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Angela's Orlando: Disney World's snazzy new souvenirs

Angela Ragno

Angela is the Walt Disney World shopping queen.

Angela's Orlando: Disney World's snazzy new souvenirs

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Hey, gang!

It's Angela Ragno again. You know? Your gal-in-the-know in Orlando. And -- this past weekend -- I spent a few hours prowling around Downtown Disney's shops. With the hope that I'd be able to uncover a bunch of cool new WDW souvenirs that I could then tell you about.

Now -- before we get started here -- let me state for the record that neither JHM or I are receiving any financial consideration from the Walt Disney Company for talking about these items today. Nor does this site have a store that just coincidentally happens to be selling the very same stuff that I'll be talking about in this article.

No, this column at JHM doesn't work that way, folks. Jim just asked me to go around Walt Disney World and find fun things to write about. So that's what I'm doing here. And -- given that I love Disney almost as much I love to shop -- I figured: Why not combine my two passions in one article?

The only guidance that Mr. Hill gave me on this matter is that he wanted JHM readers to hear about the new stuff. The items that people would read about and then say: "Oooh! I gotta get one of those the next time I'm down in Orlando." So that's what I spent this past Saturday doing: wandering around Downtown Disney, looking for cool new items to tell you about.

And I'll say this much. Walt Disney World's merchandising department has finally gotten its act together. For the past few years, it seemed like everywhere you went at the resort, you saw the same tired merchandise. No matter whether you were shopping at the parks or back at your hotel or Downtown Disney, it was always the same stuff -- over & over. Particularly Pooh. There was WAY too much Winnie the Pooh stuff.

Well, over the past few months, there seems to have been a significant change within WDW's merchandising department. Now -- wherever you turn at the resort -- there seems to be great new merchandise. As well as a lot less new Pooh stuff. (Which personally makes me very happy. Why? Because I hate that bear with little brain. Whenever I see him, Pooh gives me a pain ... Hey, that was almost a poem. I think I'm really getting the hang of this writing stuff.)

Okay. Enough with the I-hate-Pooh comments. Let's get shopping, shall we?

  • First up is the absolutely perfect shirt for the obsessed Disneyana collector in your family. I found a Disney themed camp shirt in the Men's department at Downtown Disney's "World of Disney" store. But it looked so nice that I just had to buy one for myself. And I've found this shirt to be extremely comfortable for the ladies as well.

"So what's so great about this shirt?," you ask. Well, for starters, it's covered with all these signs for different WDW attractions that it has on it. Like -- on the front of the shirt -- You've got Cinderella's Castle (lining up between the buttons) as well as "Rock n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith" on the shoulder. And the backside of the shirt is fun too. What with all the images of Space Mountain, Grumpy, World of Disney, Hollywood & Vine sign, etc.

This shirt is really a MUST for the hardcore Disneyana collector in your family. A word of caution, though: This shirt DOESN'T seem to be available everywhere at the resort. By that I mean: I purchased my shirt at Downtown Disney. And I've also seen them for sale inside Epcot's "Mousegear" store too. But -- though I searched high and low -- I couldn't find a single one of these shirts available in the Magic Kingdom. So please keep that in mind if you're out to snag one of these snazzy shirts.

  • "Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me ..." I think that it's great that the Walt Disney Company has begun producing "Mickey Mouse Club" merchandise again. As you stroll around the "World of Disney," you'll find "MMC" clothing (Featuring that retro Mickey Mouse logo from the 1950s. NOT anything related to the late 1980s version of this same show which featured Britney & Justin. Yuck!) for all ages including T-shirts, golf shirts, baby doll and camp shirts.

But what's also great about this "Mickey Mouse Club" related merchandise is that WDW merchandising department didn't limit itself to clothes. You also find fun things like snowglobes, coffee mugs and glassware. All with that smiling Mickey Mouse face logo. Personally, my favorite piece in this new merchandise line is the Mouse Ears alarm clock. Which looks just like the set of Mouse Ears that Annette Funicello used to wear -- right down the black felt that covers this faux chapeau. But -- in place of the "Mickey Mouse Club" insignia -- you've got a clock face ... as well as an embroidered version of Mickey's name on the back of the clock.

Admittedly, this Mouse Ears-shaped alarm clock is a bit on the pricey side. It retails for $35.00. But -- that said -- I still think that it would make a snazzy addition to any Disney-themed bedroom.

  • Purses, purses, purses!!!! Disney merchandising must really be having some success with this line. Because -- every time I turn around -- there seem to be new ones lining the shelves.

  • I myself have purchased four different bags from this new Disney merch line so far. My favorites are the wristlets. These small purses carry keys, small cell phone and money -- just the essentials.

    Others items in this line include larger handbags that can be loaded up with lots of non-essential items. These larger handbags feature poster art from the original 1950s releases of "Alice in Wonderland" & "Peter Pan" as well as Classic Mickey. They've also recently begun selling a brand new line of humorous canvas totes for $24.00. Which feature a "Missing Dog" dog ad that Mickey wrote about Pluto, a "Found Glass Slipper" sign that Prince Charming supposedly wrote about Cinderella as well as a "Wanted -- A Housekeeper and Cook" ad that the Seven Dwarfs reportedly wrote for Snow White.

  • Here's a "Heads Up" for all of you "Lilo & Stitch" fans out there: To coincide with the upcoming opening of the new "Stitch's Escape" attraction at WDW's Magic Kingdom, new Stitch merchandise has begun popping up at Tomorrowland's "Merchant of Venus" shop as well as "Mickey's Star Traders" (which -- FYI -- has finally completed its renovations for this new TL attraction's exit). And -- for some odd reason -- we've also been seeing this merchandise pop up over at Disney MGM Studios too.

    Anyway ... There are T-Shirts, Baby Dolls, Kids shirts and baby one-pieces too. There is also this rare T-shirt that shows Stitch riding around on other attractions at the Magic Kingdom (Though -- from what I hear -- these shirts may have already been pulled from the park for some reason or another). There's also this new Stitch picture frame -- where Experiment 626 actually seems to be holding the picture frame in his mouth -- that should appeal all you Stitch fans out there.

  • Speaking of picture frames ... How about those great new Disney bobble head frames? These appeared on property for the very first time this week. Mickey and Dopey are the inaugural characters in this merchandise line. Though -- I'm sure -- other Disney favorites are soon to follow. These colorful and whimsical photo frames retail for $16.00.

  • And -- finally -- while I was strolling through "Once Upon a Toy," I came across Disney cast members demonstrating a new line of products that I'm sure will appeal to Disneyana fans of all ages: remote control WDW attraction vehicles. Retailing for $16.00, these nifty new toys include a "Magic Kingdom Railroad" train, a "GM Test Track" car, a "Dinosaur" time rover, a "Monorail" train, a "Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin" rocket, a "Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" hunny pot as well as a "Tomorrowland Speedway" car.
  • As soon as guests (who were walking through "Once Upon a Toy") saw these remote control theme park vehicles, they'd quickly snatch them up. This Downtown Disney store actually ran out of the "Tomorrowland Speedway" RC car while I was watching them being demoed. So you can bet that -- once word officially gets out about these new toys among Disneyana collectors -- demand for them is going to be hot, hot, hot!

    And -- speaking of "hot, hot, hot!" -- I find that I'm all tuckered out from my big day of Disney related shopping. So I think that I'll go get myself a beverage in my new "Mickey Mouse Club" club mug.

That's it for today, folks. If you've any Orlando-related questions, feel free to fling them my way, okay?

Wishing you magical memories, I am ...

Angela R. 

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