Merchandise takes over Buena Vista Street and Disneyland food gets less magical

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disneyland Resort

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Published on September 09, 2012 at 9:39 pm with 63 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • Emmanuel_4

    Great Update!!!!

  • Disney Analyst

    I recommend if your tweet DCA to use hashtag #disneyfail

  • Internitty

    I can’t believe how tacky the Beuna Vista Street windows look now, I am so disapointed I won’t get to see the fully imagined version of the area. Andy certainly makes a point that the same stuff is all over both parks and if it’s not selling then maybe it’s just no darn good, why don’t they give the people what they want like the baseball shirts and the fairytale books.

    I also agree that the paper cups and bags for food won’t destroy your vacation but it sure is disappointing that nice touches are vanashing, I bought the Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily cup and popcorn bag replicas (2 of the cups) because they are special, as collectable as Coke is I won’t spent $175 for a cup replica ot a hot food bag replica. It’s touches like that, the ones you barely notice that absorb you into Disneylands theming and make your visit fully immersive. While you are complaining about DCA’s windows add another one for the tacky food packaging in Disneyland… so sad :(

    Could they close any more rides and attractions in Disneyland at the same time? I’d be so frustrated with the amount of closures at the moment. Finally I am pretty sure we’re into the second week of September, here in Australia it’s spring, in the USA it’s fall or autumn right? Then how is Earl of Sandwich going to open in Summer 2012, I envisage Doctor Who coming to the rescue on that one OR maybe they meant summer in Australia and New Zealand which gives them until December ;)

    Thank you Andy for a very interesting if not somewhat depressing update as always…

    • Internitty

      OOPS that sounds like your updates are always depressing lol I meant intereating update as usual but this one is a bit of a downer :)

    • Director_Guy

      Autumn begins on September 22nd, so I guess they have twelve more days to go!

  • eicarr

    The generic “one disney” napkins made me sad, and I won’t miss them at all. I did notice and feel sad at the loss of the Disneyland ones though. But printed napkins only remind me of cheap fast food restaurants. The cups however are a different story. As with popcorn buckets, people take their time to eat out of these and giant coke labels/mini-billboards in peoples hands detract from the magic. Maybe Coke though is kicking down some coin.

  • Susan Hughes

    I was wondering how long the bead curtain at Fillmore’s was going to last. Obviously, the Imagineers never envisioned this curtain to be such a popular tourist photo op. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have created it out or “Christmas ornament-like” beads which were really fragile. I watched it slowly start to disintegrate over time. But to be authentic to the movie, I hope it comes back made out of sturdier material.

  • daliseurat

    How sad. Disney going for generic paper items is a bigger deal than you would think. It automatically transports me out of Disney and into the real world where I keep my wallet shut. And it’s doubly shameful that they tampered with the carefully designed windows. I get fed up with every shop having the same merchandise. And I have been disappointed from the start that you couldn’t get some of the cool vintage replica’s inside. I do understand the need to display the merchandise you sell. But if they’d just worked with the Imagineers to start it could’ve been done in a manner that didn’t make me walk past the door with my wallet shut.

  • mratigan

    Those windows were so cool and now are really messed up

  • QPerth

    Another wonderful update bringing the good, and the tacky bad news and pics to us far away from these Parks. Sad to see the plain and cheap looking food service items now being used. And those gorgeous windows!! All that hard work and story that went into creating them completely disrespected and disregarded. It’s disgusting, and visitors should let this be known at the DCA Chamber of Commerce building, tweeting @DCA and sending in letters. If you don’t speak up, you have no right to complain about these changes.
    Looking forward to next weeks already, thanks again. -Q

  • Grizzly

    In 5 short days the Disney Halloween cups and “disposable” products will be in the parks.

    Did you ask around to see what the situation with the unthemed paper products was or are you just assuming that Disney abandoned them?

    • jcruise86

      The Halloween cups & napkins could be cool, but Disneyland should NEVER go generic. I noticed the blank napkins last week.

      And now for your reading pleasure, a merchandising rant:
      –At Universal I’ve noticed the attractive sugar packs with the Universal logo. Nice!
      –It’s depressing that Disney apparently lacked the imagination to think that their guests would never want to buy classic stories with attractive, classic book covers.
      –A terribly out-of-place T-shirt in a Frontierland shop can kill the mood of the themed land almost as badly as a Frontierland cart worker texting on his cellphone.
      –And every Disney hotel should have soap boxes that feature that hotel’s logo and theme.
      –And why does Disneyland now only have about half a dozen different post cards? There aren’t even ones of Carsland or Buena Vista Street, are there? I want new cards of the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion.

      I’ve been reading a book by the founder of the Four Seasons hotel chain, and it’s startling how differently he approaches everything. He’s obsessive about quality and then money has followed. One of his inspirations was the McDonald’s chain of decades past, so the quest to be the best is not just about charging the most.

  • raistlinxw

    I had a similar experience with the Disney Marathon. In all such races, there is a large sign at every mile that shows your current race time. When I ran my first Disney race in 2004, these signs were Disney originals, each showing a familiar Disney Character and inspirational quote. They made great photo backdrops to take your picture and time with as you completed each mile.

    I returned to race in 2005, and Sharpie (the marker maker) has sponsored the race, and replaced these marquee signs with their own generic signs. They were no longer ‘Disney’, rather they were parodies of famous pieces of art(like ‘Dogs Playing Poker’, ‘ Scream’, ‘Night Sky’, etc..), and nothing Disney anywhere. The race lost a huge amount of magic for me. So much so that I no longer feel that Disney races are anything special. I can run races for a lot less elsewhere, and these days I do. I’ve not run a Disney race since, all because of this small but substantial change.

    Such a loss for the participants.

    Thanks, Glen

    • Internitty

      And how easy would it have been to make the parodies about Disney stuff, so many opportunities lost because of lack of imagination, especially from a company that prides itself on imagination.

  • StevenW

    “Disneyland’s merchandise team made these drastic changes without notifying Imagineering and they did so with obvious disregard for the authenticity and credibility these displays are designed to give Buena Vista Street.”

    What would Imagineering do exactly? Imagineering doesn’t call the shots for merchandising. So do merchandising call Imagineering to ask whether they agree with their decisions for this particular store and others. Then the merchandising department gets a response and starts over again because they have to listen.

    The street is done. Imagineering doesn’t have a say anymore. It is the job of merchandising to make a profit. Certainly, they probably should do more research of figuring out what merchandise fits the theming, but Imagineering is no longer in the picture.

    • jcruise86

      “. . . but Imagineering is no longer in the picture.” That’s a saddening clause.

    • Wreckless Abrandon

      One of the current problems is that the stores still look like facades that don’t have stores inside them even with the merch sitting in the windows.

      As it is, I would prefer to see the authentic displays over the generic DLR merch sitting in there. Personally, I don’t look at the displays in the windows to see what to buy. I’d almost argue that the windows don’t really add too much for advertising when it comes to Disney Parks, but I could be wrong. People may just walk right into the store anyway.

      I think the point is that the windows are part of the theme and that’s why Imagineering should have a say in that.

    • Internitty

      In a Disney theme park Imagineering SHOULD (even though they aren’t) be consulted before destroying the theming otherwise it’s just another theme park and there are plenty of those to go around. Anyway given DCA’s history can we really expect anything more?

  • wave789

    I’m guessing the paper food product switchover is due to a supply issue, since it’s happening right before an expected theme update for Halloween. The end of a busy (busier than expected, at that) season, right before a new batch of themed cups is supposed to go into circulation is the time I’d expect a supply issue to show it’s ugly head. Having worked in Disneyland foods for a few years in the past, I’m willing to give Disney the benefit of the doubt on this because I have a better idea of how they operate than most of you.

    If we have Halloween cups on Friday, rejoice. It was a supply issue. If not, then we have an issue. Until then, I wouldn’t worry.

    The windows on Buena Vista St? That’s just shameful and I have no respect for Disney’s merch department for this decision. Disney obviously did it because merch wasn’t selling on BVS. But, as has been pointed out many times, Disney needs to sell unique merch on BVS (and everywhere else…). Not this crap.

    • Internitty

      I like your theory and I really hope it is the case, this concerns me now and remember who is on overall charge “Last week @EPCOTcitizen on Twitter reported that generic soft drink cups appearing at Walt Disney World restaurants”

  • Epcyclopedia

    Quote: “It is the job of merchandising to make a profit”

    Actually, no – that’s not their top priority. I posted the Merchandise Department’s actual training manual from 1982 to support just how screwed up all of this is over on my blog:

    It clearly shows that guidelines have been abandoned and values that company once firmly believed in have been abandoned.

  • DisW

    > I’m guessing the paper food
    > product switchover is due to
    > a supply issue

    I should hope so, because those plain napkins and cups emblazoned with “Coca-Cola” have a very cheap “Six Flags” vibe about them.

    As for the windows on Buena Vista Street, I’m going to guess that sales volume in many of the stores hasn’t been as good as the “sharp pencil boys” would like them to be. I could easily imagine that to be the case since a combination of very high admission prices and the ongoing recession must be taking a toll on the way that people spend money inside the park.

    There was a hint of that when during even the opening weeks, when crowds were plentiful, one part of the company wanted the shop doors kept closed — apparently to keep air-conditioning costs down and to be green friendly — while another division of Disney wanted the doors kept propped open.

    I’ve heard it said that one big reason the Disney parks in Tokyo can be so extravagant in how they’re developed and maintained is that certain visitors there — mainly young female shoppers — are famous for their conspicuous consumption. That and the ingrained Japanese custom of buying gifts as a courtesy to friends, family and acquaintances, far more than what’s true here in America.

    • Monorail Man

      Even Six Flags knows to brand their cups. Seems like we see this every year around this time, the general supply runs out, the Halloween cups come in. I wonder though, with no major marketing campaign announced for 2013, what will the new generic cups and foodware say?

    • Internitty

      I always get negative comments when I mention this but I DO know what I am talking about, I live in Queensland Australia on the Gold Coast we have a similar climate to Southern California every second house here now is using solar panels to generate electricity, they are amazingly efficient and can only get better, as a matter of fact our system generates more power than we use and I use a lot of power which is why I went for it. The panels can be placed discretely so as not to ruin the theming, technically they don’t even have to be nearby the building, if Disney wanted to be Green and if they wanted to keep the door open when the airconditioners are on and keep costs down then there is a simple solution. Tomorrowland was originally concieved on the idea of displaying advances in technology, I am sure it Walt was still alive a few of the more problematic air conditioners would be solar powered NOT the entire theme park just a few air cons and maybe some lighting used in the daytime.

  • AliKzam

    What kind of a world do we live in where more people want to buy books of classic literature than tee shirts and sippy cups? A crazy, mixed up one, I tell you!

    • Algernon

      That’s nothing. MGM Resorts thinks people go to Las Vegas to see art museums.

      • jcruise86

        I’ve visited two art exhibits on the Las Vegas strip: Steve Martin’s collection & an exhibit of art from the Hermitage. Viva Las Vegas!

    • Internitty

      LOL I LOVE IT!