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  1. #1

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    How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    There has been a lot of 'talk' about how Disney went wrong with the Tiki merchandise event. How do you think it could have been organized to avoid some of the mis-steps?

    Keeping in mind that the Haunted Mansion 40th/Shag event in 2009 is going to have three sub-sets of enthusiasts... the Disneyland people, the Shag people, and the Goth people.

    There are always going to be different levels of financial commitment. The pre-paid event with pre-ordered merchandise that you collect at the event seems to be a bit more organized, to me, than the pay to stay on-site for early entry method because of all the line (let's call it finessing rather than cutting) finessing. And both require an additional amount of money over and above the cost of the merchandise.

    I don't really have an answer. We waited in the Tiki line for five hours (having arrived at 8:15), and although they had everything in stock when our turn came, the signing portion of the event was LONG over.

    Just looking for opinions, I guess, I have been to an assortment of these events over the years and they ALL have varying degrees of mayhem. Perhaps someone here has the answer.

  2. #2

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    There are so many ways to run this kind of event better.

    If Disney insists on a limited edition approach, then :

    1) Have a separate entrance to the park for guest who want to purchase the items for the event.

    2) Issue wrist bands to prove you were in line. Use different colors for different hours of entry.

    3) Use a large area for sales, so the maxium number of people can be rung up at the same time. Maybe the opera house for example.

    4) Provide different lines for clothing, collectibles, pins, and art. That way people who just want to get one or two items don't have to wait in one big line. When the line moves faster and you can see the end of it, people are happier.

    5) Disney could use a lottery for the limited edition items. Everyone can get a scratch off to see if they get to purchase the item. Or a lottery ticket could be issued and numbers called. Either way, it make losing out on purchasing an item less frustrating.

    6) Instead of a limited edition of a set amount before the event, Disney could say limited to purchase only at the event. Then if they ran out, they could still take orders that day and not disappoint people. They even could offer free shipping and still make more money because they would sell more items.

    7) They could offer entertainment fitting the event. Get some characters or Disney legends to get pictures with. Play some festive music and make it a party.

    8) Make sure that people are not waiting in the sun to purchase items. Maybe have them come into an area and take a number. Then have them wait anywhere they want until the number is called. (You can call their cell phone. Most have those nowadays!)

    Well there are some ideas.
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  3. #3

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    I worked 10 years in retail and handled these types of events for the store I worked at. I've never been to a Disneyland event, but I can't see how they could be much different. I will think about the task, and let you know if I come up with anything spectacular.

    So far, Cricket had some good thoughts, that I can only expand on.
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  4. #4

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    OK, you sucked me into this thread. Uggg! It's like they have never set up an event before. Really, I was surprised that they didn't make this a real event, with panel discussion, etc, like they have before. They have also held events at various Disney hotels, Grand Cal, DL Hotel, and Paradise Pier. Sometimes they have even had it in Festival Arena. It's no coincidence, that many of the issues ARE having these events right on Main Street. Little or organization immediately prior to the event. And another problem last Sunday was that THEY WERE giving out wristbands for the pins at Guest Info Booth near the esplanade, but they didn't coordinate that with the line for the rest of the Tiki merchandise! And they KNEW it was going to create crowds, and deliverears said they were receiving LOTS of calls on the Tiki Merchandise.

    They could have done so many things to avoid these problems. Primarily, with the preplanning for purchases.

    1. When they knew how short they were on certain merchandise (especially the fountains) They should have announced it to the people in line, and ONLY allow one fountain per person.

    2. There should have been ONLY ONE LINE for all the Tiki Merchandise, (no separate Pin wristband) at the Guest info booth, before the Security Booth.

    Each wristband would be handed out would be numbered, or a numbered order form (and/or ticket) with all of the available merchandise on it. This way all guests would be guaranteed that no one would be able to jump in line, they would remain in the same order that they arrived at the Guest Info Booth. This avoids all the problems of people getting out of order through security, it would avoid the race at DL's Main Gate, it would avoid the unfair advantage of those with early entry (which doesn't mean that they are hotel guests), and it would also avoid the issue with all the people who DID jump in line, while on Main Street. The numbered order forms would make sure no one cut in line. Everyone would be checked out in the same order, too. Of course with the numbered order forms you would need to be in line when your number is called, or you would forfeit your place. And again, when merchandise doesn't arrive, or is so limited as to what is available, it should just be ONE per person.

    3. Really, I'm surprised this wasn't set up as a paid event, with a panel discussion, etc! There is more more advance planning, but it assures a more fair way to distribute limited merchandise. And for merchandise that arrives late, or doesn't show up for the event, DL would need to pay for delivery of those items. (as they often have in the past at these events) Yeah, that means that merchandising need to take responsibility for merchandise that doesn't arrive, etc. But they do need to take responsibility.

    And the Chaos that arises from these free for all, at these unorganized "Events", like this past Sunday, really shows that the DL event/merchandising departments continue to be operate with little regard for it's guests. For some reason they would rather deal with ALL the fires they cause, rather than doing it right.

    Another issue is using the Disneyanna Shop on Main Street for these events. There just is NOT enough room in there, nor is it layed out to be fuctional and efficient for these events. They NEED to have a single line through the viewing area of the merchandise, and have the guests pick up their merchandise as they go through. They might be able to do this in Festival Arena, but if they want to do it indoors, they would NEED to do in in one of the Hotels. They just cannot handle the influx on Main Street, It's been proven over and over again. They can keep people in the proper order, they can't keep people from barging in line. SO, they need some sort of numbering system to keep the order, and make it a special paid event.

    The other option, which they usually do for REAL events is the Random Selection Process (which is essentially a lottery, as JCF suggested. The merchandise is bagged together for the guests BEFORE they arrive to the Event!

    Now, I will say that the majority of the merchandise appeared to be good quality (although pricey) most of it looked really good!
    Last edited by Aladdin; 06-27-2008 at 03:11 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    I bet they were not expecting that large of a crowd.


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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post

    Issue wrist bands to prove you were in line. Use different colors for different hours of entry.
    I like the idea of different colored wrist bands. That would certainly cut down on the queue shenanigans.

  7. #7

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    WHO specifically runs the event? Is there an "event manager"? for such a thing? Or is it event by event basis? Seems like Disney would have a better handle on such a thing.
    To All Who Come to this Happy Place.... Welcome! Disneyland is Your Land!

  8. #8

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    If I were in charge and we are dealing with an event like the Tiki Room event. Milestone anniversary. Popular attraction. I would have planned a special event. Charge an event fee, have merchandise pre-ordered via a Random Selection Process (lottery), no standing in the sun for hours with not knowing what you might be able to get.

    Then end the day with a special one time event which will be a memorable event for all those that attend.

  9. #9

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepybear View Post
    WHO specifically runs the event? Is there an "event manager"? for such a thing? Or is it event by event basis? Seems like Disney would have a better handle on such a thing.
    There is a regular staff for merchandise events. It is headed up by Martha Blanding of Walt Disney Event Services (WDES). She works under Mary Murray, Director of Merchandise and Specialized Businesses at Disneyland Resort. As far as I know, WDES has been doing merchandise events at Disneyland for almost 10 years now.

    I think the first event was the 30th anniversary for the Haunted Mansion held in June 1999, followed closely by the Mr. Toad Enchanted Evening in October 1999. By most accounts, these events were well-executed and quite good.

    In May 2000, WDES had a 33-year anniversary event for Pirates of the Caribbean that was an absolute merchandising nightmare. Event attendees were still waiting for their merchandise on Main Street at 3:30 in the morning!

    There have been numerous other WDES merchandise events over the years, the largest being Disneylands "50 Years of Magical Memories" event held on the weekend of July 15-17, 2005. I attended that event, and it was for the most part a huge success. The merchandise was all sold via RSP (Random Selection Process and pre-purchased) and the only drawback was that many of the event attendees wanted to have every package opened prior to leaving the ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel where the merchandise was picked up. To their credit, WDES anticipated this desire and had staff from the Disney Gallery, WDES, and Disneyana helping customers pickup their merchandise.

    As far as how to avoid another snafu like what happened last weekend with the Tiki Room merchandise event, I would do the following things:

    (1) Market the event as an RSP (Random Selection Process) event, including pre-payment. That way folks can pre-order merchandise AND know what they're getting before they arrive. Any items that folks receive in an RSP, that they don't want (because they double-ordered with their spouse for instance) can notify WDES before the event so they can have items taken off their list and the items can be sold thru a "Second Chance RSP". All remaining items can be offered for sale on the day of the event.

    (2) Hold the event at one of the 3 Disney Hotels. No need to make folks stand in line on Main Street. Hold the event in one of the ballrooms away from the Park guests. If Disney wants to make bank off Park admission, just adjust the prices on the special merchandise across the board accordingly, OR, charge a fee for the event, add some artists to sign merchandise, have some entertainment, and serve hors dourves to soften the financial blow of paying for access to buy stuff.
    WHAT?! It worked with alot of other WDES events, i.e. ToT event, Shag event, Snow White event, etc.!!

    (3) If Disney isn't willing to do #'s 1 & 2, then they should simply mass-produce the merchandise and sell it in the Emporium, World of Disney, and Disneyana stores AND start selling it immediately on the internet via DisneyShopping.com, and thru Disneyland DelivEARS. That would cut back significantly on the "run" for merchandise by ebay sellers.

    [Rant] I've read the arguments that ebay sellers are providing a service for folks who can't get these items because they live too far away. But seriously folks, who do they think they're kidding. If they weren't there to hog up everything, then the items would still be available on Monday morning for people to buy thru Disneyland delivEARS![/Rant]

    WDES has made some great stuff over the years that many "regular" Park guest would have purchased had it been made available to them. Seriously, take a look at some of the stuff from the 50th event. This stuff would still be selling if they had marketed it thru the regular retail locations. Plus, mass production also brings down the wholesale cost dramatically, which helps justify lowering the retail price to the consumer.
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  10. #10

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    I really like the Random Selection Process--it feels more 'fair'. And I think it gives a different 'tone' to the later finding of items on Ebay. (Which I do use as my back-up plan if I fail to be able to buy outright what I want at the event itself.) Although, it is probably just a false perception, because if people are obtaining items by RSP to resell them it is the same as people using other means (hotel stays/early entry/line finessing).
    But how can one stop event purchasing from being a business for some people?

  11. #11

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    Ok, if I ran things, this is how it would be:

    1) No advertising at all. More for me.

    2) Overprice everything wildly beyond anyone's budget. Later on, I pick up everything for a song on the dud table with other items that did not sell.

    3) Lock it all away and never tell anyone about my treasures. They're mine, keep your grubby hands off.

    Ok, this concludes your visit to the Twlight Zone, back to the cold cruel world with ya.
    As nice as the other parks are, we must always remember that it all began at Disneyland. Disneyland should be the crown jewel in the Disney crown.

  12. #12

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroMousie View Post
    But how can one stop event purchasing from being a business for some people?
    You can't. But you can limit purchases, and you can produce enough items that event attendees will usually get what they want. Sell the extras at the event, or at the stores and outlets mentioned below.

    Limit production on dated event items only and mass-produce the other stuff so it can be purchased by the masses at Disneyana, World of Disney, Disneyshopping.com and Disneyland DelivEARS.

    A saturated market is good for buyers of Disney collectibles and takes away the incentive for ebay sellers.
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  13. #13

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    At one point during our SIX AND A HALF HOUR WAIT I wondered out loud why they didn't hold the event at, say, the Carnation Gardens (dance floor) where they could have set up the ropes and queued people up properly and then had a line of registers where the picnic tables are? Since that space is very close to the Princess store exit, all of the merchandise could have been stored/fulfilled through there and everyone would have access to credit card machines, etc. One of the ladies in line near me chimed in that they couldn't do that because they'd catch hell for "leaving people in the sun" which was exactly what was already happening. I had a terrible burn and heat stroke by the time I got my merchandise.

    Some of the things that I saw that could have been handled better:
    • create an enclosed (even with ropes) line that isn't as easy to "cut" or cross [if people have to climb over multiple ropes it is more discouraging. It won't stop persistent people, but I doubt that 10 people would "cut" in front if they had to displace so many people in a tight roped queue.]
    • involve more staff with monitoring the line. Until people started screaming, there was NO ONE watching the lines and people were cutting in left and right
    • no 'holding places' in line. I saw WAY TOO MANY people cut in because someone was holding their spot. And it was never just 1 or 2 people, it was 10 or 12.
    • limit number of pieces that could be purchased. Things were running out early in the morning due to the 'ebay sellers'
    • get your merchandise delivered right! The reason they "ran out" of things was because they hadn't properly delivered all of the stock. While that was good news for those of us in the back of the line, it caused more headache when people who had shopped earlier in the day found out and insisted to be let back in to buy more (the Disney staff let them cut in front of me, BTW). One woman who came back was waving a receipt for nearly $3,000 worth of merchandise (which means that its a business function and not a collection at that point) and insisting that she be let back inside to get more because they were "sold out" when she bought her stuff.
    • Be professional! When they came around to get our contact info to call us about the fountains, I was surprised that it was just scribbled on a paper. I would have felt slightly better if there was some sort of form on a clipboard, rather than someone grabbing the nearest scratch pad and pen. Also, when they came to take our names was HOURS after the missed-shipment announcement. Otherwise, we could have left the line much earlier.
    A separate rant about the eBay sellers: so many are listing their items as 'sold out' which they actually aren't. I haven't been to the park in a couple of days, but when I was there they still had a LOT of nearly everything. Because of the "run out" earlier in the day, maybe these sellers think their items were sold out? Or are they taking advantage? Caveat Emptor but still... People paying double - or triple! or more! - the selling price because they think they're getting a limited edition item that is no longer available, when in fact it's still available. That bums me out.

  14. #14

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    Ouch!
    As nice as the other parks are, we must always remember that it all began at Disneyland. Disneyland should be the crown jewel in the Disney crown.

  15. #15

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    Re: How would YOU run the next merchandise event?

    I spoke to a CM at the Disneyana shop and they said that the 2009 Haunted Mansion event would 'for sure' be held at one of the hotels and be a ticketed event to avoid the oopsie of the Tiki Room event.

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