It was brutally hot in New York City earlier this week. As I inched my way down the entrance ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel this past Monday afternoon, the exterior temperature gauge in my rental car said that it was 98 degrees outside. Yikes!Well, no wonder I could barely see the nearly-completed One World Trade Center (aka the Freedom Tower) as I looked out across the Hudson.
Photo by Jim Hill
Which is why it was a trifle bizarre -- after parking the car and then hiking along sidewalks that were so thick with humidity that you felt like you were swimming -- to suddenly step off 10th Avenue, walk through a stylish doorway and then find yourself in a room where the air conditioner is set on stun. What's more, the sound system is blaring Harry Connick singing:
"Oh, the weather outside is frightful,But the fire is so delightful.And since we've no place to go,Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"
But this is what it's like every year at Disney Consumer Products' Holiday Preview Party. Which is when Mickey throws a six-months-ahead-of-schedule shindig that showcases all of the Company's top products for the coming holiday season.
And I have to tell you: If you're a Star Wars fan, you're definitely in for a Merry Christmas this year. Since -- if you chose -- you can go dashing through the snow aboard your very own General Grievous-themed snowboard ...
... or -- if you prefer -- you can lie nestled, all snug in your bed wearing a pair of special holiday-themed Star Wars pajamas.
Better yet, you can put some Ho-Ho-Ho in your attack on Hoth by entering that secret rebel base while wearing a Santa Vader t-shirt.
Speaking of Darth Vader, Harbro has a kind-of-cool version of this character heading into stores this Fall. If you just leave this Sith Lord the way he is when he comes out of the box, Darth Vader's light saber will glow an ominous red.
If -- on the other hand -- you chose to pull off Darth's helmet to reveal the young, still handsome & hopeful Anakin inside -- Vader's light saber then automatically switches to Jedi Blue.
If you're more of a Marvel maniac, then you're just going to love this remote controlled Iron Man-themed flyer that can zoom 300 feet straight up in the air (repulsors not included).
Better yet, how about these cool Marvel-themed light fixtures? Which makes it look as though Iron Man and Thor have just crashed your holiday party.
If you'd prefer to see something from "Under the Sea" under your Christmas tree, the Little Mermaid had a very big presence at this year's Holiday Preview Party.
To help support the October 1st release-on-Blu-ray of this acclaimed animated feature, Disney Consumer Products is sending a slew of new Little Mermaid-related items out to stores. Some of which reproduce actual cels & imagery from this 1989 Walt Disney Animation Studios production ...
... while still other products will take a more stylized approach toward the Mermaid characters.
Me personally, one of the things that I was most excited to see at this year's Holiday Preview Party was a preview copy of Marty Sklar's "Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms ." This is the book that a lot of us Disney history buffs have been waiting for for decades now. I just can't wait 'til August 13th (which is when "Dream It! Do It!" is scheduled to officially hits store shelves) to read what Imagineering's ultimate insider has to say about what really went on behind-the-scenes at 1401 Flower Street.
And for all you "it's a small world" fans out there, there's a new series of collectibles coming out this Fall that you're just going to have to buy.
As a follow-up to its highly successful Disney Animators' Collection, the Disney Store will soon be launching a series of Small World-themed dolls. And what's kind of cool (or kind of annoying. It honestly depends on how you feel about "it's a small world" 's earworm of a theme song) about these dolls is that ... Well, if you squeeze their hand once, they sing the "it's a small world" song in English. If you squeeze this doll's hand a second time, it then sings the "it's a small world" theme song in the respective language of that doll's country.
This "it's a small world" doll series will also be supported by some plush pieces that recreate memorable & colorful animal characters which are also found inside of the "it's a small world" show building.
Speaking of small ... I apologize for today's article being so short. Because -- as it turns out -- I still have even more great images & info to share from Disney Consumer Products Holiday Preview Party ( including some terrific stories that Nancy Kanter -- the Senior Vice President of Original Programming and General Manager at Disney Junior Worldwide -- told at last Tuesday night's event).
But I have to head out for Ohio. Where -- this Saturday and Sunday -- Disney historian Jim Korkis and I will be doing presentations at Dayton Disneyana. Which is the great annual gathering of Disney fans from in & around the Buckeye State. So if you'd like to hear some of the stories that Mr. Korkis & I will be sharing and/or check out some of the great collectibles that will be available for purchase at this weekend's Show and Sale ...
Ray, a member of the Plane Crazy chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club, lines up topurchase an autographed copy of Jim Korkis' newest book, "Who's Afraid of theSong of the South ." Photo by Jim Hill
... be sure and swing on by the Wyndham Garden Dayton South (which is located at 31 Prestige Plaza Drive in Miamisburg, Ohio).
Hey Jim! You "photo-bombed" yourself in the Furry Friends Photo, thanks to the backdrop mirror.
OMG - thank you for showing the Small World dolls. Next year would be the 50th anniversary at least of the NY World's Fair attraction opening, so I'm hoping for a lot more small world, Lincoln, Carousel of Progress and Magic Skyway merchandise. Let's see if they remember.