The countdown continues, as we are 23 days away from the beginning of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” on Oct. 1 at Walt Disney World Resort. You may have read the interview with Merchandise Graphic Designer Desma Thompson on the Celebration Collection. Today we are giving you an in-depth, behind-the-magic look at the Vault Collection filled with nostalgic replicas from the 1970s – with a modern twist!
I recently caught up with Sr. Merchandise Brand Manager Hardlines Kevin-Michael Lezotte (aka K-M), who helped bring this amazing collection to reality. Read my interview with K-M below!
Q: Can you tell me what it was like designing the collection?
A: Where do I begin? My love of the Vault Collection literally started 35 years ago when I began my Disney career at EPCOT! I’ve always been a huge fan of the Disney brand, the amazing experiences we deliver in the theme parks around the world and our incredible merchandise. Over two years ago, I was asked to be a member of our first task force to brainstorm the merchandise for the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration. The small team I was a part of came up with the idea of reaching back into our merchandise history to “bring back” key souvenirs and inspire some new products. Hence, the Vault Collection.
Q: I absolutely love the retro look and feel. Can you describe the collection and the inspiration behind the magic?
A: The Vault Collection is made up of two main categories:
- “Replica” – Looking to the 1970s for those key souvenirs we lovingly re-created for this celebration.
- “Inspired By” – Taking cues from the retro art and styles over the decades, we’ve created a collection of modern and relevant items appealing to our guests today.
For me, the inspiration was our most fervent fans and collectors. I’m a huge fan and collector myself, and I know what it feels like to get something you love and didn’t think you’d ever find. These replica items will take some of our guests back to a time long ago when they were little and experienced the parks for the first time with their friends and family. Fun fact: A group of our team members went to the Walt Disney Archives to photograph many of the incredible souvenirs, and used those photos to help create some of the Vault Collection pieces you will see starting Oct. 1!
Q: There are so many great items coming for the 50th anniversary celebration, but I can’t wait to pick up the replica Minnie Mouse ears and Loungefly lunch box crossbody. They are so cute! K-M, what are your must-haves from the collection?
A: I love the retro items in the home décor assortment. The castle trinket tray and the classic “milk glass” mugs are so cool!
Q: I have to ask … do you have any favorites from the original items that the team replicated in the new Vault Collection?
A: There are too many to choose from but here are two. First, the retro plastic Minnie headband. This was one of the first things I purchased myself in the late ’80s. I removed the bow and proudly wore the Mickey ears when visiting the parks, and I still have my original pair! Second, it’s a Vault Collection drop coming later. It’s inspired by the looks of the year I started working at Walt Disney World Resort.
Most items from the Vault Collection will be available beginning Oct. 1, with more items releasing throughout the 18-month celebration. Stay tuned for other exciting updates from other collections debuting this fall!
Find the Vault Collection across the Walt Disney World Resort, including Disney Springs, with select items available on shopDisney.com. Be sure to comment below what you’re most excited for and use #DisneyWorld50 to share your favorites in this collection.