Thursday, May 19, 2011
Walt Disney World At Sears
For many years, Winnie the Pooh was the mascot for the children's section at the Sears retail chain. In 1988, the Disney presence was expanded at Sears, including merchandise based on Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Main Street was meticulously constructed with plastic and fiberboard, and visitors and characters were brought to life as tiny PVC figures. The Walt Disney World Railroad was an electric train, naturally.
I never saw this set in person, but I do have the Winnie the Pooh character figures, which I call the Mini Winnie the Pooh Zoo Crew .
You can have Walt Disney World at Christmas everyday with this set. Not included are PVC figures of Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa to host Mickey's Very Merry Christmas parade.
This set also features Snow White and three of the Seven Dwarfs. Amazingly, they chose not to feature Dopey.
It would have been nice to see Mickey Mouse balloons as an accessory. And maybe a churro cart.
The set only has a backdrop for Cinderella Castle, but Sears did offer that landmark as another toy.
This fun set even has the parking lot tram. Kewl!
What's this? Why, it's an educational Magic Kingdom toy.
I thought Epcot Center was the place for all the learnin'.
For more fun times, there's the Magic Kingdom Bagatelle game, featuring Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, It's A Small World, the Carousel, the Mad Tea Party and Cinderella Castle. I never knew this type of game had a name.
Who will win the Race to Pooh Corner Game? Not Mr. Toad from Disney's version of Wind in the Willows, that's for sure.
Then there's a Winnie the Pooh version of Tic-Tac-Toss. This high-tech game involves players throwing small beanbags at a board.
It's Disney and Nintendo games at Sears!
Technology has come a long way. I think McDonald's had Happy Meals with games like these a few years ago.
Sears also featured plush toys of some popular (for 1988) Disney characters.
Elliott the dragon from Pete's Dragon was seen by few humans in the film's story and is seen by few people in toy form these days.
The newest animated Disney characters in 1988 were the dogs and cat featured in "Oliver and Company." The film was inspired by the story of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, and set in 1980s New York City.
Kitten Oliver was voiced by Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel sang and spoke as Dodger the dog, Cheech Marin played Tito the Chihuahua, and Roscoe Lee Browne was Francis the bulldog.
Sears sold the closest thing to Oliver and Company action figures. These fragile, flocked, hollow vinyl figures with limited motion were not really built to withstand much play.
Somehow, Disney has not yet unleashed a toy line called "Disney's Kennel Club," featuring small collectible figures and play sets representing all its canine and feline stars. Wouldn't that make a fortune? I sure think it would. There'd be the Aristocats Cat Show set, the Lady and the Tramp Dog Park set, the 101 Dalmatians Fire Station, and more sets with all sorts of character mixes.
Of all the Disney characters, Winnie the Pooh was the biggest ever at Sears. The Pooh Train set was one of the neatest items, as it featured the characters on rides. A Mickey Mouse "Disneyland" version of this toy was sold at other retail chains.
The Winnie the Pooh Train was relaunched many years later and sold in the Disney Catalog.
The newer Train set features a different paint scheme and new sculpts of the characters. I prefer the older version.
The next time you go get a washing machine or power tools at Sears, you can remember back to the good old days when "The Softer Side of Sears" included Disney and its popular overweight British plaything.