Disney is no stranger when it comes to creating collectible lines of merchandise. In fact, the premise is what most new product ranges are based on, always keeping their market wanting and needing more; after all, there is nothing worse than an incomplete collection, right? However, the most recent pitch, Mickey Mouse: The Main Attraction, doesn’t seem to have hit with as much dire enthusiasm as Disney would once have expected.
The series was the Mickey Mouse answer to the original, Minnie Mouse: The Main Attraction, a twelve-part monthly release that debuted in January 2020 and concluded on time in December 2020. The limited release was met with record excitement, partly because the spotlight on Minnie Mouse styled in the theme of beloved attractions was too adorable to resist. In another light, the series kept fans company throughout the worst year of the pandemic, where almost everything we loved Disney-related was temporarily suspended.
The range was so popular that getting your hands/credit card on any of these pieces was virtually impossible, even with a 1-item-per-guest limit. A timed release had thousands of fans with purchase fingers poised and ready to go, resulting in most series selling out in minutes and some even showing up on eBay mere hours later at double the price.
Fast forward to 2021, and news of Mickey Mouse: The Main Attraction hits the street. At first, the vibe is excitement, but before long, it starts to falter to indifference. The release was janky, at best. Overseas production delays caused a significant shift in release dates, forcing the merchandise to deviate substantially from the intended monthly release schedule.
At times, items began showing up in the international marketplace before the official US release had taken place; at one point, the UK market was seeing disappointing sales of three different series of the line before they had even rolled the first one off the dock in the USA. But that wasn’t the end of the marketing blunder with inconsistent products in each limited release, usually featuring only four of the five items available, Plush, Ears, Bag, Pin, and Key. And then, there was that time when the Pirates of the Caribbean Pin from Series 2 turned up on ShopDisney.com at the end of February before we had seen any sign of Series 1.
Aside from the hiccups of production, the themes weren’t new, basically repeating the same path the Minnie Mouse line had walked two years earlier. Before long, the stock began to linger, with some of the most popular items like Ears and Loungefly backpacks still available to purchase even now. Not only that, but some items are seeing significantly reduced pricing to clear inventory, like plushes, down from $34.99 to $19.98, and some of the pins are more than 50% off.
The difference between the two lines had me wondering how much of the result was based on the products themselves and how much was affected by the change in distribution methods. Could it be that without the hype, the countdown of urgency, and the missing exclusivity, many fans lost interest? Some fans reported a significant decrease in quality with the newer Mickey Mouse products, though; personally, I have not noticed any significant differences, which leaves me to believe that the significant difference is based on approach, and in turn, this perception, or rather misconception, of elusive exclusivity.
Bravo, Disney, bravo! Though, also a mistake to let us see the puppet master’s strings. Now that we’ve seen behind the curtain on consumer mentality, complete with participating in our own living, breathing control group to see the results, there might be no going back.
What do you think? Did you get any merch from either product line? I am curious to know if there was a difference in quality or in how you felt about the launch for each limited release.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
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