The first joke that comes to mind when you think about a Disney park is that every ride dumps their guests into a gift shop.
It’s actually pretty funny when you look at it – because it’s not true in every situation.
A COUPLE OF AUTHOR NOTES:
- It’s not necessarily a bad idea to not end in a gift shop.
- Attractions that have a store within eyesight aren’t included (ie Haunted Mansion’s Momento Mori)
- Keep an open mind. This is a fun list and topic:)
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
You walk past a number of shops when you’re going through the France Pavillion at EPCOT, but with the addition of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the back – you don’t actually see a shop.
Imagineering added a couple merchandise stands and a table service restaurant, but no actual gift shop.
THE LITTLE MERMAID: ARIEL’S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE
Wow, this was such a shocking addition to the list, but when you look at the attraction layout…why wasn’t a store included?
The fact that the attraction was so long in the making, with the ride layout and animatronics being included in the 2006 dvd release of the Platinum Edition, you’d think that someone would have thought to include three of the most iconic characters from the Disney Renaissance (Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula) in a shop.
Just imagine the possibilities! I want to buy a dinglehopper and a snarfblatt in the Magic Kingdom!
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PETER PAN’S FLIGHT
Peter Pan’s Flight is continuing the trend of attractions in the Magic Kingdom with classic franchises not having a retail component in the general area, even though the characters are found everywhere!
This attraction is a suspended dark ride with a continual loading system that has one speed throughout the day….”on”! The footprint is connected to a group of buildings that include Mickey’s Philharmagic, Columbia Harbour House and The Hall of Presidents. This means that the potential is always available in the future…but what are the characters that they can bring into a shop?
- Peter Pan
- The Lost Boys
- Captain Hook & Mr Smee
- The Crocodile
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
The most popular experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios sees thousands of guests daily, with individual lightning lane purchases (at $15 per person) and guests standing for hours in the standby queue line. You’d think that the Disney imagineers would want to keep the excitement at a high level with an experience similar to Rock n Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror…
But outside of a simple cart, the merchandise game is not strong.
MONSTER’S INC LAUGH FLOOR
I’m a huge fan of the Monsters Inc. franchise. Does that mean that the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is one of my favorites? Probably not. That being said, the 400-seat theatre is big enough that the retail opportunity should be a priority.
Just imagine all the Mike Wazowski, Boo and Roz merch!
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IT’S TOUGH TO BE A BUG
Going over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the attraction that’s housed in the Tree of Life is from a franchise that doesn’t really resonate with guests in 2017 vs 1998 when the park opened.
It’s Tough to be a Bug is incredibly well themed and the queue line is one of the most breathtaking experiences, especially when you get inside the tree and see the level of detail that the Imagineers put in.
However, when you leave the attraction, the only thing that you get to experience is the overwhelming number of strollers that are lining the path which leads guests back to the main walkway.
Bugs may not be a big draw, but Flik and Atta still show up in meet & greets and parades, and the franchise is part of the Pixar family…so this really makes me scratch my head.
This is a stretch, because EPCOT actually does fairly well with their attractions and gift shops, but let’s look a little deeper. Although the attraction does have merchandise available at a kiosk (a few magnets, shirts and random knick-knacks), Soarin’s merch game is far out-matched by attractions that do a percentage of the capacity.
This could be a great way to introduce the global Disney Parks merchandise, such as Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disney.
If they can have it at Uniqlo @ Disney Springs, then why not at an attraction that celebrates travel?
Back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the highlight of the park (100+ acres of fun) exits the same way that It’s Tough to be a Bug does…right into Strollers!
When we realize that everything in the park was designed from the ground up, this was a choice that wasn’t necessarily a bad one.
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BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD
Another attraction that wasn’t actually based on a Disney franchise (thank goodness that The Lone Ranger bombed at the box office), Big Thunder Mountain sends guests from the train to an awesome photo op which overlooks Tom Sawyer’s Island before putting them right back to the hustle & bustle of Frontierland.
BONUS – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST LIVE ON STAGE
I put this in the list because of a number of factors, but it’s important to distinguish that the Theatre of the Stars itself deserves a retail location. With the flexibility that the venue should be able to bring, and the fact that there are so many hit broadway shows within Disney’s repetoire, theming it towards a specific franchise would be a mistake.
With the venue being able to house Disney Broadway, maybe we’ll get some of that sweet merchandise that isn’t available anymore from shows like Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies….just floating the idea;)
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When we look at individual experiences that have a huge fan following and merchandise that could be centered around the pun-filled script of the Jungle Cruise, it’s actually disappointing that this attraction doesn’t end in a gift shop.
I’m imagining all the plush, shirts, toys and fun that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has…but themed to the skippers and the other stars of the jungle. And if you don’t think that the Jungle Cruise deserves a shop…well then…you’re in De-Nile!
SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN
When I started down this rabbit hole, the attraction that started it all was the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. Still relatively new to the Magic Kingdom Park, the Mine Train experience is a lot of waiting with a short payoff (under 3 minutes) and no continuing story after getting off the attraction.
Although a little odd from the outside, it’s important to realize that the footprint was actually an afterthought and the fact that we even got the coaster in the first place is the bigger story.
Do we think that the Seven Dwarf’s franchise is worthy of a store? Absolutely! The fact that the 1937 film is still being re-introduced to the youth of today is a testament to the longevity of storytelling that Walt Disney instilled in his animation team.
- Dopey and Grumpy are represented in the merchandise lineup on Main Street USA and throughout the resort.
- Snow White is still one of the most popular princesses within the official Disney Princess franchise.
- The Queen still strikes fear into anyone who ever has the chance to meet her at a special event!
So that’s the list. Thoughts? Comments? Did I miss something? Let me know!