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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|New Disneyland Resort Merchandise Programs - 10/26/01|
I had planned to tell you about the new Christmas and holiday merchandise at the Disneyland Resort, but I will have to wait until next week - - the elves are still busy adding new goodies to the stores. Instead, I have a scattering of interesting tidbits from the parks, as well as a great reason to visit Disney's California Adventure park this week.
Two signs are the only advertisement for this great program...
DCA is testing something new at the Off the Page shop in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot district. Visitors can watch a Disney artist at work, and take home a customized 8-inch by 11-inch sketch. Each artist has a portfolio of approved character designs, and each sketch can include up to four different characters. The selection includes Tinkerbell, Chip and Dale, Mickey and Minnie in a variety of poses, Maleficent, Belle and Beast, Sorcerer Mickey, the Cheshire Cat, and many others. Single-character sketches run $35, with second and third character added for $15 each, and can be personalized to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion.
This program is similar to one at Disneyland where individuals can have custom watches designed from original artwork; in fact, the new DCA program is staffed by the Disneyland watch shop artists. A similar program at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida has also proven popular with visitors.
Be warned however, that the program is only scheduled to run one more week. If customer reaction is strong, the program will be extended, with an addition of more character images. Since this is the type of offering that is so perfectly themed to DCA, especially in the Animation Building, here's your excuse to visit DCA this week. Hop in the car, and come watch as a Disney artist creates a unique piece of artwork just for you.
Another Walt Disney World program has arrived at DCA, in the form of photo pins. These were previewed at the Epcot pin celebration in August, and introduced around WDW as part of its 100 Years of Magic celebration. The photo pin system originally debuted at Epcot in August.
Photo pins allow people to personalize their pins with a photo of themselves. Those who purchase photo pins may choose from two pin designs, and four backgrounds, then pose for a photo against a green screen. In a few minutes, they receive a photo pin and a sheet of 17 stickers. A single photo pin costs $14.95, and each additional pin from the same image is $12.50. In the coming weeks, pin collectors will also be able to add a personal photo to a lanyard card. Although Pacific Ocean Photos at DCA is the only location offering the photo pins, a Disneyland station is in the works.
Monsters Invade Downtown Disney and Disney's California Adventure! Engineers Toys in DCA has received new window displays (above), and the World of Disney store has full-size characters posing for photos behind a protective barricade (below).
Disneyland's Emporium has also received the Monsters, Inc. makeover, with entire wall displays devoted to furry merchandise from the movie. Plush characters in all sizes, toys, costumes and books are just a sample-there are even fur-covered pens!
Will your favorite village piece be retired?
If you are a collector of Department 56 Villages, you have another excuse to head to the Disneyland resort next weekend. Village Retirement Day - - the annual event when Department 56 announces which of its village houses will be "honored with retirement" - - is Friday, November 2.
The molds for the retired pieces will be broken, with no more of that particular piece never to be made again. Remaining retired pieces will be available for sale until January, after which any unsold pieces will be destroyed. In the world of collectibles, nothing creates a frenzy like a retirement party. Department 56 is bracing for a busy weekend, as customers come in to make sure they get any pieces they might be missing from their collections.
Readers often ask me how I know about new merchandise and events before they are announced to the general public. For the past year, Adrienne Krock - - MousePlanet's other Adrienne-- and I have served on the Disneyland Creative Advisory Council, a focus group selected by the Disneyland merchants and consisting of Disneyland Resort regulars such as Annual Passholders, Disney cast members, and even an Imagineer.
At each of our four meetings this year, we saw presentations of new merchandise, discussed past and future special events, learned a lot about the constraints facing the merchants, and offered our opinions and suggestions on everything from logo placement on T-shirts to how much to charge for event tickets. Members are asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and cannot discuss the ideas and concepts they have seen. (And yes, we did clear any advance announcements made here on the site with them so we could properly honor our agreement.)
While the meetings were a lot of work, they were also an incredible amount of fun. Each meeting presented special opportunities. For example, we went inside Walt's office before its move to Florida, spent some time playing at the newly opened Downtown Disney, and had a group portrait taken in front of the Castle. At our fourth and final meeting, we visited Walt's apartment above the Main Street Firehouse.
Over the year, we met Disneyland Resort president Cynthia Harris, Haunted Mansion Holiday creator Steve Davidson, Disneyland merchandise head Carmen Bauza, and many of the buyers and operations staff from the merchandise division. The members of the group formed some great new friendships and celebrated many milestones, including an engagement, a wedding, and even two new babies. This was truly a once-in- a- lifetime experience, and I know that the contacts and friendships I have made will stay with me for years to come.
Does this sound like something you would be interested in? Do you collect Disney merchandise? Have you often wished you had a chance to share your opinions with the people who make the decisions? Would you like to be a part of the planning for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration? If so, now is the time to apply for the 2002 Disneyland Creative Advisory Council. The application is simple-just answer one question: What unique perspective do you feel you can bring to the group?
Be sure to include you name, full mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, and mail your application letter to the address below. Please do NOT e-mail your application to Disneyland.
In addition to the regular meetings planned for the new group, the 2002 council will join members of the 2000 and 2001 councils in a planning session for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Celebration. This is a wonderful opportunity to directly influence the largest event in Disneyland history. Good luck, and Adrienne and I hope to see you there!
Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.
In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.
If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.
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