The Disney Character Warehouse....
With the International Drive location of the Disney Character Warehouse open in Orlando, it seems like a good time to share what a trip to the outlet is like.
For those planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are 2 Disney Character Warehouse locations in Orlando, with one on International Drive in the Premium Outlets and another, closer to Walt Disney World in the Vineland Premium Outlets. The Vineland location is a few miles away from Disney Springs and you're best option without a car there is to take a Disney Transport bus to Disney Springs and pay the $15ish fare each way to the Vineland location.
My one and only trip was about this time last year. I was staying on property at the Art of Animation Resort and took a taxi over early one Saturday morning to get there around 9:00 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. opening. There were already people there in line waiting to get in, many of them personal shoppers.
Currently, the store seems to allow 6 parties in at a time, at which point a virtual queue kicks in. This has resulted in wait times of up to 3 hours to get in at Vineland.
Once you get in, you will find a huge selection of Disney Parks merchandise at reduced prices. Sizes and selections are limited to those on sale, and if it isn't busy, they'll go into the back to see if they can find your clothing size.
The store itself is about the size of an average Disney store retail location and it's full of clearance merchandise, with the most popular items being the Disney Pin, Loungefly, Dooney and Burke, and other collectible items, since the prices are usually heavily discounted.
That said, at times, the shopping experience can be a bit like Black Friday, with the personal shoppers rushing to the places in the store that have the best items at the best prices, which clear out fast. You're best bet is always to go early and wait to be one of the first people into the store since shelves are restocked prior to opening.
The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not a 4 hour trip off property at $30 in taxi fares is worth it. You will lose out on park time and it's costing you money to go there.
So, my advice for anyone considering a trip over from Walt Disney World is to go early, don't bring the entire family (just one of you needs to go while the others enjoy the parks or a resort day), and either consider the taxi fare a fee for the experience of going there if you buy nothing, or do your research and watch the YouTube video tours of the store in the days leading up to your trip (merchandise turns over fast so you want to look at the newest videos) and you'll want to save enough to warrant the fare to get there and the time lost in the park.
Personally, I spent about $200 because there was a huge selection of Haunted Mansion merchandise there when I was in Orlando and bought t-shirts and clothing. I went for the experience and probably broke even on the trip over, knowing that I was attending a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and not missing much park time.
It was definitely fun seeing the store in person, I did get some good deals, and as many people who complain about the personal shoppers there say, it's full of personal shoppers, a handful of locals, and even fewer people on vacation. If you see things you want in the YouTube videos on the outlet and you have time, it's definitely an experience.