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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|Merchandise Round-Up - June 2002|
ONE | TWO
Disney's new Lilo & Stitch movie opens in theaters today, but Disney is already savoring sweet success from this animated movie. When Lilo & Stitch merchandise hit the shelves at Disney Stores last month, customers gobbled up "Aloha Stitch" plush dolls and Lilo dashboard "boingers" in a buying frenzy not witnessed since Toy Story.
Yet unlike the merchandise shortages that greeted customers looking for that elusive Talking Jessie doll, there seems to be plenty of Lilo & Stitch merchandise to go around. After an initial panic in the first weeks where stores were directed to pull Lilo & Stitch merchandise to prevent premature sell-out, the toys have returned in force.
At the Disneyland Resort, one room of the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney has been devoted to all things Hawaii, including several displays of Lilo & Stitch toys (above).
Tropical Imports in Adventureland has traded in the jungle-inspired clothing for tropical tiki accessories (above), and the Emporium in Disneyland's Main Steet has new Lilo & Stitch animated display windows.
The brilliant advertising campaign for the movie, in which the creepy-yet-cuddly space alien interrupts movie trailers for popular animated Disney films, has a lot to do with the pre-release demand for the merchandise. Children may not exactly know who Stitch is, but they already love him. The marketing for the movie is top-notch, and the merchandise has proven to be a hit.
Early reviews of the movie have been generally favorable. It looks like Disney has finally pulled together all the elements needed to create a real hit.
The kiosks remain, but the music is gone...
A new sign reading, "No longer available. We apologize for any inconvenience" greets customers who try to buy a Disneyland Forever custom CD at 20th Century Music on Main Street (photo below). The system, which allowed the customer to create a custom 10-track CD from a selection over 130 music titles, has been plagued with problems for almost a year.
A system upgrade in Spring 2001, prompted by the closure of the Tomorrowland's Premier Shop, caused the accidental deletion of nine music tracks. These tracks were later restored, but only to one of the five remaining kiosks.
The Walt Disney World version of the system was pulled with little warning last fall. The temperamental Disneyland kiosks were closed in early April when they began to suffer from lack of maintenance, although cast members were instructed to tell customers that the shut-down was only temporary. Now Disney has admitted what we feared all along: the kiosks are history.
(I had previously written in the first edition of this column that RedDotNet the company which created the system with Disney, had folded. A kind reader wrote to tell me that not only is RedDotNet still in business, but the company is installing an updated version of their system in select Barnes & Noble stores.)
Both the popular Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean attraction CDs are still available, although the loss of on-site CD burners now means that the park is stocking copies of the Haunted Mansion CD with WDW cover art.
Merchandise CMs have said that a replacement for the system is being developed by Walt Disney Records, and that the new offering might be available in time for the Haunted Mansion Holiday event in early October. Given the incredible effort it took to get the original Disneyland Forever system off the ground (detailed by Jason Shultz in his article), this new offering may be a long time in coming. Until then, the kiosks sit silent and useless, with collectors who had not completed their Disneyland Forever set kicking themselves for procrastinating.
Collectors of attraction posters have reason to celebrate. The Disney Gallery's new Print-on-Demand system has been expanded to include 56 attraction poster images. Many of these images have been unavailable for months -- even years -- while others have never been sold to the public. Rumor has it that even more images are planned for the system, including attraction posters from other parks and artwork from the next Gallery exhibit.
The Product-on-Demand items are now available with images from the "100 Mickeys" series, but cast members report their sales are slow. One reason is the quality of the items. The T-shirts and sweatshirts are available only in white, and look as if the image could wear off in just a few washings.
And while the mugs and key chains are of better quality, none of these items can be taken home the same day. When customers order the items at the Gallery, the products are shipped directly from the company that is actually printing the items. Making matters worse is the shipping fee: the $5.95 fee for a $10 mug, the nicest of the Product-on-Demand offering, is turning a lot of people off.
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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