A mention of Walt Disney World often evokes thoughts of rides, favorite characters or warm childhood memories. But the sprawling resort destination also offers some of the most interesting shopping in the Southeast. There are no department stores or upscale malls on Disney property, so you won't find Tory Burch, Apple, or Tiffany & Co. here. What you will find are souvenirs galore, along with a huge selection of gifts, home goods, perfumes, clothing, toys and luxury items from all over the world. Some of the best shops are inside the theme parks -- I firmly believe Epcot's World Showcase offers some of the most extraordinary shopping found anywhere -- and some are in no-tickets-required areas. So if you like shopping -- or if you simply want to pick up something special for yourself or a loved one -- you've come to the right place. Here, five of the best places to hit.
Epcot's World Showcase
The eleven pavilions around the World Showcase Lagoon offer some of the best shopping on property. Buy an elaborate cuckoo clock in Germany, a rare perfume in France or Italy, a unique tea set in England, a bottle of craft sake in Japan, a piece of silver jewelry in Mexico's lovely market, and much more. A rare opportunity to shop the world without leaving the States.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Take a stroll down the Magic Kingdom's iconic Main Street, U.S.A. toward Cinderella Castle, and you'll find yourself wrapped in nostalgia and surrounded on all sides by retail shops. The Emporium is one of the largest locations on property for souvenirs, and you can also find specialty items, such as hand-blown glass, sports jerseys, jewelry and Mickey ears.
The expansive souvenir store in Epcot's Future World is one of the most popular shops among veteran Disney World visitors, thanks to its huge but well-curated variety of Disney-themed offerings. Find everything from plush characters to books to apparel, along with an enormous selection of toys, trinkets and home goods. An easy one-stop souvenir shop.
This sprawling area outside the theme parks includes the world’s largest Disney character store as well as specialty stores such as The Art of Disney, Build-A-Dino, Disney’s Days of Christmas, Sosa Family Cigars, Orlando Harley-Davidson and The LEGO Store. A perfect way to spend a day without buying theme park tickets.
The Contemporary Hotel
Stretching across a portion of the Contemporary Hotel's fourth floor, you'll find a string of shops with an open-air market feel, nestled beneath the Monorail track. A nice selection of both traditional and luxurious Disney gifts, apparel, accessories and housewares, all nicely located just a few minutes by Monorail from the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center.