Tinkerbell’s not dead, she’s just getting her second wind. In 2007, Disney’s going fairy. In a big way. We’re not just talkin’ the usual pixie-dust smattering of merchandise, but a full fusillade, an armed incursion, if you will, into the hearts and minds of little girls around the globe. There will be no prisoners. By the end of 2007, if Disney has its way, the whole world will be one big fairytale.
| Disney’s always been into fairies: fairy godmothers, Tinkerbell; where would Pinocchio be without the Blue Fairy ...
I took a walk through Neverland, talking with various fairy purveyors and drinking lots of coffee, trying to find out the lowdown on this new merchandising scourge … er, bonanza. First, I went to my local java hut (double espresso to get things started) to do a little research into the fairy phenomena.
You gotta remember, Disney’s always been into fairies: fairy godmothers, Tinkerbell; where would Pinocchio be without the Blue Fairy (let alone the closing premise for Spielberg’s AI movie)? Just a hunk of wood. But since the success of their Disney Princesses line, the Mouse has been searching for something bigger, grander and even more superlumnarily girl (a lot more girls saw Narnia than anyone predicted — fantasy can be very girl).
That door was opened in late 2005 with Newberry Award winning author Gail Carson Levine’s book “Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg.” Disney backed that book to the tune of a million-dollar-plus marketing campaign, a release in 51 countries in 32 different languages and a global tour. It became a New York Times bestseller.
As a Disney Press muckitimuck mentioned to me over a latte (sugar free, fat free vanilla, in case anyone’s asking): “It was a slam dunk. Gail is great. She set the rules for Neverland’s fairy population, and now we simply go from there.”
That was only the opening salvo. Obviously, there’s going to be a sequel. And then there are the Disney Fairies products.
Ten-inch dolls, specifically Disney Fairies books, a magazine, a Web site, contests, more dolls (3.5” and 8” fashion dolls), playsets, activity sets, a “Learn To Draw Disney Fairies” book, DVDs, collectible story cards. Christmas of 2006 will see the tide rise: branded Disney Fairy items for specialty stores. Clothes to stationery and beyond.
Now into my third latte (Hazelnut-mocha with extra Splenda) and chatting with a producer from the Disney Channel, I was starting to see fairies everywhere. “There’s the Tinkerbell movie coming out in 2007. It’s direct to DVD right now, but … I wouldn’t discount a theatrical release, if only limited,” explained my decaf loving friend. And with that, the final push for fairy supremacy and world domination.
Nothing can stop it. Not Southern Baptists, who believe fairies are black magic and anti-Christian (they're not angels, nor do they have souls). Not “Flushed Away,” Dreamworks’ Christmas blockbuster hope. Not any toy on the face of the planet. Not even my fourth cup of coffee in a one-hour span (an iced-coffee, just for a change of pace). Fairies are it. And they go along with the princesses, too. Disney Consumer Product’s got a lock.
But, hey, I got nothing against the translucent-winged hummingbirds. It’s what’s next that has me worried. Disney Bunnies? Disney Dwarves? Disney Horses? Walt Babies? I think it’s time I grabbed another cup and tried to calm down.