Sunglass Hut Opening in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland

| January 6, 2015 | 17 Replies

Let me preface this by saying that I own a pair of designer sunglasses, Coach to be specific. I’d also like to mention that I have been known to ogle outside high-end stores in Vegas wondering just how I could purchase that exquisite Gucci bag. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’d know that shopping is a favorite pastime of mine. One would think that getting a new store at Walt Disney World would be exciting. Well folks, I have found a time in which it’s not. In fact, it has made my blood boil. Why, you ask? A Sunglass Hut is coming to the Magic Kingdom.


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Back in October, Island Supply Company, a small shop across from the Swiss Family Treehouse, shut its doors. It was done quickly and quietly with little information as to its future. Rumors began to spread and only recently has it been confirmed by an internal memo that a Sunglass Hut will operate in the location beginning this Thursday, January 8. Let me say that again. A SUNGLASS HUT is going to be sitting smack dab in the middle of Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom!


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Sunglass Hut touts itself as the “premier shopping and inspiration destination for the top brands, latest trends and exclusive styles of high quality fashion and performance sunglasses.” I guess when some big whig executive at the Mouse House saw that he had one of those metaphorical light bulb moments and decided that the Magic Kingdom was the ideal venue for high end eyewear sales. Are you kidding me?  Now don’t get me wrong; I have absolutely nothing against Sunglass Hut and its products. I’m sure they’re quite lovely. Who wouldn’t enjoy a good pair of Chanel, Ray-Bans, or Oakleys? I’m all for it. However, this store has absolutely no business in the heart of the Magic Kingdom.

When Walt Disney first designed Adventureland, he took special care in selecting everything from the light fixtures and linens to the flooring and background music. Could someone please explain to me how a designer sunglass shop fits in here?  Let’s picture this. You have a turkey leg in one hand, a Dole Whip in another, and just spent time voyaging on the Jungle Cruise. As you search for more adventure – perhaps with Captain Jack Sparrow himself – your eyes see this…


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and this…


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Oh, and we can’t forget this…


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Seriously? Disney has partnered with Sunglass Hut to open the Island Supply Sunglass Hut – that’s such a clever name too – offering guests hundreds of eyewear options. You might be familiar with a larger store already existing on Disney property, but in a venue that is much more appropriate, Downtown Disney, a shopping mecca that consistently brings in outside chains for guest enjoyment. Similarly, you can also find the “Hut” at a newly-opened spot in Typhoon Lagoon which was formerly Singapore Sal’s. I can cut Disney some slack with these two. They fit their locations. Magic Kingdom seems wrong to me though, and I hate to say it, but I worried that the opening of Starbucks on Main Street USA would pave the way for other chains to enter the gates. Obviously that has come to fruition.


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Oh, but let’s remember that Disney will theme the store to fit in with its surroundings. I’ll admit that their doing so of Starbucks was impressive, but there’s only so much you can do with a designer sunglass shop…


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Ooooooo, slap a pair on me, and I’m ready for the Jungle Cruise!


Dang, that wood paneling just screams adventure, doesn’t it? I surely would not be able to find something similar at my local mall (note the sarcasm here). This is my biggest issue with Disney’s latest trend of pushing the chains through the turnstiles. As a park guest, I want to escape reality when at the World, not remain in it. I like that feeling of being in a place where dreams come true, elephants fly, and fairies exist. Why would I want to round the corner and see something from the shopping center down the road?

Now, before the comments start rolling in about Walt Disney’s original kingdom, Disneyland, let me state that I 100% recognize that Disney Parks were first built on sponsorship. I know about the Hallmark Shop, the Elgin Clock Shop, and the infamous Hollywood-Maxwell Intimate Apparel Shop. I remember looking at the oval-shaped Kodak, GE, and Delta signs above attractions as a child. I get it. However, putting a sterile, futuristic type of store such as Sunglass Hut in Adventureland crosses a line. They could even stick Mickey Mouse stickers up and down the sunglass frames for all care; it still does not fit.


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As someone who usually keeps a positive stance when it comes to the parks, I’m putting Disney on notice. Be careful. Park guests don’t want their vacations to be saturated with the commercial world. Design your own stores. Create new attractions. Refresh old favorites. Whatever you do, stop cheapening the parks with moves like this one. Otherwise, you’ll soon see more unhappy guests, something competitors are banking on so they can swoop in and collect their dollars.


Image Credits:

Sunglass Hut Media

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Category: Disney World, Merchandise

  • Kevin Hurt

    I totally agree!!

  • Sharon Bivens

    I can only say and hope, that Sunglass Hut can not make a go of it at that location. It is wrong as you say on many levels. Thank God most people wear their sunglasses into the park. It cost over $100.00 for a day pass into the park, What food and drinks cost.. Now they want to sell you $100.00 and up, pair of sunglasses. They are not even close to being a souvenir of the park. I will plainly state it as one of the “stupidest” ideas to ever come from this management team at Disney.We will have LOST some more of the “magic” of the Magic Kingdom. How much more are they going to remove.

    • Scott Lee-Ross

      I think its a great idea. And when were foundation garments bought at DL a souvenir. I think it is time to get off the high horse and see that Disney has had outside stores since it opened. This is just rediculous

  • Denise Rambo

    It’s a slippery slope.

  • Lynn Pietraszewski Perry

    Though it is jarring to hear this, I have faith the new store will be beautiful and themed excellently…and who knows, SH may even come out with its own line of Disney designer shades.

  • Robert Parker

    All I can say is that I hope this fails, and fails quickly so they don’t try this again.

  • terry heck

    I have to agree it is wrong ,but alot o Disney “clients” guests are from out of country and drop a boat load of money in the parks an will spend it there for name brand glasses. personaly I think Disney could buy and make there own name brand glases and sell cheaper.

  • Cindy

    Getting kind of disgusted with some of the choices that Disney is making lately- Main Street Bakery, Norway Pavillion, now Sunglass Hut. Poor choices in my opinion. And I have to agree with Terry Heck- why couldn’t Disney design their own sunglasses with some sort of Disney flair?

  • Courtney G

    I couldn’t have put it any better myself when you said “As a park guest, I want to escape reality when at the World, not remain in it. I like that feeling of being in a place where dreams come true, elephants fly, and fairies exist. Why would I want to round the corner and see something from the shopping center down the road?” All avid Disney fans feel this way I imagine. Starbucks was bad enough but come on. Could we stop the madness already? They are taking away what makes Disney unique and special. Keep SH at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) where it belongs. Now, with that said, my mom and I have been requesting for a couple of years now that Disney bring out a line of designer Disney character glasses. Most of our sunglasses are designer and we’d love to add some Disney glasses to our collection. We have a couple of the $20 pairs from the parks but 90% of the ones we bought broke. We don’t lose our glasses and we take good care of them so we don’t mind spending a little extra money on our sunglasses. However, I DON’T want to see Ray Bans or Maui Jim’s in the parks. I can buy them anywhere. I want authentic designer Disney sunglasses designed around the characters that I can ONLY get at Disney Parks.

  • swd123

    Your article is spot on! I’ve purchased some really neat items at those little shops. Some of the items are brand names, such as Roxy. I realize that those items can be purchased at many other places outside of WDW and even online, but when I put them on I fondly remember my trip(s) to WDW. It seems that this is one of the latest in a number of disturbing trends. They are taking imagination and spontaniety out of the experience. Perfect example is the fast pass + program where you can plan every detail of your trip months ahead. I have a very hard time believing that Walt would be pleased with the direction. I fear they are trying to appeal to the younger, “hipper” guests and in doing so are alienating true Disney fans. This is such unfortunate news!

  • Ken

    This is ridiculous. Disney has always been about corporate sponsorships, going as far back as the World’s Fair. Test Track presented by Chevrolet, where you exit the ride into a Chevy showroom and gift shop. Mission Space by HP. The Carousel of Progress by General Electric. The Great Movie Ride by Turner Classic Movies. Spaceship Earth bu Siemens AG. Disney MGM Studios. McDonalds Fries……

    The list goes on….

    Sunglass Hut is replacing a store that sold Hurley, Hobie and Ocean Pacific merchandise.

    Does it really make any difference that Sunglass Hut is running the shop? Would Photopass service be different if it was Canon Photopass?

    • swd123

      We all have an opinion and I bet if you asked most true Disney lovers they would say they are not in favor of it. I bought one of my favorite outfits at the island shop and the outfit included Roxy pants. You know what, when I wear them I have fond memories of buying them at The Magic Kingdom and not at Pac-Sun. Test Track does dump into a Chevy showroom, but there isn’t a Chevy dealer next door selling cars. That being said, I respect all opinions.

  • Ken

    Ironically, this store will be only a few feet away from one of the most beloved snacks in WDW, the Dole Whip. Remember the outrage when Disney partnered with Dole Fruits to bring us those snacks. Wait, what? There was none? Really……

  • Chad

    Disney has a long history of Corporate stores and sponsers in Disneyland as far back to opening day: Sunkist, Bank of America, Hallmark, Kodak, Chicken of the Sea, Carnation, Coca Cola, Dole, McDonald’s, Elgin, and Monsanto. Heck, every EPCOT attraction was originally sponsored and every country is a travel advertisement.

  • Midaroco

    I’ll give everyone a moment to pick themselves up after tripping over the name you intentionally dropped…

    “Let me preface this by saying that I own a pair of designer sunglasses, Coach to be specific.”

    I find it ironic that you go into a tirade about a designer sunglasses store having no business at the Magic Kingdom. Especially since you went out of your way to let everyone know the pricey brand you spent your hard earned money on. I am surprised it has taken this long for a Sunglasses Hut to come into the park. Every year when I go and forget my glasses, I’m forced to purchase the dorkey glasses that Disney offers, or trek down to Downtown Disney to get a pair. This is more convenient, and it’s a smart move for Disney as the merchandise that was in the location wasn’t moving.

  • Liz

    This sunglass hut looks nothing like the photos you posted. It fits GREAT with the adventure land theme. Seems like you need to pay a visit. It’s a great idea bringing a sunglass hut. Loads of people lose their sunglasses throughout the park and on rides and I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to settle for some cheap sunglasses and waste my money on them. These sunglasses are good quality brand that are actually worth the guests money. Some people have really sensitive eyes and need polarized sunglasses. You won’t find that in a “cute disney shop.” Guest are able to find a pair as they would at the mall and know it was worth it and it just so happens to be convienent.

  • GG

    Couldn’t agree more with this article…I think it’s awful. They’re really losing their vision for what the MK brand and personality is supposed to be – escape. Not a mall.