Friday, November 1, 2019

Merlin's Magic Shop, Mickey's Christmas Chalet, Disney Villains & More!


The Castle courtyard area of Disneyland's Fantasyland, hasn't changed very much over the years.....at least, not the exteriors. In the past, I wrote about the former Tinkerbell Toy Shop on the west side of the courtyard. Today, we will take a look at the little shop across the way.

Originally opening in 1955 as Merlin's Magic Shop, the store was operated by Taylor and Hume, Inc. and carried a variety of items, including magic tricks, rubber masks, and practical jokes.

My dad really liked the architecture on this shop and photographed it on more than one occasion. Here's a photo he took in 1966. I always loved those scroll-like "To Tomorrowland" and "To Frontierland" signs that hung in the Castle archways.


One year later (1967), my dad took this pic of my aunt, using the Disneyland mailbox out in front of the shop. By the way, that mailbox is still there today!


I'm not sure if this was just a publicity shot or if they actually held magic shows in front of the shop. I have only ever seen this one photo showing any such activity in the courtyard.


That photo and the following info, were included in a 1981 Disneyland cast member publication. I don't remember ever seeing the color-changing iguana. However, I do remember the giant rubber spiders on strings, which cast members would release from the rafters inside the shop, down onto unsuspecting guests below!


This "Secret Panel Chest" is the only item that I ever purchased in Merlin's Magic Shop. I included a couple more photos of it in my Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary post, from two months ago.


My dad took this next pic of the shop in 1982. A pink construction wall is visible on the far left. This was taken during the earliest stages of the New Fantasyland Construction.


After the completion of the New Fantasyland in May of 1983, the shop was renamed Mickey's Christmas Chalet and carried Christmas merchandise year round. Notice the new sign hanging outside of the shop. By the way, that Christmas tree and Snowman costume were from Disneyland's "Fantasy On Parade."


This character vignette was on display inside Mickey's Christmas Chalet:



I purchased this plush Mickey Mouse in the shop, shortly after it opened in 1983.


Here is the original tag for the item.



The animated short, Mickey's Christmas Carol, was released just seven months after the shop opened, and they carried quite a bit of merchandise related to the film. I bought a small ceramic ornament of Minnie Mouse, dressed as Bob Crachit's wife, but I was not able to locate it in time for this post. When I do find it, I will photograph it and add it here.

In 1991, the Villains Shop took over this space. Over the next five years, various Disney villains would be featured in the shop's window displays.




The animated "Caged Witch" figure from the old Disneyana shop on Main Street, was relocated inside the Villains Shop.


This Cruella figure was also on display inside the store. I'm thinking that she might have originally been from one of the Emporium window displays on Main St., but I'm not sure. The Cruella and Dalmatian figurines (on the top of the window frame), were glazed ceramic pieces. These could be found in various shops throughout the park, along with ceramic figurines of many other Disney characters.


Here's a close-up of Cruella, along with some other Disney villain figurines which were available at the time.



Small PVC (plastic) versions of the villains were also sold in the shop.


And here is a selection of other Villain items, which were available at the time.

Villain Mugs:








Pin-back buttons:



Cloisonne Disney Villain pins: (This was in the days BEFORE the start of the "Official Disney Pin Trading" program.)


Fantasmic! postcards:


Maleficent horns/cowl:


Here's a close-up of that price tag, from the photo above. After they marked these down for clearance (below fifty percent off!), I decided to buy them.


This framed pic of the Evil Queen was on display in the Villains Shop, and I believe it was also for sale.


In 1996, the Villains Shop in Fantasyland was converted into "The Sanctuary of Quasimodo" and a Hunchback of Notre Dame vignette was placed in the store window. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the store's interior, from this time period.


The last retail store that occupied this space, was the Castle Heraldry Shoppe.


This shop had originally been located inside the Castle (just inside the main archway), in the former Castle Candy Shoppe location. In fact, I believe this shield-shaped sign is the same one that hung outside of the Castle Candy Shoppe.



Here are some close-ups of the Castle Heraldry Shoppe's window displays:



A suit of armor stood guard, just outside the main entrance to the shop:



And a "headless" version was on display, inside:



Some close-up shots of the interior displays:






In 2017, this shop space was converted once again, into a year-round Christmas shop. Maybe if we wait long enough, it will become Merlin's Magic Shop again!



We will end today with some VERY brief video of the Villains Shop, which I shot back in the nineties. Keep an eye out for the caged Witch display and also a figure of Stromboli, trapped in a hanging cage just like the one that he put Pinocchio in! If you blink, you will miss both of them! I wish I had shot more footage of this shop's interior!




10 comments:

K. Martinez said...

I loved this location best when it became "Mickey's Christmas Chalet" with the opening of the New Fantasyland. Your photos of "Mickey's Christmas Chalet" bring back a lot of warm memories.

Your Mickey Mouse plush doll is wonderful. I love that the face, hands and shoes are molded.

I remember the "villain" craze back in the 1990's and like a lot of things Disney does, I thought it was overkill. I love the Disney villains, but I remember it being milked to death like Winnie the Pooh or Frozen was and are.

I have that "Fantasmic!" postcard. It's one of my favorites of the later postcards. I used to have all those ceramic figurines of the villains too, except for Jafar. I gave them away to a friend who really loved the Disney villains.

Thanks for another fun post, TokyoMagic!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I have to agree with you about the "overkill" with the Disney Villains at that time period, even though some of my favorite Disney characters are the villains.

I remember that I really wanted one of those plush Mickey's to put under the Christmas tree. Looking at that price of $15 now, it seems kind of high for 1983, and I'm a little surprised that I paid that much for it. The only other time that I have ever purchased a plush souvenir from Disneyland, was my Grad Nite Winnie the Pooh, which I posted pics of in June of this year. I don't remember how much I paid for that one.

K. Martinez said...

That Mickey Mouse plush/doll looks of high quality because of the molded face, hands and shoes plus it has an attached outfit and it's by Applause which was pretty high standard at that time. $15 seems like a good price in 1983 for what I see in the photo. I think it's a nicely done piece. Not sure of the quality of today's stuff they sell at the parks though.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Love your post, today - lots of fun stuff! Cruella is one of my favorites! (So is Ezma - but she rarely shows up on anything.)

Sue

Andrew said...

This is a fun post, and you certainly have quite the wealth of Disneyland pictures and info to share, TokyoMagic! Sign me up for an Old Hag coffee mug. The new Christmas shop looks fine, but I don't think it will ever beat the fun of rubber spiders dropping down on the heads of guests in Merlin's Magic Shop!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, you are probably right about the price possibly being higher because of the manufacturer, the quality and the "molded plastic" parts. I obviously paid that price at the time, so I must not have thought it was too terrible.

Sue, Cruella is also one of my favorites! I also like Maleficent and the Evil Queen from Snow White. Yzma was pretty cool. I especially liked the fact that Eartha Kit provided her voice. You are right though, she is a little more obscure when it comes to merchandising.

Andrew, thanks! I really liked that series of mugs, mostly because of their unusual handles! And I really wanted that Witch/Old Hag mug, but I dragged my feet on buying it. One day, I went to the park and they were all gone. I asked a cast member about them and they told me that they had all been marked down for clearance and sold. That is when I learned that if there is something that you are interested in, do not wait to buy it! The cast member also told me that I might be able to go online to a site called "ebay.com" and find the mug. That was the very first time I had ever heard of ebay! And I didn't even have a computer at that time!

Susie said...

I miss the Villian shop so much!

TokyoMagic! said...

Susie, I do too. I thought it was a much better use of the space than the Hunchback-related store or the Heraldry Shoppe!

Major Pepperidge said...

Merlin’s Magic Shop was one of the few places in “old Fantasyland” that achieved a level of detail that the rest of the land didn’t reach until 1983. To this day I don’t know if Walt originally hoped for an ’83-style Fantasyland but just knew he didn’t have the cash. As I have mentioned (endlessly) on my blog, it was the Don Post monster masks that got my heart racing, but there was no way my parent’s would spend money on something like those (they were expensive).

I never knew about the giant rubber spider gag, that’s fun. And I am jealous of your Haunted Mansion “Secret Panel Chest”.

“Mickey’s Christmas Chalet”, nope. I don’t like “all year long” Christmas, and therefore anybody who likes it is bad and wrong.

I remember liking the idea of the Villains Shop, but never finding anything that I actually wanted to buy. Which is often a problem for me at the park in general - lots of stuff, nothing I want. I do like some of those ceramic figurines, admittedly, the Cruella is nice. I wonder if those cloisonne pins have extra value because they are from before the pin craze really went nuts?

I find the Heraldry Shoppe to be pretty dull, it must do decent business though. Somehow. The displays are nice. I want a coat of arms with Evel Knievel jumping over a flaming skull, with two crossed “flying V” guitars, and a syringe because I love drugs!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I remember the monster masks that were for sale in the shop! And you were probably just never in the shop at a moment when the salespeople were "releasing" the spiders!

Speaking of not liking "all year long" Christmas, I don't like Christmases that start on the 8th of November! And just yesterday (Nov. 8th), KOST radio started playing Christmas music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. IT'S TOO FREAKIN' EARLY!

I've also wondered about those villain pins, but never enough to actually try looking them up on ebay.

I also found the Heraldry Shoppe to be pretty dull. Notice that I didn't even give a description of the services that they offered in that shop! Were they actually able to come up with an authentic coat of arms for every single family who requested one, or did they have to sometimes just make one up? I like your idea for a coat of arms. If you ever do have one created, you should include an aluminum baseball bat, sticking out of Knievel's jacket or pants!