Home » Best Hidden Shops To Find Ultra-Exclusive Disney Merchandise

Best Hidden Shops To Find Ultra-Exclusive Disney Merchandise

hyku, Flickr (license)

For guests who stay on-property at Walt Disney World, there’s a bit of territoriality that comes with choosing a resort hotel. While all Disney hotels are definitely magical, we each have one that stands out above the others in our mind. There’s always one that features prominently in our mental image when someone says the phrase, “Disney vacation.”

As such, we always want to represent for our favorite resorts, even when we’re not on Disney property. That’s where resort-specific merchandise comes in.

For decades, Disney did an amazing job at selling bits of collectible ephemera that prominently featured unique designs for each of their resorts. Then, following the financial crises of 2001 and later 2008, the company opted to cut back on hotel souvenirs in favor of more generic offerings.

Fans complained, revenue was lost, and Disney eventually realized that guests were clamoring to give the company more money if only they could have the opportunity to do so. And so, here we are today, in the Resort-Specific Merchandise Renaissance.

If you’re looking for a resort that has incredible souvenirs unique all to itself, here are the four best spots to check out. 

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

 hyku, Flickr (license)

Image: hyku, Flickr (license)

Themed to the classic beach boardwalks of the Atlantic coast, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is one of the most beautiful and transporting places on Disney property. The entire resort is filled with unique art, gorgeous design touches, and intricate theming — all meant to take you back to a time of simple family entertainment and leisure.

Down on the Boardwalk itself, Thimbles and Threads serves as the hotel’s gift shop — offering the traditional dated T-shirts, Mickey Mouse plushies, and Disney-themed suitcases. But, mixed in with the basic goods, you can also find a wonderful selection of items themed specifically to the Boardwalk Resort.

Shirts featuring the hotel’s classic postcard-style wordmark are available for purchase, as well as more stylized depictions — such as Mickey and Minnie riding one of the hotel’s now-iconic surrey bikes around crescent lake. 

Mugs designed to look like postcards, pins with classic carnival poster-style renderings of the Fab Five, keychains with the primary logo — these items are all available, and all are unique to this special resort.

And, if all else fails, you could get a T-shirt from the amazing Ample Hills Creamery just a few doors down. 

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

 Dakota Gardner

Image: Dakota Gardner

While the Boardwalk is great, Disney saves its best merchandise for the Magic Kingdom Resort Area. And yes, the monorail resorts do tend to stand out the most among that set. But, if what you’re after is awesome resort-specific gifts for you and your loved ones Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground might just be the best spot on all of Walt Disney World property.

Fort Wilderness is definitely spread out, but the best spot to check out is Settlement Trading Post near the Magic Kingdom boat launch. In addition to carrying all sorts of provisions one might need while spending a few nights in the great outdoors, this shop also includes a ton of awesome souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else.

From cool shirts and pullovers featuring classing Americana styles, to an awesome enamel-style camping mug that looks like a vintage piece from the 1950s. The aesthetics are all warm and nostalgic, seeming like something you might find at a thrift store in a Chicago suburb. And, because of that, each item feels like a one-of-a-kind special piece.

Fort Wilderness is one of Disney’s most underrated experiences, and the best way to commemorate it is with an awesome souvenir — especially if it looks truly unique.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

 frankfranc, Flickr (license)

Image: frankfranc, Flickr (license)

There are a great many things that make Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort a favorite for returning Disney super fans. The theme is about as relaxing as Disney gets, the dining options are truly extraordinary (including the delicious Kona coffee), and the beachside view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks is a perk that’s impossible to top.

But, resort-specific merchandise is definitely on the list of things that make the Polynesian special. 

Which other resorts can boast a line of themed Hawaiian shirts? How many other hotels offer awesome coconut and tiki themed mugs and table settings? Where else can you find a replica statue of the tiki figure at the center of the hotel’s iconic lobby? 

But, that’s not all: the Polynesian also has a trump card that most other resorts can’t even come close to matching — Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This intricately themed bar offers incredibly designed custom glasses for many of its drinks. And, if you pay just a bit more, you can bring the glass home with you.

What’s better than bringing a generic refillable mug home? Bringing a beautiful themed glass from one of Disney’s best bars.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

 Dakota Gardner

Image: Dakota Gardner

Personally, when I think about Walt Disney World and its hotels, it is the Contemporary Resort that is the first image that pops into my head. The instantly-recognizable A-frame structure is etched into my head — and the heads of millions of Disney fans around the world. 

As such, it’s no surprise this resort sells a great deal of merchandise that capitalizes on its world-renowned aesthetic. The modern logo featuring the A-Frame structure and monorail can be found on all sorts of goods, from mugs to shirts to tote bags.

But, what elevates the Contemporary beyond its other hotel brethren is the special line of merch themed to the Mary Blair murals that adorn its massive interior structure on the Grand Canyon Concourse. Blair was one of Disney’s most magnificent artistic contributors, most famously designing the beautiful and simple artistic style of It’s a Small World. Few Disney artists have such a clear style, and seeing her’s used in mugs and T-shirts is enough to make any item feel really special.

Even still, there’s one item on every child’s Disney wish list that — while it isn’t clothing — counts as resort-specific merchandise for the Contemporary. That is, the scale replica of the resort that is compatible with the famed monorail playset. There is no better Walt Disney World souvenir, and so it single-handedly puts the Contemporary on this list.

We’ve long hoped for Disney to increase its commitment to unique and bespoke resort souvenirs, and it seems like the company has been moving in the right direction. With the added pressure of Etsy and homemade Disney goods, it seems like that trend will continue for the foreseeable future — and we’ll be the lucky beneficiaries.