The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! Looks Back at 7 Years of Disney Treasure, Trash, and Tsum Tsums

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Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch!, the longest running monthly look at the now closed Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Without being able to step foot inside the Character Warehouse over the past 30 days, we had to look elsewhere for our discounted Disney merchandise, and boy, did we find a doozy…

A SPECIAL OUTLET REPORT INVESTIGATION asks the question: How far would YOU drive for discounted Disney merch…

So, a few days ago, everyone on DisTwitter was minding their own business, when all of a sudden a bomb was dropped.

Cases upon cases of soda bottles from Star Wars: Galaxy’s edge. (photo by @EscapedStitch)
Another view of the soda stack. (photo by @EscapedStitch)

An entire 12 pack cost $6.99, the price of a single bottle inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. At the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando, this is the type of super discount we usually see reserved for items from Pandora: The World of Avatar.

The shocking price reveal. (photo by @ClaytonicShift)

So it turns out, the store selling these Cokes was a small supermarket located in Alabama.

Tates Supermarket, located conveniently in middle of nowhere, AL. (photo by @Schmoofy)

Seeing this incredible deal, a member of DisTwitter made the pilgrimage up to score a case, only to discover a horrifying fact….

The former home of soda bottles from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (photo by @Schmoofy)

After this shocking development, another member of DisTwitter revealed he had gotten to the store a little earlier….

 

 

And then proceeds to drop AN EVEN BIGGER BOMBSHELL….

For those who don’t know, the Milwaukee Bucks are an NBA team, and one of their star players is Robin Lopez. A lifelong Disney fan, Lopez made the news last year when it was revealed that he was one of the people who unwittingly bought items which were stolen from Walt Disney World.

Whether this part of the story ends up being true or not is irrelevant to me because it is so great. It would be like me discovering that the Disney Outlet Stores finally got in that Pandora Utility Suit action figure that I desperately want, only to find out they were all scooped up by JOHN STAMOS.

Believe it or not, there were some people on DisTwitter who mocked @Schmoofy for driving five hours to get the Coke, but I get it.

 

What an amazing story. Now, with that out of the way, we have to talk about Ye Olde Outlet Store Report. The bad news is that the stores were locked shut for the entire month. The good news is that it appears there is a possibility that they could re-open in May or shortly thereafter (knock on wood).  I wasn’t exactly sure what to do, until I was scrolling through DisTwitter and stumbled upon a thread.

It got me thinking. When I was growing up, a staple of television was “clip shows.” Out of nowhere, a popular character from the show would break the fourth wall and talk to us viewers before showing us highlights from previous episodes. You don’t see clip shows anymore because we can all just watch our favorite highlights view YouTube, DVD, or on a streaming site. But then I thought, if Rachel is interested in these items, there is a good chance that you – Dear Reader – might have some interest too. So we are going to look at running commentary, and in the captions of each item I will give my thoughts along with a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the Outlet Report.

Sound good? Alright, take it away Rachel!

Knowing what I know now, I would have just bought all of these Captain EO plush to resell at a huge markup to TouringPlans’ own Guy Selga.
When the Disney Outlet Report first started back in 2013, the plan was for both me and ace photographer Brandon Glover to go to the stores. He would take pictures of all the items with his camera, and later I would do the write up. We learned FAST this was not going to work. So the first ever Outlet Report has the best photos by far, because afterwards I just took all the pictures myself with my phone.
1. Who was buying Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom shirts?! 2. Brandon Glover was showing me how to take photos of shirts YEARS before I realized how to do it myself.

This might be one of the all time dumbest things ever sold at Disney. Basically rubber bands in Disney shapes.
Well, it’s clear I’m taking the pictures now when looking at this monstrosity. Turns out a light of sunlight coming in from a window in the back ISN’T good for a photo. Who knew?
I’ve always hated the Disney Vinylmation series because of the “Mickey Mold” they use for characters. Looks great for Mickey Mouse designs, but you can see with stuff like this that the “Mickey ears” are extremely hard to work with for any artist.

Rachel called out that I didn’t know who Humphrey the bear was at the time. However, over the years I have grown to adore him and you’ll see him pop up in editions of the SATURDAY SIX, including this one featuring The Best Bathrooms in Walt Disney World.

Humphrey, Big Al, Br’er Bear and more. Artwork by Joel Carroll.
This tin of postcards may make the Top Ten list for all time best Outlet items. The artistic style of Shag is absolutely my jam. I love everything about it.
The back of the tin showed all the designs, and each one was wonderful.

Puffy letter shirt is super retro. I cropped this photo here because I originally took it in portrait mode…like an idiot.
This horrid Perry the Platypus bag is like Patient Zero for all the Loungefly bags we are now cursed with out the Outlets today.
I don’t buy many buttons, but I did buy the Orange Bird one.
Next level bonkers.

You have to love shot glasses based around a land designed entirely for young kids.
It still took me years to realize that two shirts next to each other sets up a natural “landscape” style shot.
This is HANDS DOWN the greatest item to ever be seen inside the Disney Outlet Stores. It’s so good that I don’t even mind I took the photo in “portrait.” This personal assistant thing is INSANE. Look at all those buttons!!! Apparently the people behind this just went straight to My Disney Experience and created that.

One of the few Disney things I collect is “mash-up” action figures. I have the whole Star Wars/Muppets line, the Pirates of the Caribbean line with characters like Goofy-as-Davy Jones, Mickey-as-Tron, Mickey-as-Indiana Jones etc. I can’t get enough. I believe Bean Bunny here was made for Star Wars Weekends, and that’s why we ended up seeing it at the Outlets (because almost all unsold items from any special event at WDW goes to the Outlets).
I liked this Chip & Dale-as-Ewoks plush set. Trying to remember how many years it took me to figure out who was Chip and who was Dale until an Outlet reader schooled me. Probably half as long as it took me on how to properly write “Tinker Bell.”
This shirt is so absolutely bananas that you have to like it. It also shows that there is literally NOTHING the Star Wars “brand” would say no to.

 

Can you imagine?!
I can easily see why people would be “Chip & Dale” collectors. Lots of good stuff made for this pair.
I’m a big fan of bowling shirts, and this is a good one. Rivals a similar style shirt I bought at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Good design on the back. Horrible portrait-style photo.

Like buttons, it is very rare that I buy a pin, but I had to get this one. Love Living with the Land in general, but this design using Chip & Dale carrying a Mickey-shaped pumpkin is great.
Okay, this pin set with Chip & Dale as characters from the Cars universe is just plain bonkers.
This picture gives a good indication of why I don’t buy many pins.
I bought this coaster set, because it’s AWESOME. However, Disney makes a lot of fantastic coaster sets (and shot glass sets) but how many coaster sets can one family have?

 

I’m more of a fan of how all-out Disney went with the back of this pin. Not the pin itself, the cardboard backing. Normally these are just all white or all black, but here we have Herb Ryman EPCOT concept art and that slaps.
Speaking of great shot glass designs. I bought this set.
We don’t see much Roger Rabbit merchandise, so this shirt was a nice surprise. I would have bought it if the shirt only had this logo on the front. However, long time readers of this fine blog series know you always gotta look at the back of any t-shirt Disney makes.
No shame for anyone who wants to rock this shirt, but it’s a little much for me.

Bought this set of shot glasses. Now my house has way too many shot glasses.
I also bought this ceramic cup, mostly because it was the first ceramic cup I had ever seen at the Outlets. Has a lot of weight to it. That said, I haven’t touched the cup since I bought it over 5 years ago and learned my lesson about buying ceramic cups.
The people who collect Turkey Leg merchandise may be the strangest of all the people in the Disneyana community.
Basically a plush version of the “mash-up” action figures I talked about loving above. To me this was a little weird, but I get why people would love it and I also would like to see a full line of the Fab Five as other Disney characters plush.

It’s just about impossible to make a bad piece of Wilderness Lodge merchandise. Turns out you CAN take a bad picture of it though.
Kicking myself for not buying the Haunted Mansion attraction poster-shirt on the left.
Every single time I look at stuff like this Yoda Koosh ball, I say a silent prayer thanking whoever is out there making sure Disney didn’t get the rights to Harry Potter.
I bought one of these Tower of Terror towels, and it is still in our current rotation of towels. This is an item that should be forever sold in the gift shop, and a Bates Motel one should be sold at Universal Studios Florida. C’MON GUYS LET’S GET ON THIS!

Disney has made a lot of bad hats, but this may be the all time worst.
Not a bad Gaston’s Tavern cup. Not great…but not bad either.
Some things are just so weird that I only wish I could be in the pitch meeting when Disney execs sign off on it.
I don’t think I bought this Wilderness Lodge pin, but I wish I would have. Since this time I have fallen in love with the resort.

This shirt is incredible, and is another item that I wish I had bought at the time. In fact, could have bought a whole bunch and used for a section in the SAT 6 on Walt Disney World Pet Peeves.
In her description, Rachel is 100% correct. I despise Mission: SPACE. That said, this pin is great.

I didn’t think Mickey was celebrating Valentine’s Day here. To me it look like he was celebrating 4:20.
Definitely bought one of these kitchen timers. I’m not sure we actually ever used it, but the idea itself was wonderful.
This Gonzo plush is adorable.
This is the type of merch we don’t see all that much anymore. A special Humphrey the bear shirt made for Valentine’s Day just for the Wilderness Lodge (you can see the logo on the sleeve). I am all for MORE Disney resort-specific merchandise. Much more.
Rachel didn’t mention it, but this was the first time I had ever bought a Tsum Tsum. If I could only go back in time and warn myself

More Tsum Tsums appeared, and of course I bought them all.
These are some of the last pieces of merchandise featuring Star Wars Weekend to be seen at the Outlets. The event stopped in 2015 as Disney started building Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
How great is Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue? Definitely one of the best things to do in all of Walt Disney World.
Apparently there was a series of bags designed to look like the storefronts in Main Street USA. The details in this one are nice with the Oswald ears and Sorcerer’s Hat.

Well, that’s just two full YEARS of items from the Disney Outlet Stores. I hope you enjoyed this look down memory lane, and join me on  thanking @RachelFaith97 for taking the time to post her thoughts. Remember that YOU TOO can check out ANY edition of the Outlet Report from our handy dandy archive located at the end of each report.

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH! (hopefully AT the Outlets…)

NOT THAT IT MATTERS, BUT…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). They do not ship. There are items at the Outlets that you can buy both in Disney stores along with the Shop Disney Parks app, but you will be paying full retail for the items. For our CALIFORNIA OUTLET trips, @ChristelaMcC goes to the Las Americas outlet in San Diego. It is located right off the last U.S. exit.

I often get asked “which store is better?” That depends. Vineland is close to Walt Disney World, while the I-Drive location is a hop, skip, and jump away from the Universal Orlando Resort. The Vineland Disney Outlet Store is much, MUCH bigger than the I-Drive location. However, the Vineland outlets in general are much, MUCH busier than I-Drive. Each have their pros and cons, and ultimately they carry much of the same items. For a Disney Outlet Store FAQ, check out this SATURDAY SIX Presents: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Disney Outlet Stores (But Were Afraid To Ask)

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2020Jan | Feb | March

Very Special Editions & MilestonesTribute to O.O.G.Four Year Anniversary SpecialFirst Pandora ItemsFive Year Anniversary Special & Outlet Hall of FameMajor Changes Come to the OutletsCamera Hat

We also did an edition of Magic, Memories, and Junk for a non-Disney owned Outlet Store, and for you merch addicts like myself, you may also enjoy a look at the official Disney merchandise available on the Disney Cruise LineCastaway Cay, and at the Orlando International Airport. Want to see our favorite WDW resort-specific merchandise? Well, CLICK HERE!

If you liked what you read here, you may enjoy THE SATURDAY SIX articles every week on the TouringPlans.com blog and you can follow your humble author on Twitter (@derekbugan).

4 thoughts on “The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! Looks Back at 7 Years of Disney Treasure, Trash, and Tsum Tsums

  • April 30, 2020 at 2:53 pm
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    I’m a Disney Store cast member and I proudly wear Humphrey the Bear on my name tag. Love the Humphrey merch!

    Reply
  • April 30, 2020 at 4:57 pm
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    Just keep an eye on eBay for someone who lists hundreds of Galaxy’s Edge Coke bottles to find out who bought them all.

    Reply
  • April 30, 2020 at 7:31 pm
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    So, does a picture of allllll the Tsum tsums together exIt’s?

    Reply
  • May 12, 2020 at 10:14 pm
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    And I was worried there wouldn’t be a “The Magic, The Memories, and The Merch” column this month! Silly me!

    Reply

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