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.