“We’re remodeling our character warehouse as something called a rumpus room. And we’re looking forward to a few rumpuses I’ll tell you, as long as they don’t get out of hand.” ~Walt Disney at the Character Warehouse Outlet Store Reopening Day Dedication. (⚠This quote is disputed by official sources.)
We’re back with our first post-reopening Disney Character Warehouse Outlet Report, braving the rumpus of Thanksgiving 2020 week shopping crowds at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets! This features the modified health safety measures, lines to enter the store, photos of discount Walt Disney World merchandise, and commentary from the clearance center near Disney Springs.
As with literally everything at Walt Disney World, the Character Warehouse outlet store has temporarily modified operations, observing the same health safety guidelines as the parks and resorts. There’s signage with the rules about face masks, physical distancing markers on the outside of the store, and a Cast Members keeping track of how many guests are in the store at any given time. There’s another new procedure at Character Warehouse reminiscent to some of those at Walt Disney World…
Like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney Character Warehouse now has a Virtual Queue. Upon arriving, you enter a queue to check in with a Cast Member. (When we went, there was no line for that.) The Cast Member takes your full name and U.S. 10-digit phone number. The system sends you a total of two messages: a test text that they ask you to confirm you received before you leave them. Then, another message when it’s time to return.
No wait time is given or posted via the system, but you can ask Cast Members for a ballpark estimate. On our post-reopening visits to the Orlando Premium Outlets, the wait has ranged from 6 to 25 minutes. However, we’ve heard reports from friends who have waited almost two hours. Still, better than Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance!
If you have questions about pricing or anything, feel free to drop them in the comments. We’ll be back closer to Christmas with a sarcastic survey of the merchandise!
Anyway, the reason our wait is normally shorter is because we go exclusively in the evenings when crowds and temperatures are lower. Not that any of you really want this much insight into our everyday lives, but we usually go around 7 pm on the way to Trader Joe’s, which we also try to hit right before closing. There is literally nothing in that store worth a 2-hour wait for us. (Character Warehouse, not Trader Joe’s. I’d wait 2 hours for so many things there!)
The good news is that the Virtual Queue makes waiting much easier, and you can hit up nearby icons like OshKosh B’gosh or Perfumania, whatever floats your boat. Or just grab a Gingerbread Chai Latte from Starbucks, which is right inside the adjacent food court.
Yesterday was the earliest we’ve visited this year, and it was also the shortest line. Between the earlier arrival time and Thanksgiving week, we were bracing for a real rumpus, I’ll tell you. It’s unclear why the line was shorter, but we were bracing ourselves for things getting out of hand. Perhaps all the eBay pirates have already sailed home for the holidays?
Despite the Disney store’s low crowds, the rest of the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets was much busier than what we’ve experienced the last couple months. This is definitely attributable to the holiday shopping season. Many stores are now having early Black Friday sales–we had a longer wait to get into the Nike Factory Store than Character Warehouse. (Totally worth it for 30% off a pair of Flyknits!)
If you’re not visiting during the holiday shopping season, expect to find lower than normal crowds at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. In our “Honor the Locals” Character Warehouse Report from last year, we discuss how these outlets are not a “local resident secret” or “tourist-free things for locals.”
To the contrary, the lifeblood of the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets is tourists–specifically, international tourists. There aren’t a lot of the former right now, and almost none of the latter.
Consequently, so long as you avoid the holiday shopping season sales, you should have a pretty relaxed shopping experience at the outlets as a whole. Character Warehouse is and has always been an anomaly, and its crowds are more dependent upon popular arrivals, eBayers, and vloggers.
Now more than ever, if you rope drop Disney Character Warehouse on an inventory drop day, you’re going to encounter colossal crowds and “Disney’s Longest Line in Florida” (read and check out the photos to scare yourself out of visiting in the morning). Thankfully, the pirates retreat to other ports of call at night–like Arrrrby’s. But there will be some empty shelves.
Speaking of items selling out, the above photo is a good example of that. As you can see, the $4.99 Mickey Snowman hat is totally gone. Additionally, there was a whole display of Starbucks mug Christmas ornaments that were gone.
On the plus side, if you’re looking to score framed pin set from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for $113 (that’s the sale price, the full price was $225!!!) or whatever the Ink & Paint frames on the right are, there’s no shortage of either.
On that note, it’s worth reiterating that some items sell out in hours or days, never to come back in stock. Other things languish on shelves at Character Warehouse for months.
As such, don’t get your heart set on buying anything you see here—it may already be gone. That is, unless you want to buy the Funko Pops featuring Redd from Pirates of the Caribbean. That’ll likely be around until 2022 given current inventory.
There are a few kinds of merchandise that are particularly popular at Disney Character Warehouse. First, Dooney & Bourke and Loungefly bags plus other high-cost “trendy” items, which are often around half-off their in-park prices. (These Pixar bags were $99.99.)
Second, overstock items that are still being sold in the parks. Stuff like Minnie Mouse headbands, hats, and other random items.
Third, past-season items that are deeply-discounted. In November, it’s common to see Halloween stuff. In January, Christmas.
Collectively, this trio constitutes what’s most popular with eBay pirates, and what’s most likely to be sold out if you visit later in the day.
There were a lot of good Halloween items, including these Crocs. We actually would’ve bought pairs of these if they had our sizes in stock. Maybe they did earlier in the day or will some other day.
It’s always a roll of the dice with Disney Character Warehouse!
Other souvenirs are stalwarts of Disney Character Warehouse. No matter when you go, it’s downright impossible not to find stuff from Pandora – World of Avatar or Disney Cruise Line sailings that happened 2-3 years ago. (In this case, there were items from Summer 2020 itineraries that never happened.)
Most of the Avatar merchandise is highly questionable and will really make you wonder–but I actually like the above Na’vi River Journey coffee mugs. Not enough to buy them, but they’re at least not hideous.
That wraps up our first post-reopening report from the Disney Character Warehouse Outlet Photo Report. We should note that there are actually a lot of really good items that we didn’t have the time of space to cover here. It’s really uncomfortable taking photos in the store, which is part of the issue.
If you opt to visit the outlet, note that there are two Disney Character Warehouses in the Orlando area. One is on Vineland, near Disney Springs. The other is on I-Drive, closer to Universal. We always do the Vineland location because it’s more convenient and parking is less of a hassle. As always, we recommend reading our How to Shop the Outlet Stores for Discount Walt Disney World Merchandiseguide for more background info on these stores.
Have you visited the Disney Character Warehouse outlet since reopening? How long did you wait in the Virtual Queue? What time of day did you visit? Find anything good, or did you think it was a frustrating waste of time? What do you think of the merchandise in this outlet report? Will you be stocking up on Redd Funko Pops? What about the Halloween items? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!