From September 14 through October 14, 2022, the Annual Passholder merchandise discount will temporarily increase from 20% to 30% at Disney-owned and operated locations throughout Walt Disney World.
Now is your chance to put together your “spooky season” look with items from the newest Halloween collections or find that special Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration must-have gift.
For merchandise discounts, each Annual Passholder must present a valid AP and government-issued photo ID at the time of purchase to receive the discount. You can even save time at select locations when you scan and pay for merchandise items right on your phone using Merchandise Mobile Checkout on the My Disney Experience app.
Walt Disney World warns that this discount is “personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose including, without limitation, to obtain or purchase items or services with the intent to resell such items or services.”
This comes as Disney has been cracking down on eBay pirates recently, with many vanishing from the internet without a trace like ghosts under the night sky, presumably setting sail for international waters where pillaging and plundering aren’t frowned upon.
Additionally, discounts are not valid on certain items, may not be combined, and are subject to change without notice.
Discount is not valid on previous purchases or on purchases of the following (partial list): ticket media, Disney Gift Cards, Park admission, arcades, tobacco, alcohol, outdoor vending, postage stamps, rentals (e.g., strollers, ECVs), personalization, Disney PhotoPass purchases, Memory Maker, and other photo sessions/packages, original or consignment art, select limited editions, expensive luxury brands that happen to be sold in gift shops…yada yada yada…and select premium branded items and experiences, like those offered at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers, and Droid Depot packages. Discount is also not valid on phone, email or mail order purchases, shipping or taxes.
Discount does not apply to Walt Disney World Resort Operating Participant locations, including but not limited to: China, Japan and Morocco Pavilions at World Showcase in Epcot, Arribas Brothers, Basin, Basin White, LEGO Store, Orlando Harley-Davidson, Wyland Galleries, The Disney Store, Disney’s Character Premiere, Disney’s Character Warehouse, Cast Connection and any other locations or kiosks that are not owned and operated by the owners of Walt Disney World Resort.
For other exclusions, refer to the official Walt Disney World website here.
In addition to this, Cast Members received a bump in their merchandise discount and now have 50% off for a limited time. So if you’re suddenly seeing more college-aged individuals sporting Spirit Jerseys and Loungefly bags in the parks…that’s why!
The increase for CMs started on August 1. It appears that Walt Disney World started with them and is now expanding the more aggressive discounting to Annual Passholders in an effort to clear out excess inventory.
That last part about “excess inventory” may come as a surprise, as we’ve emphasized the problems caused by supply chain disruptions. If you recall, this was a big issue with the 50th Anniversary merchandise last fall, and why those product collections were released in phases.
It’s also why “new” Christmas merchandise continued to arrive well into 2023, and the actual explanation for Walt Disney World selling out-of-season popcorn buckets as part of its Halfway to Halloween and the Holidays campaigns over the summer. There was a big issue with reduced capacity or closed manufacturers, limited inventory in factories, and cargo ships not being allowed to unload at the ports. You probably heard about some or all of this on the nightly news.
All of this is past tense because it’s largely not an issue right now. To be sure, there are still shortages and delays that could impact the timeliness and availability of future releases, but it’s not as pronounced of a problem as last fall and holiday season.
To the contrary, we’re seeing something known as the bullwhip effect in action. For the last two years, retailers could barely keep items stocked due to record consumer spending and supply chain disruptions. That resulted in businesses rushing to place orders to avoid empty shelves, ordering extras with the expectation that there would be delays due to the aforementioned supply chain chaos. These excess orders continued to arrive as consumer spending has shifted from goods to services.
During their last two quarterly earnings calls, retailers including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and many others all reported having a glut of inventory due to the bullwhip effect. Some, like Target, indicated that they would aggressively discount in order to clear this out and avoid the carrying costs of overstocked warehouses.
Disney has not commented on this phenomenon during its quarterly earnings calls, but there’s every reason to believe gift shops at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are also impacted. No offense to Disney, but I cannot fathom that their inventory management and ordering systems are more sophisticated than those utilized by titans like Target and Walmart. (When in doubt, just assume Disney uses Windows 95 and the most archaic methods for any and everything.)
Another contributing factor has been inflation-squeezed shoppers who are making fewer discretionary purchases due to the rising prices of gas and groceries. Consequently, retailers are reporting a steep jump in inventory levels from a year ago from a mix of items not selling and supply chain delays easing. This is great news for consumers looking for bargains–deals now abound as retailers look to unload excess inventory!
It would be interesting to hear whether Walt Disney World is noticing any similar patterns with regard to consumer behavior. CEO Bob Chapek has boasted about per guest spending being up 40% as compared to 2019, attributing this to price increases, less discounting, and pent-up demand. As consumers are increasingly pinched, I wonder if some are starting to spend less on things like merchandise as they’re struggling just to afford the ‘non-optional’ components of the trip.
Another contributing factor here could be the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary merchandise, much of which was (how do I put this diplomatically…) very taste-specific. There’s also the possibility that guests are less inclined to purchase ‘celebratory’ items for an anniversary that they cannot even tell is happening. Maybe this is just my own bias showing, but I haven’t felt compelled to buy much of anything from the 50th collections–even the stuff I’ve really liked.
While I don’t want to “reward” the company for its paltry effort at acknowledging Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, the higher discount might be just what it takes to incentivize me to spend a little. Plus, there are some great new Country Bear Jamboree items, and I feel like it’s my civic duty to buy these to demonstrate that CBJ is the flagship attraction at Magic Kingdom. Merchandise spending begets more merchandise begets the return of Country Bear Christmas and Vacation Jamboree (I hope!).
Will you be taking advantage of this 30% AP merchandise discount? Think you’ll end up buying more than you would’ve otherwise, or will you simply save more money on things you would’ve bought regardless? What do you think of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary, Halloween, or Christmas merchandise collections? Have you noticed the bullwhip effect in action at stores around you? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!