Magic, Memories, and Merch

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! February 2017 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on February 28, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

It’s the last day of February and – DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! – the long delayed Rivers of Light finally made its debut in the Animal Kingdom. Reaction to the show has been favorable, except for the fascinating demographic known as theme park bloggers. Bloggers – who have now seen the show more than anyone – started off saying the show wasn’t that impressive at all. After two or three shows, they started remarking how good the soundtrack is and that the show is growing on them. By the end of the week, many had completely flip flopped and said Rivers of Light was a very good show. Now, this could be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but most likely it is because Rivers of Light completely eschews what we have become used to in theme park shows and goes back to an original concept like the crowd pleasing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. No intellectual properties, and a show that rewards multiple viewings. There’s reason to believe Rivers of Light will get additions in the coming months to improve that show even more, and that’s a win-win for all of us.

Now, what did Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo, secret shopper Showcase Of Wishes and I find when we stepped into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!

A while back Disney came out with a unbelievable amount of huge luggage tags. They were very colorful and several of the designs were actually really neat and well themed to “air travel.” Several of the luggage tags made it to the Outlet this month including ones for Dumbo (the flying elephant), Pixar’s Up, and Buzz Lightyear. Originally $12.95 each, these were reduced to $4.99.

How great is the Up one?!

Here is another luggage tag featuring the Genie from Aladdin. Originally $8.95, now $2.99.

So how long before they announce the live action remake of Aladdin? Over/Under is 7 days if Beauty and the Beast opens to over $100M.

Loved this one. It was a small notebook that reminded me of the Disney Little Golden Books. Originally $6.95, now $3.99.

Bambi notebook.

First page of the notebook is gorgeous.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2017 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

We have finished the first mƒonth of 2017 and if the rest of the year is like January, we’re in for a doozy. After many delays Rivers of Light Planet Hollywood Observatory in Disney Springs finally opened. Even though it is still not 100%  finished, you will be glad to know the restaurant somehow has three separate and confusing themes (although – to be fair – when one thinks about a turn-of-the-century observatory the first thing that comes to mind is Jim Carrey’s Riddler costume from Batman Forever, so they didn’t completely miss the mark). 

In other Disney Springs news, our long national nightmare is over as it was announced DisneyQuest would be closing its doors forever on July 3rd. A long rumored NBA Experience will be taking its place and I think I speak for many of us when I say I’m really looking forward to what replaces the NBA Experience in the coming years. We also can’t forget that January brought the Main Street Electrical Parade back home to Disneyland (even though many are still waiting for it every single night here in Walt Disney World, literally.) Hopefully when the MSEP ends its limited time run in June, it can make its way back here and bring with it all the cool merch and snacks it has out in California. Be Fair To Florida!

Before we start I would like to introduce a new member to the Outlet Team. Because myself and Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo have become too famous, we needed a person on the ground that nobody knows to be a mystery partner. Please welcome secret shopper Showcase Of Wishes to the fold.

Now, what did Julia, Showcase of Wishes, and I find when we did step into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!

First up we going to start off with what I call an “Outlet Experience” item. We’ve talked about these decorative hand sanitizers in previous reports. This month brought a 2016 branded version, and with it came a price tag that made me reach for my decorative Xanax holder. The price tag for the sanitizer read “$.00” with a reduced price of “$9.99.” I brought it to the register so they could scan what the price really was and saw that it was indeed $9.99. Keep in mind, these only cost $8.95 at the Disney parks. I knew from that point on this shopping trip was going to be a test of will.

Hand Sanitizer.

With the recent rollout of MagicBand 2s being shipped to guests as well as being sold in the Disney Parks, we are almost guaranteed to see a ton of original MagicBands make their way to the Outlets. This month brought some new designs, including everyone’s favorite dragon Figment. These bands were originally $29.95 and reduced to $22.99.

Three icons of the Disney Parks right there.

Readers of our sister series the SATURDAY SIX know how much we loved the recent EPCOT Festival of the Arts. In fact, we may have actually enjoyed it more than Food & Wine. However, speaking of the latter, the Appetizer Plate from last year’s Food and Wine hit the Outlets. Originally $6.95, these were reduced to just 99 cents. I bought a couple.

Food and Wine Appetizer Plate.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 31, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

Can you believe 2016 is already over? Think about where we were a year ago at this time. There was no such thing as tiered ticket pricing, there were no cabanas in the Magic Kingdom, Tom Staggs was still with Disney, and we were all waiting for Rivers of Light to debut in Animal Kingdom. Well, at least some things never change.

I want to say up from that this month’s edition of the Outlet Report is a slightly shortened, and the reason for that is during December the Disney Outlet Stores become busier than the Magic Kingdom on a phased closure day. It’s just not fun. Both of us managed a trip in, but ran out screaming in short order. Now, I was going to make Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo go back on Christmas Eve in order to get a first hand report of the carnage, but Head Honcho Len Testa told me that would break several treaties in the Geneva Convention. First they take away water boarding and now this… maybe this generation has gone soft after all.

However, there is no rest for the wicked, and since December is my favorite month of all, I personally had a lot of fun outside of the Outlets. Myself and TouringPlans TV’s own Brian McNichols put out a new episode of the critically acclaimed Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. While over on Twitter I did a 25 day unveiling of the Theme Park Blogger Advent Calendar as well as drawing many Derek Doodles for a good cause.

Now, what did Julia and I find when we did briefly step into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!

First up was a good one. You’ll remember last month I pulled my hair out seeing a May the 4th Be With You R2 droid at the Outlets that I had picked up earlier in the year at full price in Disney Springs. Well, this month brought the special Halloween figure, R2-BOO, which I did not buy at the stores. Jackpot! Originally $12.99, reduced to $4.99.

R2-BOO. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

In 2015 Disney went all in on hand sanitzers, creating a whole bunch of them. Each one holds 1 0z of hand sanitizer, which is just about the amount you will need if your kid wipes his hand on that “honey wall” in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queue. This year brought even more designs. The bottles originally were $8.85 each, but these were reduced to just 99cents. Picked one up at that price. For $9 I’ll take my chances with the germs.

Mickey Hand Sanitizer

More Disney Infinity stuff hit the Outlets. Disney stopping the entire system cold earlier this year was a shocker, and even made the special SATURDAY SIX: IN MEMORIAM article for this year. Here is Mulan, and even more unbelievably, the character “Time” from the Alice Through the Looking Glass movie. Maybe this line needed to be put out of its misery after all. Originally $13.99, reduced to $6.99.

Disney Infinity.

Also appearing were Disney Infinity Power Discs that were originally $9.99, now $4.99. Now I have picked up some of the Disney Infinity figures, even though I have never played the game, because I absolutely adore that cartoonish art style throughout the line. It’s like an awesome shared Universe line-up that has everything from The Incredibles to Pirates of the Caribbean to iconic Disney parks characters. Basically it’s like if Marvel Studios worked with Warner Bros to make an Avengers/Justice League film. Anyway, I was going to take a jab  at why anyone would buy these power discs, but they seem to be almost the exact same shape and size of the ridiculous “pogs” I grew up with and bought way too many of.

Disney Infinity Power Discs (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2016)

by on December 24, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is an annual tradition. Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2016). Some readers of this weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month for over three years we have braved the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores (more info on them – including addresses –  are at the end of the article.)  In fact, we even had a very special Three Year Anniversary edition with some congratulatory notes from some very impressive names in the theme park community.

Now, while some Christmas dreams do come true, such as Ralphie Parker getting his official Red Ryder BB gun and Your Humble Author getting a Han Solo blaster back in the day, other Christmas gifts deserve to go straight to the Island of Misfit Toys. Today we will take a look at some of those very items, starting with…

# 6 – Glow With The Show Ears

Let it glow.

Our first item this week was the first ever Made With Magic piece of merchandise to hit the Outlets. These were the Mickey Ears that lit up with different colors to Glow With the Show during some of the nighttime spectaculars at the parks. I have no actual financial numbers to support my theory, but having been the parks many, many times and only seeing a handful of guests wearing these, I’m going to assume Disney took a complete bath on this idea. It’s an item that cost over $25, are heavier than a normal pair of Mickey Ears, and the person wearing it can’t even see it glow. They were reduced to $9.99. This pair of Ears is particularly garish in design.

# 5 – Hats that are “Big In Japan”

This next item I had been waiting for ever since they showed up at the regular Disney stores over two years ago. These hats where you look like you are wearing the carcass of a dead Disney character on your head and are next level bananas. Apparently these bonkers hats are huge over at the Tokyo parks, but to be fair they also line up for hours just for popcorn. Popcorn!  To be even more fair, if I were out there I’d be in line with them. Originally $21.95, these were reduced to $5.99.

Goofy hat.

Donald hat, as seen in the Art of Animation gift shop.

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