5 Questions with Michelle – Looking Forward to What’s New in 2016!

With so much great stuff going on and so many new products coming out in the theme parks, I thought it would be great to catch up with our friend Michelle Harker.  Michelle is Manager, Disney Theme Parks Merchandise Marketing and has been so gracious with her time in the past.  She was once again terrific about letting me ask her a few questions about what we can look forward to in 2016!

Michelle and I at the Force Friday event last December - Michelle is just the nicest person!
Michelle and I at the Force Friday event last December – Michelle is just the nicest person!
  1. I saw the SMS Audio Superhero themed headphones blog post and they look really cool.  What 3 items are you most looking forward to coming out this year? – As you know I’m a fan of ALEX AND ANI, so I’m pretty excited about what is headed our way this year, themed to both Disney and Star Wars. I think fans are going to love them! A few other things include the Twenty-Eight and Main collection. I love the vintage feel and the nostalgic look at some of our Disney fans favorite attractions from yesterday, today and tomorrow.  A sort of hidden gem out right now, is the engraving opportunity at Tomorrowlanding located across from the Tomorrowland Expo Center in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park. You can actually have a Star Wars or Star Tours themed name badge engraved with select planets and more.  There are also opportunities to have your name (even in Aurebesh) engraved on leather bracelets, etc.
L: ALEX AND ANI on display at D23 Expo 2015, R: Right under the old Rocket Jets you can get your personalized Star Wars name tags at Disneyland
L: ALEX AND ANI on display at D23 Expo 2015, R: Right under the old Rocket Jets you can get your personalized Star Wars name tags at Disneyland
  1. What 3 items were highlights for you from 2015? I would probably have to say the Diamond Celebration merchandise was one of the biggest highlights for me, in particular the crystal head band.  It was remarkable.  Of course, the introduction of D-Tech on Demand at D Street and now at the Tomorrowland Expo Center was a huge plus.  We have been waiting for the opportunity to create our own phone cases and I know our fans have been excited to see it launch on the west coast. I can’t forget the new Star Wars merchandise that debuted in the fall and the introduction of all the Star Wars: The Force Awakens product.  It’s amazing!
  1. Last year, of course, was dominated by D23 Expo 2015, but there was also the exciting Merchandise Preview for the 60th anniversary and Force Friday.  Are there any merchandise events coming up this year that guests can look forward to? There are a lot of great artists joining us this year, but the 2016 Eggstravaganza taking place this Spring and a pin quest planned for later this year are definitely at the top of the list.
  1. What cool souvenir / 60th anniversary item might people not be aware of?  Is there anything in particular we should be on the lookout for? I still think the Made with Magic merchandise is one of those things that until you see it interacting with the nighttime spectaculars and activating at different points in the park, especially in a group environment, that maybe our Guests aren’t aware of all it can do. Especially with the introduction of the paint brush here at the Disneyland Resort. I have watched Guests get the paint brush and then literally change the colors of other Guests hats.  You can even do it at home!
The Darth Vader replica costume at Disneyland's Star Wars Launch Bay - only $4,000!
The Darth Vader replica costume at Disneyland’s Star Wars Launch Bay – only $4,000!  But it can be yours!
  1. Has anyone bought the Vader suit from Star Wars Launch Bay yet?   Of course, I mean who doesn’t want a Darth Vader suit! There have been a lot of interest in the exquisite hand-made detail and authenticity of these costumes.

Thanks so much Michelle! I know personally I’m looking forward to that pin quest and my daughter has started to get interested in the ALEX AND ANI bangles and bracelets so we’ll just have to check all of those out.  And if the Eggstravaganza is anything like last year, I’m sure it will be a resounding success.

For everyone reading, I hope the next time you’re in the parks, you’ll be on the lookout for all of these wonderful souvenirs!  The merchandising team at Disney has done a pretty spectacular job of putting out high quality collectibles as well as a huge variety of other stuff for all of us who love the Mouse!  Here’s to a successful 2016!

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