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Brian Bennett

Plush Revenge - A Shopping Story

September 27, 2000

A funny thing happened on the way to Walt Disney World...

I have a habit of buying my admission media before I get to Walt Disney World (and Disneyland, too, for that matter) at a Disney Store.   So, after finalizing our trip plans with my in-laws on Labor Day (for our then upcoming October (2000) trip), I made my usual pilgrimage to our local store at our own local little Fashion Square Mall.

Of course, the local Disney Stores in Michigan doesn't actually keep annual passes in stock, so I had to order the wonderful little vouchers that can be turned in for the real annual passes once we get to Walt Disney World.  I was told that the vouchers could be available within a week or so, so I asked that they be delivered by September 16th, in fact, because I knew that Barb would be out of town that day and Allan (our four-year old son) and I could mosey on back to the mall and visit "the Mickey Store" to pick them up.

On the 16th, Allan and I stopped in.  But the vouchers were not yet available.  However, a few days later (on the 19th) we got a call that they were in, and we stopped in to pick up the vouchers a couple of days later.

Here's where our story gets interesting (for me, anyway).  When we paid for the vouchers, we dropped over $1500 into Mickey's coffers.  Quite a sum.  The neat thing, though, is that Mickey was in a giving mood, too.  In fact, for every $75.00 we spent, we were given a coupon good for $15.00 worth of Disney Store merchandise!  We ended up with twenty (20) $15 dollar coupons!!!!  There were three catches.  First, the coupons were only available during a short window of time (and that window is already closed).  Second, the coupons had to be used by September 30th, or they would turn into a pumpkin, ah, I mean, expire.  Third, the coupons were only good on regular priced items.

So, did Barb and I want to let such a treasure trove go to waste?  Nope!  

Barb and I just made a date out of the day.  I dutifully took a vacation day from work on Tuesday and, after taking Allan to school (I can't believe the boy's in kindergarten already!) we stopped for breakfast together, then we drove (about thirty miles or so) to Flint on the theory that the Disney Store there would be better stocked than our Saginaw store.  When we arrived at the Genesee Valley Mall we took a leisurely walk as we waited for 10:00am - rope drop, I mean opening time - at the Disney Store.  (Really, have you ever known anyone to intentionally get to the first opening moments at a Disney Store?  I mean, when there's no special sales going on or anything?)

The two cast members must have thought we were nuts!  We walked into the store and just started grabbing things off the shelves.  As we added something to our stash, we added the price to running total on the calculator that we brought along for the event.

First, we made a beeline to get a "Robin Hood" archery set that Allan has had his eye on (for his birthday next week) and that was out of stock at the Saginaw store.  We also picked up a wall-mountable "Nerf-like" basketball set (we picked a 101 Dalmatians one, but traded it in for a Tigger one that we saw later).  A Buzz Lightyear "action figure" (as Woody liked to say) wrapped up the Allan shopping (that one will be put away until Christmas).  We also picked up a Disney educational program for our computer.  It's a bit advanced for Allan, but he'll be ready for it soon.  (We have a couple of programs that he uses now, just to learn some basics about the computer and some simple counting and other skills -- and he LOVES "working on my program.")

Next, I perused the CDs.  Nothing grabbed me.  The Disney Stores really have a terrible selection of CDs now (a couple years ago they carried a good selection, but it has really dropped off recently).  I had to settle for a bunch of the "do-over / direct to video" videos instead.  "Pocahontas II", "Little Mermaid II", "The Tigger Movie", both Goofy movies, and the Buzz Lightyear flick were the only ones that they had that I didn't already have in my collection.  Since I'm technologically challenged, we bought the VHS ones (I'll be kicking myself over that in a few years, I'm sure).

One of the cast members pointed out that there were a bunch of children's clothing on sale at the back of the store.  I thanked her, but told her that "we're only interested in full-priced items today."  She shot me a odd look, but I just smiled.

Barb selected a couple of cookie jars (she collects them).  One is a reclining Donald, the other is the Toy Story piece (the one that is shaped like an old-style television set).  We still had a little money left, according to our calculations, so Barb also picked out a relatively new ("it just came in this week") Mickey watch design with a gold wristband.  She had quite the haul!

Then, we came clean with the CMs and told them why were were stripping their store's shelves of goods.  They were a bit concerned that we got the coupons from purchasing annual pass vouchers, but since the Saginaw store had given us the coupons and we still had our receipt to prove it, they said everything was cool.

When everything was tallied up, the CM applied our Magic Kingdom Club discount and found that we had thirty more dollars to spend.  Not wanting that to go to waste, we pre-ordered Toy Story II (which I would have bought anyway) and a black t-shirt for me (it has a quilted Mickey embossed on the's very cool).  Special order items were expressly forbidden as terms of the deal, but the CMs assured us that "pre-order" and "special order" were not synonymous terms.

Alas, we were done.  I truly think the two cast members had almost as much fun as we did!

Here's a quick summary of our stuff...

  • "Robin Hood" archery set

  • Tigger wall-mountable basketball set

  • Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger

  • "Pocahontas II"

  • "Little Mermaid II"

  • "The Tigger Movie"

  • "A Goofy Movie"

  • "An Extremely Goofy Movie"

  • "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command"

  • Winnie-the-Pooh Kindergarten Computer Learning Program

  • Reclining Donald Cookie Jar

  • Toy Story Cookie Jar

  • Women's Gold Mickey Watch

  • "Toy Story II" (pre-ordered)

  • Black Mickey T-shirt

For all that, we paid $18.56.  Yep, we had to pay a small overage, and the state sales tax on our "purchases" but it ended up to be a very inexpensive spree.

After we finished up at the store, Barb and I drove back to Saginaw, did some other running around we had to do, then celebrated our extravaganza with our second meal out together -- lunch at Don Pablos.

Then I went out (while Barb hid our haul) and I went back over to the school to pick Allan up.  We drove home, enjoyed a brief afternoon nap, then (since Barb and I were still stuffed from our late luncheon) had popcorn for dinner -- while we watching Buzz Lightyear save the universe from the evil Emperor Zurg.  I admit that it's probably the most poorly executed Disney animated release that I've ever seen, but it was (almost) free.  :)

I'm looking forward to some more family movie nights over the next few weeks.  I'd invite Paul Pressler, but I think he'd probably be so mad at what Barb and I pulled off that he'd refuse to come over anyway.

Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner

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Brian's Archive - Contents

A Little More Disney Information:

Reviews of Other Disney-Related Stuff books and CDs!

A Brief History of the Disney Parks just an overview, but worth reading!

A Tribute to Walter Elias Disney the text of Eric Severeid's eulogy of Mr. Disney, December 15, 1966

The Boycott and the Bible the reasons behind the anti-Disney boycott(s), and my own Bible research on what I should do about it

Plush Revenge - A Shopping Story about how I bought over $353.00 worth of Disney stuff for $18.56.

About the WebMaster:

Brian and His Family some background on my own family

Michael's Story a bit more information on how we adopted our littlest boy

Growing Families International a great organization for parents

Christian Family Services a link to my favorite adoption agency

Email Brian if for some odd reason you want to contact me...

Las Vegas, September 2002 Trip Report a report on a personal trip that didn't include a visit to any Disney places whatsoever!


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