I’d love to be able to take credit for this next post, but it’s actually by a good friend of mine. (“Yes!” you say. “Finally, someone good to read.”) We will call him Teevtee, in order to enhance his mysteriosity. Plus, I sometimes still call him that, because that’s how I first knew him.
Many may recall the House of Magic on Main Street. Up until 1995 it proudly stood midway down Main Street on the west side of the street. The facade is all but unchanged swapping “Main Street Athletic Club” for the original marquee but the interior no longer houses the mysteries and wonder of magic, the fun and silliness of practical jokes or even the macabre masks peering down from the tallest shelves. Rather the Main Street Athletic Club is a bland and generic outpost selling the same Disney branded sweatshirts you can find at every other shop on Disney property. Gone are the days when an 8 year old could watch a free magic show, learn a trick and then fool his parents. Lost are the days when some spicy hot trick candy could be picked up and later slipped into some treats for the family, a hysterical time bomb just waiting to be deployed. These are little things that sound trivial and yet helped to create the rich tapestry of experiences that Walt Disney World used to be made of.
In the mid nineties Disney struck a deal with David Copperfield (then king of the magic world) to build an interactive magic themed restaurant outside of Disney MGM Studios theme park. It was at this time that Disney chose to close the Main Street Magic Shop arguing that Copperfield’s place would be the new home of all things magic at Disney. The restaurant never materialized however and of course the magic shops never returned, they and most other shops that sell unique merchandise no longer fit in with the Disney retail philosophy.
It’s somewhat ironic that a company that spends so much time talking about the “magic” it makes in fact makes it virtually impossible to find any magic at Walt Disney World.
On a more positive note Tokyo Disneyland not only still has a magic shop but even has custom made tricks available only at this one location and Disneyland still has it’s Main Street Magic shop which has recently been leased to Houdini’s Magic Company which now stocks and runs it.