Twenty Eight & Main: A Collection of Merchandise Dedicated to Disney Parks Past & Presentby Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
"Twenty Eight & Main delves deep into the vintage art that has delighted Disney fans for almost a century."
That's the tagline in the Walt Disney World website description of the flagship Twenty Eight & Main shop at the Disney Springs Co-Op Marketplace. That's really a great description because what this "new vintage" line of Disney merchandise does is try to bring back the look and feel of old Disney theme park art.
Even the line's name evokes Disney Parks history. "Twenty-Eight" represents 1928, the year Mickey Mouse was introduced to the world, and "Main" is an homage to Main Street U.S.A., the timeless gateway to the Magic Kingdom-style theme parks. According to the Disney blog, the lion reaching towards the star on the line's logo symbolizes Walt Disney's pursuit of his dreams. This is part of the Disney family coat of arms and can be found displayed on each Disney theme park castle.
The Twenty Eight & Main basic concept actually started out online back in 2014. In late 2014, I received an email from Disney products telling me about the availability of a few limited edition T-shirts that would only be available for sale for a few days. The shirt that caught my eye was dedicated to the Maelstrom, which we had found out was going to close shortly to make room for a Frozen attraction. It had the image of a Viking and the saying underneath, "You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last." It was a great way to pay tribute to the soon-to-be-departed ride (and that line had actually become an inside family joke over the years—you had to be there). Since, the shirt was only going to be available for a few days, I pounced.
Availability started out in a limited way online, and then Twenty-Eight & Main proper kicked off in mid-2015 as merchandise began to appear at the parks, and in a bigger fashion, online, through the Disney Store. Later that year came the giant expansion, when the flagship Twenty Eight & Main Boutique opened inside the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs.
Designed to be a more upscale product, the tagline was "Fine quality goods for the discerning gentleman" (As an aside, it's positioned as a men's collection, and still has that tagline on the Disney Store website, but there truly is something for all). The goal was to rise above the average park souvenir and be known for quality and attention to detail, using materials and embellishment techniques that are truly special. For me though, the attraction is the artwork used in the collection and what it represents.
Readers of this space know that while I love a good Mickey Mouse T-shirt with Walt Disney Word emblazoned across the top, my favorite items are those that are specific to park attractions or reflect Disney history. That's where this collection excels. Sometimes with a wink and a nod and sometimes with a blazing logo, virtually all the items in the collection contain a reference to a beloved theme park element.
As with many Disney product lines, the focus here is T-shirts, and there are some great T-shirts. These all have that vintage feel (soft with seemingly time-washed images) and generally have some clever or vaguely hidden reference to park history or a park attraction.
There are a plethora to choose from, no matter what your favorite attraction or time period—but one of my favorites is the bright red shirt entitled, simply, "The Redhead." We see a large image of our buxom Pirates of the Caribbean friend in front of a keg, with the ride logo and the words "since 67," a nod to the year the ride opened. Another great shirt has the logos and images of the Main Street Magic Shop.
I also like how the items aren't just limited to current park offerings. Mr. Toad may still be merrily on the way to nowhere in particular at Disneyland, but Pooh booted him out of the World a long time ago, yet Twenty Eight & Main brings him back on a great T-shirt that shows him, along with his buddies MacBadger and Weasel, in a fine motorcar that's been running since 1955. Toad also appears on several items themed to "Toad's Taxi Service," including a great baseball cap and D-Tech smart phone case. There's also a great Adventurer's Club T-shirt. Kungaloosh!
My absolute favorite and one that symbolizes the collection to me is dedicated to Epcot's Spaceship Earth. The dark shirt has the retro feel I've discussed and a stylized depiction of the attraction. It says, "1982," the year the attraction (and all of Epcot) opened—but what's really cool is its a quote from the ride, "For eons, our planet has drifted as a spaceship through the universe, and for a brief moment, we have been its passengers." Its this attention to detail and how the items evoke the feel of the attraction and the parks that make them so special.
The T-shirts are on the expensive side. They typically run for $36.95 each, but there are often sales at the store on property and at the Disney Store online (there are a few markdowns available as I type this).
The collection, happily, isn't just limited to T-shirts. One sub-group of merchandise is dedicated to the Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room from Epcot's UK Pavilion. In addition to the clothing, there are mugs, beer steins, and even a puzzle. What's really interesting about these is that based on the items available, the Rose & Crown could just be any old pub anywhere. You and I know it's at Epcot, but like much of the stuff here, it's treated as its own entity.
In terms of clothing, there are also henley shirts, pullovers, sweatshirts, pajamas, boxers, and those crazy print socks that everyone is wearing these days (click here if you love the Yeti). There are also some great caps (getting back to the attractions relegated to history, there's a great cap with the name "Nautilus" emblazoned across the front for those who miss 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
There's a ton of drinkware, including glasses, mugs and tumblers. As mentioned earlier, there is also a D-Tech collection and items as diverse as puzzles. On the high end of the collection are leather items such as briefcases and messenger and other travel bags. These are generally solid in color (greens and browns) and simply bear the Twenty Eight & Main lion logo.
While initially the line appeared to be confined to the flagship store, during a recent stay, I noticed that merchandise has begun popping up all over the resort. We stayed at All-Star Movies the last time around, and there were a few hats and T-shirts at Donald's Double Feature, the shop at that resort. There was also a large wall of Twenty Eight & Main merchandise at Keystone Clothiers on Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood Studios.
While some of the items always seem to be available, I still get the sense of their limited nature. They rotate merchandise in and out quickly, so don't hesitate to buy if there's something you like and check back often for new and wonderful items. In case you can't visit the parks right now, there's an extensive selection from the collection available at the Disney Store online.
Even if you're not going to buy anything during your latest visit to Walt Disney World (these items are also available at the Disneyland Resort), please visit the Twenty Eight and Main Boutique at Disney Springs. Just seeing the artwork will put a smile on the face of even a casual Disney Parks fan.
Shopping tip of the month
I mention above that this all started with email blasts notifying customers of the availability of limited T-shirts. That practice is still going on. Last month, I got an email that in honor of the upcoming March Madness tournament, there were going to be basketball style T-shirts available with logos related to park attractions. The one that I bought (of course I did) has a stylized picture of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover with the team name "Tomorrowland Movers."
Another favorite from that set again has an image of Spaceship Earth and the name "Future World Phoenicians" (anyone who's ridden the ride—the number of times a Disney fan has likely ridden that ride—will likely get that joke).
The shirts were only available for a few days. They may make another appearance down the line, but that usually isn't the case. Once the indicated time period passes, they're gone. If you're interested in seeing these emails, make sure you get on the Disney Store email list so you'll be notified when they come out.
Thanks all as always for reading and would love to see your questions or comments.