The magic of brand design at Disneyland Paris

Ben Townsend, Licensing Assistant at Aardman Animations, shares some design highlights from a recent trip to Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris encompasses everything I have grown to love as someone new to the licensing industry. The parks live up to their magical title and allow its visitors a chance to jump back in time with nostalgic shops, dine-in restaurants from your favourite films and – of course – don the famous mouse ears themselves.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in the parks during the festive holiday. However, like most people in the licensing world, it’s hard to switch off and I was drawn to their merchandise and fantastic designs.

Here is just a brief glimpse into what I saw…

The 90s are back
In most of the fashion shops, nostalgic 90s designs were always their star product. What I found most surprising was that out of everyone who I saw purchase something from this range, most were born well after the decade – highlighting that this is a growing trend.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris

For the little Thumpers
The baby/young children apparel was absolutely adorable. Disney knows who their cutest characters are and they use this to their advantage, with the Bambi range being the most frequent collection I saw.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
For the older Bambi

Sticking with Bambi, they had a very fashionable Bambi knitwear collection for adults. The jacket and knitted sweater worked fantastic together and taps into the growing knitwear trend.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
Other adult fashion was very much split between two ends of the spectrum – subtle or bright and in your face. The bright range looks good fun and I imagine appeals to the die-hard Disney fan.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
On the other hand, if you compare this to the Star Wars range, they use much darker colours with less overt branding.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
There was one shop by the enchanted castle which sold high-end fashion items. These were considerably pricier than clothing found throughout the rest of the two parks, but the range was much bigger. The theme throughout was the old fashioned designs of Mickey & Minnie. During my time in the shop, the college-style jacket was the best seller.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
Disney treasures its characters and I love when they tried to build the character design into the design of the apparel. For example, Stitch’s mouth can be zipped open or shut for extra storage in the Stitch hoodie.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
Anyone can cook

I wanted to share some final products which I absolutely loved:

• The Ratatouille rolling pin – an example of a product fitting its story perfectly.
• The Star Wars Baby Yoda make up bag – a great example of a repeat pattern.
• Character hats – when you squeeze the ends, their ears move!
• And possibly my favourite product – Mickey & Minnie gloves. The weather was freezing, so most people were walking round the park proudly showing off their gloves.

Ben Townsend, Aardman Animations, Disneyland Paris
That’s a wrap

To conclude, I think that calibre of products available throughout Disneyland Paris is exceptional. While they could have easily stuck a square image on a white t-shirt and called it a day, instead they have fun with their ranges and try to keep up with the latest trends – while also setting them.

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