Spaceship Earth at Epcot

The Magic Behind Merchandise at Disney Parks: Creating Elsa’s ‘Frozen’ Dress

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I know that many of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the ever-popular Elsa dress (from the Disney animated hit “Frozen“) at Disney Parks, so I wanted to bring you this special behind-the-scenes look at how merchandise at Disney Parks & Resorts is created. Let me start by asking you this important question: Do you want to build a snowman, costume?

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Much like producing a film or designing theme park attractions, creating a memorable item requires careful planning, creativity, attention to detail and, of course, teamwork. The entire development process for a single item can take anywhere from six months to over one year. With the help of our talented team from Disney Theme Park Merchandise, I uncovered all the details on what makes the Elsa dresses from “Frozen” so special and the magic behind the merchandise. So, let’s get started!

What does it look like?

The artist reviews artwork, which allows them to see the original dress from multiple angles and understand the overall color scheme and design. For this particular dress, Disney Design Group artist Cody Reynolds worked closely with Walt Disney Animation Studios to capture the most recognizable elements of the dress from the animated film to translate into a wearable costume.

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What makes it special?

According to Cody, the next step is for the artist and the merchandiser to work together to finalize and approve the costume concept prior to production. The team explores a variety of fabric swatches in an effort to find the perfect match and examines how the fabrics will comfortably fit on an actual person. The final materials chosen were able to emulate a delicate, icy and sheer appearance. Here’s a quick look at the some of the fabric swatches used to create the dress.

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When I asked Cody and merchandiser Katie Patton about their favorite part of the development process, here’s what they had to share. “It’s seeing the first sample for the first time,” said Cody, “when something that has been in your head actually comes to life.”

Of course there’s a lot of logistical planning that goes hand in hand with all of the creative development, buying the dress, figuring out which store will offer them and determining how they’ll get there. Once the dress arrives in the location, our Merchandise presentation team goes to work, ensuring that the item fits the look, feel and the story.

For nearly 60 years, it has been the mission of Disney Theme Park Merchandise to provide an experience that goes far beyond your expectations and extends the storytelling into your homes.

What’s my favorite part of the process? It’s easy! It’s that moment when you see a child smiling and beaming as they exclaim to Elsa, “I’m wearing a dress just like yours!” As you can tell, it’s a rather integrated process that involves collaboration throughout The Walt Disney Company.

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While I know that our “Frozen”-inspired merchandise at Disney Parks is quite popular and often hard to find, I encourage you to keep an eye out for returning favorites and more to come. Shipments from Arendelle continue to arrive, so be sure to check with us on your next visit.

Quick Tip: Purchasing limits apply

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Relax With Our Senses – A Disney Spa Signature Collection at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 10th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


When you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, you get to experience non-stop magic and fun for everyone. This is why you also deserve a little something just for you. A convenient escape to relax, unwind and enjoy some “me time” to round out that perfect Disney vacation. If you’re saying to yourself right now, sign me up! I’ll tell you, it’s easier than that. It’s an escape that comes in the form of a visit to one of our Senses – A Disney Spa locations which you can find at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

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At either location, not only will you find yourself awash in soothing tones, soft lighting and peaceful music but you’ll also experience pure tranquility and pampering in an environment designed to indulge all of your ‘Senses.’ One of the things I’m most excited about is that Senses – A Disney Spa is launching a signature collection of “lavender Ylang-Ylang” products, which include Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Body Lotion. This new collection is now available for you to enjoy while visiting one of our Senses Spa facilities or to take home with you.

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Here are a few things I found when using the new line. The Shampoo not only added moisture to my hair, but also strengthened and added volume, while the Conditioner finishes off by giving my hair the shine and gloss it needs to feel and look great.

The Body Wash and Body Lotion are also definitely must have’s — together they are the perfect combination for your skin! Soothing aloe vera makes the body wash very moisturizing, while the lotion contains nourishing elements that leaves the skin looking healthy and radiant!

If that’s not enough and you want to take it your relaxation one step further, than be sure to take home one of the plush, micro-fiber Senses – A Disney Spa robes, to feel like you are on vacation, all of the time.

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Are you planning to have some “me time” at Senses – A Disney Spa on your next vacation?

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Kailee Kauai Jewelry Sparkles Like the Ocean at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I love discovering hidden treasures. Recently, I did just that. In fact it was a collection of hand-crafted jewelry from Kailee Kauai which is available in Hale Manu at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

What started as a hobby, and gift-giving idea to family and friends for over a decade, quickly turned into a something more for designer Yunah Lee Joseph.

“The collection is named after my daughter, Kailee. In the Hawaiian language, ‘Kai’ means ocean, while ‘Lee’ derives from my family name,” says Yunah. “It is my daughter’s love of our beautiful, pristine ocean, and the life that inhabits it, that lends inspiration for each unique piece.”

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One of the things I love most about the collection of earrings, pendants and bracelets is that each bead and stone has been carefully chosen to represent the striking blue and green tones of the ocean, while each shell has been hand-picked from the beautiful shores of Hawai`i.

One of the most popular pieces that can be found at Hale Manu is the Twist Oval Aqua Chalcedony.

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I hope that on your next trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, you discover a treasure to add to your own collection!

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Vacation Club

First Look at La Mascarade d’Orleans at Disneyland Park

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


If you’ve visited New Orleans Square in Disneyland park lately, it’s no secret that significant enhancements are underway. Here’s your first look at some of the authentic, eclectic and jazzy new merchandise that will find its home inside the quaint La Mascarade d’Orleans at 28 Orleans Street when it reopens later this month.

This newly reimagined location exudes old Southern charm with an antique feel, giving you an essence of shops in the French Quarter in New Orleans, rich in its storytelling, from the fixtures that display the merchandise to the actual items that will be carried. The charm of this shop is that the merchandise feels as if it was hand-selected just for you, from places around the world.

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Parlez-vous Francais? Some of the merchandise you will find at La Mascarade d’Orleans feels a little French in flavor. If you are looking for vintage-inspired apparel with a little bit of a French flair or elegant curios filled with accessories such as hats, beautiful scarves, jeweled headbands and timeless jewelry from Tarina Tarantino, among others, you have come to the right place. If you find yourself looking to accent your French chateau with home décor treasures, the boutique will also offer frames, votive candles, dishes, colorful glassware, kitchen linens as well as wooden signs with Parisian phrases.

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While you will find the iconic Fleur-de-lis on an array of merchandise, there are a few more things worth mentioning, like the introduction of soaps, sprays and fragrances from luxurious and notable brands like Durance, Historiae and Le Blanc, which are made in France.

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This quintessential location surely sets the tone for the New Orleans Square area and not just because of the jazzy music it offers.

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When I say there’s a little a little something for everyone in this location, I mean it. So stroll in when it re-opens just a couple of weeks from now.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Father’s Day Shopping Tips at the Disneyland Resort

posted on June 4th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Why does it feel like sometimes dads are so much harder to shop for? It should be easy, right? I can always use advice from some of our resident experts out in our Disneyland Resort stores. Here are a couple of tips I picked up on my shopping trip that I hope will help you.

Do you have any good Father’s Day gift tips?

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Filed: Disneyland Resort

Alex and Ani Add ‘Character’ to the Disney Parks Collection

posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE 6/4: Exciting news Disney fans! We actually just got news that the Disney Collection by Alex and Ani bangles just arrived!  Look for them starting today at the locations listed below.

I adore Alex and Ani bangles from Disney Parks! Curious as to what Alex and Ani is all about? Before I started collecting them, I was too.

Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of Alex and Ani, hails from a family of jewelers where mastering their craft was not only an aspiration, but a family tradition. For more than 10 years, the lifestyle company, named after her first two daughters, has helped spread positive energy across the globe with its hand-crafted, eco-conscious and Made in America products. The Alex and Ani Disney Collection, featuring signature expandable (yes, they are adjustable for the perfect fit) wire bangles with Disney icons and characters are truly the perfect combination of pixie dust and positive energy.

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How could the collection, currently made up of more than eight different Disney symbols, birthstones and initials, get any better? Perhaps something to complement the Disneyland park Sleeping Beauty Castle and Magic Kingdom Park Cinderella Castle bangles? New bangles with signature icon charms inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will debut at Walt Disney World Resort beginning June 5. Joining that list in late June is Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Disney California Adventure park.

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Or if, like me, you choose to embrace your Disney Side and live your life full of character, take note of what I’m about to show you. Also debuting June 5 is the one and only Tinker Bell, as well as a Dated 2014 bangle.
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Something else to keep on your radar are new bangles, featuring Aurora, Belle and Cinderella, releasing June 30 online and at Disney Parks.

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Are you as excited as I am? Then be sure to check back to learn about even more additions to the Disney Collection by Alex and Ani. I know you want me to tell you now, but where’s the fun in that? If I have to wait, so do you!

A fashion essential, these Alex and Ani bangles, available in both Rafaelian Gold and Rafaelian Silver finishes are the ideal keepsake for fans of all ages and are sure to evoke magical memories for years to come!

Tip: You can wear just one, or layer them together, truly making the look your very own.

So where are the best places to find them?

Disneyland Resort

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Online – Shop Now!

Which ones have you added to your collection, or are you most excited to get? Don’t even get me started with my list.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – June 2014

posted on May 30th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here are the merchandise events headed your way this June at Walt Disney World Resort!
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June 4 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns June 4 – 8 to Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will appear later in the month from June 18 – 22 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

June 5 – 8: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from June 12 – 15 and June 26 – 29 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.

June 12 – 22: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Add to your collection and meet representatives June 12 – 22 and June 26 – July 7. Look for a special appearance by Linda throughout the day, each day, June 12 – 15 and July 3 – 6. Learn more.

June 14: World-renowned Celebrity DJ Pauly D will appear in the Downtown Disney Marketplace from Noon to 1 p.m. to sign his recently released line of DJ Pauly D headphones from SMS Audio. Please continue to watch for more information on the exact location. Learn more.

June 14 – 15: If you are geared up for excitement at the thought of Car Masters Weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for a special post from fellow author, Steven Miller.
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June 20 – July 3: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

June 21: Stop by Animation Gallery inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the limited edition release of “Studio Flashback,” featuring Oswald, and meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Learn more here. Can’t make it to the event? Order yours now!

June 28: Now, all the world is Figment’s stage! To celebrate the launch of the new, limited edition figurine, Figment Actor, sculptor Jacqueline Perrault will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot. Unable to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through June 27. Also appearing for a special artist signing will be Kevin-John from 1 – 3 p.m. Learn more.
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Finally, for those of you enjoying the excitement of Star Wars Weekends, be sure to take part in some of our special merchandise artist signings at Darth’s Mall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

June’s Gourmet Apple is a Sundae Surprise at Disneyland Resort

posted on May 30th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


There’s no split decision when it comes to the gourmet apple for June at Disneyland Resort. Why? Because it was actually inspired by a banana split.

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How did they do it? I’ve got the scoop! The apple has been covered in caramel, enrobed with banana flavor-infused chocolate, rolled in chocolate chips, drizzled with dark chocolate and has been topped off with mini marshmallows and dollops of vanilla white chocolate. Finally, you can’t have a banana split without chopped roasted peanuts and of course, cherries on top!

When I first heard what our Candy Makers had up their sleeves for June, all I could think was, “this apple is going taste like a sundae on a stick,” while my dear friend and fellow Disney Parks Blog author Tyler Slater professed, “I need it in my life.” As you can tell, we are clearly both fans of this sundae-inspired concoction.

Find it beginning June 1 at Candy Palace in Disneyland park, Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure park and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

Simply put, it’s delicious!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

New Attraction Merchandise ‘Soars’ into Disney Parks

posted on May 29th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I am a huge fan of Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure park! For me, it’s definitely a must-do attraction. I’m sure many of you who frequently visit Epcot feel the same way about Soarin’. That’s why I’m so excited to give you a first look at some of the new merchandise that will prep your flight crew for their next trip. It’s truly ‘first class!’

Whether you’re classified as an aviator or a little aviator, it’s the clever Aviator Checklist that appears on the back of the adult and youth T-shirt, giving a subtle nod to the attraction that ranks in my book. Take a look!

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Other new arrivals include the youth aviator jacket, an adult long sleeve T-shirt, youth fleece, a leather luggage tag bearing a sculpted metal logo, mug and pin.

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So start making room in your luggage, because some of these new items are set to fly into stores beginning June 2. Look for them at Fly ‘n’ Buy in Disney California Adventure park and Green Thumb Emporium in Epcot.

Are you ready for take-off?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

June 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

posted on May 26th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Start your summer off right! Here’s a look at some of the merchandise events headed your way in June at the Disneyland Resort!

June 7: Need a Father’s Day gift? Meet representatives from Goorin Bros. at D Street in the Downtown Disney District from 1 – 4 p.m. and find the perfect headwear for dad. Learn more here.

June 7: Meet artist SHAG from 5 – 7 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District as we debut his newest piece Morning in the Magic Kingdom. Click here to learn more.

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June 7 – 8: Meet artist Katie Kelly each day from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure park. Learn more here.

June 7 – 8: If you have been waiting for just the right time to order one of artist Dave Avanzino’s Custom Letter Plaques, you’re in luck! Dave will be appearing from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., each day at Disneyana inside Disneyland park. Learn more.

June 7 – 8: Artist Erin Leong, will appear from 1 – 4 p.m., each day at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Not able to make it? No problem! Erin will return later in the month, look for her again June 28 – 29. Learn more.

June 8: Meet author Charles Solomon who will be on hand for special appearances and signings of his newest book, “Once Upon A Dream: From Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty to Disney’s Maleficent,” from 9 – 11 a.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland park and 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure park. Joining him will be renowned Executive Producer Don Hahn. Learn more.

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June 21: Artists Pascal Campion, Jerrod Maruyama and Whitney Pollett will take part in an artist signing from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District, as we celebrate the release of some of their latest works. Learn more here.

June 21 – 22: Meet artist Nidhi Chanani from 1-4 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Learn more.

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June 27 – 29: Meet Precious Moments doll maker Linda Rick who will be appearing throughout the weekend from 12 – 10 p.m. at China Closet in Disneyland park. Learn more.

Artist in Residence: Appearing at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District throughout the month of June is artist Noah. Look for artist showcases on the following dates: June 6, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 from 6-10 p.m. Learn more.

Last chance! It’s not too late to get your tickets to attend the Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disneyland Trading Event. Learn more here.

Which event are you most excited to check out?

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District