The time has come when I thought we should have a little sit-down, you and me, so I can get something off my chest. It’s been bothering me for a while, and if you have been reading my Monday Merch Meeting articles, you would know that I’ve been hinting at it for a few weeks now.
It’s about the current state of Disney Merch, something most of you know I am very well acquainted with, and for once, my thoughts aren’t in line with my usual positive outlook on Disney as a whole. Are you ready to jump off the deep end with me?
Before we get started, I have to say, I love Disney merch in general, which is why I feel that my negative feelings are warranted, not just as another person complaining but as someone who usually feels otherwise. I love seeing beautiful home items emerge or the Disney Dresses that make you feel like a princess; they genuinely warm my heart. But, there is a line, and Disney is starting to cross it into a no-man’s land of high-priced items that are far-fetched to be classified as Disney merch.
This is less about inflation than you might be thinking. While unimpressed, I understand why the Dooney & Bourke Tote that used to be $298 back in 2020 is now commonly priced at $328, as we saw a few weeks ago. It’s not great for consumers, but if someone doesn’t understand that the cost of everything, including manufacturing these items, has skyrocketed by now, they must live under a rock. For me, my gripe is more with the inferior offerings that Disney tends to be leaning on these days in order to keep offering bulk quantities of new products. Not sure what I am talking about? Let’s look at specifics.
Last week, I showed you a few items from the new Indiana Jones Collection that featured a Replica Jacket, $399, and later a Collared Shirt, $64.99 — no hat! — for fans to take their Indi vibes out into the world Disney-Bounding style. The problem is, what Disney fan has almost $500 to drop on a Disney Jacket and Shirt? The Jacket is leather, okay, but if you were looking to shell out $400 on a leather jacket, you wouldn’t be looking at an imported item from Disney. And I have to say, the shirt is nothing special either! Again, imported, which is not a problem, but for the price, you would expect perhaps a USA-made item, which features buttons, pockets, and an Indiana Jones tag on the collar. Ooooooh, how thrilling. Hopefully, the powers of the written word are accurately conveying my sarcasm.
Up next, we have the Star Wars Home The Galaxy Throw (in four colors), a 50” x 60” acrylic, imported throw blanket that has absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars. Nothing. What they call “weighty with a fluffy loft,” I call thin-looking, ineffective and irrelevant. For duck’s sake, it’s like they found a semi-decent item, slapped “Star Wars” on it, and then doubled the price before patting themselves on the back.
It used to be that we would look forward to the newest Loungefly backpack or Dooney & Bourke Collection; you were left with time to get excited about them and wait for them to arrive. Now it seems to be one a week, each in a slightly different print from the last. Every other day there is a new Spirit Jersey or Mouse Ear Headband. It feels like they are flooding the market with one thing after the other instead of focusing on unique items, exclusivity, and offering Disney products that are a definitive cut above what you could find a Mickey Mouse glued on to in Walmart.
Disney, if you are out there somewhere, it’s time to go back to quality, not quantity. Disney doesn’t need to offer a department store full of items, but it should be able to offer products that bring the magic of Disney home with us; instead, it is starting to feel a little lackluster. In our Monday Merch Meeting, I try my best to bring you all the items that I love and that I think other fans out there might be drawn to, but in between, there is a lot of repetitive, uninspired merch that never makes the cut.
Is it just me, or is the usual sparkle of buying something directly from Disney starting to subside? How do you feel about the quality of Disney items these days? Let me know below.
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.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.