Photo copyright Disney
I cannot imagine that anyone who loves Disney doesn't understand that thrill of magic, that spark of joy at receiving a gift. Amplify that to receiving a gift as a child. While I've been blessed as a child to never not have gifts at Christmas, I know there are many children who do not have gifts.
Gifts for children at Christmas is something I feel strongly about. I help provide toys to local children, but also donate to Toys for Tots, who use that money nationwide to donate toys.
But what does Walt Disney have to do with Toys for Tots? Years ago, I made a blog post about Disney and philanthropy, but I wanted to expand on that a bit this year and focus, as 'tis the season, exclusively on Toys for Tots and Disney.
I bet you are familiar with this logo. Changes are, you've even seen it since you were a young child!
Looks familiar, doesn't it? That logo has been used for more than 70 years! And it was created by none other than Walt Disney and his animators. They also created the first Toys for Tots poster.
I love the story and the idea behind toys for tots, which you can read about here.
This holiday season, I'd encourage each of you, should you see a toy donation box, a tree filled with children's wishes, or a packet in the mail from a place like Toys for Tots, that you donate. Even just a few dollars can make a child's Christmas brighter.
A few days ago, this came in the mail: A small double sided coin and a magnet.
I was thrilled to get them, and sent off a check to help Toys for Tots. If you'd like to help make a child's holiday brighter, without even leaving your house, you can also go to their website and donate. Just like Walt, we can each bring a smile to a child's face. For just a little longer, Disney is also partnering to make your donation go a little further. If you'd like to buy a toy instead of donating money, you can go here to do that. The main link for donations is on the website, too.
I wish each of you the happiest of holiday seasons. One where you experience the wonder and magic of the season, the joy of togetherness, and health and happiness in the new year.
Who remembers the old Disney Stores? The ones in mall that made you feel as if you were stepping into a Disney Park? Between the huge sculptures, endless toys and Mickey Merch, and those amazing displays that often moved running along the near ceiling of the store? I loved those.
But slowly they vanished. Soon, the Disney Store was a memory of the past. It's gotten worse as over the last few years, Disney has done a massive closing of their stores. As of a September 2021 article by USA TODAY, only around 2 dozen stores exist outside of the parks!
If you are lucky enough to stumble across one of these stores, what can you expect? Is there as much Disney magic as at a park store? What will you see for sale? Are the prices cheaper? Is everything retail? Why are some of the tags not in English?
I'm going to give you a quick visual of what you can expect, as well as answer those questions!
While the front of a Disney Store looks pretty blah, the insides are great! Stepping inside, you're greeted with Disney music, smiling faces, and Disney loot everywhere! Toys, clothes, plush friends, and even some park essentials like pins, lanyards, and other trinkets. There's also a big section of light up toys, in case you want to buy now and save.
Just like on ShopDisney, you'll find stuffed animals, but the great thing is getting to pick them out and hold them first, to make sure it's what you want!
Depending on the time of year, you'll also find seasonal merchandise. Right now, expect to see ornaments.
Now, the question is there as much Disney magic as at a park store? Sort of. Expect a greeting and a magical goodbye. But there's no pixie dust being sprinkled around, no one jumping in with a sticker for a crying kiddo.
You will find some unusual items you WON'T find in the park stores. Like, adult size Spiderman PJs. (I tried...my 14 year old wouldn't get them)
When you look at the clothing tags, you will often find that some aren't in English. These are items that come from Tokyo Disney, and Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney, so watch those sizes! We've bought a few things we thought would fit, but were tight in the chest and long in the torso.
On the racks, you'll find lots of clothes. There is something for everyone from baby to adult.
This is a pretty great place to get gifts! But your next question... Are the prices cheaper? Is everything retail? The Disney Outlets participate in the same sales that ShopDisney does.
So if it's 30% off online, and the store has it, it's 30% off there too.
You are going to find favorites like Disney Princess gear, but also the latest kid show goodies!
There's also my favorite section...the clearance! Usually you'll find several shelves and a clothing rack with items marked down. It can vary as to how much. Usually 30-50% is common, but sometimes you'll really luck out! You'll find both Disney Store and Disney Park merchandise here.
It varries from visit to visit. We live around 3 1/2 hours away from our closes Disney Outlet, so we don't visit too often. In the summer, we bought a TON. We must have hit it just right. Our recent visit, we got almost nothing.
While pins are for sale, there is NO pin trading in the store.
You will be able to purchase the deal of the day though, like you can on ShopDisney.
One great thing about the Disney Store Outlets, is if you have a Disney Visa card, you get 10% off! And you are earning points to spend at Disney!
Hopefully this little tour of the largest Disney Store Outlet I've ever been in tides you over til the day you can get back to your favorite place on Earth!
If Disney's Halloween parties have you in the mood, but a trip there isn't happening, how about creating your own? Especially for those of you teal pumpkin families, this might be a fun way!
Oriental Trading has these fantastic tokens that our kids can collect, and then trade in for treats of all varieties! I'm actually thinking I'm going to get a bunch and let my kids earn them by doing extra jobs, as well as turning in their unsafe candy. Total win win! My kids already trade out their candy, but this just looks so fun...who wouldn't want to earn these to trade in for fun things?
Speaking of Halloween, it's never too early to plan a costume! Check out Disney DIY costume ideas!
You can go here for kids costumes and then you can go here for adult costumes!
Need a little more Disney spookiness? How about some easy Disney Halloween decorations?
Next, we share our annual list of our favorite Disney Halloween books and our must watch Disney Halloween movies!
Each year we project a movie outside as we hand out treats. This year, it's going to be Coco. I can hardly wait!
While the continuation of our multipart series on Who would win: Disney World, Dollywood, or Hershey Park is on the way, I wanted to stop and share what's been keeping me so busy.
My book is finally finished, edited, beta read, reedited, formatted, and artwork completed. It's my hope that this book has something for everyone.
The book is split into two parts. The first half is for those who need dietary considerations at Disney World. Anyone who might need to know ahead of time what to ask, how to order, what to watch out for.
The second half are those tips and tricks for saving you wish were all in one place along with a lot of practical advice.
This book was designed to be easy to slip into your bag for vacation, or passed around before hand. It's NOT overwhelming! It's actually going to be the thing that lets you enjoy your vacation with a minimum of stress.
I'd love to hear what you think if you buy my book. Reviews are always appreciated, so that small books like this, have a chance to show up in Amazon's algorithm, to help those who need it to find it.
Want to buy a copy? Click here or the picture at the top!
Thank you for your support over the years! There will be a special giveaway coming soon to promote my new book!
I won't lie...with all of the changes this year at Disney, that change so often there's almost no writing them down before they change again, have kept me from updating as often. It seems things are changing faster at Disney than any blogger can keep up with, so I'm going to just go back to some evergreen posts for us all to enjoy, and yes....get in the holiday spirit.
Once again, Lowes is THE PLACE to get your outdoor Disney decor. Check out this short video of my favorite decoration from there. They are selling it again!
Wondering about the best Disney Christmas movies?
We love Disney Christmas books, too. What are your favorites?
If you are planning to visit over Christmas, there are a few things you'll need to know, this year more than ever, like...how to stay sane!
And perhaps the most important...Disney Holiday music to get you in the mood!
Soon, the stocking sutffers will hit the stores, and I'll have an updated list of all the Disney goodies to stick under the tree! I can hardly wait! This is seriously, my most favorite time of the year.