More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

More Than 30 Years of Handmade Memories at Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

Darcy Clark

by , Disney Springs Marketing Manager

In 1982 the first Sony CD player was released, Epcot Center opened and Prince William was born. It was also the year that “Wholesale Leather Goods” made its debut at The Disney Village. (I could still show my age using the digits on just one hand, so yeah, it was awhile ago.)

Fast-forward to present day and at least one thing hasn’t changed – Dave Biebel is still making leather belts with the same level of craftsmanship guests have come to expect over the last three decades. Though it’s an anomaly in today’s mass-produced market, he has no plans to change. And why should he? His goods are unique, personalized and in many cases, one-of-a-kind.

Dave Biebel and His Leather Belts, Available at Downtown Disney Marketplace at the Walt Disney World Resort

I recently had the chance to talk with Dave; of all his stories, I most loved the one about the man who visited his location a few months ago. As Dave shared, “this guy came back with a belt he said he bought from me 30 years ago. It featured my stamped design, and I could tell it was the same end-cutter I’ve always used, so I figured he must have really gotten it from me. He got 30 years out of it. I wasn’t surprised when he bought another one.”

What surprised me? Dave never set out to make this his life’s work. He was working part-time when his boss was approached by Disney to open a small merchandise location at The Disney Village. Dave gave it a shot, Epcot opened shortly afterward and then “things got very busy.” The rest is history.

Dave Biebel and His Leather Belts, Available at Downtown Disney Marketplace at the Walt Disney World Resort

For Dave, the best part of his job is getting compliments on his work. Guests love the fact that his merchandise is handmade and because of that, he gets lots of repeat customers. Some have told Dave it’s the “only place” they’ll buy their belts.

If belts aren’t your thing, you can also find a wide array of buckles, necklaces, bracelets, wallets and my favorite – purses.

It’s now 2013 … smart phones hold full music libraries, we now boast four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and Prince William just had a son of his own. A lot has changed but at least one thing hasn’t – look for Dave and his wares at Downtown Disney Marketplace near LittleMissMatched and the Marketplace Marina.

Have you kept any of your purchases from past Disney Parks vacations for 30 or more years? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. I bet they hold a special place in your heart!


  • Does anyone know if Dave is willing to do work and ship it to someone. I live in Maine and got belts made for my husband (then boyfriend) and myself about 3 years ago. They are still going strong but after having my son, mine does not fit anymore. I would love to have him make me another but I can’t seem to find any contact information for him. Thanks!

  • Darcy, does Dave make less ornamental-looking belts too? I’ve been looking for a full leather brown belt suitable for work (in an office), and we’re heading to WDW this Holiday season. I have a black all-leather belt that’s going on 7 years; my dad has a brown all-leather belt that’s well over 30 years old. Leather belts are the way to go 🙂

  • I still have a t-shirt that is like a football jersey with an 82 on it. That was the first year I went to Disney World. Flew from Cleveland to Orlando in a 4 seat airplane with 2 friends, taking turns flying. We were there in August just a few weeks before all 3 of us started college. Great memory. 🙂

  • I still have ticket stubs, a program, postcards, and several other souvenirs, including a Mary Poppins hat with my name embroidered on it from my very first visit when I was 6 years old. I am now 53. 😉 I also still have my Mouseketeer Club ears that I wore while watching the show on a black-and-white TV!

  • I still have a Tinkerbell charm from my very 1st trip to Disney in the spring of 1980. It was originally on a necklace, but when I got my 1st charm bracelet, I transfered it over to the bracelet and wear it still today! I don’t remember a whole lot about that trip, as I was pretty young, but clearly Tink made an impression, as she is one of my all time favorite characters!

  • Yes I have a Madame Alexander doll I bought at Tinkerbells toy Shop, used to be located behind the castle in Fantasyland. It was my very first trip to Disney in the spring of 1978, I was 6 years old and I have so many memories of that trip. My baby Victoria doll is still with me and actually started me on a lifelong interest in collecting dolls. Now I have a daughter of my own, also named Victoria, and we visit Disney often as we belong to DVC.

  • I definitely need to check this out on my next visit.

  • I have bought 4 wallets and a belt and buckle from Dave I also have his number so if I need a replacement he has sent it to me!

    • Albert, thanks for sharing – SUCH great guest service! (We’re not surprised … Dave has many loyal fans like you who keep coming back; he definitely treats them right!)

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