When I asked Michelle if she would be willing to answer a few questions about D23 Expo, I had no idea we’d get this treasure trove of answers! Michelle Harker is Manager, Disney Theme Parks Merchandise Marketing and with so many events including this one coming up, I was just so happy she agreed to the interview. I told her if she could answer even five of the eight I submitted, that would be huge, but Michelle did all eight cause that’s the kind of person she is. Despite being massively busy, she took the time to answer questions about the Dream Store and what we can expect at D23!
So Michelle, what three pieces of exclusive merchandise are coming to the Dream Store we should know about? – I think the D23 EXPO ear hat, the Harveys collection attraction ticket bags, the Everyone’s A Character Tee and anything Alex and Ani, stand out for me.
How fast do you typically run out of some of the limited edition items like pins and Vinylmation? First day? First few hours? – It’s so hard to say. Of course, the first day the Disney Dream Store is an extremely busy spot. We know that limited edition items, pins, etc.. will certainly be very sought after. I would say, if you plan to make them part of your collection, don’t wait.
Will any new Disneyland 60th anniversary merchandise be revealed in the Dream Store at D23 Expo? – I think you’ll find there are a lot of great debut items, but not necessarily themed to the Diamond Celebration. We really wanted our Disney fans to enjoy collections and new items created specifically either for the D23 EXPO or to at least debut there first.
Will there be any items that are released daily? (i.e. at Expo 2011 there was a new LE pin released once a day) – While pretty much everything will be available when we open the Disney Dream Store on Aug. 14, you never know when a few surprises might make their way to the selling floor.
What has it been like to work on this project and how do you feel about the upcoming Expo? – We’re so excited for D23 EXPO. Since it only happens once every couple years, it makes it more special to all of us I think. It becomes a sort of reunion for our Disney family too, as we get to see partners from throughout the company that maybe we don’t get to work with on a daily basis. It’s certainly exciting to see all of the amazing product offerings and know that our Disney fans will love them. Which is why I love getting the chance to share all of the details on the Disney Parks Blogs and with you.
How are you able to get so many amazing vendors to make such great collectible merchandise? – It’s all about collaboration and partnership. Our vendors and licensees love it too. It’s that one time a year where so many Disney fans are in one place at one time and where we can really show and highlight amazing new offerings.
The Dream Store is always a highlight for people and because of that always has extremely long lines both to get in and at checkout. I’ve noticed in 2013 it seemed to be better than 2011. Have there been even more improvements to that process as time goes on? – We are always evaluating the processes, especially from an efficiency standpoint as we want to ensure we are allowing the Guests the opportunity to enjoy the D23 EXPO and not miss out any of the other exciting panels, pavilions and showcases taking place. (Check out the Store Pass being introduced this year at D23 Expo! – Craig)
What are some of your favorite things about the Dream Store? – I love seeing the excitement from our Guests, who have found that one treasured item they have to have. I love that inside the Dream Store, so many of our artists, Disney Legends and authors are available at the same time for our Guests to meet and have items signed. It’s such a rare moment and opportunity for them.
Wow! It looks like we have a lot to look forward to! Thanks so much Michelle for taking the time to let me interview you.
If you see Michelle on the D23 Expo floor, be sure to give her a big thank you for being so willing to give all of us Disney fans insight into this incredible event!