Monday, October 15, 2012

Gift Shop Anticipation

Welcome back readers, and after the recent EPCOT30 wash of festivities, this has inspired me to write a post pertaining to the Well and Goods gift store, considered a part of Wonders of Life's array of facilities. For most of you who have been there somewhere in the brink of the 90s, you may recall that the Well and Goods store has been selling typical souvenir trinkets (namely shirts and hats) and oftentimes it sold athletic and sporting items (items such as golf balls and baseballs were commonly sold there too). Typically the Well and Goods store ran from 1989, until closing somewhere in 2004.
This image seen on Walt Dated World on Bravepages,, also on
Of course, while Well and Goods was successful in catering to the active-lifestyle fond guests visiting the pavilion, there was something rather lacking in the merchandising department that could have catered to much more...

Let's take to account that the Wonders of Life pavilion covered all aspects of health especially in anatomical-medical studies, and healthy living. Now consider what Well and Goods sold during its working hours. You'll find that it only caters to part of the guests attending the pavilion, and apparently to an inevitable disadvantage. You see, the majority of gift stores within EPCOT's vicinity are oftentimes unique to the location (take for instance the early Future World pavilions, such as the Living Seas, or The Land, or (in a synthetic-saccharine execution) Mission: Space), and in some cases, they overall capture what the pavilion stands for in total. It appears that Well and Goods has only half achieved this. After countless hours of research on possible merchandise that Well and Goods would have specialised (that is, to summarise and represent parts of the pavilion), it is with great interest that I provide the following findings...

Anatomical curios

Face it, not everyone appreciates innards, but that doesn't mean goods playing homage to the inside have no obligation to be sold. Because Wonders of Life has covered the anatomical side of things (whether from actually soaring through the bloodstream, or a dramatised tour of the nervous system), it is only fair that Well and Goods could have got away with the sale of anatomical souvenirs as a memento of the day. Some examples of ideal biomedical and anatomical curios:
I Heart Guts

The surprisingly unusually cuddly take on anatomical organs, inspired by Japanese 'kawaii' couture. I Heart Guts showcases a wide family of the body's vital organs in a huggable, yet anatomically correct manner. Whether from the heart and lungs, through to the brain and stomach, and even the reproductive organs and glands, each organ comes with an interesting educational tag containing some fast facts on the organ. In my humble opinion, this would certainly have been a kooky attraction for anatomically-attracted youth-at-heart, young and old.

Giant Microbes

The excellent immunological gift, in which the normally mean and creepy microorganisms sharing the world around us are presented in fuzzy, cuddly form. A wide range of microscopicana, be it nasty bacteria or viruses (influenza, cholera, the pox, etc.), cells of the body (red erythrocytes, neurons) or even the classical egg and sperm cell. This gives new meaning to gifting a disease to someone you love or loathe, and getting away with it (visual pun I know!)

Medical curios

Same with the anatomical curios, but for some apparent reason, including some curios associated with the medical profession (give or take the attractiveness associated) might enhance Well and Goods' range. Interesting curios in this category would include accessories such as nurses' watches (the analog watch disc hanging on a small chain and pinned onto the shirt) with distinctive designs, to replica stethoscopes; even first aid kit trunks might as well be useful.

Commemorative apparel

It is obvious that Well and Goods, for some time, sold athletic apparel, which somehow ties in with the sports and healthy-living aspect of Wonders for the time being. As far as memory and research calls, the goods you would commonly bump into are the shirts and hats, but of course, there are people who would want some accessories to go with their experiences, too. Note that variety is key, especially in the realm of choice, whether the product is sold on typical touristy attraction grabbing, through to subtle subliminal blending-in, through to unusual and out-there.

Typical tourist

This is the type that definitely shouts out "I've been there and I'm not afraid to shout it out!!" Think of hoodies, shirts, caps, etc. all sporting any insignia and mention of WDW or Epcot, but in this focus, this can either be blatant self advertising (actually having the pavilion advertised on your shirt), or in the form of direct 'toungue-in-cheek' references pertaining to the attractions, such as this design below:

The white blood cells aren't pleased with the choice of words for the touristy injoke.

Blending in

However, there should be a category for those who would not want to brag about their vacation (let alone be caught dead into announcing it visually). Somehow, you might have teens and young adults (especially the fashion conscious types) falling into this category, and it would be rather interesting to consider very subtle (yet referential) artwork references somewhat leaning towards the pavilions offerings. Patterns and aesthetic designs might work in concealing where the souvenir in question came from!

Unusual and out there

And then there are the types of souvenirs that actually go beyond the attractions and present themselves in the most interesting of ways how. Perhaps a scarf shaped in the form of a DNA chain? Circulatory system hoodie? Foot bone socks? Red blood cell patterned ties? Even having the left and right brain represented in the form of mouse ears apparently seems like an interesting idea as well. But mind you, reader, they have to draw the line somewhere to appeal to families or other guests without *GASP* freaking them out.

Sporting Goods

Again, sporting goods has been the specialisation for Well and Goods, but in my humble opinion, it seems its expansion and sprawl may have led to its downfall. However, there are some notable hits, such as the baseballs and signature golfballs available as an active reminder of the day. It could work if various designs, or even the goods themselves on display would be rotated at every turn of the season (not too quick of course). If permission be, even merchandise centered on special sporting events might draw crowds.

Academic Curios

Now this section is one paying homage to the educational side of the pavilion, if need be. Given the fact that EPCOT once had a slew of educational material in most Future World gift shops, this could have meant an opportunity to cover all sorts of academic fare, such as numerous documentaries, books and even anatomical displays, which would make any teacher, professor, or anatomical enthusiast proud.
And of course...

Miscellany and Pins!

The pinnacle of merchandising; anything miscellaneous in this category is typical merchandising fare, be it plushies, figure collectables, keychains, or pins. Anything might go in this category, but something bothers me this may lead to utmost hilarity come to think of it... (most outrageous conceived so far would be to have a sperm from Making of Me on a keychain or as a plushie, but that's another matter altogether.) In all honesty, sorts of awesomeness such as having model kits for the body probes, or even the left brain/right brain ear hats or earmuffs (resembling Buzzy's headset, for instance), possibilities are endless.

If you have any other ideas or thoughts pertaining what you wished would have been in store at Well and Goods, feel free to drop me a message or a comment at the end of the blog post. Or if you know of any other existing Wonders merchandise out there, drop me a line there too by comments box or email.
Until next time, readers!

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