About the Column

You know it costs too much. You know you'd never buy it if you weren't at Disney. But that's the power of MouseMerch: the racks and shelves and bins and boxes full of Disney merchandise that your kids must have - and, let's not be coy about it, you must have, too. Don't worry. You're among friends. But how to separate the most magical merchandise from the most mundane? That's easy, and it's free! Read Chris Taylor's weekly column, MouseMerch, and then impress your friends with your fantastic finds.

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FROM: MouseMerch Published Thursdays

The Disney Glow

Chris Taylor takes us into the Disney dark but have no fear: the glow is all around us! From tubes to ice cubes to laughing skulls, Chris looks at the many things you can buy in Disney World that glow, then ponders why we're drawn to them.

Here's the scene: you're filing into the Hollywood Bowl at Disney Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic; or, you're waiting on Main Street U.S.A for the Electrical Parade; or maybe you're finishing your meal at the Rose and Crown waiting for Illuminations. Have you brought everything? A light jacket? Something to sit on? A snack? A wad of cash?

click an image to expand:


The Glow Cart


The Glowing Tube


The Laughing Skull, Disney's Latest Glow Toy


The Glowing Ice Cube

Cash? For what?

For the Disney Glow cart, of course.

Even if you don't want anything from it, your child will, so be ready.

I've talked about a few things in this column, all of which my daughter loves. But the one thing she loves more than everything else is the glow carts with all of those light-up, battery-operated gizmos, toys, and whatnots. We buy them during every WDW trip. Some last only a day or two, some last for a good long time.

But what are they, and why do we like them?

Well, let's talk about it...

Getting Your Glow on at Disney World

Most modern amusement parks started selling what they refer to as 'glow,' items that light-up or glow in the dark, in the early to mid 1980's. Remember glow sticks? I bought my first one at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1980 or so.

Disney started selling battery-powered items in the early 1990's, mostly a light-up rose and glowing necklaces. Now, you can buy any number of items that light up the night: gloves, glasses, swords, jewelry, clothing, even the 'Laughing Skull', a flat LED skull that laughs and can be hung around your neck or attached to a window.

We saw a few of these skulls at Disney World in February in the Parks. I asked a Cast Member about them and learned they were being tested, and that they only sold a few each night.

From what I could see, the Skulls were very popular. One guest wore his to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and refused to turn it off. So, of course, the cast made fun of him for the rest of the evening.

And who can ignore the glowing ice cubes! You've seen them in restaurants all over Disney World, either in kid's drinks or in cocktails. The glowing cubes sit in the bottom of the glass and can light up an entire table. They also come with a hefty price tag, so be prepared.

Is a Good Glow in Our Genes?

Why do we like these glowing geegaws?

The simple answer, based on our own human nature, is that we don't like the dark. The more obvious answer: it's fun to play with things that glow in the dark. It's empowering; it gives you a sense of control and just looks cool. Why do you like fireworks or candles? It may have something to do with the softness of the light. That's why Disney isn't out selling everyone flashlights.

A tip: you can change the batteries in many of the 'glows' to prolong their lives. If you're the parent of small children, you've more than likely run across toys using small, flat lithium watch-style batteries. You can buy them at Wal-Mart or Target. If you're like me and enjoy tinkering, invest in a set of small screwdrivers to open up the backs of the glow toys so you can replace the batteries and make easy repairs.

We've picked up so much glow that every now and again, we'll have what my daughter calls a 'glow-up' party. We turn off all the lights and run around the house with every glowing object we can find, from light sabers to her set of blinking Mickey ears.

Try it, it's fun.

And pick up a couple of glows on your next Disney trip. Your inner child will thank you!


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