Today’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 2018). By now many TouringPlans blog readers know every single weekend brings an edition of the SATURDAY SIX. Some look at the world of Disney, some look at Universal, and some are just next level bananas. Some readers of this fine weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month for over four years we have braved the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores in Orlando. In fact, we even had a very special FIVE Year Anniversary edition that introduced the Disney Outlet Hall of Fame.
Now, while some Christmas dreams do come true, such as Ralphie Parker getting his official Red Ryder BB gun and us Americans being able to say “Merry Christmas” again (although for the life of me I can’t remember a time when we couldn’t,) 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 – A $130 Star Wars Hat
See? If anything the Outlet Report is an educational tool! In fact, instead of “Traditions,” incoming WDW Cast Members should be forced to read previous editions of the Outlet Report to fully understand what their job entails. In the tweet above, the item referenced was seen in the February edition of this fine blog series. At the time, we came across a piece of Star Wars merchandise that was inside a special box. Very few items of any brand come boxed at the Disney Outlet Store, let alone something from Star Wars. I mean we’re talking some high end brands too, including: Dooney & Bourke, Vera Bradley, and Pandora jewelry. None of them come boxed but this was, and it was Star Wars… STAR WARS. It had to be truly special right?
Nope, it was an all-leather Star Wars baseball cap. The inside of the box was also themed with X-Wing fighters and the Rebel Alliance symbol. The original price of this hat was $128 and that is NOT a typo. It was “reduced” to just $37.99. Now, I consider myself a pretty big Star Wars fan, but the idea of me buying a near $40 Star Wars baseball cap would make for a good episode on the new Twilight Zone reboot. Maybe I’m the weird one though, because it turns out YouTube’s own @kyzman bought one at the original full price! Maybe we can convince Kyle to do a vlog explaining his thought process on buying this hat.
One thing to keep in mind. This was the “Light Side” hat which means there must also be a “Dark Side” version for
suckers collectors, so stay tuned for next year’s Outlet Reports for updates.
Speaking of Star Wars hats you’d have to be drunk on spiced Corellian ale to buy, how about this May the 4th Be With You one?
When it comes to odd Star Wars items, this pin set featuring Star Wars characters as snowflakes may take the cake.
# 5 – “I Conquered Splash Mountain” shirt for kids too small to ride Splash Mountain
We here at the SATURDAY SIX consider Splash Mountain to be one of our all-time favorite WDW attractions. Unfortunately, outside of photo frames, there aren’t too many Splash items that make it to the Outlets. Recently we did see a fun “I conquered Splash Mountain” shirt, but something seemed a bit peculiar…
This shirt was made for people “36-39 inches” in height.
But a quick look at Walt Disney World’s website reveals…
By the way, how many of you have seen the Splash Mountain Rap? It’s perfect for anyone who has mastered how to Do The Scarn.
# 4 – Minnie Mouse Metal Earth
This year started off with my arch nemesis – Metal Earth – releasing some new products. For the first time they put out some of the models in color, including an incredible WDW Main Entrance Sign. Not everything looked great though, as the Minnie Mouse Metal Earth looked like someone was trying to build a character in Mine Craft. It just looked horrible. Over on the Twitter machine, an Outlet Report reader accurately predicted its quick trip to the discount bins.
Lo and behold…
If you want weird looking Minnie things, don’t forget about this “hooded fleece.”
# 3 – LeFou’s Brew shirt
Disney created the Twenty Eight & Main branding of clothing several years ago and billed it as being “inspired by period setting of Main Street USA.” It also said this line was – and I’m being completely serious here – “fine quality goods for the discerning gentlemen.” Now, pretty much every single one of these fine quality goods made its way to the Outlets, but the one that really stood out to us was this shirt for LeFou’s Brew.
Before we talk about this shirt, perhaps we should have a history lesson. When Universal unveiled the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village in 2010, to say it was a smash hit is the understatement of the century. Forbidden Journey became a game changing E-Ticket attraction, and possibly the first ride in theme park history where guests wanted to spend more time in the queue. No one expected the huge demand for wands, a phenomenon surely helped by the Ollivander’s wand ceremony having wands “choose” their new Muggle owners. But the biggest surprise of the land was the debut of Butterbeer. Universal sold over 1 Million Butterbeers in the first six months. That’s a jaw dropping number, but what may be even more shocking is that sales only went UP from there. In fact, earlier this year Universal celebrated selling its 20 Millionth Butterbeer! For Potter fans, Butterbeer was something they have always wanted, as it was routinely mentioned in the books and was seen being enjoyed on screen in the film series. As a bonus, Butterbeer actually tasted as good as everyone wanted it to be, especially the delicious butterscotch-like foam “head” on top that gives many guests a “got milk” moustache.
Upon seeing the overwhelming popularity of Butterbeer, Disney came to one conclusion: guests must want a kid-friendly drink that looks like frosty cold beer. VOILA! LeFou’s Brew was created by committee.
To Disney’s dismay, LeFou’s Brew did not become the roaring success that Butterbeer was. Whereas Butterbeer is featured prominently in the Harry Potter universe, there was zero connection between LeFou’s Brew and its source material; the beloved Beauty & the Beast. The taste of LeFou’s Brew can be described most accurately as frozen apple juice, which is something no one was asking for.
Thankfully that did not stop Twenty Eight & Main from making a LeFou’s Brew shirt. This is basically like Ed Hardy making a Pepsi Clear shirt. The overall design of this t-shirt is so next level bananas it actually does a disservice to the word bananas. Check out this over the top stitching on the outside of a t-shirt.
Here is a photo of the front collar of the shirt. If you notice, there is an embroidered Twenty Eight & Main logo on the inside of the shirt.
But then check this out. There is a SECOND embroidered logo on the backside of the shirt, in the exact same spot. This is insane. I don’t wear many Lacoste polos, but I’m relatively certain there isn’t a second embroidered gator logo on the inside of the shirt.
Another completely BONKERS shirt found at the Outlets this year was this one featuring Mickey Mouse. In this design, Mickey is doing the hand gesture for “framing” someone or something in a picture. That’s completely normal, and for the vacation kingdom it actually make sense because so many of us are taking pictures everywhere we go. What’s not normal is that Mickey is upside down on the shirt. WHY?
# 2 – Avatar “creature pen set”
When Pandora: The World of Avatar opened last year I was in just as much awe of the land as anyone. Flight of Passage became my favorite attraction at Walt Disney World. Sa’Tuli Canteen was wonderful. All the little details in Pandora were perfect, and Disney even found a way to troll Tom Staggs. The entire area was a grand slam home run except for one place: the Windtraders gift shop. You can’t really place the blame on Disney for this. The film Avatar came out in 2009 and still holds the record for highest grossing film of all time, and its not even close. Avatar could get people to the movie theater like no film in history, but there was one thing the film couldn’t do: sell toys. It also couldn’t sell t-shirts. Or posters. Or books. Or ANYTHING. For whatever reason, the connection that people had with the movie Avatar ended as soon as they left the theater. So Disney had to try and create a market that didn’t exist even when Avatar was a worldwide box office monster.
So we can’t fault Disney for the fact that almost every item in Pandora made its way to the clearance racks. Just about all of these items were D.O.A. and had almost no chance to catch on. Some were doomed to fail though, and that’s what we have here with the Creature Pen Set.
This pen set was one of the first items that arrived from Pandora and is absolutely CRAZY. You may be wondering: who was this made for?! Kids have no idea what any of these creatures are, and even if they did it is highly unlikely they would want their skulls on a pen unless they are Sid from Toy Story. The pen set also had an original retail price of $24.99. This would make sense if the set was released in 2154 – the year that Avatar takes place in – but not so much in 2018. So the pen set went to the Outlets pretty much immediately and was reduced to $7.99. At this price, which was 65% off, they still didn’t sell.
Each month I would come to the Outlets and these pen sets would still be there. Meanwhile just about every item in the store had been completely turned over and replaced with something else. Finally they lowered the price even further – to $3.99 – and of course I bought a set.
Oh, it got even better. The pens had no caps, and no way of retracting the tip, so who knows how you are supposed to store them. You see those colors on the end of each pen? Would make sense if that’s what the color of the ink was, right? Nope. They all write in black ink. This may be the most ill-conceived pen design in the history of mankind.
I think we could do a whole Outlet Special just on items from Pandora: The World of Avatar merch, but the following pic shows you pretty much all you need to know. Anyone who has gone to the Outlets knows that people will buy anything there…ANYTHING. It’s like a Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart except its every day of the year. Even reduced, the items from Pandora often sit at the store untouched causing the rare “double discount” where the already lowered price has to be dropped even farther.
# 1 – This Hat
This Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith hat is one that Disney has been selling inside the parks for a while now but I’ve never actually seen one bought buy a human being. The love child of Guy Fieri and Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, this hat is exactly what you would have Dr. Facilier wear if you wanted him to look ridiculous instead of scary.
Honorable Mention – Donald Dock
This must be a Disney Cruise Line pen.
Now, don’t get me wrong there were a whole bunch of incredible items that hit the Outlets this year too, including several from my Disney Merchandise Bucket List (AKA “items I’ve always wanted but cost way too much money to actually BUY.”) One of my bucket list items was the Contemporary Resort monorail toy accessory. Keep in mind, I don’t have a monorail toy set, but I’ve always wanted one of these Contemporary accessories. When one finally showed up at the Outlets, I just about lost my mind and bought it immediately.
They have also made monorail accessories for the Polynesian and the Grand Flo. If any SAT SIX reader has those in their possession and wants to leave them to me in their Last Will & Testament, I promise to then buy the actual monorail toy and create my own display. Ironically enough, this would actually lead to MY death once my significant other found out. However, that would allow me to pass the toys on in my will, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the song Circle Of Life is all about.
Here’s another one I’ve always wanted when seeing it in the gift shops, a giant Tree of Life toy. This thing is awesome.
One super cool thing about the Tree of Life toy is that the base of the tree has animals “built” into it, several of which you can actually take out and play with.
Disney sells a lot of awesome postcards in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs. Unfortunately most of them are $5.95. I have a lot of friends and family, but not many of them that I love “$5.95 postcard” much. However at the Outlets, these postcards go down to $1.99. I can justify that price and have bought many of them over the years, sometimes just to use as tiny art prints because I love the artwork so much, such as this one featuring Mr. Toad.
Haven’t had too many regrets at the Outlets over the years, because I live by the philosophy that if you see something you like you should just buy it because you may never see it again. I thought about buying this art print featuring bird houses themed to the pavilions of World Showcase. There’s also a ton of Disney bird characters. Kicking myself for passing on this one as the concept and execution is just wonderful.
This Lotso coffee cup holder is just too bonkers to believe and makes me wonder what other type of crazy products Disney makes for their Asian parks.
I think maybe the biggest hit all year long for the kiddos in our family was this Pirates of the Caribbean skull from Shanghai Disneyland. The skull opens up and is filled with smaller toys, including rubber insects and plastic coins (“treasure!”) The eyeball on the front of the skull can also be popped out and played with.
Captain American is my favorite superhero. The Disney Cruise Line puts out my favorite Disney merchandise. Combine them together and its like the day peanut butter met chocolate. LOVE this shirt.
A Rescue Rangers logo shirt? Like I wasn’t going to buy that!
I’m not a huge fan of Mickey Ears headbands, but I love Figment, I really love big chef’s hats, and I really REALLY love the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Logo that was designed to look like the old Schoolhouse Rocks stuff.
For the last several years Disney has been doing a neat Easter Egg gimmick at EPCOT where guests buy a map with stickers and go around the park trying to find themed Easter Eggs. When you show your completed map at the end, you get to pick out one of the small plastic Easter Eggs as a reward. When these plastic eggs come to the Outlets they are often scooped up by the eBay pirates or people who put together “subscription boxes,” but sometimes there are eggs left over for the rest of us plebians.
So there you have it: Six Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole! 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 Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, Jammin’ Julia Mascardo, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. 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.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!