How do you handle gift shops?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by linnell, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. linnell

    linnell DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2009
    My sons will be 4 and almost 2 when we're at WDW and I'm concerned about all those gift shops the rides and shows dump you out into. What strategies do you use so that you aren't buying out the theme park and also not dealing with tantrums and cases of "I NEED IT!" all day long?
  2. Mouse House Mama

    Mouse House Mama <font color=red>Luckiest Mommy in the World!!!<br>

    Aug 28, 2004
    I just say no.
    Truthfully ( and I have young kids) it is the same as at home. Once in a while I will buy them something if it is something they absolutely want but to be honest they don't ask for much. They will look at stuff and I just tell them "Okay, let's put that back now so we can go on another ride."
    When you take your kids shopping at home what do you do? It is the same thing.
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  4. Minniemama350

    Minniemama350 DIS Veteran

    Jul 25, 2009
    I talk to my kids ahead of time: you have $x to spend. No one buys anything until we have been there for 3-4 days(depending on the length of the trip). This gives us time to see everything. (HOWEVER, mom and dad can't purchase either or the kids get confused.)We discuss things we like as we window shop. I remind them that in a few days we will return and purchase what they decide on. This helps with the "need" because you're not saying no, just not yet. I help them decide as we go which item is the best. Then when it is time, we know exactly what we want and where we are going to go to get it. 9 times out of 10 it is an item that is at the resort also and we've had time to realize that wonderful fact. I wouldn't say all wants are gone, but over the years it has taught them how to think about purchases and notjust impulsively waist money.Giving them a certain amount helps too, because then they know when they are done. We started doing this when my youngest was about 3.
  5. Samar

    Samar DIS Veteran

    Mar 21, 2006
    Try to tell him that he has to wait until the end of the day and he can pick ONE (or however many is your limit per kid for that park) souvenir but it would be good to see all the other places first. It's definitely tough with a kid that little but at the same time it can be overwhelming when their at the "gimme gimme" age.
  6. meg8017

    meg8017 Mouseketeer

    Nov 18, 2009
    I have a son who's 2 and when we go in a store and he whines for something I just tell him it's not for sale, it's a decoration. He's little enough that he believes it.
  7. Hannathy

    Hannathy <font color=darkorchid>When I stop laughing I will

    Jan 24, 2006
    We talk about how most of the stuff in those shops at Disney and everywhere else we go is junk and we aren't buying it. They do know they will get a few things but it will be something they really want, is unique to Disney, not something that could be bought at Target or Toys, and we will be thinking about it and buying either at the end of the day or the trip.

    How you have been handling it at home is how they are going to react at Disney. If you have tantrums at home you'll have them at Disney. If you talk with your kids all the time and they understand buying a true souvenir then they will be alright. I would say start talking now about buying something special and not a lot of junk when you get there.
  8. 3_disprincesses

    3_disprincesses Mouseketeer

    Dec 27, 2008
    Youngest DD was 4 1/2 when I took her to WDW. She had saved $100 of her own money. When she found something in the gift shops I would ask her if that's what she wanted to spend her money on. I left the decision up to her - took her 3 days to decide what she did want to spend it on and she was very happy with her purchase. She bought her own Ariel costume with accessories. I had done the same thing with my other daughter when she was about the same age. She had xxxx amount to spend and it was up to her what to spend it on. DD now 6 is already saving money for her next trip in 2012.

    MSSANDRA DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 2006
    We simply never buy during the park days. We walk briskly though the shops and on to the next activity. If we see something we really are interested in we wait till our planned shoppijng time at the end of the trip and we can go back. By them it is often forgotten. We carry nothing in the parks which means we buy nothing. Our WDW rule is no whining. Tell him the rules ahead if time and stick to it!!
  10. minnie4me

    minnie4me DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2007
    I usually try and save the shopping for a certain time, we don't do alot of looking other times. I do not buy on the parade route (like the spinning whirling things that are so expensive and junkie.) You can buy glow-stick type necklaces and such cheaply at home and bring them along.
    I try and stick with things DS has the most interest in...we look (and mostly touch) it all, but we only buy what we really want.
    You know your kids well enough to know what they might like best. A small stuffed animal or a cute matchbox like car earlier in the vacation may hold their interest for long enough till your ready to shop.
    When DS was turning three we went to WDW w/ my parents, but I did not let them go crazy. My dad let DS pick a stuffed animal (Goliath) and he played and played with him in the room. My mom picked a board game for him, Disney Candyland which we still have today. (DS is 7)
    Use the same logic and rules you use at home !!
  11. disneymom3

    disneymom3 <font color=green> I think I could adjust!! <br><f

    Mar 11, 2002
    We shop at DTD and not in the parks. When they were little my kids didn't even notice the shops at the end of the rides. We just walked right on through. Now that they are older they know they don't want to carry something through the park anymore than I do so it works.
  12. ms_missy66

    ms_missy66 Official WDW Addict

    Sep 1, 2007
    I have a few strategies...

    If it's a night light-up toy type of thing they break out during parades and fireworks, if I'm planning to buy something, I buy it the first night we're there so that it lasts the whole trip. And actually *blush* we bought these purple star light-up wands maaaaaaany trips ago (for $15 each!!!!), that we still bring back every trip. In fact, I've even brought them to Disney on Ice shows.

    If it's some version of a stuffed animal/doll we have a 100 of already, I say no and move along to the next thing. If the tantrums begin, we talk about going back to the hotel. I haven't yet had to enforce it, but I would do it.

    Now that my girls are getting a little older, they understand a budget. My older one is really cost conscious and will sincerely think about whether or not something is worth it. My little one wants to spend spend spend. But even she knows once her $25 or whatever is gone, it's gone.

    Now with that all said, I'm a big fan of the merchandise-free trips. Our last one the week after Christmas was such a trip. The only thing we bought was a 2010 pin for each girl's lanyard since we were there for New Year's Eve and wanted to commemorate. They knew, going into the trip, that we wouldn't be buying stuff considering we JUST had Christmas.

    Good luck! The Disney corp is among the best at merchandising. It's sometimes tough to escape without dropping a C note. :-)
  13. mykidslovesdisney

    mykidslovesdisney DIS Veteran

    Aug 30, 2006
    When our ds were 2 and 4 we went to disney. When they saw something they like - we said- "Put it on your list" It worked great for the entire trip. Mind you the list was in my head. At the end of the trip DH went to one of the gift shops and picked up a few of the things the boys were wanting.

    We continued the "put it on your list" for the last 7 yrs. It works great for Christmas and Birthday items too. Again - no actual list - just in my head. Somehow I haven't forgotten anything on the list.

    We have been going back to the world for the past 5 yrs. Now that they are older - we do set a limit on what they can spend. Also we have learned if there is something that they really like we tend to get it bc there have been a few times that the item is gone when we went back. Note: don't buy the legos at the store at the end of Star tours- buy it at the Lego store DTD-- a few $$ cheaper.

    Hope this helps
  14. glk2009

    glk2009 DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    For our 2 yr old, she'll ask if we can buy it or bring it home. We'll tell her no and ask her to say "Goodbye" to the item and that usually does the trick for us. Other posts have some really great ideas too.

    Good luck!
  15. DawnM

    DawnM DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2005
    We allow them to look around and then somewhere in the middle of the trip we make a run over to the Disney outlet store and see if they have anything they might like. If not, we sometimes would allow them to get one item and limit the cost.

    Now that they are older they much prefer saving their souvie money for the Lego store at DTD.

    I agree with the pp about carrying things around though. It was easier when we had a stroller, but there is NO WAY I am lugging stuff around.


    BLAMBKY Mouseketeer

    Mar 18, 2008
    A LOT of great tips everyone! :thumbsup2
    When mine we little we did the just keep walking tip! (They did not even realize that it was a gift shop because Disney has so much to see everywhere!) I did pre buy light up/spinning items (Keep a look out and you'll even find Disney characters!) before our trip and brought them out at the park as a surprise. They did not know that mom brought them with her- just super excited that she had a surprise for them.:laughing:
  17. kohlby

    kohlby DIS Veteran

    Aug 4, 2005
    We've never had a problem with it. My kids are used to just getting presents on their birthdays and Christmas. We go to toy stores all the time because it's fun to look. The most my kids ever ask for is to put something on their b-day or Christmas wish list! On our last Disney trip, we stopped in a gift shop on the last day and let our oldest pick out any matchbox car he wanted. (He was 3.5).

    On our last non-Disney vacation - with the older two being 3 and 6, I let the kids each pick out one thing they wanted within a price limit. They were shocked that they were getting a toy! We leave for Disney soon and we're planning DTD on the first day. They still have Christmas money left over so that will be their chance to spend it. We don't spend much time in gift shops on park days - there's too much other stuff to do.
  18. mom2girlsx3

    mom2girlsx3 Mouseketeer

    Oct 28, 2009
    Our kids know they have a set amount that they will be allowed to spend for the trip. We usually tell them that mommy & daddy will buy them a tshirt and then anything else they purchase is coming out of "their" money. We do not buy things throughout our stay. We designate one day near the end of our trip as "shopping day." All thru the week if they see something they really want we tell them to remember it for shopping day. We had no issues doing it this way. On our last trip our oldest child ended up buying several smaller items to spend her money. Our middle child used all her money on one bigger ticket item.

    And, as others have suggested, go ahead and buy light spinners and glow-in-the-dark necklaces/bracelets BEFORE you leave for your trip. We didn't tell the girls we had these until we got to the park that night and they were so excited that they didn't care light spinners were on sale.

    Also, if you are interested in pin trading, go ahead and buy several off ebay before your trip. There are reputable sellers and you can get pins for around $1 each. If you get stuck in a gift shop you can always distract your kids by reminding them to ask the cast member to trade pins. That way they can leave the gift shop with something "new" but it didn't cost you a single thing! Works like a charm!
  19. toy

    toy Mouseketeer

    Nov 9, 2006
    I let mine know we could look or hurry off to get on the next ride. They usually preferred to ride more than "buy". I also shop before I leave home. I currently have 3 new movies, 3 new t-shirts, some books, a Tiana toddler doll, and some Tiana jewelry hidden away for our spring break trip. They get excited about the surprises mommy has for them. We also reserve our purchases for the last day in DTD. Now I know it is hard for a 2 year old to understand that. Have you considered buying some small stuffed Disney characters and handing those over when the
    "buy it now" bug bites? Buying something before you leave home is way cheaper than what you will buy in the park.
  20. littlbugmom

    littlbugmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 16, 2007
    It's never an issue. We hardly ever stop in any of the stores while in the parks. It just seems like we're going from one thing to the next, so there's no browsing time. :)

    I like giving the kids little surprises, though. We bring small Disney gifts with us that I have accumulated over a year. The kids know there is a surprise waiting for them back at the hotel every day. They never ask for anything while in the parks.

    We bring light spinners and lots of glow jewelry for nighttime. We get them from the dollar store and stock pile them all year.

    Also, one of their daily gifts is always Disney Dollars. They know we will go to DTD at some point and they can pick something out.
  21. tlh0726

    tlh0726 DIS Veteran

    Oct 26, 2008
    As a PP stated, it is all about how you handle it on a day to day basis at home. If you allow it at home, it will continue while you are away. Spending, tantrums, whining, etc.

    We have season passes to Hersheypark. The kids ask to play the games, we respond with that games are not include in the price, we come here to ride rides, we go to Chuck E Cheese to play games. Kids do not throw a tantrum, they accept it.

    When we go different places, the kids look at stuff and then put it back. From time to time we will allow them to get a "treat".

    For WDW, I purchase and pack surprises for them each day, the kids are thrilled. We allow them a certain dollar amount. Once it is gone it is gone. They can get 1 thing or lots of things. We explain to them what things cost.

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