Walt Disney at Disneyland Resort

VIDEO: Top Souvenirs for Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

posted on April 18th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World Resort for more than 30 years. I’ve spent more than half of that time working (or playing as I like to say) as a Disney cast member. I’m often asked by friends and family to help with planning vacations to Disney Parks. One topic that regularly comes up during conversations is around merchandise – What are the must-have items I should get during my visit? To help answer that question, I visited Magic Kingdom Park to highlight some of my favorite merchandise items in this short video.

The good news is that you can find many of the items I mentioned in the video on our Disney Parks online store in the “Vacation FUNdamentals” section.

Now it’s your turn. What are your must-have items when visiting Walt Disney World Resort? Please share in the “Comments” below.

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Four New Disney Attraction Poster-Inspired T-Shirts Coming to Disney Parks Online Store in April 2014

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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This year, we’ve been featuring a series of Disney Parks’ attraction poster T-shirts on our Disney Parks online store. These shirts are sold for a limited period of time, and feature some pretty amazing art of things I love at Disney Parks! Today, I’m happy to share details about four new T-shirts coming to the online shop in April. Once again, Disney Design Group Artist Richard Terpstra was inspired by posters featured in the outstanding “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book by Vanessa Hunt and Danny Handke (a must have book for any Disney fan!).

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From April 15-20, the Disney Parks online store will release two T-shirts – a purple shirt celebrating Fantasyland at Disneyland park, and a green shirt featuring the Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park. The original Fantasyland attraction poster referenced for the purple tee was created in 1955 by Bjorn Aronson.

For the green t-shirt, many readers may recall seeing this attraction poster when the Orange Bird returned to the Sunshine Tree Terrace in April 2012. I can’t wait to wear mine while enjoying a citrus swirl in Adventureland (does anyone care to join me?).

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Then, from April 22-27, we salute the 50th anniversary of two classic Disney attractions – “it’s a small world” and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Both attractions debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and later found their way to Disney Parks. For these T-shrts, we will offer both adult and kids sizes.

The “it’s a small world” shirt was inspired by the attraction poster designed by Paul Hartley in 1966. The Carousel of Progress shirt references a design from 1967 by Ken Chapman (I want to be that guy pictured at right living in Progress City!).

To find these T-shirts, I invite you to visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents during the dates referenced above. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available).

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Commemorative Merchandise for 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Coming May 1, 2014

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recall first visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1990 during a family visit to Walt Disney World Resort. Since that time, I’ve spent many days at some of my favorite attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and One Man’s Dream (I practically lived at the latter while serving as a Walt Disney World Ambassador during the 100 years of Magic Celebration). I also have many fond memories of taking my children to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, or enjoying the Cobb salad (my favorite!) at the Hollywood Brown Derby. With Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ silver anniversary on May 1, we have created several new items to mark this occasion.

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Disney Design Group artists Thomas Scott, Costa Alavezos and John Henselmeier collaborated on the logo design. John told me that the archway near the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! attraction served as their inspiration. Costa contributed the character sketches that remind me of the vignettes found on that archway.

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We will release shirts for adults and kids including a classic, black polo-style shirt (I know a few readers have requested such a thing). Guests should also look for a messenger bag, a key chain, and a 12-inch, pre-dressed Duffy the Disney Bear.

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The Disney pin team has also created a collection of pins to celebrate this anniversary. You may recall seeing a sneak preview of a jumbo-sized pin back in January. There will also be a limited edition “I Was There” pin, an Annual Passholder exclusive pin and a few other items like a starter set.

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My favorite pin item is the mystery pin set that contains a host of characters dressed in various costumes. I love seeing the vintage-looking Donald Duck, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. Two randomly selected pins will be found in each mystery box.

All of these items will be released when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens on May 1, 2014, in Soundstage 1. This temporary merchandise shop will be located between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania. All items will be available while supplies last.

The Disney Parks online store will carry the four shirts pictured in this story from May 1-5, 2014. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available). To order the shirts starting May 1, please visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

New Options for Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returning to Star Wars Weekends Starting May 16, 2014

posted on April 9th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recently shared with you a first look at new merchandise coming to Star Wars Weekends 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning May 16. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that the Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience will return this year with a few new options for guests. This year, the experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, located in Soundstage 1 between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania.

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars – D-Tech Me, this 10-minute experience uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. The captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine. My fellow author Gary Buchanan has a cool, behind-the-scenes video about the experience as seen in this story.
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This year, two returning favorites – Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper – will be joined by two new figurines – Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot. There are both male and female options offered for X-Wing pilot, Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper figurines. For children, Alderaan Princess and Carbon-Freeze Me figurines will be available in more youthful appearances.
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For the first time, we are introducing a 16-inch figurine. While a wise Jedi Master once said “size matters not,” you can see the size differences of the Stormtrooper figurines in the above image.
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Additionally, we will share details starting May 16 on DisneyParksMerchandise.com about how you can have your image from last year added to a new figurine this year. An example of this is shown above with a Stormtrooper figurine image from last year applied to the new X-Wing Pilot figurine.

The Star Wars – D-Tech Me 7-inch figurines are $99.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. For the 16-inch figurines, retail is $1,499.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. All participants will receive a specially designed button.

Completed figurines will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally).

To book your experience, please call 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324). We will only offer the experience during Star Wars Weekends 2014 (May 16 – 18, May 23 – 25, May 30 – June 1, June 6 – 8, and June 13-15).

Finally, guests attending the Rebel Rendezvous event on May 15 will be some of the first individuals to experience Star Wars – D-Tech Me this year. Registered event guests should look for an email soon that will explain how to sign up. If you still want to go to the Rebel Rendezvous event, we’d love to have you! Please see DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more details.

Please note: Separate theme park admission required for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No discounts apply unless otherwise noted. Guests must be at least three (3) years of age to participate. A valid accepted credit card number is required at time of booking. No-shows or in the event a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of scheduled experience will result in such credit card being charged a $25 cancellation fee. The experience, due to its personalized nature, is non-refundable and not eligible for an exchange. Children must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. Certain restrictions may apply. All prices, components and information are subject to change without notice.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Spotlight on The Trophy Room Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace in 2014

posted on April 7th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the return of baseball season, I thought this was a good time to turn the spotlight on The Trophy Room, the second of six boutiques coming to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World. I’ve been a Pittsburgh Pirates fan for years as my parents hail from western Pennsylvania. I recently caught up with another Pirates fan and Pittsburgh native, Dana Harchar. A member of the Global Retail Development team, Dana shared some details about what guests will see when visiting this location.

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“I’m designing the merchandise fixtures found in [The Trophy Room],” explained Dana. “With a backdrop of exposed brick, the wall fixtures will look like repurposed trophy cases that had their glass doors removed. They will be made of beautiful cherry wood with a rich, luxurious stain. Dark stone and metal accents will also be found throughout the shop. We plan to include some wonderful wool Trophy Room logo banners to differentiate this shop from the others in the Marketplace Co-Op like Disney Centerpiece .”

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Next, I spoke with Chicago Cubs fan and senior merchandiser John Sarni who explained what makes The Trophy Room a unique shopping destination.

“At first glance, The Trophy Room may seem like a traditional sports apparel store,” said John. “Once inside, guests will soon realize this space represents a lifestyle. The location aims to create sports fans, rather than just outfit existing enthusiasts, by offering high quality, vintage-inspired garments that instill a sense of nostalgia and old-school, collegiate spirit.”

John said that some of the shop will contain sports apparel by 47 Brand. He selected an eclectic mix of vintage styles featuring some of the most popular teams in baseball as well as professional and college football. In addition, there will be some great collectibles such as high-quality pennants and unique baseballs that feature printed images of famous stadiums. The assortment may change as different sports come into season throughout the year.

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The shop will also have a small collegiate-inspired assortment of graphic apparel and drinkware with a Walt Disney World flare. These items were designed especially for The Trophy Room. I’m in love with that orange Raglan!

Look for these items and more when The Trophy Room opens at the Marketplace Co-Op in a couple of months.

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Chalkboard Art-Inspired Items Coming to Disney Centerpiece at Downtown Disney Marketplace in 2014

posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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In February, I shared with you a first look at some merchandise coming to Disney Centerpiece, one of six boutiques coming to the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace in a couple of months. I was delighted to read that many of you enjoyed that first preview as much as I enjoyed sharing it. In addition to those awesome items, Disney Centerpiece will also feature a line of chalkboard art-inspired home goods. I spoke with Natalie Kennedy, senior graphic designer with Disney Design Group, who was responsible for creating this amazing artwork.

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“Chalkboard artwork is a currently a popular market trend,” explained Natalie. “For our program, we selected iconic attractions at Disney Parks such as The Haunted Mansion or the Jungle Cruise. We also expanded the program to include items inspired by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The latter artwork is a nice nod to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.”

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A variety of monochromatic items will be included in this program including plates, drinkware, drink coasters and even napkins. I’m delighted, of course, to see more artwork featuring my favorite attraction, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!

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While these items will debut at Disney Centerpiece, guests will also find them at Disneyland Resort merchandise locations in a few months. The Disney Parks online store will also carry a few select items.

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Exercise your ‘Disney Side’ with New Women’s Apparel at Disney Parks

posted on March 25th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Breathe in. Breathe out. Now relax. One thing I’d like to try this year is yoga as I’ve heard it’s wonderfully relaxing. I’ve found several of my female friends are already enjoying the benefits of yoga. I have good news for them or for guests wanting to show their “Disney Side” during their next workout. The softlines team recently introduced some new workout attire that has a splash of Disney. I spoke with Donna Kozatek, senior graphic designer with Disney Design Group, about this new collection.

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“I designed by overall paisley pattern featuring Mickey Mouse,” explained Donna. “We wanted a fun collection with bright colors that guests could mix and match. If you look carefully, you will see Pluto included in some of the designs. He was suggested by my fellow artist Susan Foy as a nod to a famous yoga pose – downward facing dog [laughs].”

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There are a variety of new apparel items including shirts, pants and jackets. There is also a tote bag that contains a zipper along the bottom. When unzipped, it reveals straps to carry a rolled workout mat.

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I love the little details that Donna included on each of the items!

Look for these things and more in select merchandise locations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. The photographs I included in this story are from World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida. The World of Disney in California also carries select items.

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

Perfect Petals Brunch featuring the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley Coming to Epcot on May 4, 2014

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


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Last year around this time, I shared a first look at the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley . Since then, these colorful handbags and accessories, developed especially for Disney Parks, have been a hit with guests who want a splash of color in their everyday lives. As spring arrives, I’m delighted to announce a new event titled, “A Perfect Petals Brunch featuring the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley,” is coming to World ShowPlace at Epcot on Sunday, May 4. This ticketed event will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and will feature the release of a brand new color called “Mickey’s Perfect Petals.” I recently spoke with Cathy Dawson, merchandiser for accessories at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, to learn more.

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“‘Mickey’s Perfect Petals’ is a perfect color for spring,” exclaimed Cathy. “Disney Design Group partnered with the Vera Bradley team to develop the color. I love the subtle nods to Mickey Mouse as they remind me of hidden Mickeys found at Disney Parks. We will offer the color on some of the most popular forms, and we will have a few new options like the campus backpack and tablet hipster.”

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“In addition to a scrumptious brunch and a special gift, event guests will have the first opportunity to purchase seven new items. The event store will also carry some previously released colors from 2013, including “Midnight with Mickey” and “Where’s Mickey.”

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The best part of this brunch, however, will be a special appearance by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley. Barbara has wonderful stories to share, especially about her mother who played an important role in her life and in the founding of Vera Bradley (it’s fitting that this event will take place the weekend before Mother’s Day!).

If any quantities are remaining following this event, the new “Mickey’s Perfect Petals” items will be released when Cherry Tree Lane opens in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace (stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for that opening date). There are no immediate plans to carry this color at Disneyland Resort or on our Disney Parks online store.

Tickets for this event are $125. Admission to Epcot is also required to attend.

To register, please visit DisneyParksMerchandise.com beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2014.

If you are active on social networks, I invite you to join the conversation by using the hashtag – #DisneyVera.

I hope to see you in May!

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Do You Want to Eat a Snowman … Apple at Disney Parks?

posted on March 18th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the release of Disney’s “Frozen” on Blu-ray combo pack today, the consumables team at Disney Parks has introduced what is now my favorite character apple ever made – Olaf! I visited Main Street Confectionary at Magic Kingdom Park this morning to check it out.

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I think my favorite detail on this new apple is the nose. It’s made of Bugles, the corn chip snack that I used to place on my fingers when I was five years old (I know I’m not the only one who did that).

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I also found a few other “Frozen”-inspired treats next to the Olaf apples including cake pops and marshmallow wands decorated in a familiar blue and white color.

The Olaf apple will be found in other consumables locations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Charming Treats for St. Patrick’s Day 2014 at Disney Parks

posted on March 15th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With St. Patrick’s Day celebrations planned for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, I visited one of our consumables locations to survey some of the yummy, holiday-themed treats they have made this year. You may recall that several of our merchandise locations contain a show kitchen, which is an on-stage kitchen where cast members make delicious goodies for all to see. This year, the cast members in the show kitchens have added a splash of green to some of their most popular items including Mickey Mouse-shaped cake pops and crispy treats.

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They also have created my favorite treat – pretzel rods covered in green sugar or sprinkles. The pretzel rods join sprinkle-covered or chocolate-dipped marshmallow wands.

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Finally, I spotted a Leprechaun-like candy apply complete with chocolate, green sugar and a marshmallow. Nearby, I found a character apple that resembles Kermit the Frog from The Muppets. I figured I’d include him in this story because he’s green (plus, I can’t wait for “Muppets Most Wanted” to be in theatres on March 21!)

If you are visiting Disney Parks during St Patrick’s Day, please stop by these locations:

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

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