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This is How Holiday Magic is Made at Disney Merchandise Locations

Disney Parks Blog has a section dedicated to cast members called “Cast Life Stories.” This section of the site is my absolute favorite because it allows you to see all the work they put into creating magic for guests.

A recent story caught my eye: ‘Go Behind the Magic of Holiday Merchandise Window Displays with Disney Cast.‘ I love the window displays during the holidays, and I always wonder who comes up with them and how they make them happen. So, of course, I was excited to see that there was an entire article dedicated to this.

This article showcases the merchandise cast members at EPCOT and their Merchandise Presentation Area Manager, Don Schultz.

At EPCOT, the team honors the park’s past, present and future with their designs by building colorful, futuristic layouts for locations like Creations Shop, while including special nods to the park’s legacy, like repurposing an original Figment figure from Journey Into Imagination With Figment in their new displays. 

Disney Parks Blog

“The holidays are a visual merchandiser’s big game,” said Don. “We all work together to decorate trees and come up with wild creative concepts, and we usually end up with snow and glitter everywhere.”

Don Schultz

I have always wondered how early they start planning out these windows, and in this article, they let us know that they start planning in July. In merchandise, Christmas in July has a whole different meaning. I knew they started planning early, but I thought it began in September. It’s incredible how much time they dedicate to preparing for the season.

“It’s a passion,” said Evan Harkrider, a senior merchandise presentation specialist on the team. “My favorite part about the design process is how it all comes together in the end and how we’re able to take our ideas and bring them to life through these displays.” 

Disney Parks Blog

After the design and planning phase, the cast members jump into installing the new designs. For guests visiting the parks, it seems like these new window sets appear with the wave of a wand when, in reality, cast members put them up after hours. While guests are sleeping in their hotels, they are installing the displays.

“We’ll usually have two weeks of overnight installations, and I just love it,” said Don. “I’ve always loved that part… How in the middle of the night, it all comes alive.”

Disney Parks Blog

The Walt Disney World Ambassadors posted a behind-the-scenes video on their Instagram page showcasing how they make these holiday window displays possible.

Now when I see these different displays, no matter the season, I will think about all the hard work and dedication that goes into creating them.

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Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.


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