The town of Madison, in Madison County, always goes “all out” for Christmas. Not only do local businesses dress up their storefronts, but folks from neighboring towns and counties enjoy an afternoon of shopping, dining and watching an elaborate Christmas parade. The events begin at 4PM and end with the spectacular nighttime parade.
Madison is located on US90, about midway between Tallahassee and Interstate 75. The city is centered on Four Freedoms Park and the restored Madison County Courthouse.
Madison’s annual holiday celebration is a “Light Up” event, culminating in a nighttime parade, that follows the arrival of Santa. There’s plenty of food and entertainment throughout the afternoon, so plan to enjoy one of north Florida’s most beautiful small towns this season.
Leave it up to our friends in Taylor County to come up with a new “twist” on Christmas. This year, in addition to a “Santa’s Little Helpers” parade, there will be a tribute to “Sheriff Taylor” at the “MayPerry Christmas” festivities.
Perry, the vibrant County Seat of Taylor County, is the perfect place to gather the community for some great food, a Santa appearance, a cake walk and some shopping at Arts and Crafts tents. There will also be extended shopping hours at local stores, as well as a “shopping passport promotion”.
Downtown Perry has several historic building nestled around the modern courthouse. Plan to take a walk around town while you’re there. And if you arrive early, don’t miss one of the famous (at least to this writer!) donuts at Johnson’s Bakery, just off the courthouse square on Jefferson Street.
A Jacksonville business owner is making it easier to shop local this holiday season. Emily Moody-Rosete, who operates the downtown Wolf & Cub boutique on Laura Street, is bringing a pop-up storefront to the space formerly occupied by La Cena restaurant. Located at 211 North Laura Street, Duval Mercantile will grace the historic Elks Building.
Duval Mercantile will celebrate its grand opening November 7th during Artwalk and will remain open through the month of December. As the former owner the live music venue Underbelly in the downtown core and Anomaly in the Five Points neighborhood, Emily Moody-Rosete knows how to create a buzz. She’s hoping to energize Downtown with a concept that will bring together artists and makers in a shared space and inspire shoppers to curate an interesting and eclectic list of locally produced goods this holiday season.
Vendors like Congaree and Penn and Jax Brothel will be among those to stock such items as local gourmet foods and sundries, candles, pottery, and vegan bath products. There are no plans to update the interior space with a major build out save for adding a couple coolers to refrigerate necessary items. “Because its a pop-up, we didn’t want to spend a ton of money making it real pretty,” she says. “It’s going to compliment Wolf & Cub but still have its own vibe, too.”
While the concept is designed to give local makers a dedicated space to showcase and sell their goods, Moody-Rosete is also hoping to increase Downtown’s accessibility to retailers in an area plagued by more empty storefronts than established businesses.
“Being Downtown now for a few years, I hear on a daily basis from clients coming in and people traveling through, tours actually coming through to visit the city. It’s embarrassing to hardly have any retail Downtown, so people walk in my shop and ask what else is there to do down here, and I give them a little run down. There’s lots of places to eat and drink, but there’s not a lot of retail,” says Emily Moody-Rosete.
“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district.”
“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district. That’s what I seek out. When I travel, I go to all the cool little local businesses, and that’s how I get the feel for a city. That’s where Duval Mercantile comes in.”
Emily and Varick Rosete based the model for Duval Mercantile on their early experiences with Wolf & Cub, which they initially operated at such venues as Jaxsons Night Market and Artwalk. The couple expanded the business and opened a pop-up shop in Riverside’s Brooklyn Station during the 2015 holiday season. The success of that venture led to a permanent storefront the following year. If Duval Mercantile does well, it could become a regular fixture and establish a business model to encourage more retailers to follow suit.
“We’re just trying to make it work for a few months. If it sticks, then we’ll visit maybe signing a lease there, maybe finding a different spot. Who knows. We’re just taking it day by day for now,” she says, “I’m an optimist so I hope that it is possible. Is it possible in a time frame that I feel is reasonable? Maybe not necessarily. That’s why we just kind of took things into our own hands. We don’t have time to wait around for the city to recognize us. We just have to make it happen. Hopefully it’s that ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of thing.”
Disney Springs readies itself for the holiday season and offers its own brand of holiday magic and seasonal entertainment, yuletide decor, and delightful treats for you to explore. This year there’s also a newly reimagined World of Disney Store that makes finding that perfect Disney souvenir easier than ever.
Not convinced, here’s a new bit of sizzle from Disney’s marketing department that hopes you’ll find Disney Springs your favorite destination for holiday shopping and dining:
Here’s more of what awaits you at Disney Springs this holiday season:
Christmas Tree Trail – Guests will enjoy a walk-through wonderland filled with Christmas trees decorated with Disney imagery and characters. This year’s trail features 27 unique holiday trees with new additions inspired by Toy Story, The Haunted Mansion, vintage Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Star Wars.
Santa’s Chalet – Guests can meet Santa Claus and take photos with him at this location inside the Christmas Tree Trail. Santa will welcome guests each day from Nov. 8 through Dec. 24.
Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt – Stitch, from the hit Disney film “Lilo and Stitch,” has lost items around Disney Springs and will need guests’ help finding them. Those who complete this festive seasonal scavenger hunt will earn a fun surprise!
Holiday Shopping for the Whole Family
There’s something for everyone at Disney Springs, with gift ideas from top-name brands to trendy and exclusive Disney-themed items and more.
Disney fans will find a treasure trove of gift ideas at the newly reimagined World of Disney, which features an entire section dedicated to holiday merchandise, as well as the largest collection of Disney Parks merchandise in the world. Trendsetters will love the apparel and accessories at shops such as DisneyStyle, Ever After Jewelry, Marketplace Co-Op, Coach, Tumi, Pandora, Alex & Ani and UNIQLO. And kids will especially love gifts from shops like The LEGO Store and Once Upon a Toy.
Delicious Meals and Festive Treats
At Disney Springs, options for sharing a meal with family and friends range from on-the-go quick bites to a sophisticated lunch or dinner at a renowned restaurant created by a famous chef.
Options range from steak and seafood to international cuisine; Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Morimoto Asia, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill (planned for a late fall 2018 opening) and Jaleo by Jose Andres (planned for a late fall 2018 opening) are just some of the exciting restaurants by celebrity chefs. Call (407) WDW-DINE for dining information and reservations. Shoppers on the go will find plenty of quick and delicious options including Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy!, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, D-Luxe Burger and more.
Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with indulgent treats from Amorette’s Patisserie, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, Goofy’s Candy Company and more.
Complimentary self-parking is available at all Disney Springs garages and surface lots. Walt Disney World Resort guests can also enjoy complimentary transportation between their Disney resort hotels and Disney Springs.
Do you have a smart speaker at home? Perhaps a Google Mini? A new Product from Otterbox will help you turn it into a very cute Mickey Mouse shaped device. Give cheers and ears to the Den Series for Google Home Mini featuring Mickey Mouse.
The first ever OtterBox Den Series is a Mickey Mouse inspired mount, available now for the Google Home Mini. Den Series will bring a smile to all Disney fan’s faces, featuring the Mickey Mouse ears and signature red Mickey pants to turn Google Home Mini into a look-alike of everyone’s favorite mouse.
“Mickey Mouse is the true original and truly an iconic Disney symbol,” said Jim Parke, OtterBox CEO. “We are excited to extend Mickey’s cheer to everyone’s home with the Den Series for Google Home Mini.”
OtterBox, the official protective case of Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, is adding to the fun with a whole new product line: Den Series. Den Series is a mount, or base, for the Google Home Mini that leverages the OtterBox expertise in design, engineering and manufacturing. This is a first-ever product from the No. 1-most trusted brand in smartphone case protection1.
The OtterBox Google Home Mini Mickey Mouse has:
A playful Mickey Mouse Design
A non-slip base so it stays where you put it
Easy interaction with Google Home Mini
Won’t interfere with device functions
Made of durable materials
and sets up in a snap!
Den Series is a perfect complement to Google Home Mini’s Disney offerings, including fun songs and games for all members of the family to enjoy. Den Series is kid-friendly, durable and easy to use. The mount offers effortless interaction with the Google Home Mini, so every “Hey, Google” will be heard loud and clear.
The transformation of Disney Springs continues with a vast interior redesign of the World of Disney store. It’s often the last place Disney guests visit to pick up a last minute souvenir and as such has a bit of everything in it. The old design was divided into themed rooms making it somewhat hard to navigate during it’s most busy moments, the new retail space unveiled a complete transformation that makes shopping easier and more fun – with a dash of pixie dust on top.
The new backstory is that of a former animation warehouse and artifacts from Disney’s rich animation history are sprinkled throughout.
“We saw World of Disney as an opportunity to reimagine what Disney retail is today,” said Alysia Kelley, vice president of visual merchandising and location strategy for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The new store design highlights the best of what is current and new, while also celebrating classic Disney heritage based in storytelling.”
More than a year in design and development, the grand World of Disney makeover touched every feature and function in the store, even as the location remained open to guests. From displays to signage to lighting and much, much more, the new World of Disney creates an exciting, dynamic shopping experience where the products are the stars and guests discover magical Disney storytelling seemingly wherever they look.
The transformation begins with the store’s exterior, which features new marquees and magical window displays. When guests step inside, they discover an open, loft-style atmosphere with such great visibility they may even fall in love with an item from across the room.
The merchandise also serves as décor in the new World of Disney. In one area, Disney Princess tiaras create a chandelier, while elsewhere a giant Mickey Mouse Club ear hat beckons guests to the new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Collection. Several feature spaces throughout the store will change regularly, showcasing the newest and hottest Disney offerings of the season. When new displays debut, their stunning impact will leave guests feeling as if an entire section of the store was reimagined all over again.
Complementing these displays are enchanted flourishes inspired by the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the “Nine Old Men,” the legendary animators who created classic films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Peter Pan” and “Fantasia.” For instance, ink jars suddenly swirl with color and animate artwork on the walls. Out of nowhere, blank pages fill with pencil sketches as if drawn by an invisible hand. Magical movie posters twinkle with pixie dust before coming to life. And when making purchases, eagle-eyed guests may notice the store’s sales counters are inspired by the desks and furniture used by animators of generations past.
Beyond delivering exceptional service to guests, Disney cast members play a role in this storytelling, as well; cast members will help guests discover the magical elements in the store and share insights into its pixie-dusted artwork. This commitment to placemaking makes the new World of Disney more than a retail experience – it’s truly a Disney experience.
World of Disney will routinely roll out exclusive Disney Parks merchandise, reinforcing its reputation as a must-visit for devoted Disney fans. Unveiled earlier in October was a new Mickey Mouse Club line with apparel and accessories featuring a vintage Mickey Mouse from the original television show; also revealed with the store’s grand reopening is the Nordic-inspired Disney Parks Holiday Collection 2018, complete with Disney-themed holiday décor, ornaments, apparel and more.
The World of Disney stores at both Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World are now offering guests the option to purchase new reusable bags, rather than use plastic bags. This program is part of The Walt Disney Company’s global commitment toward significant reduction of single-use plastics by mid-2019. Featuring artwork of beloved Disney characters, these reusable bags will be offered in three sizes for a nominal fee. Traditional plastic bags are still available upon request at no charge.
World of Disney is an anchor location at Disney Springs and offers the largest collection of Disney-themed merchandise in the world. Disney Springs is a one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment district in the heart of Walt Disney World Resort. With its namesake springs, beautiful open-air promenades and lakeside setting, Disney Springs evokes the charm of Florida waterfront towns at the turn of the 20th century. It is home to a collection of more than 150 shops, entertainment venues and restaurants, including top-name retail brands, specialty boutiques and dining experiences.
Previously: Walt Disney World reimagined World of Disney previews new merchandise:
(Photo courtesy Disney. Matt Stroshane, photographer)
Longtime readers of the blog know that we love to keep track of new t-shirts and other merchandise that arrive at Disney stores both inside and out of the companies beloved theme parks. The new World of Disney store at Disney Springs has a section dedicated entirely to the t-shirts and we were excited to take a look during our recent preview.
We’re especially fans of the wide variety of fun and nostalgic t-shirts that have been introduced at Disney’s theme parks over the last few years. So we were exited to get a chance to interview one of the people who has had a personal hand in our obsession. Donald Farrow is the Director of Product Development for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He and his team are responsible for t-shirts and other soft apparel lines you see in the parks.
As we expected, there’s a lot of teamwork involved in coming up with the great ideas. Part of what makes the t-shirts so great is that the team is able to come right up to the line of what’s appropriate without going over it so often.
Long time readers of the blog know we like to keep a close eye on what’s new and interesting in Disney’s merchandising lines at Walt Disney World. At a preview of the newly reimagined World of Disney Store in Disney Springs, we recently had the opportunity to speak with Stefanie Whitmore who works for Disney Parks leading development on a number of merchandise lines.
Whitmore shared with us some of the exciting new items debuting in two areas of her expertise – Minnie Mouse Ears headbands and Mickey Ears and the new Mickey Mouse Club collection.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse hears have been a popular trend for the last few years with some of the ears (Rose Gold anyone?) often becoming an obsession among fashion forward fans. If you’re a Disney theme park fan, there’s a good chance you’ve worn a pair of Mickey Ears or Minnie Mouse Ears headbands over the years. Disney has remained very inventive keeping up with trends and introducing new looks for guests.
We love the new Mickey Mouse Hats. The beautiful pattern fabric interior lining that pays homage to the original show sets them apart from other similar hats in our collection. The new ears are part of the new Mickey Mouse Club line that is launching as part of the reimagining of the World of Disney. There’s a wide range of merchandise that capitalizes heavily on nostalgia. Which is great in our mind because we love Mickey Mouse.
The grand reveal for the reimagined World of Disney store at Disney Springs will be on October 27th. Hope to see you there.
Super Saturdays is a once a month special event at Disney Springs and October’s version is Halloween-themed of course. Guests are invited to dress up and show off your favorite character-inspired look. It starts at 10AM on Saturday October 13th, but Annual Passholders can enjoy a special preview from 9AM to 10AM.
Passholders can enjoy exclusive, early bird access at select locations, with limited-time special offers, discounts, unique merchandise—and trick-or-treating. It’s the perfect place to get Halloween-ready, as several shops carry one-of-a-kind disguises, eye-catching décor and ghoulishly good candy.
Stop by The Disney Corner, by the Lime Garage elevator, to pick up your trick-or-treat bag and your first sweet of the day! While you’re there, be sure check out their great selection of princess and Disney-themed costumes. Additional trick-or-treat locations include:
The Daily Poutine – Fuel up with a signature Canadian dish—this kiosk will be serving its popular Breakfast Poutine during the event starting at 9:00 AM, available while supplies last.
Disney’s Days of Christmas – Purchase an ornament between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and get a free personalized date handwritten by a Disney artist. Plus, don’t miss the section highlighting Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
DisneyStyle – Discover on-trend apparel and accessories inspired by beloved Disney attractions and characters, including villains! Plus, don’t miss the ghostly photo opportunity featuring one of your favorite attractions—the Haunted Mansion.
Ever After Jewelry Co. & Accessories – Explore the boutique’s latest trendsetting accessories featuring spooky, villain-inspired elements.
The Ganachery – Indulge in sophisticated chocolates made by our Disney chocolatiers.
Super Hero Headquarters – Make your way to this “Marvel-ous” location featuring your favorite heroes. Plus, scoop up some of your favorite hero costume tees.
As you’re collecting your treats at the locations above, you can also enjoy Passholder-exclusive shopping opportunities at:
Kiehl’s – Pick up complimentary samples when you swing by the shop.
kate spade new york – Delight in an hour of exclusive Passholder access to the Friends & Family Sale from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.
Stance – Take advantage of your 10% off Passholder discount—and receive a complimentary Stance sticker.
STARBUCKS – Sample upcoming fall beverage offerings.
Sugarboo & Co. – Get 25% off one full-priced item—and a complimentary surprise!
It’s going to be hard to decide where to go first! But free trick-or-treating opportunity at Disney Springs is a must-do. Lines do get long later in the day, so this early preview option for Annual Passholders is appreciated.
Got a message from Monica, a friend of the blog, yesterday about a strange encounter she had traveling home from Walt Disney World via Orlando International Airport (MCO). Monica’s story should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone else who attempts to bring one certain piece of merchandise from the 2018 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival home with them.
On her Disney World vacation Monica visited EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival where she purchased a couple souvenirs including a commemorative 2018 cheese board in the shape of a wine bottle. At the end of her trip she packed it in her carry-on and left for the saddest ride of any vacation – the trip back to the airport.
When Monica sent her bags through TSA security bag check, her bag was flagged and TSA told her she couldn’t bring the cheese board on the plane. It was deemed a ‘weapon.’ Monica had to exit the security line, find a shipping service and mail it to herself via UPS or the Postal Service. A big headache.
We already knew you can’t bring snow globes on a plane, since they’re a) filled with water and b) can be broken and the glass used as a weapon. Now we can add to that cheese boards in the shape of a wine bottle. I guess TSA thinks it could be used as a paddle?
Were there any other Disney souvenirs you tried to bring through TSA that you were prevented from bringing onto a plane?