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  1. #1

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    Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    OK, I know that this borders on a rant. Sorry. I've been going to WDW since 1973, and I've seen all of the major changes. But the biggest discouragement I've seen is the "tackiness" of Disney merchandise, in quality/quantity and presentation.

    I know that this makes big $$$ for the MK, so nothing is going to change. But let me explain, and see if you agree...

    1) Every shop on Main Street is essentially a DisneyStore now. Just more plush toys, more T-shirts, more Disney trinkets than actual, "functional" Main-Street style shops. Part of the FUN of going to WDW/Magic Kingdom was deciding on that one special souvenir, and waiting to the end of the day when you got to pick it out from the Emporium and carry it out the gates and home. I LOVED to browse through the old Main Street Magic Shop (even Merlin's Magic Shop in FantasyLand was great!) Now you can by the same "stuff" just about anywhere in the park/gate/hotel/DisneyStore/outlet mall/etc....

    Main Street used to feel like a real, functioning small town center street. Now it feels and looks like a themed outdoor strip mall. It seems like we've lost this "land" of the park. No more House of Magic... No more Main Street Cinema... No more Barber Shop... No more Penny Arcade...

    2) More attractions want to push you through a gift shop at the end, for the "Spontaneous Purchase." Tacky, tacky, tacky. I KNOW it works, I KNOW it makes more $$$ for the parks, yada yada yada.

    When I rode Mr. Toad in the 70s and 80s, it was great, thrilling fun. Now whenever I venture through its inferior replacement (Pooh) I have to shuffle through a 100 more plush figures and knick-knacks in the 100 acre wood. If You had Wings? A nice, air-conditioned jaunt across the Globe. It's Buzz Lightyear replacement? Purchase your own photo Fighting Zurg, buy an extra Zurg Blaster to take home with you, or perhaps a Buzz Lightyear spinny light thing, or the commemorative To Infinity and Beyond picture frame?!!

    And in case you forgot 10 seconds AFTER you walk out of the ride, well no problem! There is a stand-alone gift cart right in front of the People Mover (sorry, um, TTA) to grab your own green little men with Claw contraption, or the Monopoly WDW edition board game.

    3) Even the POTC Pieces of Eight gift shop was set aside as you exited the upramp. Now they've converted the original gift shop into a storage room, and the open air Caribbean fortress surroundings into, well, and open-air Caribbean Market. Actually, one of the largest "attraction" gift shops at the MK.


    4) Crap for sale. I know, many here will disagree. It seems like there is a gluttony of merchandise, from cheap little overseas manufactured plastic tidbits to 200x (inserted current year hear) picture frames/ T-Shirts / photo albums / Holiday ornaments / car antenna toppers / candy wrappers... you get the picture.

    "But doesn't this give us more choice? Doesn't this make it easier for the little munchkins to find that special souvenir in their price range?" Umm, maybe, if all they can afford is $3 Mickey pencil to cherish. The quality stuff is still there, but it commands such a HIGHER premium, comparatively, than it did in the past, that the void has been filled with diluted Disney drivel.

    5) "Well, no one is FORCING you to shop or purchase the knick-knack-paddy-whack stuff Disney is peddling." And I don't. While the quality stuff is still there, it commands such a HIGHER premium, comparatively, than it did in the past, that the void has been filled with diluted Disney drivel.

    To me, some of the SPECIALNESS of having only CERTAIN places to purchase your Disney souvenir treat helped to compartmentalize your vacation. Now everything seems geared toward the impulse buy at EVERY turn/bend in the park, with altogether fairly generic Disney merchandise.
    Last edited by chris2fett; 04-30-2006 at 10:43 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I wouldn't say they're all Disney stores. The quality isn't the same, I looked at a Plush Mickey and he isn't good as ours from 15 years ago (our has actual plastic for the buttons on his shorts, for instance) but there's plenty of stuff that says WDW, MK, whatever. Go in that store in Epcot and you'll see all kinds of different designs for Epcot wearables.

    There is a lot less attraction-specific merch, I noticed. There's quite a bit for newer rides but not as much for others. Mission SPACE is fully outfitted with all kinds of shirts with your fictional rocketship on it, but Space Mountain has only two shirt designs and one is more colorful and loud and the other is more subtle. There must be some sort of mentality either among WDW visitors and/or management that nobody is as interested in taking home a piece of an old ride, only the new ones. I was suprised that the closest thing to a Haunted Mansion "store" was a cart sitting along the river far past the front gate.

  3. #3

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I think the t-shirts with the three-box monologues that they have at Disneyland are too cool and should be replicated at WDW. Like they feature Mickey and Co going on Space Mountain, POTC, HM and the ToT, and showing their adventures in three 'cartoons' if you wish - very simplistic and modern but very Disney. Sorry that was totally OT.

    I completely agree. Main Street is still my favourite land in the MK and probably always will be, but even I can see through it - it is just a mall. It has lost its appeal in that respect, but the smells and the surroundings and the sounds more than make up for it. But yeah, I'll be the first to sign a 'Make Main Street More Unique' petition.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I think the biggest problem, is that there is so much GENERIC merchandise, that is everywhere. Sure, there's the occassional EPCOT logo, and park central logo stuff, but the vastness of the merchandise has greatly dimished in recent years. I remember seeing MK land sepcific polo shirts for Tomorrowland and Frontierland, which stores are now just candy stores or pin locations. I'm sure there is the market for all of this, but why all the same stuff? Even the Yankee Trader at the corner of the Haunted Mansion and Fantasyland used to have so much more intereting merchandise befor eit was changed to all Disney. I liked it when I had to go to a specific store to find the exact item I wanted, not finding it in every store available...Now I know that I only have to look in one store to go shopping, and my shopping needs are met for the entire trip.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Yeah. Thanks for taking the words right out of my mouth.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway
    I think the t-shirts with the three-box monologues that they have at Disneyland are too cool and should be replicated at WDW.
    The do have them at WDW. I have a hoodie of Splash Mountain, and a T shirt of HM. I have also seen TOT, Space Mountain, and PoC all at WDW.

    And I agree, I love those shirts.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I don't hardly even buy souvenirs anymore. My souvenirs are the photos I take.

  8. #8

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway
    I think the t-shirts with the three-box monologues that they have at Disneyland are too cool and should be replicated at WDW. Like they feature Mickey and Co going on Space Mountain, POTC, HM and the ToT, and showing their adventures in three 'cartoons' if you wish - very simplistic and modern but very Disney. Sorry that was totally OT.
    Are these the ones with three simple frames and a phrase underneath them? They sell them at MK. There's Space (sold in the arcade), Splash (sold at the store near that), HM (sold at the cart), and Pirates (sold at the outdoor marketplace thing.)

    I got POC and HM, but I don't really care for them because most people don't know what it's supposed to be. I wanted something subtle, but it's TOO subtle, if you know what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo
    Now I know that I only have to look in one store to go shopping, and my shopping needs are met for the entire trip.
    I much prefer this myself, although if it came at the cost of dramatically reducing the inventory list, it wouldn't be worth it.

    Having to run around the park to buy little souveneirs because certain things and certain characters can only be bought in certain stores is an irritant to me. If you want to have certain stuff in certain Frontierland stores and not in Adventureland stores, then fine, but at least stick everything you can onto Main Street no matter what land it's origins are.

    Or, alternatively, World of Disney, since I thought that was supposed to render all Emporium-style supershops irrelevant anyway, with the bonus of not having to buy park admission. However, it seems half the place is used to store really expensive Disneyana pieces like giant sculpted figures and jewelry or themed rooms like Princesses.
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 04-30-2006 at 01:33 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I think the movie has helped PoTC get good merch, good new merch. Other than that only really Philharmagic, Everest, and Tower of Terror get good unique merchandise anymore. M:S' is pretty lousy, and nothing else gets unique stuff.

  10. #10

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Splash Mountain has gotten some pretty decent stuff too, as well as Haunted Mansion... However, I agree the other attractions is pretty much hit or miss.
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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo
    as well as Haunted Mansion
    ...
    For about one summer Haunted Mansion had some excellent stuff...I bought my HM hat...but that faded and the merch was never as extensive again...I never got them to make an "Its your Funeral" shirt like they made the mug of.

  12. #12

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    PotC, Everest, and Haunted Mansion all have some pretty cool stuff.

    Have you faced the Yeti?

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo
    The do have them at WDW. I have a hoodie of Splash Mountain, and a T shirt of HM. I have also seen TOT, Space Mountain, and PoC all at WDW.

    And I agree, I love those shirts.
    Wow! I'm buying the set this year!
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  14. #14

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    ...
    For about one summer Haunted Mansion had some excellent stuff...I bought my HM hat...but that faded and the merch was never as extensive again...I never got them to make an "Its your Funeral" shirt like they made the mug of.
    I agree it's not as much as it used to be, but there is some stuff...I like the t shirt with the gate plaque on the front, and the whole "When hinges creek...." speech on the back.

    It's unfortunately slowly being taken over by Nightmare stuff lately...I hope that changes back again.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Gift-Shop-itis... am I the only one?

    I don't have a local Disney store and only get to Disneyland once a year so, there's always something to pick up - I just wish it wasn't so expensive!

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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