photo credit: Betsy Bates

Do you ever wonder what you can do to recreate a bit of that magic in your every day life when you aren’t at one of the Disney Parks?  I admit, I go to the parks more often than your average NDP.  However, this does not mean that I don’t miss the magic of Disney just as much as the rest of you who don’t live as near to WDW as I do.

Recently, I found myself missing Disney and regretting that I don’t live closer. Yes, I can hear you now, “But, Betsy, you only live an hour and a half away, you can go whenever you want.”  Yes, I do live that close, but no, I can’t go whenever I want. Even living this close, there are still concerns such as free time and money.

photo credit: Betsy Bates

So I thought to myself, “Think, think, think.  What can I do to experience Disney while not at Disney?”  Then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue!  I could go to the Disney Store in Tampa.  This is much closer to home, about half the distance, and still allows me to experience some of that feeling I get at Walt Disney World.  Adding to the feeling of being at Disney is the fact that this particular mall also has an Earl of Sandwich.  Double score!  Even better, I asked one of my Disney friends to join me.

This is one of those things that presumably anyone can do to make their day a little more Disney.  Find your nearest Disney Store and make an afternoon of visiting it.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Earl of Sandwich within reasonable driving distance, pretend like you are spending the evening at Downtown Disney enjoying a Full Montagu.  Even if neither of these are options, you can always find a friend who shares your passion for Disney and “gets it” and spend time with them.  You can try your local Wal-Mart or Target if you don’t have a Disney Store close by.

In exploring the mall, we took our time perusing the items in one of the newly renovated Disney Stores that will soon be popping up across the country.  It featured some extra design elements that you didn’t find in the older stores, like video screens on trees and interactive elements near the checkout.  We were also able to find Hidden Mickeys and Disney themed clothing in stores you wouldn’t necessarily expect to.  To me this was even cooler, since it was some unexpected pixie dust.  Dinner at Earl of Sandwich was great as usual, with the surprise bonus of a complimentary side dish with our sandwiches.  See, more Disney magic.

All in all the day was a great distraction from the daily routine of life and helped me experience Disney in a different way than I’m used to.  Sure, we didn’t go on any rides or see any shows, but we did have a different kind of afternoon while still getting a bit of that feeling we get from all things Disney.  I hope that some of you take these ideas and go and have some fun with Disney in your hometown.  Whether it’s spending time with your Disney friends in a meet up, shopping for Disney merchandise at a local store, or even having a meal reminiscent of your time in the Disney Parks, enjoy it!

photo credit: Betsy Bates

Contributed by: Betsy Bates (NDI#152) Betsy is the DDL Recreation Blogger. She is also the creator of Floridamingo.


  1. Hooray!!! Yay Disney Store!!!! Great post Betsy 🙂

    Just wondering, did the new store seem like it had more adult stuff than the old stores?

  2. Honestly, my friend and I commented on this when we were in the store. From what I could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot of adult clothing, maybe two or three displays. I wasn’t exactly there to shop, so I can’t say that I didn’t miss anything, but there seemed to be about the same amount as before. Glad you liked the post. 🙂

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