The Gift-Giving Mistakes from a Disney World Vacation

I love getting gifts from friends who make the trip to Disney World and want to bring something back for the studio or my office. Even more fun, in my personal opinion, is buying stuff for friends back home who would get a kick out of something from my home away from home!

All of that being said, there’s a list of things that I’ve bought for friends that turned out to be more trouble than expected.

Bad Gifts for Friends from a Disney World Vacation


Graphic Tees in The Emporium at The Magic Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Notice the “with a size”, as there are so many great things that you can pick up without having to guess about body type. The most difficult things to buy are going to fall into this category, ranging from shirts to long-sleeve or sweaters. This is because everyone has a favorite color and your style may not gel with your friends!

  • T-Shirts
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Dresses
  • Active Wear


Housewears at BVG in Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

One of my clients went down for a Disney Cruise & Disney World vacation and when they came back…they gifted me an awesome set of towels for the kitchen (one was personalized as a thank you). THIS WAS AWESOME!!! As someone who loves to bring more magic into our house, it worked out perfectly.

On the flip side, we’ve bought dishes, cups and other stuff that didn’t get the response that we thought they would. Why? Because when you’re in the parks and looking for a character to match a friend’s personality, the designs may not really fit their home decor. It’s not a bad thing, but Disney (although the busiest theme park in the world) doesn’t have the best selection;)

The other thing that I’ve run into is not knowing the full collection of your friend’s. It’s so disheartening to bring something back as a surprise just to hear the phrase “I already have that one”.

Unless you know the style of your receipient, you’ll probably be better off to get something edible (like tea or coffee).

  • Tea Pot
  • Coffee Cups
  • Water Bottles
  • Dishes


Pandora at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

This is a tough one, but when we put the call out to our community about this topic…jewellery was brought up a number of times under very specific situations. Most stressed that basic pieces would be completely perfect for a gift, but things like Swarovski charms or other collectables would fall into the category of not knowing what your friends actually have.

The other part of this came with a personal touch. Some folks have sensitivities towards various metals (silver, gold, etc) that may prove difficult to wear in day-to-day situations. Just know ahead of time before you visit a shop with shiny fun!


I’ve got a few sets of ears behind me as I’m writing this article. Haven’t put any of them on in YEARS, because when I’m visiting Disney World…I’m not going to pack stuff that I can just buy down there. It’s why my t-shirt game usually involves having shirts delivered to my hotel, so that I’m starting out with something new for my vacation.

Mickey Ears are great buys for folks who are locals or have an already established collection. Wearing Mickey Ears is one of those things that you’ll never see in real life OUTSIDE of the parks! (ps – we should really wear more mickey ears in real life;))

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Unless you know for a fact that your friend is going down for a vacation to Disney soon, there’s so much more that you could get them! Actually, even if they are going down for a trip…you can get them something that would benefit their future adventure. Maybe a pin trading set, lanyard or something that you really think they would get a kick out of.

If you are going to get a gift card, get a Visa pre-paid one with enough for a meal or something like that on it.


Remember how I mentioned that we’ve bought plates and other kitchen stuff for friends before? Well…that stuff was heavy AND awkward to travel with. Disney makes things easy, as they can wrap your purchases up really well in order to pack in your suitcase, but remember that things get crazy the night before you leave for the airport.

Know ahead of time that anything that you buy will need a place in your suitcase!

Final Thoughts

Buy anything that you want for your friends! It’s almost like a birthday and holidays put together…except you’ve got hundreds of stores to choose from in multiple parks (and even the airport!). Have fun with it:)

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