posted on February 16th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager
This October, the Walt Disney World Resort celebrates its 40th anniversary. Wow – 40 years! It seems I have spent the majority of my life either visiting Walt Disney World as a guest or making magic as a Disney Cast Member. As discussed in a previous article, I enjoy collecting Disneyana from the vacation kingdom of the world. So imagine how beyond excited I was when asked by Natalie Kennedy, Senior Graphic Designer with Disney Design Group, if she could use some of my memorabilia for a 40th anniversary collage she was creating (yes, total Disney geek moment!). I recently spoke with Natalie about her work, which is now prominently featured on some 40th anniversary merchandise.
“The first step was finding memorabilia to use for the collage,” said Natalie. “Once gathered, I imaged each item for placement into the big picture. I wanted elements from all four parks and images of Walt Disney included in the collage. From start to finish, it took me about three months to create the image.”
I first saw the collage in Summer 2010, and I still catch new details every time I see it. The “40th Collage” program is one of several art programs we will introduce for this anniversary year. The recent SHAG artwork is another example of a program created especially for the 40th anniversary (there are a few others, so please stay tuned).
This collage is part of a global program, meaning that you will find it used on a variety of items. Natalie purposely designed it for usage in multiple categories.
“I support the lifestyle hardlines teams which include categories like stationery, seasonal, consumables or home and decorative,” continued Natalie. “From the start, I was challenged to make the collage usable for other categories outside lifestyle hardlines. From what we’ve seen so far, guests love this image!”
I asked Natalie about her first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.
“I first visited [the Walt Disney World Resort] in 1973,” explained Natalie. “My parents participated in the Beautiful-A-Bug contest which was held in June of that year. I can still remember driving down I-4 with my parents in our car wrapped in aluminum foil. My parents chose a spaceship theme for the contest. I included the ‘Tips on Your Visit’ brochure in the collage for my father. We got it during that first family trip and I still have it today.”
I was thrilled to see that Natalie included my EPCOT Center bag, button and classic guide map from 1982 (which I used in another Disney Parks Blog article). Natalie shared one final detail she has heard many people have loved finding.
“I’ve heard several guests remark how they love seeing the Orange Bird in the collage,” laughed Natalie. Right on – who doesn’t love the Orange Bird?!
posted on March 22nd, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager
What is your favorite color? My favorite has always been blue (it’s the color of my eyes). Recently, I discovered a new color that is giving blue some competition – charcoal. It would seem like charcoal is invading the marketplace (or perhaps only my life – my new love seat and certain items from my wardrobe are now charcoal). So imagine my delight to see the recently introduced colorful merchandise created for the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. Charcoal is just one of several colors used in this art program that also includes colors with names like antique white, gold nugget, black iris, true red and petunia. Like many things at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, selecting colors for an art program is a collaborative one. I spoke with Sandi Sloan Hays and Julie Young, both product developers and 40th Anniversary colors champions, about the process.
“We considered several factors when deciding on the colors featured in this program,” explained Sandi, who represented the softlines division. “We considered popular colors or trends in the marketplace and colors that would look good on guests. We also reviewed what worked well in the past from a sales perspective.”
For the 40th Anniversary, the colors needed to be retro-inspired, not necessarily true colors from the 1970s. The team selected what I’m calling “sophisticated 1970s” colors – it’s like the 1970s but without those “amazing” shades of yellow, orange, green or red (see this article for a colorful 1970s reference photo).
“Softlines drove a lot of the decision behind the colors used since they created the clothing and accessory items,” continued Julie. “The hardlines division which I represented took its cue from softlines. The goal was to create a cohesive look, so both softlines and hardlines items could sit nicely together on the sales floor.”
You will see these colors used on a variety of items, from polo-style shirts, tee-shirts, hoodie sweatshirt jackets, Disney pins, Vinylmation, laptop sleeves, bath towels and much more. I think my favorite item is the track suit! I saw the best presentation of these items at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. There are also select items on the Disney Theme Park On-Line Store.
I asked Sandi and Julie about their favorite color from this program. Sandi chose gold nugget as “gold is very 1970s,” while Julie preferred petunia. For me, I’m sticking with charcoal – sorry, blue.
posted on March 7th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication
When you think of Walt Disney World, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, I think of Cinderella Castle. It has been a royal beacon and luminescent icon of Walt Disney World for almost 40 years. As we get ready to celebrate 40 years of magic and wonder at Walt Disney World, Disney Theme Park Merchandise has created something special – a pattern that represents both Cinderella Castle and the iconic attractions that have comprised our magical kingdom since 1971.
The new program, Cinderella Castle Collage, features much-loved posters of attractions that have come and gone over the past 40 years. Similar to the 40th Anniversary Collage print that Steven & I have told you about over the past few weeks, the print for the Cinderella Castle collage was created to evoke nostalgic memories for Guests, and hopefully make a few say, “Oh my gosh! I forgot how much I LOVED that attraction when I was younger!” I caught up with Summer Bloomfield, Product Developer for Disneyland & Magic Kingdom Affinity, to find out more about the commemorative Castle Collage collection.
“The essence of the program is the castle silhouette made up of our beloved attraction posters,” explained Summer. “We had the chance to mix in our personal favorites, as well as posters that we knew Guests had a strong affinity toward.”
Summer made sure that the product mix was diverse, so that every Guest who would be charmed by the artwork could bring a piece of the magic home with them. This unique take on Cinderella Castle can be found on everything from picture frames and ornaments to mugs and coaster sets.
“I kept thinking to myself that this art isn’t just perfect for apparel, but it’s the kind of art that Disney Fans would want to have in their home,” continued Summer.
After speaking with Summer, I went straight to the source of the art, Disney Design Group Graphic Artist, Tyler Dumas. I wanted to know more about what he went through to design the Cinderella Castle Collage.
“I had to play with the cropping and placement of the posters so that they would work with the overall castle image, while still telling the story of the individual attractions,” said Tyler. “It was really important to me to feature a diverse collection of attraction posters to speak to the variety of popular park experiences.”
The first time I saw the Cinderella Castle Collage, I spent quite a bit of time trying to identify each attraction poster that was used. As you can tell, some posters are easier to identify than others. Can you name all of the attractions that make up the collage? I’ll give you a hint: there are 18 different attraction posters for you to discover!
posted on February 21st, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager
I love looking at maps. I could spend hours tracing roads and planning imaginary trips to destinations unknown. A favorite souvenir of mine from a 1988 family trip to Florida was a stylized cartoon map of Walt Disney World. I hung it on my bedroom wall to help me stay connected between Disney trips.
One of my all time favorite vintage Walt Disney World maps is from the 1970s. Drawn in a cartoon style, the map featured an overview of the Magic Kingdom area (complete with resorts never built). So what does this have to do with 40th Anniversary ear hats? Imagine my delight when I discovered that 1970s map printed on the underside of the 40th anniversary limited release ear hat. I spoke with Mark Seppala, Disney Design Group Artist for headwear, about the map’s inclusion.
“The map seemed like a perfect fit for this anniversary hat,” explained Mark. “It was added to the underside of the hat via a sublimated printing process. I particularly like how the map shows the once proposed Mediterranean Hotel.”
Mark began work on the hat in Spring 2010. Following a trend of other collectible hats, it comes packaged in a deluxe, satin lined hat box. The outside of the hat box uses the previously discussed 40th Anniversary collage designed by Natalie Kennedy. There are a few extra surprises besides the map that Mark added to this collectible hat.
“The original idea was to have an embroidered logo on the front of the hat,” continued Mark. “I asked Megan [product developer for headwear] if I could make a cloisonné logo instead. She loved the idea!”
Mark is no stranger to working in cloisonné. He spent several years designing cloisonné Disney pins during the early days of Disney Pin Trading at Disney Parks. Mark also shared there are three unique fabric patches that come packaged with the limited release hat.
If you are looking for a more simplistic way to commemorate the 40th Anniversary via your head, there is an open edition hat that is just as festive.
This open edition hat also has some three-dimensional features including a patch and two mini-buttons. My favorite detail is the “trifecta of awesomeness” (see above) – the Orange Bird, an Epcot Center button and Dreamfinder with Figment in a row!
I asked Mark about his first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.
“I first visited Walt Disney World in 1973 with my Mom,” said Mark. “I had finished serving in the Navy and came to Florida on vacation. The thing I remember the most was looking down Main Street, U.S.A., and seeing Cinderella Castle. I couldn’t believe how big the Castle was!”
These hats are available in a variety of merchandise locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.
posted on February 18th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication
A few days ago, Steven Miller introduced you to the Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary collage. As you saw in Steven’s post, the “40th Collage” program is found on keepsakes all around our magical kingdom. The nostalgic print can be found on everything from photo albums and memo pads to mouse pads and address books. But there’s one line of merchandise that Steven left out (actually I begged him to let me break the news…) – the new Dooney & Bourke 40th Anniversary Collection for Disney Parks.
The newest Disney Theme Park Exclusive Dooney & Bourke collection features six different silhouettes and takes the essence of the 40th Anniversary collage and transforms it into Disney Style that you can showcase every day. The bags feature everything from retro Walt Disney World icons to classic silhouettes of Mickey Mouse, plus original park tickets & maps and autographs from a few famous friends. This commemorative collection highlights the essence of Disney with color, style and nostalgic touches.
To help us celebrate the official launch of the 40th Anniversary co-branded Collection, Walt Disney World is welcoming back Ian Ray, Creative Director from Dooney & Bourke. It was around this time last year that Ian joined us for the release of Minnie & Mickey Faces & the Tonal Mickey co-branded collections. Ian Ray will be making a special appearance at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom on Saturday, February 26, 2011, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
As an extra special treat, to commemorate Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend, we will be offering the Dooney & Bourke Princess Collection for Disney Parks for 25 percent off! This special offer on the Dooney & Bourke Princess Collection for Disney Parks is only available February 25–27 at select merchandise locations throughout Walt Disney World.
If you happen to be at Magic Kingdom on Saturday, February 26, make sure to stop by Uptown Jewelers to not only meet Dooney & Bourke’s Creative Director, Ian Ray, but to get an up-close look at the newest Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Disney Theme Park Exclusive Dooney & Bourke Collection and save 25 percent on the Dooney & Bourke Princess Collection for Disney Parks.