A Gregg Update, EPCOT's New Creations Shop, and Disney Copies Amazonby Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
Hello All! Today's article will be a bit of a mish-mash. I'll kick off with a bit of personal news I have to share, then move on to thoughts on the new Creations shop at Epcot, then finish up with a new feature Walt Disney World has added to its shopping experience that reminds me a little bit of the Amazon Go concept.
First, some personal news: I'm moving! The next logical questions are where and when. These aren't as easy to answer as you may think, so bear with me. This all happened very quickly, but, long story short, my husband works for a large global company, and got an opportunity to work overseas in Europe (Prague in the Czech Republic, specifically). Traveling is something we've both always loved to do, and the idea of spending three years traveling around Europe sounded really nice. After a few sleepless nights trying to figure out what do, we made the decision to go for it.
This is where it gets a little complicated. It takes some time for the paperwork for such a move to go through. In the meantime, we decided to sell our house in New Jersey, but wanted to have a home base in the United States. So what do do? How about buying a place near the Most Magical Place on Earth (that also happens to be near family)? That's just what we did. As I write this, I'm sitting in our new house in Davenport, Florida, about 10 miles south of Walt Disney World (the closest point is Animal Kingdom, a little over seven miles away—I may have checked Google Maps).
We're going to be here for a couple of months while we wait for our visas and other paperwork for Europe to come through, and I intend to make the most of it! What does all this mean for my future at MousePlanet? Not a thing. I have a ton of topics left to share and plan on visiting our place in the sunshine state as often as possible along the way. I plan to keep writing as long as my friends here will have me, and the only thing that'll change is an occassional article about Disneyland Paris (can 't wait to go back there) or something cool and Disney-ish I see in Europe.
Along the lines of making the most of my time in Florida, I bought the resident weekday-only Pixie Dust pass (the only one for sale right now), and headed over to EPCOT for the day, with the goal to catch the last day of the EPCOT Festival of the Arts (I love the takes these talented artists have on Disney properties), see the Creations shop to pick up a few things and get my take for today's article, and to meet Mouseplanet's own Alan Dalinka! It was our first time meeting in person. We got to hang out for the day with some other good friends of his and catch the last show in the festival Disney on Broadway series, which was excellent.
This brings us to today's topic, Creations, the newish main shop at Epcot and the replacement for Mousegear, one of my favorites. Let's take a look at how it's different from its predecessor and what it offers.
Creations sits in the shadow of Spaceship Earth. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
Out of the gate, what you notice is how open it feels. Mousegear, befitting its name I suppose, felt very factory-like and industrial. It also reminded me of a Las Vegas casino in that you walk in and lose all sense of time of day and where you are since you can't see the outside. Creations is the opposite.
In keeping with the seeming asthetic of the remodeled EPCOT, Creations is very open. There are large windows that will one day be overlooking the plaza in the center of what was Future World (you currently see construction walls). With that and the lighting elements in the shop, it feels very open and airy, which is nice. The signs are also in that retro font that we're seeing pop up all over the park.
The store also has the famed Mickey Mouse mural, which is great, but also has lot of other "artwork" all around the walls, which adds a nice touch. By the cash registers, you see various "paintings" of Mickey and a series of sculptures along the wall, each with a different design, Andy Warhol-style.
There are a series of Mickey Mouse sculptures in different finishes over the registers, which reminds me of Andy Warhol. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
It does, however, feel a bit sterile in there, lacking some warmth. The lighting behind the items, for some reason, reminds me of a display at Macy's, the department store, rather than a Disney theme park. It almost feels like a pair of shoes could be there instead of Disney gear.
T-Shirts or Ladies Shoes—does the lighting scream the latter? Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
In terms of what they sell there, Mousegear also felt very dense. What I mean by that is it always seemed to have a lot of stuff. The shelves were plentiful and crammed. At Creations, it's more of an open vibe. The walkways are wider, which is nice, but that also means they have less stuff (to coin a Chris Barry term). I noticed a general lack of variety of good that you even see today at other Walt Disney World locations.
For example (and I'm going to slip my daily purchase into the section), I ran around that morning to get out of my house to go. I put on my old MagicBand to get me into the park with my brand new annual pass. I got halfway to EPCOT and realized I was no longer wearing the band. I lost it somewhere between walking the dogs and tripping over the moving boxes trying to get out of my garage (I still haven't found it). I then and there decided I needed a new band!
I stopped at one of the small sundry shops you see when entering the park on either side of Spaceship Earth. They had a pretty decent selection. There was one band I'd seen online that I asked the cast member about. She said they didn't have it, but that I should try Creations, because maybe they had a wider variety. I thanked her and went to Creations. The variety wasn't wider. It wasn't bad (and of course I still bought something), but the little sundries shop had as many available as EPCOT's flagship store.
Creations had a lot of MagicBands, but I've seen more in other places on property. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
They had a fairly decent sized wall, but there were a lot of duplicates and not as many as I've seen other places. That said, I lunged at the limited release band with images of Mickey Mouse and the park's opening in 1971.
I got my limited edition Walt Dishey World 1971 MagicBand with the license plate pin. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
Beyond my MagicBand experience, I strolled the store and found the usual selection of items. They had displays of T-shirts and other fashions, some of which were quite nice, though, again, they had less variety than other locations..
They had a nice, though again smaller than usual, collection of T-shirts. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
There was a separate section called "Fashions" that had costumes, shoes, flip flops and expensive bags.
They had a separate section for Minnie Mouse Fashions. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
There was also a section that contained plush. My teenage niece bought what she called a "weighted Mickey" a few weeks ago on a visit to the park. It's a cute Mickey Mouse plush with, for a lack of a better word, a weight at the bottom, so it's extremely heavy. Her little 7-year-old brother decided he wanted it, and kept swiping it from her room. My sister went looking for it on Shopdisney.com to get her one, and it said they were sold out.
I went into the plush section, and there was a display of them that were seemingly back in stock, so I grabbed one.
Creations had a weighted Mickey Mouse, that was formerly out of stock. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
Jacob, Uncle Gregg has your Mickey and will give it to you next time he sees you.
Steering toward the back again for a brief moment, there was a section marked "mugs."
Does not look like mugs to me, Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
There was not a mug in sight. It was simply a continuation of the home section. I love Disney home goods, but bad show Disney. There should either be mugs there (which I don't remember seeing anywhere else in the store) or the sign should come down.
One last item I need to call out in the name of "are they kidding?" There was a rack with spirit jerseys, which I know are all the rage now. It was very nice. It was blue with a small 50th logo on the front as well as "Walt Disney World" embossed on one of the sleeves. I thought about buying it for a brief moment.
Disney made a nice blue spirit jersey to celebrate the 50th anniversary that I thought about buying. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
Then I saw the sign with the price. $84.95! Are they kidding?! I've long gotten used to the $50+ Disney sweatshirt (and even bought one), but wow!
$84.99 for a sweatshirt? Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
Overall, I'll give Creations a solid 7.5 out of 10. The space is beautiful and fits in well with its surroundings. They did have some neat items (some of which I purchased—the aformentioned MagicBand and some pins). The only knocks are that it lacks the variety of some of its conterparts (Magic Kingdom's Emporium, for example) and a lack of detail in some places.
It's worth a visit when going to Epcot, and I'll be back to see how it evolves as the Epcot constructions continues.
Lastly, I want to let you in on an experience I had with new and time-saving technology. I had my new MagicBand in hand and was ready to check out, so got in line. A friendly cast member then approached me and asked if I'd be interested in bypassing the line and paying via the My Disney Experience smartphone app. I said sure, so she pulled me aside and took me through what to do.
She told me to open my app, then tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. One of the choices on the menu was "Shop in Store." A list of stores appeared when she had me choose that option. At the top was "Creations Shop" where I was standing (there must be GPS built in—I tried it at home and a long list of shops popped up).
I then selected "Creations" and it invited me to scan my item. I did, and saw the item appear in the app. It then gave me the option to scan more items or check out. I asked the cast member about my passholder discount, and she said it would be applied automatically through the app. I selected Checkout, and poof, there was my discount.
The app gave me options of how to pay, including just using the card connected to my Disney account. I chose that option, and then I was done. This process reminds me somewhat of Amazon's "Amazon Go" stores. Amazon Go lets you walk in to their store and automatically charges you for all the items you take off the shelves as you leave. This was a little like that. The difference here is that you aren't automatically charged for every item you take off the shelf, and you have to visit a cast member on your way out.
The final stop for app purchases is a code to scan on your way out. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.
The final step was a QR code you have to have scanned on your way out. They had a table set up for people using the app. I approached the cast member when I was done. She didn't ask for the code, but just asked if I was Gregg. I said yes, she told me I was all set and offered me a bag if I wanted. That was it. I found the process very easy and on days where there are long lines at checkout, I look forward to using.
That's all for today folks. I told you my life story, took a look at a new Walt Disney World shopping location and checked out some new technology. Hope you enjoyed it and as always, welcome your comments. See you real soon!