Why Notoriously Litigious Disney Is Letting Fan Stores Thrive

by MR Magazine Staff

Wander through any one of the Disney parks — or rather, peruse its Instagram geotags — and among the families of tourists and kids with ice cream-smeared faces you’ll see a sizable contingent of selfie-savvy parkgoers in carefully planned outfits: Minnie Mouse ears shimmering with sequins or adorned with 3D-printed Tinkerbells and Peter Pans, T-shirts with phrases like “Princess Vibes Only” or “Greetings From Neverland,” and a smattering of enamel pins and iron-on patches with winking, Disney-inspired designs like swirls of Dole Whip, the pineapple soft-serve available exclusively in the parks, or teeny-tiny renderings of Baby Groot, the improbably adorable treelike character from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In most cases, you won’t find the gear in any official Disney store, where your mom may have bought you a Donald Duck tee and set of ears as a kid. Instead, click the tags and you’ll land on some of the hundreds of small shops run by Disney devotees who have turned their fandom into full-time businesses, making T-shirts, buttons, pins, patches, jewelry, ears, and more inspired by all things Walt. In some cases, you have to be something of a Disney buff to recognize the references — if you’ve never been to the Magic Kingdom, for instance, you might not know that a tee reading “Meet Me at the PeopleMover” is a nod to the elevated train attraction that runs through the park. In others, however, you’d have to be blind to miss them: there’s clothing with characters from Snow White and The Little Mermaid, buttons with scenes from Frozen and Moana, and Mickey’s unmistakable silhouette stamped on just about every product you can think of. Read more at Racked.