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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor

Merchandise Update

November 28, 2000
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

Mickey Mouse Phone Home

From the MousePlanet News page: 1/25/00: New York Post: DISNEY DISCONNECTS CELL PHONES - Disney will stop licensing cell phone products. The Walt Disney Co. is hanging up cell phones that use their cartoon characters, citing the lack of information about health risks. To read the rest of the item, here's a link to the New York Post news story.

So, along with the Nokia face plates, I wonder if they are going to pull all other Cell Phone Accessories? Too bad - the cell phone covers they have at Disneyland are really cute! (Even if they don't fit a flip phone like mine) 

Cell Phone Covers
Click on the photo above for MouseShoppe's offerings

I have a background in retail management - 10 years with department and specialty stores. So, when I walk into a store, I notice the little things like... empty fixtures. Display bowls full of nothing but tissue paper. Walls where the merchandise is presented on face outs, rather than hung on side rail. Entire walls featuring shelves of the exact same pink Tinkerbell sweatshirts stacked 6' high.  

These past two weeks have been really hard on the shops in the park. Combine higher- than- expected attendance with the various Cast Member Holiday Parties, and you sell a LOT of merchandise in a very short time. Usually the stores do a great job of refilling the shelves before park opening each day, but they have not been able to keep up lately. Why? "Ask the Distribution Center" (DC for short). 

I was particularly surprised to walk into one of the locations which sells Christmas merchandise this Sunday, and to see entire fixtures with no more than a handful of items scattered across the shelves. I got to talking with a CM, and she was lamenting the state of her particular shop. She and another lead were working to spread what little merchandise they had left across a fairly large wall. She said their biggest problem is just getting what they need from the new DC - merchandise just isn't arriving fast enough. 

I've been hearing about these problems ever since the new DC went on line. Between misdirected shipments and slow replenishment rates, the stores are having a heck of a time keeping themselves stocked. Today's treasure hunt items were Adult Sized Black Mickey Mouse Ears. I took me three stores to find them. This is a staple, and it's out of stock? 

I hope they get this mess resolved soon. It's very disconcerting to see empty shelves at Disneyland. The moral of the story (As it always is with Disneyland): If you like something, buy it the second you see it. It may not be there when you come back, whether that be next year or next week!

I got to spend a few minutes chatting with the Pin Goddess this weekend. My original question had been about a paragraph on the Holiday flyer that is being handed out at the gate. While this flyer mainly discusses the various holiday foods and activities going on at the park, it also mentions holiday merchandise.

The blurb says: "Pin trading is all the rage these days, and the 14 Holiday cloisonnÚ pins being offered this year make great stocking stuffers." My question: "What 14 pins!?" By my count, there have only been 5 - and that's IF you include the boxed set. The reply? "They weren't supposed to print that, but there are more pins coming" This should make the pin collectors happy! I only know what one of the new pins will be - a light-up Christmas Tree. (NOT the Florida one, either!) 

I also got some insight into the pin situation at the park. There have been a lot of complaints lately that there are not enough new pins, and not enough of the pins which are released. The explanation is that pins have a three month production lead time. Three months ago, when the holiday orders were placed, pin trading was not as hot as it is right now. The park has experienced a 200% increase in pin sales in just two months. The good news is that current orders are being placed to reflect the current level of interest in pins and pin trading. It's just going to take a little while for these new, increased orders to flow into the parks. 

Pins will be all over the new DCA park when it opens. CMs who have been training in the new park have seen previews of the designs, and they look good. The World of Disney Store will also have pins, either inside the store or at an outside cart. 

More good news -  there is no truth to the rumor that Disneyland will be releasing mystery pins. Whew! The whole program is about releasing a "surprise" pin at an unpublicized location at random times each month. Trust me - after listening to what the Florida pin traders had to say about it, it's not something we want to encourage!

Do you want the entire set of McDonalds / 102 Dalmatians Happy Meal Toys, but can't quite find room in your fridge for all those McNuggets? Just visit and order the whole set on line.

102 Dalmatians Happy Meal Toys - 102 Dalmatians art © Disney
102 Dalmatians art © Disney

For $150, you get the entire set of toys, a custom carrying case, a poster featuring all the toys and a certificate of authenticity.

Finally, it's the first Saturday of the month again, which means that it's time for the new Character of the Month. This month marks the last month of the series, and the Character is Tinker Bell! Below left is the postcard sent out by Disneyland, announcing this months' character, and showing a preview of her portrait. (Next to it, just for contrast, is an old Disneyland Art Corner postcard that fellow MousePlaneteer Todd Regan recently found in a private collection.)

Character of the month postcard Disneyland Art Corner postcard
Character of the month postcard (left), vintage Disneyland Art Corner postcard (right) - character art © Disney

If you're new to this program, here's how it works. This promotion started in January, as part of the 45th Anniversary Celebration. Each month, a different Disney character got to choose their favorite spot in the park, and have their portrait drawn there. This portrait is turned into a collection of merchandise, including a lithograph, a t-shirt, an ornament, a watch and more. This collection is released on the first Saturday of every month. The line to buy this merchandise has gotten larger each month. We understand that the first person in line last month was there at 2 a.m.

Why would you want to camp out at Disneyland for a t-shirt? Well, you see, there is also a PIN in this collection. A Limited Edition Pin - only 500 made of each character. So people get there very early in the morning, to make sure they get the pins they need to complete their collection. 

Tinker Bell is such a popular character, so collectors have been plotting their strategy to make sure they get one of the 500 pins. Since guests with Early Entry privileges get inside the park 90 minutes before everyone else, quite a few collectors booked rooms at the Disneyland and Paradise Pier hotels for this weekend. As a matter of fact, the hotels are sold out. Disneyland has said that there will be no changes to the voucher policy for this month - Early Entry guests will be allowed to get in line before the park opens. There will not be a separate line, as had been rumored. 

So, if you didn't get a room at the hotel, and you don't want to buy a flex pass to get an Early Entry ticket, but you still MUST have this pin, what should you do? Come to the park Friday night, and see the fireworks. Then proceed to the Main Gate, and get in line. Yep, I'm serious. I've talked with a group who plans to do just that. Forget 2 a.m. - they're just spending the night. 

As for me? Well, if you do decide to join the camp out, please drop me a note and tell me how it was. We're taking a weekend away from shopping, and heading up north for a holiday party. I didn't collect this series, so I don't feel any desire to join the line. And, even though I love Tinker Bell, I think I'll pass! To be frank here, I'm not thrilled with this portrait (for a comparison look again at the vintage Art Corner card above - it makes us miss Tink creator Marc Davis all the more). Someone who shall remain nameless likes to call this new art the "Tori Spelling" Tinker Bell.


Coming Friday:
The story behind the Disneyland Forever CDs

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

Merchandise Update

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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