If you have an affinity for Disney merchandise and a smart phone, then the answer is “yes, it just might be”, at least in terms of your wallet. Disney released the Shop Disney Parks app in mid-August for use on Android and Apple smart phones. This free app is available in your device’s app store; I initially had a little difficulty downloading the app (an error message about the script) but was successful on the second try. I thought I would run you through the basics and give you my opinion of its performance.
As the title of the app implies, this little online store gives you access to Disney Parks merchandise. What I love about this app already is that it features products that I have not been able to find on the regular Disney Store website. I’ve been working on my family’s costumes for this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We love the Haunted Mansion attraction and decided to dress in that theme for the party this year. I was interested in purchasing the Ghost Host tees for my husband and I and was able to easily find the male version of that shirt on the Disney Store online. However, the female Ghost Host shirt was missing from the site. A quick Google search revealed the female shirt available for purchase on Amazon if you are a) a size Medium, and b) willing to shell out $65, of which I am neither. Ebay didn’t fare much better so I was resigned to do without. Much to my extreme delight, I immediately found the shirt I wanted on the Shop Disney Parks app in both the size I needed and at a much more reasonable price (by Disney merchandise standards, anyway).
When you open the app, you will see this screen:
It allows you to scroll down to see 4-5 featured items. On the top left, you see the little magnifying glass search icon that allows you to enter your search terms.
For my purchase, I searched for “haunted mansion” items and received 141 options. You can use the filter key to the top right if you’d like to narrow down your search but I actually scrolled through to check them all out. When you select a clothing item, you can scroll down to select from the available colors and sizes.
This is where it gets cool. The three blue buttons below the item allow for you to “Add to bag” which you will do if you have more shopping to do, “Order Now” if this is the only product you need, or “Find on Map.” This is a really neat feature that I can’t wait to try when I’m at Disney World in October. When you are in a Walt Disney World park, you may search for your item and then select “Find on Map” to see from which store this item can be purchased. I’ve seen several posts about guests being so disappointed because they never found such and such after searching all of the stores on their visit. This app should eliminate those issues. Your kiddo suddenly has to have that Stitch plush? Boom, find it on the app, and then use the map to track it down.
Now, let’s get back to my experience using the app. I selected my shirt and went to my shopping bag. I was given the option to “review and purchase.” At that point, I was instructed to sign in using my ‘My Disney Experience” account information. You are given the opportunity to create an account if you don’t already have one. Once you sign in, you can enter your shipping and payment information (or it will automatically enter for you if you have this info saved to your MDE account; you will be asked for your saved credit card’s security code). The one bummer about this is the shipping. There are no options to change shipping type (for expedited service, for instance) and there is no discount for purchasing a certain amount of product (like on the Disney Store online, in which you can often receive free shipping if you purchase at least $75 worth of merchandise). Once you agree to the Merchandise Return Policy, you click the green “Purchase” button and you’re done!
Almost immediately after my purchase, I received my confirmation email. Three days later, I received an email indicating my shirt had shipped and the tracking link so I could obsess about my package. Five days after that, I had my shirt in my hands! Not a bad turn around time if you ask me. My package arrived in the typical brown, nondescript box. The shirt itself was wrapped in cutie-patootie Disney tissue paper. The box also contained a note thanking me for the purchase and the larger merchandise return form. A separate shipping receipt was also included. Overall, this was a super easy process and I was beyond excited to receive my shirt after previously thinking I would be missing out.
One last thing: The other super cool feature that I can’t wait to try out is the barcode scanner. On the home page of the app, you’ll notice at the top a small barcode. Once opened, this will allow you to scan an item you find in the park and purchase the item in the app. Why is this useful? Have you ever been inside a park store and saw THE souvenir, but it was fragile, huge, or otherwise inappropriate for air travel? This feature on the app will allow you to purchase THE souvenir and have it shipped directly to your home. Bypass the awkward packing dilemma and get that baby on its way to you before you even leave Orlando. Eureka!
My plan is to do a follow up to this article after my visit in October so that I can update you on both the “Find on Map” feature and the barcode scanner. In the meantime, feel free to contact me at any time for more information or to assist you in booking your next vacation! You can find me on Facebook at Magical Vacations by Tracy or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Instagram HERE. See you soon!
Tracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent. She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.