The Happiest Place On Earth. There isn’t a better way to describe the thoughts and feelings I walked away with after the fun-filled all-day event put on by Disney and Vans this past Thursday. They pulled out all the stops for this event, and I am deeply honored and greatly humbled that I was able to partake in all of the festivities, and hang out with some great people that also do great things in the sneaker world, at a much much more higher level than I do.
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I’m always going to be Charlie in this “chocolate factory” of an industry, even after all the behind-the-scenes exposure I get to see and hear about. I had the pleasure of walking around Disneyland all day with Steve Van Doren (I behaved myself and didn’t geek out…in front of him), as well as some cool new friends, some of which you may already know. Matt Halfhill and his wife Allison, of NiceKicks and their latest venture NiceKicks Jr. (You can check out his awesome perspective on this special occasion HERE). We also had Jazzy and Marquella of Kicks On Fire, and they invited their friend, the world’s 2nd biggest Disney fan (right behind Steve Van Doren of course!), Karina aka @AirKarinaBX23. She cries when she sees Mickey Mouse in person. No joke. We were of course held together by the warm-welcoming Vans PR team of Chris, Kenza and Alix, who made pretty much all of this happen for me, oh and I have to give a special shout out to our awesome private Disney representative Shawn! We were in the same guided tour group for the better part of 4 hours, and we just got to hang out, enjoying ourselves while having a lot of fun. It was nice to be in the presence of such highly respected sneaker website creators, without having it be all “industry” and business oriented. Disney has this way of making you forget where you are, and you just get lost in their magic. That’s what they do. You’re in their fantasy land, literally.
Vans put together this scavenger hunt which had our group doing some “off the wall” stuff, like taking a picture in our Disney Vans while holding a favorite Disneyland signature treat. That was the “shoe circle with a churro” pic you may have seen on the @vans instagram feed taken by SVD. Thanks for the churros by the way, Steve! Go check out the official hashtag #DisneyAndVans for more photos of the day’s event from the perspective of everyone else who attended.
Being a SoCal native, I’ve had the pleasure of owning an annual pass to the happiest place on earth, and I have a pretty good idea of what Disneyland has to offer, but this time was different. Ohhh boy was it different! Different from any other Disneyland visit I’ve ever experienced in my life. You haven’t lived until you’ve attended a private party there, complete with 2 catered buffet style meals, unlimited drinks, including alcohol for dinner, whaaat?! Inside Disneyland?! I’m now one of the few who can say they were served an alcoholic beverage inside Disneyland (not California Adventure), and I mentioned that we had a guided tour group, but I didn’t mention that we didn’t have to wait in the long lines for rides either. Straight to the front for our group of 10. That wasn’t all. The night ended with a private viewing area for the fireworks show, which was a perfect ending for a perfect day.
But we’re forgetting something, right? You want to know more about the shoes! I’ve saved the best for last. First off, here’s a little history for you. These are two companies, born just 3 miles apart from each other, only 11 years apart. Disneyland in 1955, and Vans in 1966. Vans has had a long-standing relationship with Disney, first in their early years, supplying Disneyland with navy Slip-Ons for cast member uniforms. Then, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, they created shoes specifically for Disney, to sell inside the park. Some of those models later became retro’d into the Vault by Vans line, allowing many to get a second chance, albeit a limited one, to purchase a pair once again.
If you strip away the logos, icons, image, and any visual identity of a brand, you will see the heart and soul of what they were founded on, and there’s a loyal culture that exists amongst these fanatics that both Disney and Vans recognize. They truly are in every sense of the name “young at heart”. This collection has done a great job of representing both of their communities. The “Fab 5” characters chosen for the artwork are iconic, and best represent Disney. The way that Vans portrayed them is a nod to the skate and sneaker culture, that exemplifies Vans. I mean, you have Winnie The Pooh holding his wooden skateboard, Mickey and Minnie in some sneakers, and Donald shouting out some vulgar obscenities, giving out just the right amount of edginess. It’s perfectly executed, and the designs came out awesome. Vans didn’t stop with shoes either. There will be shirts, hats, backpacks, socks, you name it. Journeys will also be receiving some exclusive designs which can be seen on their site. They went big, and rightfully so. This release has been a long time coming, and the Vans community that we represent has been patiently waiting for the better part of a year now, and the good news is that the collection will arrive on June 5th, with future designs to come later on. Thank you Vans and Disney for the warm hospitality, and thank you for forever ruining every other trip to Disneyland for the rest of my life, haha!