This is another Disney Blog by a Disney fan who wants to talk about whatever he wants. Disney related, of course.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Individually themed lands...Not for merchandise

I spent a lot of time in Disneyland during the 80's and 90's. Almost every family vacation was spent visiting Mickey and friends. On our one big trip every year my parents would give my brothers and I an allowance of $100 to shop for souvenirs. Each trip I would buy a plush, a hat, a shirt, and a gun. Not much of it was spent on Main Street. The Pioneer Mercantile received a lot of money from my parents back then. Now they don't receive much from me. The only reason for this is because they don't have anything that I can't get at the Emporium.

I still can't figure out why anybody would buy a plush that they sell at the Emporium or World of Disney anywhere else in the park. I would rather not carry around a stuffed Pooh Bear all day if I don't have to. You used to buy frontier themed merchandise in Frontierland. You would make purchases earlier in the day because you didn't know if you would be back by this store and you knew that you wouldn't be able to get this item anywhere else.

The Pioneer Mercantile that I remember sold western themed clothing and toys, coonskin hats, wooden toy guns, and had a shooting arcade on the southern wall. You didn't have anything with pirates or princesses.

The South Seas Traders in Adventureland used to have exotic themed merchandise. Pieces of Eight in New Orleans Square was the only store in the park that sold pirate merchandise. Can you guess what the One-of-a-Kind shop next door sold? The Disney Gallery was lost just this month. The Villains Shop in Fantasyland was where I got my first Jack Skellington hat. This was before the goth craze that has made Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise available in its very own store in Disneyland and at ever Hot Topic in the country. If you wanted a hat you visited the Mad Hatter in Fantasyland or Main Street or Hatmosphere in Tomorrowland. Now every store in the park has a hat selection and it is the same at every store.

This is not to say that I don’t still enjoy the shopping in the park. Disneyana is still a unique shopping experience. While there is too much Pirate merchandise in the parks, Pieces of Eight is still a fun store with the courtyard between the original store and the recent expansion. For the fanboy in me I love the Star Wars portion of the Star Trader as you exit Star Tours.

On the other side of the esplanade at Disney’s California Adventure I love taking my son to Engine Ears Toys. My wife and I could spend hours in the Animation Building and upon exiting, Off the Page. This is similar to Disneyana but different enough to make it worth visiting every trip. I am also a sucker for Rushin’ River Outfitters. They are getting more and more generic but it might just be the environment that they offer you the same generic merchandise that I find appealing. My other favorite from DCA is Tower Hotel Gifts. Many people hate when attractions exit to a gift shop but in this case I love it. It gives you an air conditioned waiting place while we swap kids and it may be a little corny but I love all the Hollywood Tower Hotel merchandise.

Obviously we all want the Disneyland merchandise. That is why it is sold in so many stores. I am not a purist that thinks that everything should remain untouched. I would just like a little individuality as well. Make some stuffed critters only available in Critter Country and keep the Princesses in Fantasyland. Now that the Pirate craze seems to be dying some maybe they can move back to New Orleans Square.

If Disney gave me a unique place to shop in every land they would get more money from me. Every time you turned the corner you would have a chance to find something new. I don’t know if everybody agrees with me on this, but I think that some merchandise diversity would make for more fun at the parks.

1 comment:

Davelandweb said...

Nice blog; and I definitely agree with you. Very little diversity in merchandising at the park anymore. Every shop carries (practically) the same merchandise. Disneyana is one of the few places I enjoy shopping at anymore.