Disneyland Resort has been almost entirely closed for more than six months now. Only the Downtown Disney district is currently open to guests, and even that is only available to a limited number of guests due to capacity restrictions. Disney has lost millions upon millions of dollars in tickets, food, and merchandise sales due to being closed, and so you can certainly understand any decision that the resort makes to try to bolster what business is currently being done. To that end, Disney has found a new spot to sell merchandise that has previously been exclusive to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. This is great news for those that can't visit the theme park, but bad news if you're a fan of great Disney art because the location chosen for the pop-up merch stand is Downtown Disney's WonderGround Gallery.
WonderGround Gallery has previously been the home of Disney themed art made by independent artists. The art is there to enjoy if you just want to look, but of course, it's always there for purchase as well if you see something you like. I love wandering through WonderGround at least once on every Disneyland trip to see my favorite character interpreted through the eyes of other artists. My personal favorite series being Jerrod Maruyama's Hipster Mickey, who I first saw in the WonderGround Gallery.
Several theme park related media sites, including Touring Plans revealed that all the Disney art has been taken off the walls of Wonderground Gallery, and in its place is merchandise that was previously exclusive to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Because of the design of Galaxy's Edge, and the attempt at full immersion that Batuu tries to create, the merchandise for sale there isn't available in any gift shops outside of Galaxy's Edge. The idea is that everything you can buy there is from an artisan who lives on Batuu, However, it seems that under the circumstances, exceptions are being made.
It's not too hard to understand why this change was made. With Disneyland closed nobody can buy Galaxy's Edge merchandise and there are certain to be a lot of people who would do just that if they could. And since WonderGround's stock-in-trade is art, which is frequently not cheap, the income per square foot of WonderGround was probably on the low side compared to most other Downtown Disney locations.
Still, while this decision is completely understandable and may make financial sense, it's still heartbreaking because it means that the artists who use WonderGround to sell their art, now cannot do so. They can't even so much as promote themselves because the art isn't there for people to even see, much less buy.
This is almost certainly a temporary situation. Once Disneyland is able to reopen then the normal Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge merchandise locations will also be available, and the WonderGround Gallery can go back to being an art gallery. The transition away from being the gallery happened overnight, and so hopefully the shift back can be just as quick. This is just one more reason that day can't come soon enough.
Update: Following the original publication of this story, A Disneyland Official has confirmed this change is only meant to be temporary.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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