To celebrate the 90th birthday year of Mickey Mouse, Disney announced for every month of 2018 they would release a plush, mug and pin themed around a decade or time period throughout Mickey's history. It wasn't easy getting hold of them, but we'll get to that. The themes of each month are outlined below.
January - Starting from the beginning, Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie
February - To commemorate Mickey through the 1920s, inspired by lavish art deco architecture
March - To commemorate Mickey through the 1930s, inspired by bold and bright graphics
April - To commemorate Mickey through the 1940s, and is a salute to American aviator
May - Space age themed 1950s style
June - To commemorate peace, love and freedom with vibrant 1960s tie-dye
July - Themed using its bold colour and texture of the 1970's
August - Inspired by the glam and high fashion of the 1980s
September - To commemorate the Pop-Art trend of the 1990s
October - Inspired by the millennium technology boom
November - Canvas-textured featuring a tan and brown scheme
December - Diamond Mickey, celebrates the 90th anniversary of the true original in dazzling style!
Click any of the images to zoom in and scroll through.
It really is a fantastic collection. There is nothing I enjoy more than high quality Mickey Mouse collectibles - the ones you can get in the parks seem to have dipped in quality over the years. There are a LOT of licensed products you can get, but the majority aren’t that high quality, unless you go for a company such as Steiff who do have some amazing Disney items as well as their own.
The plushes were priced at £25, the pins were £15, and the mugs were £12.50.
They were released on the 18th of each month (December's was on the 10th) at around 8am. I'm quite a tech savvy guy, so I was able to navigate the different areas of the website and streamline the buying process as much as possible to get my order in as quick as I can (not to say there wasn't some luck involved). I know this was a huge turn off and frustration for many people - which I'll be addressing shortly.
It all started in January 2018 when I was browsing the Disney Store and noticed the January Mickey Memories Steamboat Willie plush for sale. I'm a sucker for Steamboat Willie in general, so I had to have it. I ordered one, he arrived, he was stunning. A few days later I was browsing around the Disney Store again and he was still there for sale (which was nothing out of ordinary at the time), then the next morning after posting some photos of him to social media, I was informed he was sold out. I had a feeling of relief that I managed to get him! At this point, I had no idea he was part of a collection. I hadn't heard of this "Mickey Memories" when I bought him. I just saw he was a nice looking Steamboat plush and bought him. I didn't even notice the "1 of 12" of his item title.
After looking into it, I figured out that these plushes were going to be a monthly thing to celebrate Mickey's 90th. I was onboard.
This is where the fun begins. With buying January's plush being a breeze, I woke up at 8am for February's plush and made my order - no sweat, After about half an hour, he was completely sold out online. I was a little taken back as to why this month's was so popular - the Steamboat Willie was much nicer in my opinion! I looked forward to March's.
This is where it started to get a little bit crazy. The March plush ended in a complete anger-fest. The plush sold out in less than 2 minutes. I managed to get mine before they sold out, but many fans were unable to purchase one. Because February's sold out in half an hour, starting from March they reduced the amount of plushes you can buy to 2 per person (January and February was up to 20 per person). Amusingly, this policy was only valid for the first 48 hours. They don't last 5 minutes, let alone 48 hours! This is when Disney started to panic. Their Facebook page went quiet for a few days, and then they posted an apology and said from April they were reducing it to 1 per person and increasing the supply from July. While the increase in supply is most welcome, that still meant April, May and June are going to be hell. I personally don't care for the rarity–I just wanted them!
Even though Disney reduced the limit to 1 per person (2 per household) this month, it still sold out in minutes. Our readers were reporting to us that by 8:02am they were in the middle of the purchase where being told it was sold out when they returned to the site. I did not envy being in that situation! Once again I was lucky enough to get through and get mine before they sold out.
My sister was also buying this plush collection, and she had asked me to buy hers each morning because she usually starts work at 7am, and as they were selling out in minutes, she had no chance of getting them. She was living in my spare bedroom at the time, and told her it wouldn't be a problem because the policy was 1 per person, 2 per household. On April, I ordered two (using two browsers on each of my monitors if you wanted to know how I ordered two that quick). One via my Disney account, and one via her Disney account. A couple hours later I got an email saying they've canceled the second plush. I called up the Disney Store and asked them why, they said because I ordered 2. I said the policy is 1 per person, 2 per household. One is for me, and one is for my sister who lives here. Turns out you have to purchase each on different cards, even though the billing addresses are identical. I expressed my disgust telling me I've not broken the policy they have set out, but they just said there is nothing they can do now it's been cancelled and the plush is sold out. Shockingly awful service from Disney here. At that point Disney annoyed my sister too much because they did that and gave up on the collection and sold her January, February and March's plush. I powered on.
May was the month of website crashes. Disney were still enforcing the one per person/two per household policy, but these plush toys were still selling out in record time. This month was made even worse when their website was crashing throughout the process. I am one of the very few fortunate ones who managed to get through and purchase one. Some of our readers reported they were stuck on the basket page not loading and somehow managed to sell out in that time.
The server issues continued this month with a whole host of server errors and lag. I powered through the lag but the second I clicked back from paying it said sold out. Disney did something stupid this month, and that was advertising a 50% off sale starting 8am on the same day the Mickey Memories was released. The servers struggled every month just from people buying the monthly plushes, let along pouring more people into your site with this sale at the same time.
Although the Disney store near us closed a few years ago, we were also getting reports about how store policies were annoying people. They were giving out tickets and told those people they could leave and come back when the store opened, which made the people in the queue think they were in the first 30 or so waiting to get one, when in-fact, they were not. I would have been livid.
Disney announced a couple of months prior that the supply would be increased for these high-demand Mickey Memory Plushies from July. From what were been told by our readers, most stores they still had the same amount, about 30-50 per store. Although Disney won't say how many are being sold online, I do agree the supply was increased, but not by much. The website this time completely crashed on me for the first 5 minutes, I got my order in at around 6 past and they were sold out by 9 past.
Between low supply and website errors and lag, there are plenty of reasons why many Disney fans are annoyed over this collection. In August, Disney managed to do something else to annoy people, and hopefully it wasn't deliberate. The plush managed to stay in stock until 8:24. However, due to the recent shopDisney redesign, they completely changed where he showed up. At 8am, the plush (mug and pins) usually show up on the dedicated Mickey Memories page and show up in search, but even when it got to 8:05 he was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, I managed to rummage my way through the site and actually found where he was sitting. By 8:10 our Facebook page was blowing up with people unable to find him. As I found him myself, I was frantically giving out links that took you directly to his order page (after ordering mine first, of course) to people wanting him. Then by 8:24, he had sold out. Sadly, I think it was a result of people unable to locate him, rather than a sudden extra supply.
In September I was at Disney World, but as a dedicated Mickey Memories fan, I woke up at 3am (8am UK time) to make my order. This one didn't sell out as quick, perhaps people just gave up?
With October, Disney announced they would be releasing a Mickey Memories style golden Mickey plush alongside the usual Mickey Memories. They didn't learn from their mistake doing that sale at the same time in June, but luckily the gold plushes weren't very popular, as they’re still available now at half price if you can find somewhere stocking them. The October plush took 2 days to sell out this time.
November came, and it seemed like everyone had given up or they really did increase the supply. The November plush is still available at the time of writing this in mid-December.
The final month was released early (on the 10th) so everyone would have him for Christmas. Funnily enough, the pins sold out quite quickly, but the mug and plush are still available at time of writing this.
Backlash & Issues
Disney did release this collection as "limited release". What exactly that means, only Disney know. However, they did severely underestimate the demand for this collection. Every month (except the last few) there was always another problem and outrage by Disney fans. Along the way I think Disney did what the could to help the situation. Reducing the amount each person could buy, increasing supply when they could, but they need to increase it a lot more and a lot faster. By the way they were wording it in March, they had already placed their orders up until July so they couldn't get any more made (for good reason, I'm sure).
The anger escalated further when several eBay auctions were already posted trying to sell the plush before it was even put on sale. People were clearly making listings on eBay and buying from Disney just to resell at a higher price. Although Disney can't technically do anything to stop that, nor could they ever know if a collector is buying or whether it's someone just buying to resell.
Angered fans turned to Facebook and started posting 1 star reviews on the shopDisney page. The rating has slowly been going down ever since.
I'm sure Disney are happy they have a collection which is selling really well and getting fans excited and passionate, but all it’s doing is pushing people who are not fans to buy as many as they can to resell on eBay for profit, and angering the legitimate fans who can't get their hands on one.
The store policy as I described earlier where they were giving out tickets without telling people in the queue after them they won’t be getting the plushes in the beginning months. We had other readers tell us that people were bringing their kids and buying up 5 or 6 a time. Even if they really were letting each of the children have one each, it was breaking the 2 per household limit and it seems store members were not following their own rules.
I think a lot of people just gave up towards the end, I know many of our readers wanted the full collection but have months missing because of all issues that arose and refuse to pay the eBay prices.
Overall this was a stunning collection that caught Disney off-guard and they were unable to manage the demand. Each and every month is a stunning design (even though I do like some months more than others), so a big good well done to all those unnamed artists who worked on these designs.
This is one of my favourite Disney collections, and they'll soon find a place on a new shelf when I can find some room.
The Wisdom Collection
Disney weren't going to let this sort of successful collection format go away, so in 2019 Disney will release a new "Wisdom Collection" each month through the year. Each month will be themed around a different Disney movie, starting with Dumbo in January.
Tips for the future
Although I don't think the Wisdom Collection will be as popular or the same low supply as Mickey Memories, here are some tips to make sure you get what you want. Before the release 8am release time:
Be already logged into your Disney account
If using Paypal, log into it before you start the payment process. This will save you valuable seconds. (I know sometimes they ask you to log in again anyway, but that only happens on occasion)
Have your address and billing address already saved to your Disney account
When it's time to order, have multiple tabs open on the search, the "new" page, the character page (for January it would be Dumbo) and also choose sort by newest. Refresh until it appears!
Although Disney should set up a monthly subscription service or the ability to buy the whole collection upfront so they don't annoy fans, for the time being you will just have to play by their rules to get the products that you want.
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