Not Quite Designer Disneyby Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
In a previous article, I explored some great mash-ups with high-end designer retailers, and looked at how some well-known companies teamed up with Disney to produce some truly interesting merchandise, such as jewelry, bags and artwork. There are some beautiful items, but many of them cost a pretty penny.
Thankfully, you don't have to shell out a ton of money for all of these product mash-ups. There are some great retailers that have hooked up with Disney that sell merhandise that won't break the bank. The best part is that a lot of these items are as close as your local mall, big box store, or computer. Let's take a look.
I've discussed Uniqlo (the great Japanese retailer that has a large location at Disney Springs) in the past, but what I stumbled upon this past weekend at a local store (in Garden City, New York) were a couple of great Disney-Uniqlo T-shirt collections available at their other retail shops.
Near the entrance to the store were two displays of Disney clothing, each representing a different collection that is exclusive to Uniqlo.
The first collection is entitled "Mickey Art" (Alan Dalinka actually referenced it in his most recent Walt Disney World update as being available at the Downtown Disney Uniqlo location, but apparently it's available around the country.) According to the description, "Uniqlo has invited acclaimed artists and illutrators to reinterpret the famous charaacter in their own distinct style. It's Mickey like you've never seen him before, with new and original artwork exclusively at Uniqlo."
For the collection, Uniqlo reached out to hip designers to do a "different" take on Mickey Mouse, with the images emblazed on T-shirts. The images include a pastel rainbow Mickey, a multitude of Mickeys with a bunch of goofy drawings, Mickey and Minnie smooching, a sheepish and abstract Mickey, a fun take on the classic Mickey Mouse watch (which is now a part of my wardrobe), and an odd Mickey head with his tongue sticking out. These are available at your local Uniqlo store and on the Uniqlo website.
The other group of shirts I saw that day is "Mickey Blue." As described by the creators, "Mickey Blue is a collection inspired by the color, indigo. Enjoy the world of Mickey Mouse in indigo, a color that has become a part of lives of people all over the world."
These shirts all come in different shades of blue indigo. They range from Mickey in the classic hands behind the back pose to far more abstract designs. This collection also includes pajamas for men and women. They are also available on the website.
Steering back to the shirts, the best part is the price. The shirts all run for only $14.90 (far less than a shirt would cost you at the parks).
We now move from the boutiquey Uniqlo to another obscure retailer you've probably never heard of called Walmart. I'm being facetious, of course. The most mega of all mega retailers carries a ton of Disney swag, and because of sheer size, they likely have items you can't find anywhere else.
Wandering through a local location recently (this one in Watchung, New Jersey), I found pockets of Disney everywhere. Beginning with clothing, you stumble upon Mickey and company everywhere you look. I found T-shirts, pajamas, sweats, and more, all at bargain basement prices and for both adults and kids.
A good example is a collection of shirts I found. Star Wars and Marvel have become integral parts of the Disney universe and have legions of fans. Walmart had a wall of T-shirts with Star Wars and Marvel images. These included characters from the films, star fields, and my personal favorite, shirts with fronts in day-glo colors that looked like comic books.
They had these shirts for both Disney properties. The price tag was a whopping $7.50. These were for adults (in the men's department) and came in all sizes, from small to double XL.
Walmart does not forget about the kiddies, either. In the kids' department, there was a wide selection for the little ones.
One display, in particular, had Disney shirts of every variety. Again there were classic characters, animated films and representations of the Star Wars and Marvel universes.
The Walmart finds weren't restricted to clothing. They also had tons of Disney toys and some fun accessories. Again for the kids, there was a cute Marvel wallet for only $12.
Sometimes you have to dig a little, and what they have may lack the exclusivity of a Uniqlo, but they have some great stuff at great prices. It's likely worth a visit, even before a Disney vacation, to maybe see some unique merchandise at a fraction of what you'd pay at Disney. Of course, they also sell things online.
Like Walmart, Target is another big box store that carries scores of Disney merchandise, including clothing and toys.
Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but a few years ago, I was at Walt Disney World and saw a great Mickey Mouse shirt. It was Mickey in the classic behind-the-back pose, with a red ring collar and blue short sleeves. I couldn't find it in any of the WDW shops, but saw it on several different people before I finally asked someone from which park they got the shirt. The guy told me he got it at Target before he left home.
I looked online and sure enough, with a little bit of digging (when you search in the Target website for "Mickey Mouse shirt," you get dozens if not hundreds of listings), I found the shirt. It was only $14.95, less than half what it would have been on property. I ordered it on the spot and it was waiting for me when I got home.
On a recent Target visit, I found a variety of shirts in that $15 range, as well as a large number of toys. Of particular interest this trip was a display of Disney DVDs that included the animated classics, Star Wars and Marvel films. Most of them were only $10.
Target also had a smattering of Disney clothing including something I hadn't seen anywhere else, sets of adult Marvel pajamas, yours for only $9.99. The sets I saw featured Iron Man and Black Panther.
Some Target stores can admittedly be a bit of a mess, but can be worth the visit for some great buys on Disney merchandise.
Another great vendor that sells exclusive Disney goods online and in stores is Box Lunch, which was brought to my attention by a reader some time ago.
Box Lunch sells everything from clothing to bags to collectibles to toys. They have literally hundreds of Disney items to choose from, most of them billed as exclusive to Box Lunch. You can't get them anywhere else.
Starting again with clothing, Box Lunch has a ton. They carry tees, pajamas and outerwear. I'll start with tees, because as I'm sure you've figured out, I like them so much. They have hundreds, but the standout to me was a sky blue tee with an image of a dripping Mickey shaped donut. I love the similar food themed tees they sell at the parks, but this one is a little different, maybe a little edgier, and runs a little bit cheaper. If you collect these, it's also a chance to round out your collection.
In terms of outerwear, there are also a bunch of great choices. They have puffer coats, hoodies and sweat jackets for both adjults and kids. These feature diverse Disney properties such as Cars, Lilo & Stitch, and my personal favorite jacket of the bunch, a barn jacket with Scar fromThe Lion King. These range in prices from about $30 to about $75, which is a decent discount from what you'd see elsewhere. Have I also mentioned these are exclusive to Box Lunch?
They have some fun accessory items as well. In "Designer Disney," I featured some cool bags from Dooney & Bourke that had images of Disney charaxcters and films. They were beautiful and ran as high as $600. Box Lunch has a nice bag featuring the characters from Lilo & Stitch. It runs for only $40 and again is exclusive to Box Lunch, so it has that cache of not being able to find it anywhere else. They have many other bags featuring properties as different as Minnie Mouse, Up, Moana, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
They also have other unqiue Disney inspired items you wouldn't expect to see at a general retailer. There was a cool (or should I saw warm?) comforter set featuring abstract Mickey Mouse geometric shapes as well as some neat collectibles. They had a framed map of the 100 Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh, maybe in honor of the Christopher Robin film that just came out in theaters.
Again, if you want to find some great Disney merchandise without necessarily breaking the bank, Box Lunch is a great place to check out, online or in their stores. They have some truly unqiue items, exclusive and branded to them, so you can only find them there. I highly recommend a visit.
In summary, you can get interesting and fun Disney merchandise without spending hundreds of dollars. This includes clothing, accessories and collectibles, much of it exclusive to the vendor, as in you can't even get them at the parks. Speaking of, if you are embarking on that Disney vacation and want to dress the part while you're there, you can do what my Target friend above did and load up at your local store before you go. This way you can get what you want at a fraction of what you'd spend in Orlando or Anaheim (more churro money for the family!).
Thanks as always for reading and would love your comments on your favorite mashups or bargains.