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January 23, 2012

The Good Stores

My first trip to Disneyland was in late 1957. I was five years old and I only have a few recollections of that trip. But since my family lived in Southern California, we made yearly outings to "The Happiest Place on Earth" and my memories began to build. On these visits, I never bought souvenirs. My parents considered these mementoes junk and a waste of money.

For my 8th birthday in 1961, my parents gave me a fairly elaborate HO electric train set. It was mounted on a 4'x8' piece of plywood and had a mountain, houses, bridges, switches, and a decent amount of track. This was a pretty cool present for a kid of 8.

I'm the kid on the left with my hand on the throttle.


Jack's HO Train Set


I remember going to Disneyland in 1962, a couple of years after the monorail had opened. While in Tomorrowland, I stumbled across a magnificent treasure - an electric monorail set. I think it cost about $15, which was a lot of money in those days. I begged my parents to buy it for me, explaining that it would make a wonderful addition to my train layout. (The monorail was not HO scale, but I was a kid of ten. What did I care?) My parents gave me an unqualified "no" and told me if I really wanted it, I would have to save my money and buy it myself.


Model of Disneyland Monorail


Well, that's what I set out to do. I saved my money and approximately a year later, we returned to Disneyland. When we reached Tomorrowland, I had to search, but eventually found my treasure. It was still available. Thank goodness.

It was at this point in time that parental guilt and pressure came into play. My mother said to me, "Fifteen dollars is a lot of money, dear. Are you sure you want to spend it on that?"

"Yes. I'm sure."

"Are you really, really sure?"

"Yes. I'm really, really sure."

Then in a disapproving tone my mother says ever so sweetly, "All right dear. It's your decision. Do whatever you think is best."

I knew how my parents felt about Disney souvenirs and I knew how to read my mother's tone. Needless to say, guilt won the day and l left Disneyland empty handed - a decision I have regretted to this day.

In its day, this monorail was not considered a collectible. It was just an expensive toy. For that matter, there weren't any Disney theme park collectibles in the '60s and '70s. Even though Disneyland had already established itself as the king of amusement parks, there were no quality items for sale representing the park. Even the hand-painted cels that today sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars were considered junk in the 1960's and sold in Tomorrowland from between $2-$5.

If someone had one of these monorails today in good condition, it would be worth hundreds. I remember seeing a set for sale about 10 years ago for around $750. Of course, if I had bought this monorail as a kid, it would have been used (and probably abused), and not worth nearly that much.

Over the years, my love for trains never faded. As an adult, I have built several HO train layouts. And on one cityscape I created, I even had a working monorail. It wasn't the Disneyland version. But it was scaled correctly.


Jack's HO Train Layout

Jack's HO Train Layout

Jack's HO Train Layout


The only Disneyland souvenirs I collected in my youth were annual stock reports, pictorial books and those large maps that needed to be unfolded to view.


Guide Maps and Stock Reports


When I moved from Anaheim to San Francisco in 1985, I missed Disneyland terribly. Now that the park was 400 miles away rather than just around the corner, I could no longer visit anytime I wanted. I needed a Disney fix.

In 1987, a reasonable compromise presented itself and helped alleviate my Disney need -- The Disney Store opened at the end of Pier 39 in San Francisco. This was the third store in the soon to be growing chain. I visited often. It wasn't Disneyland, but it was filled with Disney music, a Disney motif, and in those early years, quality Disney merchandise. My first purchase was of a cel featuring Donald Duck and Cyril the horse from "Mickey's A Christmas Carol." I hung it on the fireplace over the mantel so I could see it each evening. As the months passed, I continued to visit The Disney Store. And I continued to buy animated cels.


Donal & Cyril


In that same year, The Disney Gallery opened above the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. This location featured a changing exhibit of artwork from Walt Disney Imagineering. In addition, some of the displayed works were recreated in limited quantities and signed by the original artists. Here are a few examples of what was available.


The Disney Gallery

Gallery Artwork

Gallery Artwork


As the years passed and my collection grew, I realized that I needed a direction. There were now many, many Disney pieces of quality available and it would be impossible to do any one genre justice. After a lot of thought, it came to me. I have always been interested in Disney theme parks above all else, so I decided that all future Disney purchases must be related to this topic. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a guideline I try to stick to.

Today, every room in my house is filled with pieces of Disney art. I love it. I realize it's not everyone's taste. But it makes me happy to surround myself with reminders of places and things that have brought me so much joy over the years.

When first-time guests visit my house, one of the initial questions they ask is, "Where did you get all of this stuff?" The truthful answer is, "All over the world." But a more helpful answer would be, "From the Good Stores," which brings me to the reason for this blog.

Disney makes a ton of money selling merchandise. The vast majority of these goods are what I would qualify as "souvenir quality." These are tchotchkes, mementoes, toys, trinkets, and the like. These items are relatively inexpensive and not really meant to stand the test of time. These are perfect "vacation" purchases and this is what the vast majority of Disney guests want to buy. But there is a niche audience (like me) who want items that will stand the test of time - and possibly increase in value. Disney has accommodated this group of people with special shops. Although these shops have real names, I collectively call them "The Good Stores." This is because these shops sell "good" or quality merchandise rather than traditional souvenirs.

In the Magic Kingdom, "The Good Store" can be found in the Main Street Cinema and Uptown Jewelers.


Main Street Cinema

Uptown Jewelers


At Disney's Hollywood Studios, "The Good Store" can be found off of Animation Courtyard. Guests exit through this shop after experiencing "The Magic of Disney Animation" attraction. Here the shop is called "Animation Gallery."


Animation Gallery


In Epcot, "The Good Store" is actually called, "The Art of Disney" and is located to the west of Spaceship Earth.


The Art of Disney - Epcot


And finally, at Downtown Disney Marketplace, "The Good Store" is also called "The Art of Disney."


The Art of Disney - Downtown Disney


For a number of years, the Animal Kingdom also had a "Good Store" located in "Disney Outfitters" on Discovery Island. However, the collectible merchandise once found here is no longer offered.

So just what is available at the Good Stores? A ton of quality items. To begin with, paintings and lithographs. A number of Disney-approved artists create works of art which are then reproduced on canvas or quality paper. These can range in price from $35 for an 8"x10" litho to $5,000 for a limited edition oil painting.


Disney Paintings and Artwork

Disney Paintings and Artwork


At the Good Store at Downtown Disney, kiosks are available where you can select from a wide variety of topics. Disney characters and theme park attraction posters are just a few of the subjects offered. Once you find a picture you like on the display screen, you can then select the size and medium it will be printed on, paper or canvas. The larger the size, the higher the cost. Canvas is also more expensive than paper. After paying for your treasure, the artwork will be printed while you wait. Custom framing is also available. However, if you add this option, the print will be shipped to you at a later date as framing is contracted out to a local company.


Ordering Kiosks

Ordering Kiosks


A very popular collectible are the character sketches created by artists in the various stores. Here you can actually watch them start with a blank piece of paper and create your favorite Disney character. In some cases, pins, watches, and personal photos can be added to the drawing. In the case of the timepieces, the watch's face matches the larger sketch.


Sketch Artist

Character Sketches

Character Sketches

Character Sketches


Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding, these artists are not the same animators who create the movies we all love. These talented individuals start with an approved "original" and reproduce and embellish the various characters.

For those of you on a tighter budget, posters are available. These come in a sturdy cardboard tube so you can hopefully get them back home in good condition.


Posters


BigFigs (Big Figures or Figurines) have become quite popular over the years. At Disney World, the collection is pretty much limited to characters, but for a while at Disneyland, attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain were offered. Below you can see a BigFig of Fantasyland. I really wonder why similar attraction BigFigs aren't offered here in Florida.


BigFigs

BigFigs

Fantasyland BigFig

Fantasyland BigFig


Smaller figurines are also offered at the Good Stores. Brands like Lenox, Precious Moments, Royal Dalton, and Lladro can be found. At one time, the Good Stores also offered a large selection of Walt Disney Classic Collection pieces, but for the last several months, these items have not been replaced as the stock dwindles.


Disney Figurines

Disney Figurines

Disney Figurines

Disney Figurines


Time-specific and topic-specific goods can also be found in the Good Stores. For example, when Disney World was celebrating its 40th anniversary, many fine-quality collectibles related to this celebration were available in these shops. And currently, paintings, figurines, plaques, coins, and clothing highlighting Disney trains are being showcased.


Train Merchandise


The merchandise is always changing in the Good Stores. Since much of what is offered is limited in quantity, if you see something you like, I suggest strongly buying it NOW rather than later. Chances are good it will not be here when you return next year. In addition, the four Good Stores do not carry the exact same pieces. In theory they do, but in reality, they don't.

My trips to the Disney parks vary from visit to visit. But one thing is constant. I always visit the Good Stores on every trip. I want to make sure I don't miss out on a treasure.


April 27, 2009

“Green” comes to Disney Merchandising

Disney has introduced a new "green" product line. Starting this week, environmentally friendly merchandise will start appearing on shelves across property.

Last year, Disney developed guidelines for what "green" meant. They wanted to make sure if a product said "green" it actually meant something. Their efforts gave birth to some surprisingly innovative merchandise.

Here is a list of the new "green" products:

Stationery, notebooks, and pencils made out of recycled materials including rubber tires, denim, and currency.

T-shirts made from organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals, or synthetic fertilizers.

Purses made from misprinted Disney candy bar wrappers.

Mickey and Minnie plush toys made from organic cotton and earth-friendly inks.

Jewelry made from bamboo and coconuts.

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund pins that come on a paper-card embedded with wildflower seeds. The card can be planted in the soil to grow flowers.

Displays like these (below) can be found in shops designating where green products are for sale. And before you ask me, the purses sell from the mid-twenties to the mid-fifties, depending on size.


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January 27, 2008

Rawlings Baseball Bats

Did you know that you can have a custom-made baseball bat made at Disney World? Well you can. Tucked in a corner inside the Team Mickey Store at the Marketplace section of Downtown Disney, you'll find a Rawlings shop. Here, a craftsman will create your one-of-a-kind bat while you watch.

Opened last September, this shop is divided into two sections, a sales area and an enclosed room where the bats are actually turned on a lathe. Two large windows look into this enclosed space affording a great view of the bat-making process. The craftsman wears a microphone and he describes each step of the process as he turns a piece of dowel into a bat.

After your bat has been created, you can have your name, signature, and/or your amateur team's logo laser-engraved or embroidered into the wood. Other items are also for sale like a bat display case, a baseball and display case, and various helmets. Some of these items can also be engraved.

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January 14, 2008

Disney Monorail T-shirt

I have received a number of emails telling me that the "Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas! T-shirt cannot be found anywhere at Disney World, so I decided that I better check this out for myself. I spoke with a cast member at the World of Disney Store at Downtown Disney and was told that the shirts were briefly available in December but they sold out almost immediately. I asked if they would be receiving a new shipment anytime soon. The cast member just shook her head and said, "I wish I knew."

Sorry folks if I got your hopes up for nothing. However, I did find the following monorail T-shirt during my search. I admit it's not nearly as exciting as the Spanish language shirt, but at least it has a monorail on it.

Monorail T-shirt

January 2, 2008

Por Favor - Purchasing the Monorail T-shirt

My latest blog about the monorail T-shirt has generated a lot of interest. Many of you have written to ask where I purchased it. In my case, I bought it at the Boutiki shop in the Polynesian Resort. However, I suspect it's also available at the other Disney resorts, especially the monorail resorts (Contemporary and Grand Floridian).

To my knowledge, it is not available from Disney's website. However, you can call Disney and purchase almost anything that can be bought in the parks and resorts and have it mailed to your home.

Phone: 407-363-6200
Fax: 407-352-6369
e-mail: wdw.mail.order@disneyworld.com

Something I have learned since I moved to Orlando and started visiting Disney World on a regular basis is, if I see something I like, I better buy it NOW. If I wait, it won't be available later.

Por favor Tshirt

December 26, 2007

Por Favor

I do not speak Spanish, but I have ridden the monorails at Disney World so many times that I've memorized the saying "Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas." (Please stand clear of the doors.)

Disney is now selling a T-shirt sporting this saying along with a picture of a monorail and castle and the words "Walt Disney World." However, if you look closely, it's a picture of Disneyland's castle, not Disney World's. Oops!

Por favor Tshirt

December 13, 2007

Crystal Arts - Main Street Magic Kingdom

Earlier this year (or maybe even last year), the Bakery on Main Street needed to expand its seating area. To do this, Disney displaced the Arribas Brothers glass shop that shared this area.

Shortly after the expansion was complete, the Market House next door was closed and remodeled. It reopened several months later and was renamed Crystal Arts. Arribas Brothers has moved into this location and the shop is substantially bigger than their previous home. But more changes were on the way.

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Adjacent to the Crystal Arts store, facing onto Center Street, were two other shops. These formally sold children's items and other Disney merchandise. These two shops have also been closed for a number of months. Last week, they reopened and are now a part of the Crystal Arts shop. This has almost tripled the amount of merchandise Arribas Brothers sells. In essence, all of their goods that were once sold in Cinderella Castle (now Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique) and their former shop next to the Bakery have been rolled into one.

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

In the back of the store is a special area featuring a new highlight. Although not quite complete, soon an artisan will be stationed here. Like the glass-blowing area in the front of the shop, here another artist will fashion larger pieces of art while guests look on. Three large kilns are clearly visible in this area and it should be interesting to see the items before and after their baking.

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

A cast member told me that the new creations would be similar to the vases pictured here.

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom

Crystal Arts Store Main Street Magic Kingdom


My only regret" There once was an old-fashioned telephone in the Market House. You could pick up the receiver and hear a mock 1890's party-line conversation between a mother and daughter. It was very amusing and always brought a smile to my face. Sadly, this phone was removed during the remodel - another Disney detail has died. I know this was a very small attraction - very few people were even aware it was here. But it's these small details that make Disney parks so special. Luckily, you can still find these old phones in the Market House store at Disneyland in California. Let's keep our fingers crossed that they aren't removed too.


December 1, 2007

New Contemporay Gift Shop - Fantasia Shop

Note to my readers: I've got company coming for a couple weeks so will be taking a break from blogging. I will return the week of December 10th.

The new Fantasia Shop on the fourth floor (Grand Canyon Concourse) of the Contemporary Resort has opened!

The Fantasia shop fills the center floor space between Bay View Gifts and the Arcade. The shop has a modern yet whimsical look. It's very attractive and fits well with the new décor Disney is using throughout the resort. The Fantasia Shop sells toys and other children's items. For the most part, it's the same merchandise that used to line the shelves when shops were located under the monorail tracks - the new home of the Arcade.

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

Fantasia Shop Contemporary Resort

If you'd like to see the construction progress, here are links to previous blogs with photo updates:

From Fellow Blogger, Linda Mac - November 11, 2007

October 19, 2007

September 13, 1007

August 22, 2007

November 28, 2007

Art of Disney store in Magic Kingdom

The Art of Disney, or as I like to call it, the "good" store, has opened in the Main Street Cinema building in the Magic Kingdom.

Exterior of the Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom


This store sells upscale merchandise. Lenox, Armani, the Disney Classic Collection, and original and limited edition paintings by featured artist can be found here.

Compared to its sister stores in Epcot, Downtown Disney, and the Disney/MGM Studios, this store is small. So small in fact that some of its merchandise spills over into the adjoining store, the Uptown Jewelers.

The redesign is nice and I'm glad Disney has found a new home for this store as it seems to have bounced around from one location to the next over the past several years.

One sad note" For many years, a ticket booth sat just inside the entrance of the Main Street Cinema - back when old Mickey Mouse cartoons were actually shown here. Inside the ticket booth was a mannequin of a young lady, the ticket seller. She wore a Disney name tag and if memory serves, her name was Jennifer from Marceline (Walt's home town). A couple of years ago the ticket booth disappeared. I asked a cast member what had happened to it and I was told that it was being refurbished and would return soon. Alas, it never did.

I realize that in the scheme of things, the disappearance of Jennifer is insignificant. But her demise scares me. Every time the powers-that-be removes one of the little details that make Disney parks so special, I have to ask myself "Where will it end?" For that matter, I miss the "old" Main Street Cinema (when it showed movies), the Magic Shop, and the Penny Arcade. These were special locations. Now these spots sell the same merchandise you can find everywhere else on property. Sigh.

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

November 13, 2007

Disney Blu-ray

For those of you old enough to remember the VCR's introduction, you may also remember the battle between VHS and Beta. These were two, non-compatible formats vying for dominance in the VCR world. Today, a similar battle is raging for high-def DVD supremacy - this time between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Paramount, DreamWorks, and Universal have opted for HD DVD while Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Disney have chosen Blu-ray.

To help promote their product, Disney has set up a high-def TV in the "Once Upon A Toy" store in Downtown Disney. Here, movie clips are shown, giving guests the opportunity to see crystal clear pictures and the advantages of Blu-ray. In addition, Disney Blu-ray DVD's are sold.

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November 12, 2007

Updates Around Walt Disney World

The day after Halloween, Disney went to work decorating for Christmas. The transformation takes weeks as Santa's Helpers move from park to park and resort to resort, stringing garland and decorating trees. I visited the Magic Kingdom and Main Street is all decked out. Once again, the big Christmas tree is temporarily located in the Hub. If tradition holds, after the annual Christmas Day television show is filmed (several weeks before Christmas), the tree will be moved to Town Square.

Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom


Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

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Haunted Mansion Tip:
I had read this on another Disney webpage, but wanted to check it out for myself before I wrote about it. As you may have read, the Haunted Mansion underwent a wonderful refurbishment. Enhancements were made throughout the attraction. One small, almost completely unnoticeable enhancement is in the stretch room. If you linger behind the crowd as they are exiting this room, pay attention to the gargoyles. They speak and chatter and laugh. It's difficult to hear, you need to pay attention, but they are definitely making noise. This is a VERY minor effect. Only a true Disneyphile would even care. But if you're like me and want to experience everything, then don't rush out of the Stretch Room. Linger.


For the past several years, Disney has offered for sale miniature Magic Kingdom buildings so that guests can create their own Christmas Village back home. Past years included several Main Street buildings and Cinderella Castle. This year the Haunted Mansion was introduced. The piece measures 10" x 8" x 6" and sells for $60. Currently, I have only seen this item for sale at the Christmas Shops in the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney.


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When the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened in Cinderella Castle, the Art of Disney shop was displaced. Currently, the Main Street Cinema is being refurbished. When it reopens on November 21st, it will be the new home of the

Main Street Cinema to become Art of Disney Shop

Main Street Cinema to become Art of Disney Shop


As construction continues on the rumored DVC north of the Contemporary Resort, a second floor is clearly visible. In addition, the foundation for the bridge/walkway between the fourth floor (Grand Canyon Concourse) of the Contemporary and the new DVC is noticeable.

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New drinking fountains have started appearing in and around the TTC.

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Those of you who choose not to use Disney to ship your packages home need to know that the Lake Buena Vista Post Office has moved. It is now located in the Shoppes at Vista Center. The address is: 8536 Palm Parkway, Orlando, FL. Phone: 407-248-1153. Hours: M-F 9:00am - 4:00pm, Sat 9:00am - 12:00pm, Closed Sundays and Holidays.

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July 29, 2007

Where Suenos Come True

For there Spanish speaking guests, Disney is offering a baseball cap that says:

Where suenos come true.

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July 8, 2007

New Merchandise at the Contemporary

While at the Contemporary Resort yesterday, I came upon some new merchandise. First a Mickey Mouse Frame that features the traditional three circles (one big and two small). The price was $20. Also, a new vase ($14) and bowl ($14). These are white with small embossed Mickeys covering the surface.

Mickey Mouse Frame

Mickey Mouse Bowl

Mickey Mouse Vase

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About Merchandise

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the Merchandise category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Golden Oak is the previous category.

Resorts is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.