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New Merchandise Artwork Sparks Fond Memories of First Disney Parks Vacation

posted on January 28th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As time passes, my memories of my first visit to Walt Disney World Resort in July 1983 become more like something from a dream. I remember the Speed Room from If You Had Wings in Tomorrowland, the warm lights of Main Street, U.S.A. at night, and the dinosaurs in Universe of Energy at EPCOT Center. The essence of those dreamy images was recently captured in new merchandise found at Disney Parks. I caught up with Disney Design Group Creative Director Eric Caszatt to learn more.

“Each year, we create an art program that we call ‘Storybook,’” explained Eric. “That art traditionally features many characters grouped together around icons from Disney Parks. This year, we took a different design approach. Unlike the dated 2015 artwork that has characters showing off their Disney Side, we wanted to capture the feelings guests may have when first visiting Disney Parks. We internally called this program ‘Project Fairytale’ as it captures the emotions, the fantasy, and the wonder that guests may experience during a Disney vacation.”

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Disney Design Group artist Ron Cohee was the lead character artist on the project. He created two beautiful main images and a few smaller vignettes for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Each vividly colorful image melds together attractions, icons and experiences from Disney Parks. The images are similar in design layout for each coast, yet they feature things specific to each Disney destination.

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The finished artwork was added to a style guide for all merchandise categories to use. The artwork was then applied to various items such as apparel, home décor, souvenirs, plush and more. Elements from the artwork that Ron created were sometimes combined to make unique images (best seen on some of the apparel items).

Here is an image gallery of other products that you can currently find in select merchandise locations at Disney Parks. You can also find some items on our Disney Parks online store – http://www.DisneyParks.com/Store.

I’d love to hear about your memories from your first visit to Disney Parks. Please share in the comments below.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic Merchandise Drops Into Disney Parks on February 13, 2015

posted on January 26th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Last summer, I gave you a first look at a new merchandise collection called “Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic” that was inspired by the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney Parks. Today, I’m excited to announce that this line will drop into Disney Parks starting Friday, February 13 (what a perfect day!). These new products will be found inside Tower Hotel Gifts in both Disney California Adventure park at Disneyland Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. I recently visited the merchandise presentation offices at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where I found a display of several new items.

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The merchandise presentation team set up a display to show what Tower Hotel Gifts may look like when the product is set. They told me they will be making adjustments to props, fixtures and lighting in the shops to complement the new merchandise.

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Disney Design Group artists were inspired by the Haunted Mansion Authentic program released last year when designing this artwork. You will notice similar design elements such as the use of vintage advertisements. The Hollywood Tower Hotel logo was also included on several items that could have been sold in the hotel gift shop before that one stormy night long ago.

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I love the tote bag that looks like vintage luggage and the bellhop cap is perfect! I was glad to see the bell was updated with new artwork (you can see the difference in this story from July 2013).

Guests will also find new apparel items for adults and kids. My son will be beyond thrilled that there will be a kid’s T-shirt with a character from his favorite episode.

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In addition to apparel and other souvenirs, the Disney pin team will release some new open edition pins as part of this collection.

Finally, I invite you to meet some of the Disney Design Group artists behind this collection on Friday, February 13. This event will be held at Tower Hotel Gifts inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Disney Artists Tyler Dumas, Brian Blackmore, Richard Terpstra and Quynh Kimball are scheduled to attend.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Best Places to Find Disney Tsum Tsum at Disney Parks

posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Last summer, my son (and the rest of the world) discovered Disney Tsum Tsum. I recall we were on vacation in Ohio when he asked to download the fun puzzle matching and stacking game. Upon returning to Florida, he found the adorable stacking plush offered both at Disney Stores and in select locations at Disney Parks. Our friends at Oh My Disney even celebrated their arrival with a visit to Disneyland park (as seen in this article). I recently asked Victoria Hamilton, merchandiser for dolls and plush at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, about the best places to find Tsum Tsum when visiting Disney Parks.

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“There are currently two different locations that offer Tsum Tsum,” explained Victoria. “Guests in California should stop by the plush room inside World of Disney at Downtown Disney District. For guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort, they should visit Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace. These two locations carry an assortment of four-inch plush and a handful of the larger sized plush.”

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She also told me that they will continue carrying select Tsum Tsum after they are released at Disney Stores. For example, guests will find the “101 Dalmatians” mini Tsum Tsum plush collection in early February at Disney Parks. This collection was first released at Disney Stores and online in early January.

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In related news, the Disney Pin Team will release a collectible pin pack featuring Tsum Tsum later this year. Each pack will contain five randomly selected pins. I grabbed a handful of pins to photograph for this story including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!

In addition to the two different locations at Disney Parks, you can find select Tsum Tsum products online at http://www.DisneyStore.com/TsumTsum.

Happy stacking!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Walt Disney World Resort

Spotlight on New Pins Coming to Disney Parks in 2015

posted on January 13th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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From new retail MagicBands to upcoming Orange Bird products, I’ve recently been sharing previews of items coming to Disney Parks in 2015. This time, I turn the spotlight on Disney pins, which are a fun way to show off your Disney Side when visiting Theme Parks and Resorts.

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For years, we’ve offered various “pin-of-the-month” collections, which have new pins released monthly (or sometimes quarterly) for guests to collect. This year, the “Best Friends” collection will contains two individual pins that are great for sharing with your best friend. The “Wonderfully Wicked” collection showcases some of the most famous Disney villains. Both of these monthly collections will be found in select locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Guests in Florida will find the “Shields of Fantasy” collection. These hinged pins open to reveal Disney
characters who reside in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

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The “Piece of Disney History” collection returns this year. First introduced in 2005, these limited edition pins contain actual pieces of attractions, shows, or parades from Disney Parks. This year, we continue our “Piece of Disneyland Resort History” collection for guests in California, while guests in Florida will find a continuation of the “Piece of SpectroMagic history.”

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With the “Generation D” collection, we are counting down to the annual Disney Trading Event that will be held in September at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort. Each of these 13 limited edition pins will have an edition size of 500 and will be released monthly.

We also have a few surprise pins planned including a collection featuring Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” for Disneyland Resort. When placed next to each other, the pins will form a complete picture. Guests in Florida will find pins celebrating the themed lands of the Magic Kingdom Park. Both of these pin collections will be released at random times throughout the year.

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Finally, if you are headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios I invite you to stop by our newest Disney pin destination at Sunset Market Ranch on Sunset Boulevard. This location is now the main headquarters for all things pins inside the theme park.

As a reminder, new pins are typically released on Thursdays at Disney Parks. Look for one-sheets highlighting key pin releases toward the beginning of each month on the official Disney Pin Trading website – http://www.DisneyPins.com.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Retail MagicBands and Accessories to Kick Off 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 7th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


With the start of 2015, I wanted to give you a look at some new retail MagicBands and accessories coming to Walt Disney World Resort this month.

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At the end of December, I shared a story about dated 2015 merchandise. One item I didn’t include in that story was the retail MagicBand that features Mickey Mouse showing off his Disney Side at Walt Disney World Resort. This limited release retail MagicBand is currently available in select merchandise locations in Florida for $24.95 (plus tax).

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This month, we will release some additional open edition retail MagicBands for $19.95 each (plus tax) on the following dates:

  • Ariel and Cinderella Castle – January 16
  • Belle – January 23
  • Tinker Bell; Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear – January 30

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Guests may also soon notice new retail packaging for MagicBands. I spoke with merchandiser Kevin-Michael Lezotte who gave me some additional insight into this redesign.

“New packaging for retail MagicBands was recently introduced with the release of the 2015-dated Graphic MagicBand,” explained Kevin-Michael. “A team composed of MyMagic+ Products and Services, Merchandising, Disney Design Group Artists and Integrated Supply Chain collaborated on this new design. I like that the artwork is now front and center, which will make finding favorite designs much easier. Guests should look for the new packaging throughout this year.”

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Finally, Kevin-Michael gave me a preview of new MagicBand-its arriving this month. These small items can attach to the side of any MagicBand. I love the Disney cats set!

Look for these items in select Walt Disney World Resort merchandise locations. Select accessories and solid color retail MagicBands can also be found on our Disney Parks online store at http://www.DisneyStore.com/MagicBands.

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Filed: MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Look Ahead to New Disney Parks Merchandise Arriving in 2015

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


With the beginning of a New Year, I wanted to give you a look at new merchandise coming to Disney Parks. It was no easy task selecting these items as there are many great things coming in 2015. Here’s my list of favorites in no particular order.

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Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – I can’t wait to add the mini-figurine created especially for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to my tiki collection. This statue was inspired by the figure that will be found inside the Great Ceremonial House. The coolest part is that the torches have lights that flicker.

Dooney & Bourke – We will continue introducing new handbags from Dooney & Bourke in 2015. I love the black and white bicycle artwork in the top image from Disney Design Group Artist Paola Gutierrez.

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Orange Bird – If you’re an avid reader of the Disney Parks Blog, you know that I’m obsessed with the Orange Bird. This year, look for a new 7-inch plush; salt and pepper shakers; a towel set and more.

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Disney Attractionistas – The concept artwork above was created by Disney Design Group Artist Mike Sullivan and features two dolls from a new line called “Disney Attractionistas.” Coming this summer, the dolls were inspired by attractions found at Disney Parks.

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Disney Parks Online Store Shirts – I’m thrilled to give you a preview of new shirts coming to the Disney Parks online store. This year, we are featuring some fan favorites from Disney Parks such as the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, U.S.A. or the classic Disneyland park attraction, Adventures Thru Inner Space. Look for the 40th Anniversary of Carousel of Progress tee online from January 15-18 at DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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Pirates of the Caribbean – Avast! Thar be pirates sailin’ in 2015! Building on the success of the Haunted Mansion Authentic program, we will be introducing new Pirates of the Caribbean attraction products. The artwork above shows a few designs from a master style guide created by Disney Design Group.

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Character Nutcrackers – Later in 2015, we will release nutcrackers inspired by themed lands and attractions at Disney Parks. These limited release items were designed by Disney Design Group Artists such as Alex Maher (Main Street, U.S.A.), Costa Alavezos (Tomorrowland) and Natalie Kennedy (“it’s a small world”).

Which items will you add to your Disney collection? Please share in the comments below.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Year in Review: Greatest Hits from Disney Theme Park Merchandise in 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


This year was an exciting time for Disney Theme Park Merchandise. On behalf of my fellow author Michelle Harker and the entire merchandise team, thank you for your feedback! We loved reading your comments as new things were revealed. Below is a brief list of popular items from 2014. I’d love to know your favorite products from this past year, so please share in the comments below.

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Disney Character Mugs – This past spring, we released several new Disney character mugs. This article was one of the most popular stories of the year, particularly on Pinterest.

Disney Parks Collection By PANDORA JewelryIn August, we announced a new partnership with PANDORA Jewelry. We released a collection of hand finished sterling silver and 14K gold charms developed especially for Disney Parks.

Disney’s “Frozen” – Some of the most requested items this past year were inspired by Disney’s “Frozen.” We introduced graphic MagicBands with Anna and Elsa; Olaf-shaped candy apples, unique headware, and, of course, dresses! Guests could also visit Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, a make-over destination at Downtown Disney District in California.

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Marketplace Co-Op – In June, we opened the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. This location is a testing space for new Disney retail concepts, shops and products and contains some of my favorite places to shop like D-Tech on Demand, Disney Centerpiece or Cherry Tree Lane.

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Haunted Mansion Authentic – In the fall, more than 100 new Haunted Mansion-themed products were introduced at Disney Parks. Part of a program titled, “Haunted Mansion Authentic,” these items were inspired by characters, icons and details from this classic attraction. In August, the attraction celebrated its 45 anniversary at Disneyland park. In October, we opened Memento Mori, a Haunted Mansion shop located in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. The new location is also home to a unique Spirit Photography experience.

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Showing Your Disney Side – Guests showed their Disney Side with products created especially for Disney Parks. We released new colors for the Disney Parks Collection by Vera Bradley. Guests loved combining pixie dust and positive energy with Alex and Ani bracelets. We also released several Dooney & Bourke handbags including some for Disney Cruise Line and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Shirts, Shirts and More Shirts – I’m sure I’m not the only one who had to clean out their closets to make room for new Disney Parks apparel. From online only tees to exercise apparel, guests had plenty of choices for attire with nods to Disney Parks.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Characters Showing Off Their #DisneySide in New 2015 Merchandise

posted on December 26th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recently spotted some new 2015 merchandise during a visit to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. This time of year is usually when the new dated merchandise (that is products that have a specific date) arrives at Disney Parks. I noticed something different about the artwork for these items this year – Sorcerer Mickey was nowhere to be found. When I returned to the office, I caught up with Disney Design Group Artist Thomas Scott to learn more.

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“For the 2015 artwork, we imagined the Disney characters were showing off their Disney Side just like our guests do when visiting Disney Parks,” explained Thomas who was one of the lead designers for the 2015 artwork. “We dressed the characters in products we carry such as the Buzz Lightyear costume tee-shirt that Goofy is wearing. Sorcerer Mickey has been included in the dated art program for a few years. This time, we put a Sorcerer’s hat on Mickey Mouse that resembles the hat we carry in our merchandise shops. I thought it was a great nod to that artwork tradition.”

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Work on the 2015 artwork began about 18 months ago. Thomas told me that several Disney artists collaborated on the style guide. Different product categories use the style guide artwork to create a consistent look for all items. I particularly love the artwork by Disney Design Group Artist Mike Sullivan that shows the characters doing things I do when visit Disney Parks (the selfie photo made me laugh as I have taken many of those).

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The dated merchandise is some of our most popular items sold at Disney Parks (a great way to remember the year you visited). We offer apparel items, seasonal ornaments, souvenirs, pins, plush, home goods and much more that uses this artwork. I love the propeller cap, and I thought the scrapbooking kit was pretty neat too.

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These items are available in a variety of merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Guests can also find select 2015 items on our Disney Parks online store.

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

New Merchandise Coming to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2015

posted on December 22nd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A few weeks ago a shared a look at the new Minnie Run Collection By Champion Athleticwear coming to the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. In that article, I promised a look at other items created by Disney Theme Park Merchandise for this annual event. As you will see in this story, we’ve created commemorative merchandise for every race taking place January 7-11, 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort.

New Merchandise for the Half Marathon During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

For the majority of the races, we will introduce apparel for both women and men including short and long sleeved shirts, jackets, Sweaty Bands, Bondi Bands, pins and vehicle magnets. The Kids Races, Family Fun Run 5K and 10K will also have vehicle magnets this year.

One thing I’m most excited to see is the new limited release retail MagicBand with the runDisney logo (retail $24.95). Like all other retail MagicBands, this graphic MagicBand can be linked later making it a great gift for someone in training for a future runDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort.

New Merchandise for Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New Merchandise for the Dopey Challenge During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. All of the merchandise for this particular race this year includes an anniversary logo.

New 'I Did It' Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New 'I Did It' Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

We also will be offering “I Did It” shirts for both women and men (I included a handful of options in the image above).

Finally, the event team is introducing a new “In Training” line for those who want a jump start on preparing for next year’s runDisney races.

These items and more will be released at Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 7, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 8, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 9, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Filed: MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

These Are the Gifts You’re Looking For At Disney Parks This Holiday Season

posted on December 19th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I know where I will be almost one year from now – sitting in a movie theater with my son as the opening credits roll for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Being a long-time fan of all things Star Wars, it will be the perfect holiday gift to myself next year. I remember receiving many Star Wars-themed gifts growing up in the late 1970s (the Death Star Space Station playset was one of my favorites!). If you are looking for Star Wars holiday gifts this season, I have a few suggestions of items created especially for Disney Parks.

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I love this fun holiday sweater T-shirt featuring Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and other icons (it’s perfect for winter in Florida).

The Disney Pin team released some new holiday pins including a 9-pin mystery set with Star Wars gingerbread characters.

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If you are looking for toys, there are a few different options including the Starspeeder 1000 vehicle playset inspired by Star Tours – The Adventures Continue; a giant Clone Trooper found only at Disney Parks; and Disney Racers die-cast cars which make for great stocking stuffers.

I also like the Star Wars Droid Factory where you can design and build your own Astromech droid action figure. This experience is offered at Tatooine Traders in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida, and The Star Trader in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park in California.

You can also find other Star Wars items online at DisneyStore.com/StarWars.

May the Holidays Be With You!

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort