As a child, I loved playing with wooden blocks that my grandfather made by hand. I would stack them just to see how far I could get before they fell over. They were one of my favorite toys, and now my son plays with those same blocks on occasion. In this time of technological toy wonders that fill my children’s rooms, I think wood toys are some of the most classic toys around. Recently, Disney Theme Park Merchandise partnered with Melissa & Doug, a company who has made wood toys for 24 years, to create three unique items especially for Disney Parks. Cody Hampton, Associate Developer for toys and games, gave me some additional insight into the development.
“We’ve been working on the wood toys for about three years,” explained Cody. “Wood toys are nostalgic, so we thought they would complement our overall toy assortment very well.”
Disney Design Group artists Quynh Kimball and Mike Sullivan co-designed the artwork for the blocks. There are 30 blocks in a tray with wheels. Each block has a letter, number and a Disney Parks icon or character. The blocks can also be used to create a puzzle that matches a Mickey Mouse image printed on the block cart.
I like the stacking train designed by Quynh due to the long history that trains have played at Disney Parks (Cody said that was an intentional choice). I know the train is designed for kids, but I couldn’t resist playing with it while taking pictures (clearly, I had fun with the blocks too – some things never change).
One final item arriving in the coming months will be a Minnie Mouse magnetic dress up set. This kit has a wooden doll, a stand and 33 mix-and-match magnetic pieces. This time, Quynh worked with artist Cody Reynolds to design the interchangeable Disney princess dresses (which include Cinderella, Aurora, Belle and Tiana). Minnie Mouse also has a few outfits.
Look for these items at select locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. I recently found the blocks and stacking train at Once Upon A Toy located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
Do you recall your first toy?
Check out these other posts about toys at Disney Parks: