Space Shuttle Endeavour soars over California Adventure as Disneyland refurbishments continue

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on September 24, 2012 at 4:32 am with 29 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 wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • Internitty

    Thanks Andy. I agree with you that it doesn’t seem right to put Walt Disney on a t-shirt, maybe photos and the like but not shirts, cups or frisbies (better be careful merchandising doesn;t take THAT seriously) I think a shirt with Mickey and a quote like “It all started with a mouse – Walt Disney” would be good and I would wear it but I won’t be wearing Walts face.

    I thik we may have to resign ourselves to the fact that what they did in the DCA shop fronts last week IS as far as they are willing to compromise, what a pity 🙁

    Thanks again for the interesting pictures and information 🙂

  • Park Hopper

    The lack of imaginative merchandise at Disneyland has been a problem for years. Why? Profit margins. They get one of their artists to come up with an attractive image and then they plaster it on key chains, coffee mugs and t-shirts. Because you can manufacture a t-shirt in China for pennies and then sell it at Disneyland for $25 – $30. The profit margins are astronomical.

    If they came up with more original, specialized, imaginative items, they would cost more to design and manufacture and they couldn’t make nearly as much profit on each sale.

    Why fill valuable retail space with merchandise that has a low profit margin when you can cram every shelf full of key chains, coffee mugs and t-shirts, and make a bundle more?

  • troyer

    Thanks for the update Andy. Your concerns about the Buena Vista window displays, as you remark, have been generally ignored by the greedy bean counters in merchandising whose only appreciation of Disney magic is money-a pattern we have seen not just here, but also at the closing of the Penny Arcade(now a candy shop), monotonous merchandise throughout the parks, and the apparent imminent closing of the subs in Tomorrowland. I hope all readers will stop by Guest Services at their next visit and voice their concerns. If we all remain silent, nothing will change in this regard, and will probably only get worse. For example, I can easily imagine the Disneyland Fire Station turning into a store of generic Disney merchandise. Such a shame that those overseeing Disney have such little artistic appreciation of Walt’s genius. It seems we have cold-hearted accountants in charge unfortunately, and have since the 1980’s.

    • Timekeeper

      I don’t think Disneyland would close the subs this so soon, not when Disney re-released Finding Nemo in 3D and that there’s a sequel in can. Plus, the attraction opened in 2007, it cost Disney a lot of money to retrofit and remodel the lagoon, the subs and open the attraction, and it would cost Disney a lot more to close it.


  • eicarr

    Great update!

    They have to find a good mix with the BVS windows and I think they’re almost there. When BVS opened I thought the windows gave a creepy old antique store vibe. A little eerie like the tower of terror. Plus I really didn’t know what to find in the stores without taking the time to stick my head in dueling my rushed trip.

    IF that sandwich chain opens, I wonder if it will stay in business longer than it took to construct it. It’s such a poor spot for them.

    • Timekeeper

      The sandwich shop will be great when it opens and it will gather customers, did you guys forget where the Swing Dancing nights from the Carnation Plaza Gardens in DL moved to? 😉


  • Andy, thank you for the great update. I’ve got to chime in that the loss of creative windows at Disneyland and DCA is unfortunate. If folks wanted to visit a mall instead of a theme park, they would do so. I believe that guests expect more out of Disney than this.

    The merchandise problem goes much deeper. ‘One Disney’ and the lackluster merchandise it produces has made it easier to find the same crappy merchandise in every store, but it doesn’t make you want to shop.

    There was a time when shopping at Disneyland was a fun activity (at least for many guests). Each store in each land had a unique set of merchandise, that you often couldn’t find anywhere else. The shops had buyers who’s job it was to keep the store stocked with interesting stuff. That’s all been consolidated today. Interesting has given way to ubiquity. Disney may think they are saving money with One Disney, but they are probably losing out on tens of millions of extra sales from all the stuff people can no longer find. Why bother visiting more than one store on a WDW or Disneyland trip if all you’ll find is the same stuff everywhere.

    With all the advances the resort has made in recent years, merchandise continues to just get worse and worse.

    • toonaspie

      Indeed. It would make the most sense if each store sold something different so that way each store would be worth visiting. This can also determine what merchandise is selling better than others.

      And I’m still wrapping my head around Carsland Tshirts being sold on BVS. Uh…you have a Cars Land!!!

  • APJ1127

    Nice Update as per usual. Those are some TACKY shirts. I’m finding it hard to find apparel anywhere in the parks that I could wear in public.

  • tcsnwhite

    I see absolutely NO issue with Walt’s image on merchandise, including t-shirts. This is not a new thing. It’s been going on for years, if not a decade or more. I remember seeing clothing items (and more) start to pop up with Walt’s image as a kid, and I thought it was great. I had several different Walt shirts, and always got great complements on them.

    I don’t see using Walt’s image as any different than any other celebrity, public figure, or iconic person on various forms of merchandising throughout many industries, of which has been going on for decades upon decades – from Marilyn Monroe to Bob Marley, Michael Jackson to Elvis Presley, from Obama to Madonna. Walt Disney is as much an iconic figure as those, and more, and even possibly to a higher level in the lexicon of American pop culture. Why would he be any different, especially when it comes to official DISNEY merchandise sold in the DISNEY theme parks? Makes complete sense to me, and the two shirts above look very nice.

    For those who say, well, Walt was the head of a company, not an entertainer…that can be debated. He was the face of the company, the host of the televisions specials…he put himself out there as such. That’s why “Walt Disney” as a product was what it was, especially to those alive during his time. And naturally like any company or estate, the figure becomes idealized, turned into an icon in its own right, and is sold.
    As long as the product is tasteful and well done, I see no issue here other than complaining and nitpicking at Disney once again for simply the sake of needing another thing to complain about.

    • ayalexander

      I totally agree with your comment. He put himself out there fully knowing he would be an icon on a t-shirt or the main illustration on a Disneyland Guide Book. There is nothing wrong with his face on a t-shirt, just as much as there is nothing wrong with all those other celebrities they plaster on merchandise around the world. Hell, I love Walt so much, I actually was thinking about buying those shirts. Its not always about money, ya Disney gets money from those Walt shirts, but they started selling them because that is what the guests want, all of the Disney researchers that stand out in the parks, collect all this information and it gets dispersed through the resort. -Go ahead ask the researchers next time you all wanna know about who got the idea to put some merchandise in the windows or Walt on a t-shirt they will tell you, “The Guests”.

      • jcruise86

        I have no problem with Walt’s image on T-shirts, as long as they only sell the shirts to attractive, physically fit people.

    • peanutj

      TCSN, I also agree with you about the t-shirts. For the most part I find them to be very tastefully done. I do think the ‘head’ shirt design is a bit big, but that’s just my opinion. I wouldn’t wear ANYONE’S big ol’ head on my body. At least they chose a nice pose. I really like the one with Walt and Mickey together.

      DCA should give the windows completely to Imagineering or completely to Merchandising. Having a mix of the two is an awful look. Personally, I prefer the original windows, but I can see Merchandising’s argument. These are real stores selling real stuff. Real stores put their merchandise in their windows. It’s how they show customers what they’re selling and entice them to come inside. It’s just good business.

  • ayalexander

    Actually there is A LOT of work going on in the Disneyland Hotel’s Fantasy tower. They are taking Bonita’s Suite (which is 8 rooms big) and turning it into a series of I believe 4 separate suites. Its sad because that was the apartment that the Wrathers stayed in. When Disney Co. asked the Wrathers to give them the hotel they said no. So, after Jack Wrather died Disney Co. bought his whole company just to take over the Disneyland Hotel and then they sold off his assets like Lassie, Queen Mary and The Spruce Goose. -All that was left of the Wrather legacy at the Disneyland Hotel (the Bonita Suite) has now been erased from Disneyland Resort history. -Really sad.

  • cj843

    As soon as I saw the Walt Disney Tee Shirt, i thought – I have to have it. And I will get one next week. Its not in poor taste, you jumped the gun on that comment. He is an icon, and the tee shirt displays him in good taste.

  • jasmineray

    I am very happy to see the Halloween Carnival looking more…spiffy. That plain white tent was not appealing at all but it looks so much better now! Snow White’s Grotto looks great and I’m very pleased to hear the lighting has been brought back. I can’t wait for everything else to be finished, including Fantasy Faire!

    I’m disappointed about the windows on BVS. Seriously, if people want to purchase items from the stores, they will do it. The merchandise doesn’t need to be piled up in the windows. It’s a store, people know to go in, look around and buy something if they want to. The windows were so cool and unique and great to look at. I have to say this; some of these designs the company have come up with look so TACKY AND CHEAP-LOOKING. Like they were designed on a computer in a matter of minutes. Geez, can we have some effort? Not all the designs, just some of them. Some of the other designs are actually really nice. I really wish they’d get rid of the Candy Land board game. Really?

    Regarding Walt Disney’s face on shirts and such, I really don’t see a problem with it. People we love have been plastered on shirts, posters, art pieces and other things for years now. This isn’t anything new. I don’t see the company putting Walt Disney’s face on merchandise as them trying to make him a “character” so-to-speak. He kind of is a character anyway, IMO. Like others have already said, Walt Disney put himself out there to be idolized. He probably wouldn’t have wanted something like this (I really don’t know. I didn’t know Mr. Disney), but what can you expect, when there are die-hard fans out there who love and appreciate him so much? I myself have shirts and posters of people that I love. I just see it as a way of stating that I appreciate this person. What’s wrong with that?

  • 1WaltFan

    I love the Walt merchandise! As a fan of Walt more than any character it is great to see Walt celebrated on merchandise. I have a tee of Walt on main street with Mickey which I love. I just had my sister pick up the DCA tee of Walt and Mickey and of the DL opening day quote.
    Celebrating Walt on merchandise is a great add to DCA and the park’s line of merchandise. I can’t wait to get my hands on more.

    Thanks always for your updates. I always look forward to them.

  • tinkerbell77

    Do you by chance know when Disney plans on doing the refurbishment for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? We are planning on going in May and that is my children’s favorite ride.

  • TodAZ1

    I’d love to have those Walt shirts too!!

  • nLanciotti92

    i too would gladly ( and will) buy the shirt with Walt’s face on it. I love them, and can not understand why this would even begin to be a problem. Im personally starting to get kinda tired of the Disney “fan” community’s constant complaining, especially about such un-important things.
    Every time I came on here and read about how the cups were changing and how that was such a disgrace, attention everyone its just a cup. Some think that when you get rid of the Disney Parks themed cups that it become cheap and doesn’t fit into the theming that the guests deserve, well last time i looked a Coca-Cola logo, is a lot more appropriate theme wise, than a Mickey Mouse ice cream, and food confettied around a bright red Disney Parks cup. And by the way, either way it will be thrown in the trash can about five minutes later. I for one like that they are getting rid of the themed napkins and cups if that might be saving money from that type of thing, since it really is extremely trivial.

    Life is better when you have a passion, and for all of us Disney is that passion, so enjoy it ! There is so much fun to be had in the world of Disney!!!!!!

  • Dizzey

    Regarding the windows on Buena Vista Street… If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t The Emporium in Disneyland typically have a window with little animatronics in it? Sometimes a little village scene, etc.? It’s not merchandise in every window there. Seems to me that Disney could strike a compromise on Buena Vista Street that doesn’t mean destroying every window by mixing up the intentions. They could simply dedicate some windows to theming, some to merchandising. Those who are interested in one or the other could stop, look over whatever is in the window, and appreciate them for what they are without trying to look through or around all the “other stuff” that is in the window. It’s simple, and I doubt that it would kill merchandising all that much. If the windows are all just cluttered with merchandise, I guarantee that I will spend very little time on BVS, which will eliminate any sales opportunity to me…

  • Not My Real Name

    I am another one who wants to have the “It was all started by a mouse” shirt. I’ll buy one when I go on Thursday.

  • Crazee4mm

    Remember when the windows at The Emporium used to draw crowds? The lovingly constructed miniature displays which depicted scenes from various Disney animated films were always something guests loved stopping by and enjoying as they either arrived, or left for the night. When the 50th.happened, The Emporium windows were filled with retrospective displays from the past, along with a new display from Ratatouille. Since then (8 1/2 years later…so far), those displays are STILL THERE! The vintage displays were consolidated down to just a window or two while the Ratatouille window remains unchanged. The only changes made now are the window clings that are put up to promote the latest DVD/Blu-Ray release. Whatever happened to the release of new, moving, window displays? I really miss them.

    • ralzap

      Totaly agee. Those windows were a highligt. thanks, Great update.

  • adavidw

    So, did no one notice that Disney apparently doesn’t know how to spell “Endeavour”?

  • StrikeYerColors

    For Tinkerbell77: reports and rumors are saying that Big Thunder will close in early/mid January and that the refurb will last anywhere from 6 – 12 months. Even if that turns out slightly incorrect in some way, if it’s happening in 2013 at all you can bet your bootstraps it will be closed by May… Sorry.

  • wmp.dll

    Man Earl of Sandwich is taking a ridiculous amount of time. I remember salivating, before my trip in July as I counted down the weeks, at the thought of an Earl of Sandwich. And then as each episode of Dateline Disney, the timeline went from “late spring” to “early summer” to “late summer” and now “fall 2012”. Yeesh, may as well be “opening….maybe never”

  • utefans55

    Is there anyway to get tickets to the Halloween Party in Disneyland if it says it is sold out?

  • turbo55

    I’m getting the shakes, where is the update for this week? 😉
    Hope you’re having fun!