalized memory of a trip. I had one done when I was four years old and treasured it for years.

Location and Price: Crystal Arts, Magic Kingdom's Main Street USA or Arribas Brothers at Disney Springs; prices vary greatly on what you pick, but mug is typically $19.95 plus $3 per word for engraving.

On the fifth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

If you're a Disney animation fan, there's nothing like the idea of owning a piece of Disney history. There are original production cels and drawings from Disney's animated features and shorts out there, but they've become hard to find and tend to be expensive (I wrote an article about these a while back). The next best thing is a hand drawn image from an actual Disney artist. At the Art of Disney, there's an animators desk usually staffed by a Disney artist working on images of your your favoirte Disney characters and films. There are typically bins of drawings in front of the desk with a wide variety of drawings for you to choose from. These are hand done and signed by the artist.

If your timing is lucky and you do catch an artist at work, they can also do a custom drawing for you of your favorite character along with some personalization, such as your name. Again, this is a way to get a truly one of a kind item.

Location and Price: Art of Disney shops at Epcot and Disney Springs; prices vary based on size and character, but typically start at $19.95.

On the sixth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

Techology is all the rage, and we all have a cell phone, right? Another product line from the go to a monitor and pick from hundreds of designs famlly, D-Tech gives you the chance to personalize a cell phone case or magic band. As with the Design-a-Tee, there are iiterally hundreds of designs to choose from. You simply go to a kiosk, sort the images by character or film, and choose who you want to see on your magic band or the back of your phone case.

When I did mine, I literally "spun the image wheel" and wound up liking what came up (a sporty looking Pluto). Phone cases are available for most iPhone or Android models. If you're a Disney (or Star Wars) fan, there really are a ton of choices to dress up your phone or band.


Through D-Tech, you can get customized cell phone cases and magic bands with literally hundreds of choices. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Location and Price: Several around the resort, but the flagship D-Tech is in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs; prices for phone cases are $29.99 for a customized case or $34.99 if you also want your name; MagicBands are $24.99 for a custom band or $32.99 if you also want your name.

On the seventh day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

If you've ever wondered what you'd look like as one of the Haunted Mansion's 999 happy haunts, you can now find out. Through Spirit Photography at Memento Mori, your favorite creepy cast member will take you to a back room and snap your photo. A little while later, they will hand you the result: a black-and-white, old version of your picture. But wait. The picture is a lenticular. As you move it back and forth, the image changes from your smiling face to that of a creepy spirt version of your former self. The effect is amazing and a lot of fun.


At Memento Mori, you can give your photos a creepy effect. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Location and Price: Memento Mori, Magic Kingdom; $19.95 unframed.

On the eighth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, eight robot droids, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

When I recently visited Disney's Hollwood Studios and Tatooine Traders, I saw that in addition to the custom lightsabers, there's also a place for you to build your own Star Wars robot, known as the droid factory. Your robot will be action-figure size and there are plenty of parts to choose from, as well as a helpful cast member to assist you. There are several "bases" with characters known from the films, as well as numerous accesories.


You can build your own droid with the help of a friendly cast member at Tatooine Traders. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Location and Price: Tatooine Traders, Disney's Hollywood Studios; $21.95 for 2 droids.

On the ninth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, nine prints in frames, eight robot droids, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

I've written about this in previous articles, but really want to stress again what a great product this is. No matter what Disney character, film, TV show or ride you love, you can create your own artwork using the Disney Artwork on Demand kiosks (yes, another kiosk). You can get your chosen image in a variety of sizes or formats, framed or unframed. The only knock is that they used to print them for you right there; now they ship it to you instead, but that's a minor quibble. This makes the sky the limit in terms of what Disney artwork you can purchase. You don't have to just take what;s on the shelf.

Location and Price: Art of Disney, Epcot or Disney Springs; prices vary greatly based on your choices, but start around $29.95.

On the tenth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, 10 World pavilions, nine prints in frames, eight robot droids, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

This is kind of a broad one, but at Epcot's World Showcase, the world can literally be your oyster (see pearl reference above). There's nothing like going to distant lands yourself, but the pavilions here give you a good flavor for what these countries have to offer, and that's also true about the shops. If you want an exotic gift or souvenir, many of the offerings here go beyond the basic Disney mold. Want a genuine cuckoo clock from the Black Forest, visit Der Teddybar in Germany. Want an authentic Japanese bonsai tree? Visit Mitsukoshi in Japan. Want teas and other British delights? Visit the UK pavilion. These are a few of my personal favorites, but it's likely that if you take the time to really explore what's available, you'll find a few of your own.

Location and Price: World Showcase, Epcot; prices vary from cheap trinkets to very expensive artwork and jewelry.

On the eleventh day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, 11 Na'vi pictures, 10 World pavilions, nine prints in frames, eight robot droids, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

This is another one I've tackled in a recent article, but thought it was worth repeating here. If you visit Windtraders, the main shop at Animal Kingdom's Pandora, you'll find the Ace Avatar Maker. I won't repeat myself too much, but the cast members make it a fun experience for you as they scan your DNA to make a Na'vi/Avatar figure that looks an awful lot like you.


Come see what you look like as an Avatar at Windtraders. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

On the twelfth day at Disney World, the Fab Five gave to me, 12 special stockings, 11 Na'vi pictures, 10 World pavilions, nine prints in frames, eight robot droids, seven creepy photos, six D-Tech items, five artwork signed! Four etched mugs, three lightsabers, two shiny pearls, and a Disney Design-a-Tee shirt.

On this last day of my virtual trip, I'm going to highight a holiday favorite. These locations are harder to find than they used to be, but you can still have an embroidery with your or a loved one's name. Generally for about $10, you can have a name embroidered on a holiday stocking (yes, I have these for my dogs), blanket, or even bath towels. You can purchase the item at these locations or anywhere at the resort and drop them off to be done either for later that day, or to be shipped home.

Location and Price: Adrian & Edith's Head to Toe, Hollywood Blvd, Disney's Hollywood Studios or Disney Design-a-Tee, Disney Springs; embroidery generally about $10, item prices vary.


My family's personal embroidered stockings from Walt Disney World and Adrian & Edith's Head to Toe. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

So there you have it—twelve unqiue Disney resort shopping experiences for you to enjoy anytime, not just during rhe holidays. On that list, there should be something to delight you or someone special in your life. Thanks as always for reading. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to sharing even more great Disney shopping experiences with you in the new year.

 

Comments

  1. By MikeC

    Great overview and great gift ideas! Have you also thought about the banshees in Pandora or maybe even the bibbidy bobbidy boutique?

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