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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|Shopping the Parks: DCA goes Off the Page - 3/9/01|
There are a lot of people who feel that Disney's California Adventure is a bargain basement theme park. Most of the rides are off-the-shelf. Bread and Tortilla factories are called attractions. Budgeteering cost the Hyperion Theater its restrooms. Yet, somehow, it cost $300 million dollars to build DCA. Where did the money go?
If you want to see where the money used to build DCA was really spent, you need to go shopping. Yes, the Hollywood section is pretty at night, but I think the stores in DCA are the real eye candy. And my favorite of them all is Off the Page, the store attached to the Animation Building.
If you walk through the main entrance, you'll pass over this cement slab. Most people don't even notice it, but it's really the first example of the overall theme of the store.
The store is decorated as a big studio. Two animator's tables are located against the walls, and the cash register counters are outfitted with light boards. Sheets of "sketches" flow upward from each table, and cascade across the ceilings. As the sheets get closer to the ceiling, they grow larger and more colorful.
What were rough, one dimensional, pencil sketches on the drawing board have become animated, two dimensional characters. And these characters seem to be coming.... you guessed it, Off the Page.
The theme even continues into the merchandise assortment. This Sorcerer Mickey Off the Page sculpture is the first in a series. An amazing amount of merchandise was created especially for this store, and much of it prominently bears the store logo.
A large line of merchandise is based on this colorful logo, showing the Disney characters outside the Animation Building. The tie-dye t-shirt has been really popular. You can find the same graphic on tote bags, posters, post cards, plates, ornaments.... the collection is pretty extensive.
Another design features just the outline of the Animation Building. This logo is found on hats, t-shirts, ties, sketch books, pins... even embossed on the back of a gorgeous leather coat. Off the Page also offers the collectible Grand Opening year merchandise.
This group of Color Change t-shirts is unique to this shop. They start out plain white with a line drawing of a Disney character on them. Once they are exposed to sunlight, (or the UV light installed in the display), the sketch fills with color.
There is more to buy in this shop than just apparel. Off the Page houses a collection of posters, each with the Animation Building logo stamped in the corner. Additional artwork is available, much of it duplicated from the Disneyana shop inside Disneyland. The Disney Gallery postcard sets are here, along with other Disney Gallery items. Some of these items are just "shelf-fillers" until Off the Page receives more of the merchandise that is destined for it.
When Off the Page was first merchandised, this wall was the home of the children's princess dress-up costumes. Thankfully, someone walked the store before the Cast Member previews began, and the decision was made to remove this collection to a more.... appropriate shop. Maybe somewhere near a Castle? In the other park?
Now this wall houses the Princess collectibles, including snowglobes, ceramic figurines and musical sculptures. This group of decorative boxes have been extremely popular. I've been in the store when everyone in line at the cash register was holding one or more.
Disneyland has a music store, and collections of books and videos at several stores. DCA has neither, so Off the Page gets to play both roles. When the "Making of DCA" book and DCA Official Album are finally released, this will be the place to find them. For now, you can find an eclectic selection of "How to Draw" books, Disney cookbooks and coffee table animation books. DVDs and Videos are offered here, alongside music CDs.
Of course, Off the Page is DCAs version of both Disneyana and the Disney Gallery. A stunning collection of lithos, sericells and framed artwork is displayed on sliding walls. A series of framed Pin Sets were created exclusively for this store, and show the progression of a pin from a metal blank through the finished product (below). You can also find the Walt Disney Classics Collection at this shop.
Finally, Off the Page gets my vote for the best Cast Member costume, which is also worn by the Animation Building CMs. DCA should look at selling a variation of this vest to the public. I certainly know enough people who want one!
So, welcome to Off the Page. It's easy to see how much time and attention, not to mention money, went into to making this store so amazing. As we continue the series, you'll see that this is the standard for DCA retail shops.
Merchandise Event Update:
The WDCC Belle "Dreaming of a Great Wide Somewhere" sculpture was released last weekend at the World of Disney store. "Belle" is the first is a new series of WDCC Beauty and the Beast sculptures. With the purchase of the sculpture, customers were eligible to purchase the Fountain accessory piece. "Gaston" will be the next piece released, and he will be shown flexing his muscles for the oblivious Belle. When the entire collection is purchased, they can be displayed in a vignette.
There were also gifts for customers who purchased this set at the event. Arribas Bros created this etched glass piece to commemorate the event. It is inscribed with "Belle Sculpture Event", and dated March 3, 2001. The WDCC offered this boxed, 3-pin set with purchase as well. The "Belle" sculpture came with a 4th pin, the Beast. Each new sculpture will have a pin as well. When the whole series is complete, collectors will also have a complete pin set.
The 2nd DCA "Artist's Choice" pin will be released this weekend at Disney's California Adventure. The pin, entitled "Tattoo Surf", was designed by Disney Design Group Artist Alex Sanso. Mr. Sanso will be at DCA to sign the pin for interested customers. There are 11 pins in this series, and they will be released on the second Saturday of each month through December.
Based on the turn-out next year, here's my advice: If you want to get your pins signed, you'll want to get there bright and early to stand in line. The signing starts at 9:00 a.m. People started arriving as early as 5:00 a.m. last month for the first pin in the series.
If you couldn't care less about getting your pin signed, wait until the rush is over. We got there at 10:00 a.m. last month, and were able to walk right into the store and get our pins without standing in line. I later learned that the pins were still available two days later, which should give you the idea. Unless you NEED to get your pins signed, sleep in!
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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