This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (A/K/A The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014). Some readers of this weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month we brave the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores (more info on them – including addresses – at the end of the article.) 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, others 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 – Luigi’s Flying Tires: The Toy
My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree seeing this toy hit the Outlet shelves. In theory, Luigi’s Flying Tires should have been one of the coolest rides at any Disney park. It used popular characters from the Cars franchise in what amounts to a hovercraft ride mixed with bumper cars. How great is that? Turns out, not that great. For many guests, the degree of difficulty in learning how to control the tires was too much within the short ride span, and that combined with the long wait time (due to the limited capacity) resulted in some very unfavorable reviews. The one part of the attraction that did receive positive reaction – the humongous beach balls on the course which provided a striking visual and the ability to knock them into other guests – was taken away mere weeks after Luigi’s debut. It is rumored that once Flying Tires goes down for refurbishment in early 2015, it will never come back as the ride it currently is and instead will be changed into something different. But, at least we’ll have our Luigi’s Flying Tires toy to remember it by (batteries, and joy, not included.)
# 5 – Mickey as Iron Man plush.
In late 2013 I found myself in Downtown Disney at the World of Disney store and saw what I felt to be a hideously ugly Mickey Mouse-as-Iron Man plush. Now I love Mickey, and I love Iron Man, but this combination just did not work. I really think Disney should have used Captain America as the first character for this type of mash-up. Regardless, it was no surprise to see these Iron Man plush show up at the Outlet stores a short while later.
That wasn’t the only weird Mickey plush though. This little bit of nightmare fuel has Mickey in Pluto pajamas along with Pluto slippers. Even Duffy the Disney Bear thinks this is going a bit too far.
# 4 – Lightning McQueen with Santa figurine.
There are no humans in the Cars universe. Period.
# 3 – The Monthly Supply of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith Merchandise
For some reason, of all the attractions at Walt Disney World, the one which seems to have the most amount of merchandise showing up at the Outlets is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. That is not just anecdotal as it is the result of an exhaustive counting of every single piece of merchandise at the Outlet stores cross referenced with a complete list of WDW attractions and shows. After months of compiling, the results are in and here are the attractions with the most amount of items represented at the Outlet stores: Bronze medal) Haunted Mansion: 6 items Silver medal) Expedition Everest: 15 items Gold medal) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: 346,182 items.
# 2 – Disney Duck Tape
I have spent a lot of my free time trying to figure out who the market is for Disney branded duct tape. I’ve deduced that it must be a “millennials” thing. Kids today just must use duct tape more than when I was growing up (which was never.) It’s either that or the weirdos demographic is much larger than I ever imagined.
# 1 – Meet & Greet Mickey Vinylmation
There’s several amazing things about these Meet & Greet Mickey figures. First, both of them were limited to 500, yet for the silver one I found numbers as low as 41/500, and 80/500 for the orange and gold version. That’s pretty scary, but even more terrifying was that they were originally priced at $49.95 each. And would you believe the original figure made its debut at Disney’s 13 Reflections of Evil trading event? You can’t make stuff like that up.
HONORABLE MENTION: Anything trying to make Mickey Mouse look “hip” or “urban.”
We want to end this on a positive note, so let’s look at a couple items at the Outlets that we’d love to get in our Christmas stockings in lieu of coal. Starting with this fantastic Donald Duck-in-Carbonite pockitpal by Robert Olszewski.
These long tailed plush for the Cheshire Cat and Marie from The Aristocats are super cute.
This Roger Rabbit shirt may be the greatest Disney produced shirt I have ever seen. The front had a logo for the piano bar as well. Oh what I wouldn’t do for an entire shop filed with merchandise from the world of Roger Rabbit. P-p-p-p-p-please Disney!
And finally, the absolute # 1 thing at the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014… The Walt Disney Mouse-stache.
There are actually two Disney outlet stores in Orlando. Both are in Orlando Premium Outlet shopping complexes, and they are called Disney’s Character Warehouse, presumably because The Land Of Misfit Toys was already trademarked. There is one Character Warehouse located on International Drive close to Universal Studios (4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819), and the other is on Vineland Avenue, right across I-4 near the exits to Disney World (8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL 32821).
So there you have it: Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX where we take a look ahead at 2015! If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.
If you enjoyed In Memoriam – Six things We Lost from the Theme Park World in 2014, you may also enjoy:
Special thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, photo-wunderkind Mike Sperduto, and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey. Also, we’d like to send a thank you to Attractions Magazine, our all time favorite theme park magazine. Did you know that Attractions were the first people CRAZY enough to let me write a theme park based article? It’s true, and here’s the proof!