Imagine this scenario:
You’re about to leave your favorite Disney Park for the duration of your trip. Tomorrow you’ll re-enter reality and take that tram, boat, monorail, etc. to your parked car and make your way back home.
“It’s no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment”.
– Walt Disney
Sad thought, right? We all have been there before. Whether leaving a Disney Park for a little while or a long time, the thought of leaving leaves you with the desire of wanting to relive it all. We can do that easily nowadays through the power of iPhone pictures or real photos taken by Disney photographers, but pictures are only one way to remember it all…
Jump back a few (or more) years and you’ll find that memories made at a Disney Park (or at any themed amusement enterprise) usually were made more real through physical, tangible objects. You might also know them as souvenirs.
We really believe that souvenirs are a tangible form of the Disney magic that are unique in their own sense. They are always different and have unique meanings that vary depending on which one you get. The point is that as you take that piece of Disney merchandise home with you, you also take home those memories.
Because there is nothing that beats holding a plush Mickey Mouse as you begin your sleep and journey into Neverland and endless memories of your last trip to Disneyland.
We had the opportunity to speak to the Manager of Communications for Disneyland’s merchandising department Michelle Harker and she also agreed that merchandising plays a big part in experiencing a Disney Park. She told us that the goal of the merchandising department is to tell stories through their products – something that The Walt Disney Company is known for around the world. Although the goal is relatively easy to achieve since Disney’s stories in movies and TV are mostly memorable for all of us, Michelle also told us that there is some difficulty in creating “universal products” for everyone to enjoy and bring their Disney memories to.
But those challenges haven’t stopped Michelle or the talented merchandising team from making great souvenirs for all of us! One of the more unique ways they’ve tried to accomplish this is by creating new experiences for guests to see their favorite Disney stories and characters like they’ve never seen them before. One of those experiences include the WonderGround Gallery at the Downtown Disney District in California.
The WonderGround Gallery opened just over a year ago last month and has been a big hit with both tourists and locals alike. The actual place is what the name says it is – it’s an (art) gallery, but not the typical no-touching-this gallery. It’s an open space where you have the opportunity to view unique Disney art, but have the ability to purchase that art in other forms like a $3 postcard instead of a $3,000 original print. Affordable and unique souvenirs are available here!
But we’re sure you’re “wonder”ing what types of Disney art is on display and for purchase at this Gallery. With its play on words, this particular gallery contains a “wonderful” plethora of art that showcases artists who have the rare opportunity to use Disney’s already familiar unique stories and characters and make them their own.
One such artist that was given that opportunity is named Jerrod Maruyama.
At the grand opening of WonderGround back in 2012, Jerrod was one of the original artists on hand who had their own Disney dreams come true in not just being able to interpret all the Disney characters and worlds in their own art, but also to be able to showcase it and sell it in a gallery located on Disney Park property! With such an honor in his grasp, Jerrod was inspired to create not only a piece of art worthy of the Disney name, but something that would be meaningful for Disney fans to relate to.