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Help a great cause and get your holiday shopping done early at WDW's United Way Benefit Sale

Angela Ragno

Angela is the Walt Disney World shopping queen.

Help a great cause and get your holiday shopping done early at WDW's United Way Benefit Sale

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If you snooze, you lose.

That turn-of-phrase is appropriate in a lot of situations. But none more so than on November 5th. Where - if you decide to sleep in that morning and then miss out on this year's United Way Benefit Sale at the Downtown Disney Marketplace - you're not only going to miss out on your chance to help a really worthy cause, you're also going to miss out on all sorts of great bargains.

"What sort of bargains?," you ask. Well, how about 25% off of select merchandise at such favorite WDW shopping spots as the Disney Days of Christmas shoppe, Disney's Pin Traders, Mickey's Pantry, Once Upon a Toy, Team Mickey, Tren-D and World of Disney.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

I actually went to the inaugural version of this event (which benefits the Heart of Florida United Way, with all proceeds going to the many health & human service programs that HFUW supports throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties) last year. I bought my $5 voucher, which I then traded in for a wristband that got me into all of the Downtown Disney Marketplace stores which were taking part in this event.

Now I won't lie to you, folks. It was a little tough getting up for a shopping event that starts at 5:30 a.m. Even here in sunny Central Florida, it can kind of dark & frosty in the pre-dawn hours in early November. But my Mom and I set the alarm for 4. More importantly, we bundled up before we left the house that morning.

So what did we find when we pulled into the parking lot at the AMC Downtown Disney 24? This being an event that was being held at Walt Disney World, are you really surprised to hear that there was a line? To be specific, a line that ran all the way down along the AMC theatre and was full of people anxious to see what was available for purchase inside of that giant tent which had been set up in the West Side Plaza.

Tren-D will be open and ready for bargain hunters who
are wearing their official United Way Benefit Sale
wristbands. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

But I didn't get up at the crack of dawn just to stand in line. I came here to shop. Which is why my Mother and I got back in our car and drove over to the other end of the Downtown Disney Marketplace. We parked in the old Village Marketplace parking lot and then made our way to Tren-D. Which was having a special sale on Dooney & Bourke purses that morning.

Given that there really wasn't a line at Tren-D, I was able to make my purchase relatively quickly. Then my Mom and I set out to explore the other DTD shops which were open for that morning's United Way Benefit Sale. And I'm so glad that I did. Given that many of the items that were only being sold out of that tent in front of the AMC Downtown Disney 24 were also be available for purchase in places like the World of Disney.

Which isn't to say that there's an unending supply of these sale items. Last year, I made the mistake of thinking that I'd be able to go back to the Disney Pin Traders shop later on that morning and still be able to take advantage of their Disney-pins-for-a-dollar sale. No such luck. When I finally got to Disney's Pin Traders, they had already sold through all of the merchandise that this shop had deliberately marked down to help support this United Way Benefits Sale event.

Shopping before sunrise  is a curious way to spend your
time (and money) at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But that was my own fault, not Disney's. And given that my Mother and I made multiple trips back to the car that morning to drop off all of the great bargains that we'd found while wandering around the Downtown Disney Marketplace, I'm certainly not going to complain about the one sales item that I missed out on that morning ... Well, not too much, anyway. Not with thie $5.00 sets of Disney Cruise Line luggage and $10 Disney watches that I was able to buy.

All told, my Mom and I made out like bandits that morning. We got a lot of last year's Christmas shopping done early. We helped out a great cause. We even found time - before the United Way Benefits Sale officially wrapped up at 9:30 a.m. - to get a hot chocolate at Goofy's Candy Co. Which is why I'm definitely planning on taking part in this year's event.

Just remember though, that the only way you can get access to all of the Downtown Disney Marketplace shops which will be taking part in this early morning sale (more importantly, the bargains to be found inside of these stores) is if you're wearing a  United Way Benefits Sale wristband. And you can purchase a voucher that actually gets you this wristband online up until November 3rd for $5. After that, your only option is to buy a voucher onsite at DTD on the actual morning of the event.

And if you start to fade as the sun starts to rise, you can always drop in Goofy's Candy Co.
for a quick sugar rush. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

For further information (like what sort of special doorbuster bargains you can expect to find at this year's event), please visit www.thebenefitsale.com.

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