Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Let's Visit The Exclusive Disney Store Where NO TOURISTS Are Allowed

I got to do something SUPER COOL the other week, y'all.

For the first time in maybe 20 years, I visited Cast Connection and Property Control! WOOHOOO!

Don't worry if you don't know what that is; few people do. This is the one store on Disney property they DON'T want you to see, because it's not for us, it's for cast members. Happily WDW just started allowing CMs to bring friends and family in again, though, so our friend (& FoE) Robin brought John and I out for a visit.

The bargain shopping is obviously the biggest draw, but if you're a park nerd like me then you'll find an even bigger treat just inside the warehouse doors: a whole room of giant, park-used shop displays, all lining the walls:


Sorry I don't have a person in there for scale, but this Mickey is a good 6 or 7 feet tall!

Someone there told us he's from the Main Street Emporium.

I think this Goofy is from the World of Disney (aka WOD) at Disney Springs; I remember a lot of the big figures there having this nifty metallic finish:

Really makes the colors glow, right?

Easy to tell where this one's from:

Yay Tomorrowland! Possibly from a special event?

My best guess for this drippy Mickey is the old D-Street store in Disney Springs, the one that sold all vinylmations back in the day:

Probably another WOD cast-off:

And another mystery figure, maybe from the sports section in the Emporium?

None of these are for sale; this is the Property Control part of the building that acts as storage. However, scattered among the display figures are pieces of hotel furniture, clothing racks, and enormous bins full of things that ARE for sale:

These big black crates are the size of jacuzzis, and are filled with jaw-dropping deals:

I think they were all popcorn and drink containers; there was also an adorable Sven popcorn bucket for $3.

If you're concerned about my taking photos in here, don't worry; as soon as we walked in John immediately found a nearby manager to ask permission. I fully expected a no, so when he said yes I didn't know what to do with myself for a good 30 seconds, lol. In fact I was so excited and flustered I didn't take as many pictures in this first area as I should have, but I got myself together by the time we moved into the larger section:

You can see the shell is a large, bare-bones warehouse, but the merchandise displays are the same as in any Disney store.

The only area I didn't photograph in here - because it was so boring I forgot - is the smaller room off to the extreme right, where they sell cast member exclusives. Most of what's in there literally has "CAST MEMBER" printed on it in huge letters: lots of shirts, jackets, and lanyards - and we later learned we technically weren't supposed to be there, since we're not CMs. Oops. No one looked at us twice, though, and again, I didn't see anything to indicate they're holding out on us. ;)

Now let's talk about the DEALS.

On average I found most prices to be around 40-60% off retail. Some discounts were less - maybe only 25% off - others were drastically more.

Considering how high Disney prices are in the first place - and how cheap I am - it takes a massive discount before I get too excited. Happily you can find quite a few super bargains, if you're willing to search. A good chunk of the tees were marked down from $35 to around $15, but that's still too steep for me, so I only caved for the Figment shirt I found for $3.99. (Keep scrolling for my haul pics at the end!)

This retro PI shirt was another temptation at only $7.99, but didn't make the cut.

Here's a better look at the Pride display. Considering this is all technically "backstage," it's nice to see Disney doing this for their CMs:

The check out area:

See how the left wall is open up top, so you can see back into the room beyond? That's the storage area, and from this vantage point you can get a tantalizing glimpse into the back areas of the warehouse where we're not allowed:

I spy giant Toy Story Aliens and Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head! 
Oooh, y'all. I want to go back there SO BAD.

Ahem. Back to the on-limits stuff:

Obviously you're going to find a lot of out-dated special event merchandise here, so there was quite a bit from Epcot's last Flower & Garden Festival. There was also a small display of things from Chinese New Year:

I'll give you a closer look at the paper money pouches later; they are so pretty.

If you don't have a CM friend to bring you to Cast Connection, don't despair; I can tell you the Character Warehouse (which I posted about last year, just a month before lockdown!) is a very similar discount shop, with very similar prices. Odds are you'll find most of this same merch over there, excepting the cast exclusives, of course. Cast Connection is definitely cooler for the behind-the-scenes vibe, but Character Warehouse will at least get you some of the same bargains.

I love the art on these initial mugs! But do I ten-dollars love them? Ehhhhh.

Another pretty:

Completely smitten with this fabric, but I have enough aprons, so it stayed.

Our friends Melody and Rob were also with us, and Melody scored an awesome deal on this Disney Dress Shop beauty:

These dresses retail for at least $80 - they're super high quality - and Melody snagged one of the last few in her size for just $30. NICE.

K, I have one final surprise for you: the Cast Connection Warehouse NOT ONLY stores giant props and sells bargain merchandise, it also houses a grocery store:

Yep, the very back of the warehouse is lined with big fridges that sell things like milk, OJ, pizza, and chicken fingers, which are apparently the same as ones sold in the parks, and are in extremely high demand:

See how empty the shelves are? There were signs limiting the amount of some things - like the chicken fingers - that you could buy.

It was kinda fun seeing actual food stuffs displayed under fake display cans:

Now let's get to the part I'm sure some of you have been waiting for: MY HAUL.

I think I controlled myself well: John and I collected less than $40 worth of things, which Robin very sweetly purchased for us. (Remember, only CMs can buy things here!) I'm planning to repaint the Tangled sipper cup, maybe put some fake lilies in it? I dunno, I must brainstorm.

 You probably remember my Figment phone case from a few posts back ($2, down from $35!), and John found a new OtterBox for $8.

This Orange Bird key chain was a mild splurge since it wasn't discounted that much, but c'mon. LOOK HOW CUTE:

Orange Bird's whole body is in there; not just his head. Plus the little Koosh ball is fun to play with. :)

These postcard puzzles were $1 each and left over from Epcot's last Art Festival, I believe:

You pop them out and make little standees!

The $4 Figment t-shirt I mentioned before:

It's joyful AND triumphant.

John grabbed the little Porg plush for an upcoming Star Wars cosplay he has in mind, ha:

Four bucks? Not too shabby.

And here's a closer look at those paper money pouches from the Chinese New Year:

The golds are metallic foil, and these would be STUNNING framed up as wall art! I bought 2 packs in case one of you wants to win one on the Squeegineer Board; each pack was $4, down from $10.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this virtual shopping & gawking trip with me, especially if you're one of the many who aren't able to get back out into the world much yet.

I can't tell you how incredible the change has been for me the past few months: John and I are going and doing and seeing so much more, it feels like a whirlwind, like I'm walking on clouds. We're still being safe and taking precautions, but suddenly our calendar is filling up, we're seeing old and new friends, and we're talking about future parties and even conventions again. Sweet Stay Puft, y'all, just thinking about that, just looking back over the past 2 weeks and how many hugs I got to give out, it gets me teary-eyed.

I can't wait for every one of you to have that again, too.

Until then, hang in there, be safe, and remember better days are coming. I promise I'll be right here, cheering you on. 



P.S. Hey, it's almost the end of the month! Have you entered the Squeegineer Give-Away yet?

If you've donated any amount to Epbot through Paypal then you're automatically entered, or you can enter for free by sharing one of my posts. Just e-mail me a screenshot, and you're in! Easy-peasy, details here.

The prizes are a random assortment of jewelry and other things I've made, been given, purchased, or otherwise discovered in my office closet. You pick it, I ship it! Here's a peek at some of my newest additions to the prize boards:

My current favorite is the enormous Yoda Seagulls shaker charm, which I suspect will go FAST, because it is as hilarious as it is adorable. So get those e-mails in, gang!


  1. Cannot wait for our chance to go there! We were told about the groceries but seeing is believing! WOW!!

  2. What a cool shop! Thanks for the photot tour. And oooh, yes, the Squeegineers giveaway! I just sloshed through a bog of adulting to get a useable PayPal to subscribe and support you, so now I can do that and enter! The original sprinkles bracelets would be a dream, haha. <3

  3. My favorite thing of the lot was the wood display stand for the Chinese New Year shirt!

  4. Ooh, that looks like so much fun to browse! I regret not getting to the Character Warehouse when I was in FL last October, but we just ran out of time! Next time...

    Oh, pretty pretty please share pictures here when you're done repainting that Tangled goblet. I have a mighty need to see it all done over. :D :D

  5. !!!! that snow white was in the Orlando airport in 2011! I have photographic proof! https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenkinkn/5388717012/in/album-72157625905784584/

    1. Yes! We have many pictures with this display at that airport.

  6. One day I will get there (I have a CM friend who now owes me, lol). Love seeing it!

  7. That was a fun read, I had no idea about that shop!

  8. Where did that Yoda shaker come from?! OMG!

  9. I believe your mystery figure is Horace Horsecollar, but I could be wrong.

    1. I realize the colors are different, but this is a very similar sculpture (nearly identical, but the sticks and colors are not the same). https://www.flickr.com/photos/oldpatterns/3499600392/

      According to one of the comments on that page, that particular sculpture was from the World of Disney store in Manhattan. So, perhaps the one you saw was used years ago, there in Florida?


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