AOL PICK from our Editors
There are many, many ways to spend your money at Walt Disney World but we suggest that you first head for the 35 shops in the World Showcase at Epcot which brings some of the best items from 11 different countries right to you. You can buy dishware from Japan, clothes from Morocco and perfume from France—all within an hour's time. Disney collectibles are another hot item and you can find them almost anywhere you turn throughout the parks.
This is one of our favorite stores at Walt Disney World. Mitsukoshi is a huge Japanese retailer specializing in Asian apparel, toys, house wares and artwork. The store is so big that it's easy to get separated, so hang on to your kids as they run from one toy to the next. (We speak from experience on this.) Our favorite is the Japanese dishware section, where you can purchase sets of Japanese china, and the ever-popular sweets section. Be sure to ask for the gum with the edible wrappers.
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Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
If you have a sweet tooth it will be hard to walk past this store on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom. The old-fashioned candy store offers hundreds of ways to make you stray from your diet, from peanut brittle and caramel-coated apples to jelly beans and homemade chocolate. Just the sweet smells alone are enough to temp you to come inside. The shop is especially fun to visit when the chefs in the glass-walled kitchen are pouring peanut brittle out to cool.
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Neighborhood: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Designed with the feel of an African shipping company, the Island Mercantile is all about animals—working animals, especially. You'll find toy camels, elephants, beavers and more in addition to the usual Disney paraphernalia, candy and clothes. Plan to spend a bit of time browsing here, as the store is quite large. It stays open 30 minutes after Animal Kingdom closes so you can pick up some last minute items.
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Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
This shopping district on the shores of Lake Buena Vista in Downtown Disney will keep shopping enthusiasts happy. There are more than a dozen stores to choose from, all open from 9:30AM to 11PM. Our favorites are the LEGO Imagination Center, where even grownups like to play, and Disney's Days of Christmas, the largest Christmas store on Disney property. If you've ever wanted Santa hats with Mouse ears, Mickey candles or Goofy ornaments, this is your place. Other shops include Design a Tee, where you can design your own wearable art and The Art of Disney for Disney art collectors.
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Let's face it: Not all of us can visit the Eiffel Tower. But we can pick up a tiny souvenir statue of the famous landmark, along with a French beret, perfumes from Paris and even music by French composers at the Souvenirs de France store in the France pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. Designed with inspiration from Paris's 19th century Les Halles, the city's former wholesale food market, the store even has a distinctive European feel. After buying your treasures, stop at the French bakery next door for sweets and coffee.
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