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"Pirates" ahoy, while "Goofy's Candy Company" finale just annoys

"Pirates" ahoy, while "Goofy's Candy Company" finale just annoys

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Let's face it. The Disney theme parks have always been used as promotional vehicles by the Walt Disney Company.

I mean, think back to 1954. When Walt Disney first revealed that his Anaheim theme park would feature a Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

"Why a Sleeping Beauty Castle and not a Snow White Castle or a Cinderella Castle?," you ask. Because "Sleeping Beauty" was the ambitious animated feature that the studio had in production  while Disneyland was still under construction. And Walt thought that this film might benefit from a liitle extra publicity.

Copyright 1959 Walt Disney Productions

Which is how this fairy tale castle (Which -- in the spirit of full disclosure -- I guess I should mention that Walt also toyed with naming this Fantasyland structure the Robin Hood Castle. Effectively tying this Disneyland icon to the live action film that Walt Disney Studios had released back in 1952) wound up being named the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Anyway ... As the years went by, Disney officials found lots of ways to use the parks to promote various projects. Take -- for example -- the windows at the Emporium ...

Photo courtesy of Google Images

... Where animated dioramas depicting scenes from the studio's upcoming releases (In this case 1961's "101 Dalmatians") made thousands of Disneyland visitors aware each day that this film would soon be "coming to a theater near you."

Copyright 1961 Walt Disney Productions

As the years went by, the Walt Disney Company got more & more brazen about its promotional efforts at the theme parks. Take -- for example -- this "Jungle Book" theme float ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... Which was used to promote the 1991 home video release of this 1967 animated feature.

Copyright 1967 Walt Disney Productions

And speaking of using floats to promote films ... Do you remember when "Pirates of the Caribbean" was just a theme park ride?

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Now -- thanks to the incredible popularity of "The Curse of the Black Pearl" and "Dead Man's Chest" ...

Copyright 2003 & 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

... (as well as the eagerly anticipated final film in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, "At World's End") -- ...

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

... "Pirates" is now a full-blown franchise for the Walt Disney Company. Which is why -- earlier this year -- Audio Animatronic Captain Jack Sparrows were folded into both the Walt Disney World & Disneyland versions of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attractions.

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

This is also why the Anaheim & Lake Buena Vista-based theme parks have begun presenting daily street shows that feature cast members doing their very best Johnny Depp impressions.

Photo by Jeff Lange

But perhaps the strongest indicator of the importance that the Walt Disney Company now places on its "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise came with this year's "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." Where one of the highlights of the twice-nightly presentation of the "Boo-to-You Halloween Parade" was the new "POTC" unit. Which started off with a chorus line of winsome wenches and salty old rogues performing in the street.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Once the dancers pass by, an elaborate treasure-covered float is revealed.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Of course, in true "Pirates of the Caribbean" fashion, this vast horde of coins & jewels is guarded by a gruesome quartet of undead sailors.

Photo by Jeff Lange

But who's that? High up there in the treetops?

Photo by Jeff Lange

Who else but Capt. Jack Sparrow. Who's actively plotting to relieve these gruesome ghouls  of their cursed treasure.

Now some Disneyana fans have begun complaining about the amount of "Pirates" related stuff that's now popping up in the theme parks. These folks are concerned that -- what with the aggressive way that the Walt Disney Company has been promoting its "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise lately -- that the corporation runs the risk of running a perfectly good set of characters straight into the ground. 

But me? I wasn't really bothered by Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew making such a prominent appearance in this year's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade. What bothered me was the parade's new finale sequence. Which started out with Pluto waving to the crowd from the front seat of the "Goofy's Candy Company" wagon.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Pluto was then followed by several cast members who were pushing 150-pound bags of candy along the parade route. And each of these bags were emblazoned with the "Goofy's Candy Company" logo.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Directly behind these folks were additional WDW employees, who -- while dressed in "Goofy's Candy Company" uniforms -- handed out free samples to all the guests seated at curbside.

Photo by Jeff Lange

These cast members were then followed by Goofy himself. Who was seated high atop this Willy Wonka-esque candy-making machine. Which also prominently featured the "Goofy's Candy Company" logo.

Photo by Jeff Lange

"So what's so offensive about the new finale sequence of the 'Boo-to-You' Halloween Parade," you query. "I think that these new floats bring that presented-twice-nightly parade to a very colorful close."

Photo by Jeff Lange

You don't understand, folks. All of that "Goofy's Candy Company" in this year's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade? It actually promotes a really-for-real store that opened at WDW's Downtown Disney shopping district in April of last year.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Now parade floats, window displays, even entire attractions that promote Disney movies & TV shows ... Those I can understand and even condone. But to turn the entire finale of this year's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade into an enormous plug for DTD's "Goofy's Candy Company" store? That really crosses a line for me. It turns a fun, seasonal celebration into something that's rather crass.

And speaking of rather crass plugs ...

In addition to being JHM's official photographer & archivist, Jeff Lange also produces a best-selling series of Disney theme park DVDs. Lange's most recent title is his 3-disc "Trick or Treat" set that commemorates the Magic Kingdom's "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." For further information on this DVD as well as all of the other titles in Jeff's catalog, please follow this link.

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  • This actually does not bother me. I mean, Halloween and candy go together like peaches and cream so I don't see the reason to get upset that Disney is pushing their candy STORE!
  • oh come on.

    They could very well push Hersheys or Nestle... Goofys Candy Company is Disneys candy company.

    Would the kids in the wonka factory have to look at how the hershey factory is run?

    LAME argument.

    They sell that goofy stuff in all the parks. Its no more a promo push then anything else in a parade.

    "what! Mickeys on the float!?" "they sell stuffed versions of him in the gift shop!"
  • A few weeks ago, I was walking near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at WDW and Captain Jack ran right past me.  That was pretty cool.

    And, part of the fun of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is all the candy that gets passed out.  We've barely started eating ours weeks later- 2 bags full.  If the Goofy's Candy Co. part of the parade didn't have any Disney chaaracters, especially Goofy, then I'd be right here agreeing with you, Mr. Lange.  And I see what you're saying, about how they're just trying to get people into their store.  But Pluto and Goofy were in that section of the parade.  I enjoyed seeing them.  I thought the parade was great!  My pictures, on the other hand, didn't come out so great...

    Thanks for the pictures!
  • yeah, I gotta agree with these folks -- if you are going to give away candy anyway... and if you are going to do some disney theming to do it... why not Goofy's Candy Company?

    It isn't like they have a candy-themed movie they could theme this float with.
  • You're kidding, right?

    Let me get this straight ... you spent however long writing an article to complain about the fact that a HALLOWEEN PARADE ended with candy being given out???????

    I can tell you for certain that if it HADN'T ended that way, my daughter would have been MAD!

    What would you have them do?? Push generic white and black bags labeled "Candy" (a la Repo Man) down the street?? Come on ... really ... this may be one of the silliest articles I've ever read ...

    Now if you want to complain about the overuse of Pirates, I'm on board with that. When will Disney learn to stop CRAMMING things down the public's throat?? You'd think after Millionaire, Stitch, etc. they'd get the idea that enough sometimes is really enough.
  • This is nothing compared to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I mean, there was an AskJeeves balloon one year!
  • Disney sells Disney. his is there candy and I agree with the others, I dont see a problem with them selling their product, we are all there buying it to begin with.
  • This complaint comes from someone who records trademarked copyrighted characters in rides and performances on private property, then turns around and sells those recordings for profit ?  Really?   I think I'd stay verrrry positive if I was doing that - want to stay wayyyy under the company radar.
  • Right svickersart - Disney sells Disney.  I don't much like it because I don't think that pushing cheap candy is something Disney should be doing, but even a dog needs to make a living, right?  

    BTW, GCC is an old staple at WDW Downtown Disney.  I remember them being in the same building as Earl of Sandwich a year or two ago and I've seen bags of GCC candy all over the place for long before that.
  • as far as disney pushing a product too much, i see nothing wrong with it.  it'd be silly to sit there and not do anything with it while the product is most popular.

    would millionaire still be on tv at night if they didn't air it so much when it first came out?  i personally don't think so.

    i think capt jack does a great job acting/looking like johnny depp's character...he has the same quirky hand motions and the rolly eyes.  i was excited to see him in the park.  

    if people want to go see more pirates stuff, than why would disney hold it back from the people that want to see it???
  • That's called SYNERGY!!

    They should've had some kind of a dancing candy corn brigade, like the snowmen or the reindeer in the Christmas parade. Along with that, throw candy and treats out to the crowds ala the Mardi Gras parade. No that would be cool!

    I say shut up and eat.

  • i would have a problem if the logo was new and the parade was just for the store, but the goofy's candy co. logo has been produced looong before they opened the store in Fl's dtd. We have sold Goofy's candy at DL since 2001 at the parks and at Marceline's at Ca's dtd. What kinda halloween parade would NOT have candy? and if it has to have have candy, what kinda candy do you think they should hand out?
  • Good Heavens! What's going on here at JHM? You guys are now more snarky toward Disney than Al Lutz ever was. And even at his most curmudgeonly, at least he kvetched about things that deserved a good kvetching. Jim et al seem to have their crap detectors stuck in the "on" position. All they see is crap. Using Wall Street's yardstick to measure how good Disney movies are doing, decrying the same-ol, same-ol cross-promotion that's gone on since BEFORE day one ofthe parks, reporting stories without adequate fact-checking. Credibility is nose diving around here. Pull up!
  • As far as I'm concerned, any time I see an old piece of character art I drew for a WDW logo being prominently displayed in a new Disney parade, that is an occasion to rejoice! We lowly cartoonists ask for so little...   :)
  • Watch out Jeff.  The DisneyDorks have thrown the gauntlet down.  You are as high on their *** list as Jim now!
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