Monday, May 10, 2021

Aloha Magical Mail

Aloha friends!  Today I have a special edition of my Magical Merchandise Monday to share with you!  If you've followed Eliot and me at all through the years, then you are probably aware of our affinity for Mickey's teddy bear.  Eliot and I love Duffy and his friends.  Duffy was one of our favorite meet and greets at Walt Disney World and we were both devastated when he left Epcot "to go on an adventure around the world".

At this point, Duffy merchandise is impossible to find in the US, aside from Aulani in Hawaii and the recent stuff they brought over from Aulani to sell at the Polynesian Resort.  Thankfully, you can still purchase merchandise from Japan and China where they absolutely love Duffy.  (He's so popular overseas that he keeps gaining new friends every few years!)  Unfortunately, most people here don't even know who he is.

Back in January, I found out that Aulani was taking phone orders due to the ongoing pandemic.  With people not traveling, Disney decided to try another way to allow guests to purchase their merchandise, even if those guests weren't staying at the Aulani Resort.  Eliot and I have been planning on ordering for months.  When we saw the newest Spirit Jersey with Duffy and all of his friends on it, we knew we needed to get them and it was time to place our first Aulani merchandise order.

Eliot and I first called Aulani around 11 pm on May 1st.  (Due to the time difference from Maine to Hawaii, it was only 5 pm there.)  Eliot got through to the store and then we accidentally got disconnected.  We called right back and the girl on the phone directed us through again and Eliot even spoke with the store manager Ben.  Since it was a Saturday night, the store was really busy and they weren't able to take phone orders right then.  But Ben took down all of our information and promised that we'd get a phone call the next day right after they opened at 8 am.

We got a call right after 2 pm the following day as promised.  Unfortunately, I didn't hear my phone go off and we missed their call.  After calling the store back and leaving a voicemail, they called us back a second time a few hours later.  Eliot and I took our time going through the list of things we wanted to purchase.  Then, the cast member went around the store to collect everything and make sure it was all in stock.  She was so patient and helpful.  After we had everything all set, she went through the entire order to make sure she got everything, she gave us the prices of everything and took down our mailing information.  Then, she told us we'd get a call back from the store when a cashier was free.  About 10-15 minutes later, we received a call, got our order's total, gave the cashier our credit card information and the order was all set.

It was definitely worth the back and forth as all of the cast members we got to speak with were so friendly and happy.  The Disney cast members really are the true magic makers.  Plus, this was the best hold music I've ever been put on in my life!  Eliot kept joking that the Hawaiian music was putting him to sleep!  It was so relaxing!

Eliot and I were so excited about our order.  We ordered the Duffy and Friends Beach Days Spirit Jerseys since that was the main reason for our phone order.  Unfortunately, they didn't have my size in stock, but I ended up getting one size larger which I was still happy about.  We also ordered all of the large Duffy and Friends plushies.  It was really funny... when talking with Eliot, I'd been referring to them as the "naked" versions since a lot of the Aulani plush had little Hawaiian outfits on.  Then, Eliot actually called them the "naked ones" on the phone.  The cast member didn't skip a beat though... and she added Duffy and his friends "without costumes" to our list.

We also decided to get a few other things.  Eliot got an Olu Hawaiian Shirt and an Olu plush with a Hawaiian shirt that he'd liked.  I got the Cookie Ann (Duffy's newest friend) cupcake mug that I've been admiring for months.  I asked if they had any Loungefly bags and they still had some of the shaved ice mini backpacks so I decided to get one of those too.  Most of the Duffy and Friends merchandise was buy one, get one free so it was a wonderful deal.  I wasn't sure if they'd let us get the deal with a phone order, but they did!  After the cast member double checked our list, we could get one more "free" item so I ordered a little resin Duffy and Friends photo holder. 

We knew it was going to take a few days to get everything, but it definitely got here quicker than I expected it to!  Last Wednesday (the 5th), I got the email that Fedex had our tracking information.  Then, on Thursday (5/6) it was picked up from Aulani.  This morning, I got an email that our magical merchandise had been delivered.  I told Eliot to check the porch before he left for work and he came back inside with a large box.  It was a bit beat up with a few small holes in it, but thankfully everything was inside.  

Eliot carefully unpacked each of our new plush friends and handed them to me one by one.  They are so cute and soft; I want to snuggle on the couch with them all day.  I've wanted to get these plushies for years, but since Disney got rid of the Duffy program at Walt Disney World, I knew it would be harder to get them.  This was so easy.  I always thought I'd have to get them sent over by a personal shopper in Japan or China.  Now, we have all of the Duffy and Friends plush friends we've wanted!  I'm so happy!!!

I was so impressed with the package.  Everything was carefully folded or wrapped in bubble wrap.  They also included our receipt and the Aulani shopping bags they'd used to pull all of our merchandise from the store shelves.  My Loungefly bag was still in it's original wrapping so they'd pulled that one from storage which I was grateful for.

We also had a happy accident!  Eliot got to the end of the box and said "um... did you order a print?"  I was like no... Then he took out a large print that had Duffy and all of his friends playing on the beach with Aulani in the background.  We both realized there must have been a miscommunication about the Duffy and Friends photo holder that I'd asked for... but this print was way better!  Eliot and I didn't even know that this print existed and I'm so glad that we got it instead!  We can't wait to hang it on our wall!

The only negative about receiving our order is that I'm really regretting not purchasing an Olu dress to match Eliot's new Hawaiian shirt.  However, it's not too difficult to call Aulani and place another phone order... so I might be doing that soon!

I really hope Disney continues this pilot program!  Shop Disney never has much Aulani stuff and it always seems to go quickly when they add it.  I would love to have a way to order from Aulani whenever we'd like to.  It would also be nice to have an official page or catelog somewhere that showed all of the merchandise that is currently available to order.  Right now, Eliot and I have been stalking the Aulani hashtag on Instagram to see if other guests will post photos of the merchandise.  Nevertheless, something is better than nothing and this was definitely a magical experience!

Mahalo to all of the wonderful cast members at Aulani who made this possible!  Eliot and I will definitely be keeping an eye on social media to see if there are any other items from Aulani that we'd like to order for our Disney collection!  Aloha!  °o°

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