This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Christmas gifts for the theme park fan in your life! Longtime readers of this fine blog series know how much we love theme park merchandise. We have our favorite Disney items like Mickey Ears, Universal items like Chocolate Frogs, and of course items which all theme park fans can bond over: pressed pennies. Today we are going to look at the perfect Christmas gift for the theme park fan in your life. Now, some of these are real, while others we wish were real, and we’ll let you figure out which one is which. Let’s kick everything off with…
# 6 – Garbage Can Tablecloths
One event that everyone loves on the theme park calendar is the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Food and drinks from around the world are available in one place. Unfortunately what is not available are tables to put your food and drinks on. Theme park fans had to use the next best thing: garbage cans. It may seem bonkers to eat your food on top of a garbage can – because, well, it is bonkers – but we have to make do and that is our lot in life. But what if someone brought some elegance to this situation…
Introducing the Garbage Can Tablecloth collection from Fine Dining Mouse Co. Finally a way to bring class and sophistication when dining on top of literal trash.
There are over a dozen Garbage Can Tablecloth designs to choose from, and Fine Dining Mouse Co. can even make custom orders for those looking for a specific theme!
Let’s revisit our definitive Guide To Theme Park Food Photography. You’ll remember in our special investigation of these heroes of the theme park community that photographers like Brandon Glover, Blog Mickey and Tom Bricker creatively use theme park garbage cans for their photos.
At the time, we thought the photo of the special Rose Gold cupcake was great. Turns out the photo was horrible because we should have used an appropriate Garbage Can Tablecloth design for the shot. One day you’re the hero, the next day you’re the villain, such is our lot in life.
For the trash can connoisseur in your life you may also consider the stocking stuffer idea of a miniature Disney garbage can. While I consider myself a collector at heart, there are some Disney collections that truly baffle me. First and foremost is the amount of Turkey Leg merchandise that is made. In the last decade we have become inundated with salt and pepper shakers themed to garbage cans at Walt Disney World (many of which, shockingly, found their way over to the Disney Outlet Stores). If you’re going to have miniature EPCOT International Food & Wine garbage can salt and pepper shakers, we should complete this ensemble by also offering miniature food items to place on the top of these garbage cans to give them a sense of authenticity. Maybe for 2022 we can convince Fine Dining Mouse Co. to make miniature garbage can tablecloths to really make this an E-Ticket Christmas item.
# 5 – Wooly Bob
While we are all mourning the loss of traditional Disney Stores in malls across the nation, let’s not forget there is still a good reason to go to the cheap looking pop-up “Disney Stores” at your local Target. First and foremost, exclusive items like the Wooly Bob toy, giving
kids and adults of all ages customers “hours” of “fun” while they create features like moustaches, beards, and eyebrows on the face of everyone’s favorite CEO. Be sure to bring your creativity when you come to the Disney Store at Target, but more importantly bring your wallet because variable pricing is in effect. What was $10 yesterday might be $50 today, and we say “might” we mean “will.”
# 4 – Disney Little Golden Books
Who could have seen this coming? Out of nowhere in 2021, the Little Golden Book series started releasing books based on characters and attractions specific to Disney theme parks! We’ve already seen books based on The Orange Bird, its a small world, Jungle Cruise, and The Haunted Mansion. Coming early in 2022 are Little Golden Books on Space Mountain and celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World!
As a person who grew up loving the Disney Little Golden Books, this was a dream come true and here’s to hoping we get even more in the upcoming years. Who knows, maybe we’ll even go to the next level of theme park fandom with titles more alligned with this generation’s jaded sensibilities like: Mickey Mouse in The Magic of Hotel Parking Fees, Daisy Duck and The Instagram Wall, or Peg Leg Pete in Moving Across the Country to Keep Your Job.
# 3 – LEGO Walt Disney Railroad Set with BTTF DeLorean
We recently covered some of the amazing things Universal Orlando is doing for Christmas this year, and one item we mentioned specifically was an ingenious move they made in their Holiday Tribute Store. Now, toy trains are synonymous with Christmas, so it wasn’t surprising that Universal had a toy locomotive running along the store shelves. This wasn’t just any toy train though. This train was pushing a toy DeLorean, recreating an iconic moment from Back to the Future 3!
# 2 – Disney Pins We Want to See
I mentioned earlier that I’m a true collector at heart and consider myself a casual fan of Disney Pin Trading. I love getting pins at the resorts I stay at, as they make a fantastic souvenir. Other pins, such as the recreation of the “grape soda bottle cap” from the Pixar movie Up are also in my collection. But my favorite pins are the ones that include an actual piece of Disney “history” with them. In the past I have bought pins with pieces of SpectroMagic and Splash Mountain in them, and several years ago Disney was offering a pin set with pieces from The Sorcerer’s Hat, the Adventurer’s Club, and Dumbo, all well known items from the legacy of Walt Disney World.
This is the SATURDAY SIX though, and our readers demand pins with a deeper sense of history. Our pin set features pieces from Animal Kingdom Poop Snacks among other legendary moments in Disney history.
# 1 – A Jurassic World Christmas
In the theme park world, 2021 will always be remembered as The Year of the VelociCoaster. A smash hit with both casual theme park fans and coaster enthusiasts from day one, Universal’s VelociCoaster may already be our favorite roller coaster in Florida. In fact, the VelociCoaster transcends being merely a fun ride and has become something that energizes creativity. Earlier this year we did an entire article on How Universal’s VelociCoaster Has Inspired Artists, and one of the artists in has inspired is the SATURDAY SIX’s own Michael Carelli.
Not only has Carelli worked on several incredible VelociCoaster themed projects, but for the holiday season he worked on several other items that mashed up two of our favorite things: Jurassic World and… CHRISTMAS!
First up is an amazing homemade gyrosphere ornament.
A cute Mr. DNA holiday sweater…
…and Jurassic World-themed gingerbread cookies that will surely put you at the top of Santa’s Nice List!
Honorable Mention – Bacini Air Freshener
No one said it was easy being a theme park influencer, but Bacini – the official dog of Universal Orlando – does it better than anyone else. Private villa at Best Friends Pet Hotel? CHECK. His own steak from The Palm restaurant? CHECK. Room service at Sapphire Falls? CHECK. Bacini is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the Orlando pet friendly hotels are up to the standards that you, Dear Reader, deserve.
Bacini also has his own line of merchandise, including a limited edition air freshener that was mailed out to the movers and shakers of the industry (AKA the people who help bring this fine blog series to you). How limited was this run? More people own an NBA Experience hat and when was the last time you saw anyone wearing one of those?
Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog was able to take the high level of photos that the SATURDAY SIX readers demand. They say a photographer is only as good as their camera, and while I don’t know if that’s true or not, I can say that a pinch of bullying along with a smidge of photo harassment do get the very best of these fine men and women. The results speak for themselves…
While I would love to send a Bacini air freshener to every single person reading this, I have been informed by the Powers That Be that unfortunately that idea isn’t practical. What we can do though, is give you the template to create your own Bacini air freshener. That’s right, we’re going to be like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We’re not going to give you what you expected, or what you kind of want, but instead we’ll give you the tools to be the star of your own story!
FINAL THOUGHTS for our last SATURDAY SIX of the year…
2021 was the continuation of what appears to be a reboot of The Neverending Story. Just as we collectively seemed to be at a point where we were on the road to normalcy, life came back around and chopped the legs out from under us and sending us back to what can feel like square one. This past week I saw my favorite movie since the entire pandemic began with Spider-Man: No Way Home, and while giving no spoilers, a major element of that film is one that I think can apply to all of our lives. No matter how hard life beats you down…no matter how bad the cards are that you’ve been dealt…no matter how hopeless it can all seem in the moment… you must stay true to yourself. It seems to be human nature to be consumed with anger at everyone, and everything else getting in the way of the life we feel that we deserve. This can be as simple as long lines at the Supermarket or traffic on I-4 in Orlando, to much larger events going on in the world.
Unfortunately, most of this anger is misdirected, because there are many elements out of our control. The only thing we have complete control over is how we react to situations, and how we treat others. I’m not saying it’s easy, and there are others out there who are bound and determined to do everything in their power to get under your skin. Maybe it’s because they are miserable. Maybe it’s because that is how they were raised and it’s all they know. Regardless, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never get the answers you’re looking for when trying to understand why some people do the things that they do. “Peace on Earth, good will toward men,” has become almost a trite saying around Christmas time, but its deeper meaning should resonate throughout the year. Empathy, kindness, and patience are traits that we should all be working on to improve in.
Every single person reading this has a lot of options when it comes to entertainment, and I want to personally thank each and every one of you for taking an interest in reading my work when you have so many other competing interests for your limited time. The SATURDAY SIX is a labor of love, and it couldn’t be done without the best in the business like Scott Walker, Brian Cooper, Joe Matt, Nick Exley, Megan Stump, Tommy Hawkins, Scott Sanders, Brandon Glover, Michael Carelli, Hunter Underwood, Kimberly Roberts, and literally dozens of others pitching in. On occasion, we even have a time lord like @bioreconstruct popping in from variant timelines to help. How could you be more #blessed than that? I thank them all, and again I thank you, Dear Reader, for letting me into your life even if just for a brief moment.
Derek and Bacini
So there you have it: A SATURDAY SIX Christmas! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.