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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|New Disney Gallery Exhibit Opens, More... - 2/25/02|
Disneyland hosted a special "sneak preview" of the latest exhibit in the Disney Gallery in New Orleans Square last Thursday evening. The exhibit, which was presented to Cast Members on Friday and opened to the public on Saturday, features 100 images of Mickey Mouse by artist Eric Robison. 100 Mickeys is another installment in the "100 Years of Magic" celebration commemorating Walt Disney's 100th birthday.
When Eric Robison was commissioned to create the 100 Mickeys, he says he "packed up my paints and brushes and flew to a little island in the Caribbean to commence this ambitious undertaking. I returned two weeks later with the first twenty-one mice in my suitcase" After that initial burst of creativity, the rest of the paintings took 16 months to complete.
Paintings are grouped into rooms by category, like "Mickey in Full Color" and "Mickey in Texture." Fans are sure to find Mickey captured in their favorite pose, mood or costume. Minnie even makes a cameo appearance in one painting.
The paintings were created on a variety of mediums, from traditional oil on canvas to charcoal pencil on bent cardboard. Some were painted with brushes, others with sticks, and one with a fork. While all 100 images can be viewed at 100Mickeys.com, just seeing the numbered paintings doesn't really convey the feel of this exhibit.
Most, if not all, of the paintings have descriptive and amusing names, which the website doesn't list. "Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mickey" was named not after the materials used to create it, but because the colors reminded Eric of those two foods. Gallery Cast Members are happy to show guests their reference book, in which Eric gives a little background on each image. If you have a chance, try viewing all of the paintings along with this book - it is well worth the time.
The sneak preview cocktail reception was held inside the Disney Gallery. We were greeted by Disney Legends Bobby Burgess and Sherry Alberoni. After a photo opportunity with the Mouseketeers, we worked our way across the crowded gallery. My first stop was the new Print on Demand kiosk, where KC Saunders gave me a tour of the new technology.
Print on Demand lets you take home your favorite 100 Mickeys image, in your choice of two mediums, canvas or art paper, and two sizes, 28.5" x 36" or 36" x 48". The prints can be ready in as little as 15-30 minutes, but allow several hours depending on how popular the system is. Disneyland has partnered with FedEx to ship the posters home to customers at no charge, to eliminate a trip back to the gallery to pick up your art. Framing is also available, but the framed posters can not be shipped.
ConventionEars to the Official Disneyana Convention in August got a sneak preview of this new system, and snapped up custom prints by the dozen. Disneyland is the first location to apply this new technology to retail sales, and they are working with Walt Disney Imagineering to develop a library of images to offer after the 100 Mickeys exhibit closes in September. Imagine being able to get a reprint of your favorite attraction poster, or obscure character sketch, with point-and-click ease.
Or, better yet, how about taking home a T-shirt, hat or mug with that same image? Product on Demand will let you create a souvenir from your favorite artwork. While a few last-minute bugs are still being worked out of the system, the merchants are excited about the opportunities this will bring to both the stores and the guests. In the future, you may be able to make your own souvenir merchandise from a library of thousands of images. You will get the exact item, size and color you want, and the stores won't need to stock millions of different items. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
Along with the custom merchandise, Disneyland has created a full line of 100 Mickeys souvenirs, most of it featuring a montage of the artwork. Hats, mugs, plates, magnet sets, ornaments and more are available for collectors. As I was perusing the merchandise display, Eric Robison walked up beside me, and wore a big grin on his face. I asked him how it felt to have his work plastered all over a T-shirt, and he said "This is unreal. I can't believe all of this".
Throughout the evening, we watched as Eric posed with the proud new owners of his artwork. Event guests had the first opportunity to purchase his original paintings, at prices ranging from $500 to $10,000. The owners have a few months to decide where to hang their new treasure, as the 96 paintings must remain in the exhibit until September. Once sold, a piece will display a plaque stating that it is "On loan from the private collection" of the new owner.
Even though Eric painted all of the images in the exhibit, he isn't the only artist featured. David Avanzino was commissioned to created a limited edition collage of the 100 Mickeys. "It was a lot of cutting", he says of his piece. David is no stranger to Disney, having created the Tower of the Four Winds piece in commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of it's a small world, and several limited edition items for the Disneyana Convention.
Pin collectors will be happy to know that all 100 images will be available on pins, starting in April. 5 pins will be released each week for 20 weeks. The pins are a limited edition of 3500, and collectors can pre-order an entire framed set of the pins for $850. The number of framed sets sold will be removed from the pins available on general release, so the actual number of individual pins available will be less than 3500.
100 Mickeys will be on display at the Disney Gallery in New Orleans Square until September 8, 2002.
Package Express- It- Yourself?
It seems the rumors were true. As of March 1st, Disneyland's Package Express service will be severely scaled back. Currently, Package Express lets customers have their purchases sent to either to their Disneyland Resort hotel room, or to a window outside Disneyland and DCA. Visitors don't have to haul merchandise around the park with them all day, they can shop earlier in the day when the stores are not so crowded, and they are more inclined to spend more when they do not have a constant reminder of what they have already spent weighing them down. For large, fragile or bulky items, Package Express is the only way to go. Just image carrying around a three-foot tall stuffed Mickey Mouse, or a heavy glass snowglobe, all day!
Under the new system, shoppers can still leave their purchases with Package Express - but they have to physically take the items there themselves. That means a trip back to the front gate to check your packages. That may not be so bad if you are shopping on Disneyland's Main Street or at Greetings in DCA, but just think about lugging something from Toon Town or Paradise Pier. Resort hotel guests can still have their items sent to the bell desk of their hotel, but they also must first carry their packages to the Package Express location.
Shop managers and Cast Members alike are frustrated with this new policy. One shop manager told me that they will probably just use their own stock person to carry packages to the window for customers, rather than risk losing the sales. Another said that they may look at moving more staff to evening shifts, to accommodate the crush of people trying to do all of their shopping on the way out of the park at night.
Of course, this move may set the stage for a return of Package Express in time for the Holiday Shopping season, but with one major difference. Package Express has been a free service in the past, but customers may be asked to pay for the full-service version if it returns. Stay tuned - this promises to get interesting.
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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