Merchandise Review: Pal Mickey vs A Plastic Cup

29 Jul

After much internal debate, and not a small amount of sheepishness, I’ve bought my first Pal Mickey. My descent into the Dark Side seems to be complete.

But Pal Mickey isn’t the only adorable souvenir that accompanied us on our flight home. At Club Cool in Epcot, my son created his own custom slushie cup, which immediately took on a life of its own as Princess Stitch, and pal’ed around with Mickey for the rest of the day. All hail the power of a child’s imagination!

Now, in my family we’ve never encouraged sibling rivalry. But watching these two side-by-side for the rest of the visit, I couldn’t help but wonder which was the better investment. So, I provide here a comparison, across multiple categories:

Price

  • Pal Mickey: About $61, with my Annual Passholder discount at the World of Disney store.
  • Princess Stitch: About $8, filled with Frozen Coke.
  • Advantage: Princess Stitch

Huggability

  • Pal Mickey: Soft and plush, like you’d expect any plushie to be. The metal casing for his electronic innards is mostly well-covered, with the exception of his disturbingly hard and rectangular tushie.
  • Princess Stitch: Hard and smooth, like you’d expect any plastic cup to be. It’s hard to tell the difference between Princess Stitch cozying up to you for a cuddle, and Princess Stitch whacking you in the bicep. And isn’t that just what you’d expect from Princess Stitch?
  • Advantage: Pal Mickey

Wardrobe

  • Pal Mickey: Disney sells a few outfits for Pal Mickey, plus there’s a great big beautiful world of teddy bear and doll clothes which either fit Pal Mickey, or can easily be altered to do so (um, am I really suggesting here that Pal Mickey needs a tailor?). PalMickey.net has an excellent page on sources of Pal Mickey attire. Plenty of Pal Mickey fans also seem to be rather handy with sewing machines.
  • Princess Stitch: Extremely limited. If you need a new pair of shoes you might luck out; when our Princess Stitch lost his adorable blue mid-heel pumps, I found the Cast Member in Club Cool was kind enough to give me a replacement, gratis (though he certainly did look doubtful when I told him my son had lost the princess shoes cup item). I’m sure any number of cup cozies could be let-out to accommodate Princess Stitch’s impressive circumference, or easily whipped up with a sewing machine, but there just isn’t much available ready-to-wear.
  • Advantage: Pal Mickey

Utility

  • Pal Mickey: While a cuddly plushie can win my heart any day, Pal Mickey’s real selling point is his interactivity. He’ll give you tips on short lines for attractions, current locations of nearby character meet-and-greets, or entertain you while you’re waiting in line. Of course, you might look a little silly doing all this if you are a forty-year-old woman, touring the parks alone . . . but Pal Mickey theoretically should be useful. And here is where Pal Mickey’s design point as a toy for the under-8 set was most clear. Only once in nearly 20 hours of use did Mickey offer a tip about a short waiting line for an attraction (Winnie the Pooh, Thursday night right around Wishes). The rest of the time he was a needy child with a short-term memory problem, constantly buzzing on my hip and wanting to tell me the same joke over and over . . . and over . . . and over. (In this category, I definitely found myself wishing for a Pal Len, as described by one of the listeners of the WDW Today podcast. Pal Len would shame you for missing rope drop, bully you out of Fantasyland when the lines were getting too long, and pester you into taking an afternoon break no matter what. Pal Mickey, on the other hand, just wanted to ask me yet again whether I knew the second line to “it’s a small world.”)
  • Princess Stitch: Doesn’t offer any Disney Parks touring tips, doesn’t play any games, but is perfectly designed to hold a frosty beverage.
  • Advantage: Pal Mickey, by an adorable shiny little nose.

Conclusion

Setting aside price, Pal Mickey takes it in a walk. But if I figure in the price, it’s a tougher call, because then I need to think about the long term. Will Pal Mickey end up gathering dust on a shelf, just as I suspect will happen to Princess Stitch? Will I tire of his corny jokes and incessant buzzing? Or will I really make that costume I’ve been thinking about, for Pal Mickey to wear to the Pirates and Princesses Party next month? If my son lobbies for a matching outfit for Princess Stitch, it will truly give me reason for pause.

8 Responses to “Merchandise Review: Pal Mickey vs A Plastic Cup”

  1. Eric August 1, 2007 at 12:49 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to try out the Pal Mickey, but I don’t think I’d get my money’s worth out of buying it.

    This has Those Darn Cats segment written all over it!

  2. Kitty-chan August 1, 2007 at 1:55 pm #

    I need a Pal Lisa to bring to the parks with me!

    When you walk past Haunted Mansion, Pal Lisa talks about how she’s not really as well-versed in Disney parks info, trivia, etc . . . then launches into a detailed review of the DL HM vs the WDW HM.

    Or maybe a Pal Eric?
    Detailed park information?
    Yes!
    Weekly podcast?
    Yes!

  3. Eric August 1, 2007 at 3:19 pm #

    No sense of shame?
    Yes!

  4. Angelique December 16, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    I don’t know if anyone can answer me but here goes. I have one of the oldest versions of Pal Mickey. Is he supposed to shake and talk when you turn him on like the newest version? Or is mine defective? Any comments on this would be very appreciated.

  5. Jennifer December 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    Wow, I don’t have a clue….sorry! But perhaps sooner or later some real Pal Mickey expert will happen along and have an answer.

  6. Plastic Mug April 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Both merchandises are great! Different persons or kids will like differently. But for me, I’ll take the plastic cup because it’s more useful than Pal Mickey.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mickey’s Discontinued, But He’s Still My Pal « Broke Hoedown - October 18, 2008

    […] And I gotta say, as much as I enjoy my own little personal tour guide to Walt Disney World, it’s real clear to me that Disney never figured out how to make the most of Pal Mickey. I bought mine expecting interesting trivia and the occasional useful park touring tip…and instead, ended up feeling like I had a needy three-year old vibrating at my hip, wanting to tell me the same old joke again, and again, and again. Lisa and I tried to interview him on Episode #2 of Those Darn Cats (MP3), with predictable results. He also didn’t fare particularly well in comparison with a plastic cup from Club Cool. […]

  2. Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers « Broke Hoedown - April 15, 2009

    […] on my family, given that we don’t happen to fall into traditional gender roles much (witness Princess Stitch). But if this “headquarters for boys” succeeds, it could mean some welcome trends for parents […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: