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Shop the World in a Day – How Merchandise Cast Create Tangible Memories for World Showcase at Epcot

Steven Miller

by , Communications Manager

Guests visiting World Showcase at Epcot have delighted in the sights, sounds, and tastes of 11 themed pavilions for more than 35 years. Since opening in 1982, shopping has played an important part of the World Showcase experience. Recently, I caught up with Jennifer Furbee and Sylvie Brumbaugh, two Disney Parks Merchandise Cast Members who have the fun assignment of selecting merchandise for World Showcase shops. They gave me a behind-the-scenes look at how they create tangible memories for this immersive shopping destination at Walt Disney World Resort.

Merchandise in Germany, Mexico and United Kingdom pavilions at Epcot

“There’s always something new to discover,” explained Jennifer who has supported Mexico, Canada, and The American Adventure pavilions for three years. “For some guests, [World Showcase] may be the only time they visit a particular country. We want them to feel like they are actually visiting the country through the products we offer.”

Developing and selecting new World Showcase merchandise takes several months. During that time, the product developers are researching popular trends, traveling to domestic and international destinations for inspiration, creating product assortments that support stories in each pavilion, and finalizing product samples to ensure they are ready for shops.

Jennifer and Sylvie include many recognizable products from countries represented in World Showcase to create an authentic shopping experience for guests. A recent example is found in Germany pavilion where traditional German lederhosen and dirndl dresses create an instant Oktoberfest celebration. Other authentic products include color figurines from Mexico pavilion or decorative teapots from United Kingdom pavilion.

Merchandise in the Canada pavilion at Epcot

The team also develops character-themed products with artwork inspired by World Showcase countries. New arrivals in Canada and Norway pavilions include country map collections where Chip and Dale, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse are shown exploring these vast nations.

Merchandise in the Canada and Norway pavilions at Epcot

Sylvie, who began her Disney career as a Cultural Representative in the France pavilion during the late 1980s, has supported Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom and Norway pavilions for seven years. To her, collaboration is key when creating memorable merchandise.

“To bring these product stories to life, we work with tremendous partners including artists at Disney Creative Group, merchandise operations, location planning, merchandise presentation, and Walt Disney Imagineering,” said Sylvie. “We also periodically hold roundtable discussions with Cultural Representatives to get feedback about the merchandise we carry.”

Merchandise in the Norway pavilion at Epcot

Sylvie has a unique perspective about her role with the World Showcase team.

“It’s an incredible feeling developing products for the place where I started my career,” said Sylvie. “I have a wonderful sense of pride with every visit to World Showcase. I’m thankful to play a part in creating lasting memories for guests through merchandise.”

Comments

  • I love the Spirit jerseys in Canada. Will they be coming to the other countries? I hope to see them in Italy and US. Maybe an Ireland for the Food Festival.

  • Steven,

    have you any idea when the Pandora Jewekry Disney Spring 2018 charms will be released?
    thank you very much,
    jones

  • I’d love to know how much the lederhosen are. My hubby and I bought him a pair of dark brown lederhosen several years ago in Munich and they cost 232 euro back then! Would love to get him another pair.

  • Happy to see you posting again Steven! I really enjoy your “take” on merchandise!

  • Great post!

    We love browsing around the world and yes, I agree that sometimes we forget that for many, this may be the closest they get to visiting the various countries.

    We particularly love the items found in the Mexico pavilion. It really captures the warmth of the country.

    Also enjoy satisfying our sweet tooth with a Baci from Italia!

    It is fun to chat with the countries representatives.

    Hoping there is still Outlander merchandise in Great Britain. Something for fans of Jamie and Claire!

  • I was excited to see that america switched to individual states instead of the general USA stuff in used to have great job Jennifer and team.

  • I always make a special trip to the Mexican pavilion to purchase a small Oaxacan wood carving. They are so enchanting and it is fun to watch the artist carving and painting, too. Steven – I hope you’ll share some of your videos with us again! Maybe the delivery guy can bring you a box of Animal Kingdom products? Or you can share merchandise that is particular to some of the resorts?

  • Thanks for the great articles and merchandise info Steven!! I’m curious as to what determines which items on the Disney Parks Shopping App are listed as “in-store purchase only” as opposed to the other items that can be ordered from home. There are several items (yes, you guessed it, they’re Figment items) that I desperately want to order from the app but they’re listed as “in-store purchase only”. I would love to see Disney open those up for ordering. Thanks!!!

  • What a fun job this must be!

  • Great article! Really miss your normal updates Steven!

  • Every time I’m @ World Showcase I actually feel like I’m visiting the country through the products offered..
    Jennifer Furbee and Sylvie Brumbaugh Great Job!

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