Disney Plans Midnight ‘Star Wars’ Event to Unveil ‘Last Jedi’ Merchandise

Walt Disney Co and major retailers will release the galaxy’s newest “Star Wars” toys at a September 1st midnight event ahead of the holiday debut of the next film in the saga, “The Last Jedi,” company executives told Reuters.

The marketing push called “Force Friday II” is a sequel to an event Disney used to build buzz for merchandise tied to the 2015 movie “The Force Awakens.”

Star Wars products were a big contributor to the financial success of the series reboot. BB-8 droids, lightsabers and other playthings made “Star Wars” the U.S. toy industry’s top-selling property for 2015 and 2016, with $1.5 billion in sales over the two years, research firm NPD said.

Hasbro Inc cited “Star Wars” sales when it reported its biggest quarterly revenue rise in nearly five years for the December 2015 quarter. Mattel Inc also posted a surprise rise in sales for the same period with help from “Star Wars”-based Hot Wheels toys. And at Disney, licensing income from “Force Awakens” merchandise drove record quarterly operating income in the consumer products unit.

Force Friday II will begin just after midnight on September 1st. Lego, Hasbro and others will release the first toys, apparel, books and other products tied to “The Last Jedi,” both online and in stores at retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Amazon.com Inc and Disney Stores.

Disney will incorporate new technology to its “Last Jedi” products like it did with the popular BB-8 droid, said James Pitaro, chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. New products will feature returning characters such as Rey and Finn, plus new ones, and will span a broad range of categories for male and female fans, he said.

“One of our top priorities is to expand the audience,” Pitaro said.

“The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment in the “Star Wars” movie saga that began in 1977, debuts in theaters Dec. 15. Toys typically hit shelves closer to a movie’s release, around four to six weeks in advance.

At the 2015 Force Friday, fans dressed as Stormtroopers and Jedi waited in line for hours ahead of the midnight store openings.

“There was a certain mania that took over,” said Marty Brochstein, a senior vice president at the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. The excitement around “Star Wars” in 2015 was unique because it had been so long since the last film, Brochstein said.

“It would be unfair to expect the same kind of volume generated this time around by consumer products,” he said, adding it was too early to assess demand.

Pitaro said Disney continues to see “very, very healthy sales” of “Star Wars” merchandise. “We have a lot of confidence we will continue in that direction,” he said.

Disney bought “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and reintroduced the franchise with “Force Awakens.” That movie became the third-highest grossing ever, selling $2 billion worth of tickets worldwide. Disney also released “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One” in 2016.

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Walt Disney World Gives First Look at Magic Kingdom 45th Anniversary Merchandise Artwork

This October, Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate its 45th anniversary. Today, we are being given a look at artwork created for commemorative merchandise being released this fall. I caught up with Cody Reynolds, Creative Manager with Disney Design Group, to learn more about the inspiration behind this program.

WDW - 45 Artwork 2

“We wanted the artwork to celebrate Magic Kingdom’s entire history since 1971 yet have an overall vintage feeling,” explained Cody. “Artist Jeff Grantio provided much of the artwork for this program. The attraction logos became a big focus for us as they each have such unique and iconic designs. We included opening year attractions like ‘it’s a small world,’ and other more recent additions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.”

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Cody mentioned the main merchandise logo shown above features each of the themed lands found in Magic Kingdom Park. There are two different color versions of this logo that can be applied to various products. This is particularly helpful when creating complementary apparel items or other goods like drinkware.

For the pastel color artwork, the team added Tinker Bell to several designs. You’ll also spot a vintage-looking Mickey Mouse which adds to the retro vibe.

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Artwork was pulled together in a style guide used by all categories at Disney Theme Park Merchandise. The style guide includes logos, character artwork, color callouts, patterns and more that can be applied to various products.

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First Look at D23 Expo Official Merchandise

Are you counting down to D23 EXPO 2015? I am. There is so much to share with you before the event kicks off August 14 at the Anaheim Convention Center, let’s get started!

Fans of our Disney characters need to make getting the D23 EXPO 2015 logo collection — which includes a tee, hat, magnet set, pin, jewelry, D-Tech, and more — a priority! The subtle nod to many of your favorite characters can be seen within the Castle outline or simply stated above taglines such as “Everyone’s A Character.” Young D23 EXPO-goers will consider themselves lucky, as there is a special Oswald tee created just for them.

2015 Expo Logo Gear

The excitement doesn’t stop there. This year, a special Walt’s Kingdom Collection has been created celebrating Walt Disney, characters, attractions, icons, ticket media and historical milestones from the opening of Disneyland park sixty years ago. Look for the collection to include adult tees, an ear hat, a lanyard and button set, a mug, boxed toothpick holder set, pin and more.

Expo - Kingdom Collection

What else will you find? How about beautifully crafted jewelry from Disney Parks│PANDORA? I couldn’t resist showing you this beautiful .925 sterling silver charm featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle in blue glitter enamel and fourteen (14) blue cubic zirconia stones.

Expo - Pandora

New Merchandise Coming to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Haunted Mansion MagicBands

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returned to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort on September 1, 2014. This fun Halloween-themed event runs select nights from 7:00 p.m. to midnight through October 31. I’ve attended the event a few times during my time with Disney. It’s fantastic! I love that so many guests dress in costume and the entertainment is outstanding (okay, I’m also a big fan of the candy). This year, guests should look for some commemorative items created especially for this event, including apparel, pins, and, for the first time, a limited-edition graphic MagicBand.

Presented in a decorative box, the limited-edition graphic MagicBand will include the event logo. It will have an edition size of 5,000 and will retail for $29.95 (plus tax). Guests must present one of the following for the MagicBand to be linked to at the time of purchase: valid theme park admission, Memory Maker card or an active MagicBand.

Guests attending the event will also find a few apparel items for adults and kids, including both long and short sleeved options plus a ladies’ cut T-shirt. A slightly altered event logo was used for the limited-release pin.

Speaking of pins, guests should look for a couple of different things, including individual limited-edition pins (Chip ‘n’ Dale with Clarice is my favorite), a boxed set, a framed set, and a limited-release mystery pin set.

One final item wasn’t created specifically for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party but I thought it was perfectly themed for the event. It’s a limited release, graphic MagicBand that contains the infamous wallpaper from theHaunted Mansion attraction (retail is $24.95 plus tax). This item will also have to be linked at the time of purchase just like the aforementioned limited-edition graphic MagicBand.

Please visit the following Magic Kingdom Park locations to find these products:

Please note the Haunted Mansion-themed graphic MagicBand will only be sold at Magic Kingdom Park at this time. Guests do not have to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in order to purchase it.

 

 

June Merchandise Events at Walt Disney World

Oswald - Magic of Disney Animation

Here are the merchandise events headed your way this June at Walt Disney World Resort!

June 4 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns June 4 – 8 to Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will appear later in the month from June 18 – 22 at Art of Disney in Epcot.

June 5 – 8: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from June 12 – 15 and June 26 – 29 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park.

June 12 – 22: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Add to your collection and meet representatives June 12 – 22 and June 26 – July 7. Look for a special appearance by Linda throughout the day, each day, June 12 – 15 and July 3 – 6.

June 14: World-renowned Celebrity DJ Pauly D will appear in the Downtown Disney Marketplace from Noon to 1 p.m. to sign his recently released line of DJ Pauly D headphones from SMS Audio. Please continue to watch for more information on the exact location.

June 14 – 15: If you are geared up for excitement at the thought of Car Masters Weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for a special post from fellow author, Steven Miller.

June 20 – July 3: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

June 21: Stop by Animation Gallery inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the limited edition release of “Studio Flashback,” featuring Oswald, and meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Can’t make it to the event? Order yours now!

June 28: Now, all the world is Figment’s stage! To celebrate the launch of the new, limited edition figurine, Figment Actor, sculptor Jacqueline Perrault will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot. Unable to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through June 27. Also appearing for a special artist signing will be Kevin-John from 1 – 3 p.m.