by Beth Keating
May 19, 2019
If you find yourself working just to support your Disney habit, there are some online changes coming your way… although they probably won’t have much effect in the long run. On May 31st, Disney is closing down the Shop Disney Parks app, which helps guests purchase park specific merchandise. How will you find those cute, trendy Mickey tees you should have bought before you left the Magic Kingdom and didn’t? Not to worry… parks merch is already available at ShopDisney.com. Those guests using My Disney Experience (MDE) can also access the goodies through their mobile devices. (As of right now, it appears that Annual Passholders and DVC members will need to shop via MDE to access their discounts. Individual experiences have been varied on that front.)
“Ears” to You
First there were color trend ears like Rose Gold and Potion Purple. Then came Dole Whip, Minnie donut, and Aladdin-inspired varieties. You can now rock your Disney look in the parks with a whole new set of upscale ears. Beginning May 24th, Disney will be debuting a limited release series of specialty mouse ears. Created by fashion designers, celebrities and artists such as Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klum, ALEX AND ANI, and even a few Disney Imagineers (including Joe Rhode!), these distinctive collaborations will include a new design each month. Look for them at select Disney park shops as well as ShopDisney.com.
Let’s play a little game for a moment: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your favorite theme park. (I’m looking at you, Magic Kingdom!) What did you see first? Did you imagine yourself screaming over the tracks of your favorite thrill ride? Splashing down soaking wet from your plunge over a thundering waterfall? Escaping a Yeti? Searching for a new baby giraffe from the back of a bouncy jeep? Maybe waiting for the cornball punchline as you visit “the backside of water”? Munching happily on a pretzel the size of your head while you wait for the fireworks to start with thousands of your closest friends?
Chances are, your first thoughts are not about hitting the stores for some cool new merch, although we seem to take plenty of that home with us when we board our return flights. (Admittedly, some of us fly down with empty suitcases, knowing they won’t be empty on the return flight...just sayin’.)
With the opening of Galaxy’s Edge rapidly approaching, shopping as a theme park sport is taking front and center. With only one of the land’s two rides up and running for the opening months, exploring the market venues on the planet will be a fundamental part of the sights and sounds of this galactic outpost. In true Disney fashion, the shopping possibilities on Batuu has been raised to meteoric levels. Yes, there will be grab-and-go products to take back, but many of the encounters are one-of-a-kind opportunities (a few with their own special effects, upcharges and tour guides), and others will have Jedi collectors salivating. And while there have been personalized shopping opportunities at Disney in the past (we bought a family crest in Epcot one year, as well as annual monogrammed Christmas ornaments - does that count?), Black Spire’s immersive culture is serving up a previously unheard of tailored version of shopping. Build your own lightsaber by hand at Savi’s, invent an interactive droid from parts you specifically choose at an assembly station at the Droid Depot, or haggle for an exceptional find at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Perhaps the younglings in your party prefer something a bit more cute and cuddly – visit The Creature Stall. (Okay, maybe not all the finds there are cute…. or cuddly for that matter.) From clothing retailers to toy shops, the choices will be part of the journey.
The most interesting part about shopping on Batuu is the fact that the merchandise comes with its own backstory. No two visitors will come out with exactly the same memory. Hunting for the perfect souvenir will be part of the distinctive experience. This is not a land filled with the ubiquitous-exit-through-the-gift-shop-after-the-ride formula, where one finds the same items over and over again. Indeed, the shops themselves are an integral part of the storytelling and scene-setting, even if you never drop a dollar (or a Republic credit) with any of the proprietors, though we find that highly unlikely. Many of the products for sale in Black Spire have been designed specifically for this venue, and you will be unable to find them at your stores back home. The detailing and Imagineering promises to be mind-blowing. Even the handmade clothing options that will be for sale are based on the original wardrobe costumes from the movies. So, if you see it and want it, grab it! This might be your only chance. As Yoda would say, “Do or do not…”
If you’d like a more detailed look at the various experiences and merchandise, here’s a link to a great article from Brady MacDonald at Blooloop on the upcoming shops at https://blooloop.com/features/star-wars-galaxys-edge-merchandise/
Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31stin Disneyland, and August 29th at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.
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