Crazy Mickey 90th Birthday Merchby Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
With Mickey Mouse turning 90 at the end of 2018, it's been a year of celebration in the Disney Parks, on television, at a unique exhibition in New York City and—as it turns out—in your local grocer's freezer. I know that last one sounds kind of strange, but bear with me—I'll explain.
Being an avid collector of all things Disney and your loyal merchandise beat columnist here at Mouseplanet, I, of course, began scouring the world for cool stuff relating to Mickey's 90th. At first at least, I was surprised by the lack of traditional merchandise available. Ivisited Walt Disney World in the fall of 2018 as the celebration was kicking off and found very little of what I call the big three: hats, mugs, and T-shirts.
What surprised me, however, was the interesting Mickey 90th merchandise I found in the most unlikely of places: walking down the street in New York City, on Amazon and online (OK, maybe that's not such a strange place to find Disney goods), and at the aforementioned grocer's freezer.
Instead of focusing on the usual souvenirs, I think it might be fun to look at some objects that are a little more off the beaten path. We're going to walk through some fun stuff. I'll warn you, I'm a little hungry as I write this, so you may see an outsized share of foodstuffs.
Candy and Cards
I work in New York City—mid-town Manhattan to be specific—and while walking down the street near my office one day, I was greeted with huge images of Mickey Mouse in the display window of high-end candy store, Sugarfina.
The store had a huge display of Mickey Mouse candy, including gift boxes, candy bars (which were delicious, but a whopping $10 each), and jellies in decorative packaging. My favorite was a limited edition set of jellies sold in cardboard packaging that looked like an old-time television set. Some of the displays are gone, but Hallmark is selling some of the Sugarfina Mickey candy online.
Another higher-end retailer getting in on the 90th action is Papyrus, the stationery and greeting card company. To honor Mickey, the true original, the chain came out with a series of cards for all occasions, including birthdays and anniversaries. Some of them were quite elaborate, having beading, glitter and gemstones on the front and inside.
Amusinglyenough, it wasn't at a Papyrus shop that I saw the card display, but at a local CVS drug store—so you can get them anywhere (click this link to see the whole collection at their website).
Toys and Games
If candy and cards aren't your thing, we can also make a little stop at the toy front. LEGO has been a great partner to Disney for many years, producing may sets to honor various Disney properties including characters, films, and the parks. For Mickey's birthday, they went all the way back to the beginning and created a Steamboat Willie set, which re-creates the boat from the classic Disney short that unofficially started it all for the mouse.
If you're looking for something a little more cerebral, there's a Mickey 90th chess set. The individual pieces are in the guise of classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse (it is his birthday after all), Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. To bring it back to Mickey's beginnings in "Steamboat Willie," one of the knights is Peg Leg Pete.
The set is advertising as having 32 custom pieces, and so they can squeeze in even more Disney fun, the pieces aren't repeated (for example, the rooks are two different characters).
You can get the chess set at multiple places, but I found it at Amazon for under $28.
Kitchen and Table
Taking things from blatant Mickey to a more subtle Mickey, sometimes we like to bring a little Disney into unlikely places, like the dining room and kitchen.
You may be home at the end of long day at work and want a glass of wine. You may also want Mickey to join you while drinking. Now Mickey can! I came across a fun yet elegant set of stemless wine glasses. They are very simple, but feature a gold silhouette of the familiar three-circle shape on the front.
The glasses are available in sets of two on Amazon. They go for $30 per set.
If you like to cook, Mickey can join you there, too. Le Creuset is a fine maker of cast iron cookware. We have a set at home, and I can tell you that there's no better way to make stews and casseroles.
They have come up with a set of their iconic cookware with the Mickey Mouse three-circle logo on the handle and silhouetted Mickeys on the sides. This is really great cookware with a Disney touch. They sadly don't come cheap, though they are well made. Macy's currently has them on sale. A 4.5 quarter dutch oven will run you $349.99.
Food Glorious Food
We need move on the to food I promised earlier as I'm getting really really hungry.
When visiting the Disney Parks, there are few snacks more iconic than the Mickey Mouse waffle. Courtesy of Disney and Mickey's birthday, you can now get these treats in your local grocer's freezer.
I'm not going to lie to you. They weren't exactly the same as those you'd get at Chef Mickey's or the Crystal Palace. But they were quite tasty, and my little nephew really enjoyed them. I really enjoyed them, too, and currently have a box in my freezer.
Moving over to the sweet tooth side, there are also items for you candy and cookie lovers.
In honor of MIckey's 90th birthday, Oreo has come out with a special cookie with birthday cake-flavored cream. I had a few, and they really do taste like birthday cake.
Another favorite of many are those cheddar cheese-flavored goldfish. Pepperidge Farm came out with a special edition package of Goldfish crackers to honor Mickey. There are several different packages to choose from, each with a prominent picture of the mouse. With these, it can easily become a game to collect them all.
Moving back to "healthier" food, possibly my favorite of the foodstuffs is the special limited edition Campbell's tomato soup.The can is marked for Mickey's 90th and has a very cute Mickey Mouse on the front in the classic hands-behind-his-back pose.
I was able to find the soup and all the other food items at my local Stop and Shop, so you can likely find them near where you live as well. In the case of the soup at least, if you can't find it at home and you'd like to buy some, you can get some online from Target.
Lastly, I'm going to show you a few items that kind of defy categorization.
Remember the old Polaroid cameras that were popular when some of us were kids (I don't want to date myself, but Chris Barry and I both turned, ahem, years old last year). These were the cameras you'd use to take a picture, which would then instantly pop out of the camera. You waited a bit, and the image would slowly appear. Apparently these are getting popular with the kiddies again, and Polaroid has come out with a commemorative edition camera for Mickey's birthday.
It's a classic Polaroid with images of Mickey holding up two figures and then his smiling face. You can purchase this Polaroid camera on Amazon for $192.25.
If you're really into Mickey Mouse collectibles, you'll want to check out what the New Zealand Mint has to offer. To honor Mickey's birthday, the mint has come out with a commemorate bill/note and coin.
The bill features images of Mickey Mouse from his early black and white shorts to present day, while the coin features Mickey as Steamboat Willie. These are made of genuine silver or gold and will run you from $39 to as high as $2,500 depending on the metal content. You should definitely check then out.
Lastly, I'm going to talk about a collectible that any Mickey Mouse or Disney fan should get. Life magazine has been the periodical of record for decades and is known for its great commemorative special issues. They came out with one such issue in celebration of 90 years of Mickey. It's full of photographs and stories about Mickey Mouse and what's he meant to Disney and to the world.
It documents Mickey's origins and original animators, how Mickey has interacted with celebrities and world leaders over the years and how he grew into the icon and corporate mascot he is today. This is a must have for anyone interested in Mickey's history or that of Disney. I got my copy at a local newsstand, but again, like most things, you can get a copy from Amazon for $13.99.
There you have it, a large collection of items that celebrate Mickey's birthday, most of which you probably didn't know existed and that you can probably pick up at home. I hope you've had fun exploring them with me and hope you pick up a couple of goodies on your next visit to Stop and Shop, Publix, or Winn Dixie.