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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Disneyland's Old Magic Shop (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Clifford the Red
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LA, California
1931 Posts

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No, not the one on Main Street.

About my favorite magic shop ever was the Magic Shop inside the Castle. It is no longer there. In it's heyday, it was large and a bustling broohah of magical mysteries. Unlike it's counterpart on Disney's Main Street, the other magic shop was much larger and had a better class of material. Aside several large glass counters and lot's of shelf space, and magicians performing wonders on closeup mats, it was a very....playful place. There were nickels nailed to the floor. The ceiling was strung with various insectorium over the entire store that the people behind could unhook from behind the counter, run the string up and drop the bug on someone's shoulder who happened to choose that place to stand. In my memory it was a lively and fun place, truly magical. It was there that my Mom bought me my first magic tricks at age 5, a handpainted wood coin box, a coin penetration, and a magnetic mummy trick (the root of my Bizarre leanings ;-). That had to be one of the all-time great magic shops and to me it will always be the best.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
cosermann
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Indiana
142 Posts

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Sorry to hear that place is gone. Wasn't it called Merlin's Magic Shop? I was there back in 1978 I think.

Getting rid of it is just one more bone-headed thing Disney has done in the last decade or two.

If Mr. Disney were alive today he'd roll over in his grave. ;-)
Regards,
Eric
GeorgeG
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Thousand Oaks, CA
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I was also disappointed when it closed. The shop had that "atmosphere" for magic, especially being the first thing you see on entering the castle. It was larger than the Main Street shop and the effects sold were higher end. The staff was also more inclined to demonstrate the magic sold there. It's too bad as the entire Disney experience is supposed to be "magical".
Clay Shevlin
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I too have fond memories of the magic shops at Disneyland. But I favored the one on Main Street, perhaps because I knew the guys who worked there (Steve Martin the comedian worked there when I first started going). I remember a guy named Steve Shreiner, and another whose first name was Chuck. I bought my Himber wallet there and the first few volumes of the Tarbell course in magic.

The guys even let me demonstrate tricks to the public - a real treat for an 8 year old!

Now the shop on Main Street is full of junk and hardly resembles what it used to be.
drhackenbush
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A family friend told me to look up Mark Neynaber (sp?) (in the mid 70's) who was a friend of his, who worked at the Main St shop - I was 12 or 13. Mark was really cool and I must have spent more time in the shop than I did on the rides. I did a search online recently, and he is still at Disney, in management, I think. I loved both the Main St. and Castle shops, especially the spider they'd bring down from the ceiling. I still have many of the tricks I bought there.
Wards Back
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Baker's Acres, Ca
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Back when I was a pre-teen and Disneyland used to collect 'E-Tickets' for their major attractions, I began hanging-out in "Merlin's Magic Shop" in the castle. While the rest of my family was riding the Matterhorn, or Pirates of the Caribbean, I was watching the magicians perform their effects and scraping my pennies together to see if I could afford the latest coin, card or silk 'wonder trick.'

Clifford,
You are absolutely correct: there never was a better 'atmosphere' for magic. I made friends with a couple of the magicians and remember helping out with a few of their effects or setting-up victims for the rubber spiders!

It really is a sad commentary that our society in general and Disney in particular has become such a plain vanilla, pre-packaged marketing outfit. I wonder what kind of lawsuits/nagative publicity would arise if a magician dared drop a latex arachnid on an unsuspecting 'victim' in today's Disneyland.

I almost wanted to cry when I first discovered they had closed Merlin's. The Main Street magic shop never had the same feel. What really upset me the most was that they didn't even bother to replace Merlin's with anything else for several years; they simply put some Disney figurines in the windows and closed it off.

Anyway, Merlin's was a great part of my childhood and what got me started in magic.

I'll really miss it!
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Smile

Chris.
YVRDave
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Vancouver, BC
104 Posts

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I bought my very first magic stuff from there - a stripper deck and an invisible deck. I still have them - although they are too worn to be used. Sorry to see it go - it was the highlight of my visits to Disneyland.
okito25
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Victoria BC Canada
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Yup . old Merlins . Magic ..I got my first set of linking rings there .. real size 12 inches and use em today ... I went to Disneyland at 14 with my Dad it was a father and son thing .. and now I plan to take my Son this spring break ... deffinatly not going to be the same , at 14 dad would let me do my own thing .. if I missed a meeting time he would simply wander into merlins .. Or main street magic ... I seemed to recollect that merlins was never that busy and the old guy running it was not just a salesman but a magician who took a vested interest in what I was doing , after the first encounter he put away the T tips and Paddles ( royal stuff),and was more intersted in showing me hopping halves chop cups and the like I guess today One might be innodated with D lights , and hovering objects , However under Dads watchful guidence my son will also be able to purchase a few gems for his collection , and build some happy memories as well
Keet
Mad Jake
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All the voices in my head helped me make
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My first set of cups and balls came from the Disney Magic shop. Amazingly enough, Disney's magic shop used to carry the original Rings N Things line. I still have my original set of RNT cups and balls from there. A recent trip last Christmas to Disney World in Orlando, I was suprised to find there wasn't a magic shop anywhere to be found in the park.
For quality Paul Fox Cups spun on Danny Dew's Paul Fox tooling visit us at www.airshipmagic.com
KenW
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Yep, sure was called Merlin's Magic Shop. I know, I worked there with a very young magician...(with a full head of grey hair). He was very shy but sure could perform magic well. He even brought his banjo in every once in a while.
MMMMMMMM. Yeah, even today I wonder what happened to little "Steve Martin".
Those were the days,
KW
Wizardwannabe
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Does anyone know the year(s) that Steve Martin worked in the magic shop on Main Street. My parents took me to Disneyland in 1972 which would have been just before Martin hit the "big time". I'd like to think that the guy in the magic shop who let me as a kid press down on the dime and magically push it through that dental dam into the glass was Steve Martin.
KenW
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Sorry my friend but Steve was already on the road to sucess and long gone from the magic shop at that time. I know, I use to work with him in Merlin's at the park. The year was 1968-early 1970.
Payne
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Seattle
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Did anyone ever get over to Knott's Berry Farm and the Magic Cave? This is the first shop I ever got into and it was great! It literally was in a cave in the side of a faux concrete mountain in the middle of the park. Or at least that's the way I remember it. I was there in the summer of 71 or 72 and bought a set of Adams Linking Rings and a Mental Photography Deck.
A couple of days latter we made it to Disneyland and the shop on Main Street where I bought a Svengali deck.
Have never been back to Knott's but I hear the shop is long gone. Better to be completely gone and just a sweet memory than to be the everlasting hollow corpse that is the Disneyland Magic Shop
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
silverking
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The Disney shop on Main Street isn't even really a magic shop. It's a counter with some junk in it. I'm sure that the reason the Castle shop is long gone is because it wasn't a profit centre.

It's a shame, but it's hardly surprising of Disney to use the square footage to make more bucks than selling magic could make them.

It's really just reflective of the bigger national and international picture, with the magic shop going the way of the dodo, to be replaced by internet shoping baskets and mouse driven checkout counters.
poprocz
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You would think if a Disney marketing person caught wind of this they would do all they could to bring it back. Just reading the few post from one forum makes me want to visit for that shop alone. What they could do by bringing it back and advertising the fact through out the magic community. Not the main st. type shop but just like the one I have read about.
JCWagner
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V.I.P.
1944 - 2010
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Hi Guys, Steve Martin, myself and Jim love worked Merlins magic Shop way back in the summer of 1962! Merv Taylor opened it when the park first opened in 1955-1956! We all had a ball duing tricks for the public and comming up with all kinds of bits. It was a wonderful time in my early magic days. By the way, Aldini worked the main street Magic shop at the same time. Those were fun times my friends.
Best, J.C.
Check out my magic here.
Zazz
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California
315 Posts

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I remember Merlin’s Magic Shop back when I was 5 years old. I bought a pack of snapping gum and a bar of dirty soap.
The next time I visited Disneyland the magic shop was on Main Street.
For the past 12 years my wife Daughter and I have been visiting Disneyland regularly. About 2-3 times per year, every year. We poked our heads into the very crowded Main Street Magic Shop every once in awhile but never paid much attention to it.
It wasn't until my daughter turned 10 years old and really showed an interest in magic did we stop in and browse just before Christmas at nearly midnight before the park closed. The shop was not busy at all and we learned that the magician behind the counter was a member of The Magic Castle.
From that day on all three of us were hooked on magic. It was a magical Christmas that year.
Shortly after we arrived home from Disneyland we found a brick and mortar shop owned by Gerry Griffin and he introduced us to S.A.M. and S.Y.M.
All three of us are now members of S.A.M. and we have met so many great people, amateur and professional and we practice magic on a daily basis.

Remember. It all started with a mouse.ºoº
EsnRedshirt
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Newark, CA
893 Posts

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I went to Disneyland this last week, and had to swing by the Main St. shop- it's where, some 20 years ago, I bought some of my first few books on magic. Sadly, as was mentioned upthread, it's now little more than a counter filled with junk- they don't even have books on display anymore; just shelves and shelves stocked with endless boxes of D'Lites.

I'm quite serious- they had to have at least 100 in stock, if not more. I was considering picking up a second one, as I've had some luck with the effect mixed in with my linking rings, but later on saw someone walking around with it in the line for Space Mountain and thought, "Why bother anymore?"

Actually, "Why bother anymore?" sadly seems to be the big question these days when it comes to accessible, brick-and-mortar magic shops. They're a dying breed. There's none in the immediate area where I live, and even now, all the ones I remember from when I was a kid (save for the Disney shop) are mainly costume shops- the magic tricks are there because the owners love them, but they aren't the real source of income.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
leapinglizards
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In Florida WDW the magic show is gone entirely. Alas, the company is all about bottom line and maximizing revenue. The shop that is where the magic shop used to be probably dones about 50 grand a day- Progress
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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tbsmith918
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
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When I first visited WDW in Florida in the early 70's (right after the park opened) there was a Main Street shop that I remember liking a lot... I was around 14 years old back then. I also remember a shop in the castle (off to the side of the archway if my memory serves me right) that was not open and I am pretty sure the sign on the door said "Merlin's". Our family visited again a few years later, the Main Street shop was still there but the shop in the castle was still not open. The present situation is just as some others have pointed out... Main Street shop is gone and I have been told what may have been the Castle shop (the one I never saw open) is now just another standard gift (junk) shop. Disney Inc seems to have lost its way... closing their Magic shops and opening rides that literally scare folks to death (Walt would never have even let such a ride get off the drawing board).
Tom
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