Once upon a time, a young gal named Amy Falk Petermann strolled through the Magic Kingdom and walked past a family wearing identical T-Shirts. She thought to herself, THIS is brilliant! Not only can you find each other easier in the crowded parks, but you get to wear your colors and characters you enjoy. I love ANYTHING a family can do together that shows unity, so that’s why I wanted to share with my friends, the story of the same shirt.
For those of you who have never experienced this Disney phenomena, friends and family get together and decide on a matching T-shirt for everyone to wear. The first time we did it as a family, it was kind of a fluke. I was shopping with my best friend, Kelly, at Gurnee Mills in IL. We tried to make it an annual trip each year after we did the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Gurnee Mills is HUGE and has hundreds of stores… including my favorite, the Disney Store Outlet. Because it is an Outlet, like all other Outlets, they get several items from the local Disney Stores that they had to many of or couldn’t sell. This is why I love this store so much, the bargains are endless!
So one summer, Kel and I were checking out the store, and they had a HUGE table filled with hundreds of red “Incredibles” T-Shirts. The t-shirt has the “I” symbol on it, which is great because it can be worn by either sex. Sometimes you can find the coolest shirt, but it may be to girly or manly for the “entire” family to wear, so I was happy I found these. So here is the kicker… they were $2.99 EACH! These were the thick cotton type shirts, not the see through kind that you buy these days… just really nice shirts. The problem I found as I dug through each endless pile of red shirts, was that most of the sizes were large and extra large. I thought to myself “this just won’t do” because Emily at the time was 7 and the size Large would more than likely drown her. Then it hit me! I would buy the Large, but I would remove the logo from the shirt, then just add it to a random identical red shirt that was her size. I brought the Incredible shirt with me to make sure to get the right “red” color for Emmy’s shirt, and found a great one at Wal-Mart for $3.00. I bought a special adhesive tape in the sewing section that I placed on the back of the logo that is activated by the heat of an iron… as much as I did it, it didn’t seem to hold as much as I would have liked. Thankfully I had cut an extra inch around the logo so that I could sew it on if need be. Well, it needed to be and with red thread, you couldn’t tell at all that it wasn’t an original part of the shirt. Voila, done!
We would wear the “Incredible” shirts to the Magic Kingdom, and we got A LOT of attention. I had seen other families wear matching shirts, so I didn’t think it was any big deal. We found out as the day went on, that because of the lack of “Incredibles” merchandise, and Pixar in general at the time, that our shirts were a big deal. We had many compliments from Cast Members, and we were introduced as the “Incredibles” as we walked on to the “Carousel of Progress.” Many strangers walked right up to ask and asked where we had bought them, and I always felt bad telling them not only where I had bought them, but how cheap they were. Even with the extra shirt I had to buy for Em, the total cost was around $20 after purchasing the thread and tape.
In 2008, Craig and I made plans for our Anniversary trip. Since we got married on his Birthday, we have lovingly called that day our “Birthiversary.” It’s our own special holiday, and we thought it would be fun to add to a t-shirt to wear on our big day to the Magic Kingdom. Since there aren’t any such shirts that exist already, we had to find a place to make them. We had heard good things about www.zazzle.com. I felt the site was quite easy to manage, and enjoyed playing around on it. I started with a basic white shirt, then looked through the plethora of Disney images that they provided, finding one of Mickey and Minnie hugging. You decided how large a size you want, what wording you would like, the font, and how you want it place on the shirt. Since you are custom making it, you will be paying a bit more for these. They were around $22 each plus shipping, and they came to our home in WI in less than 10 days. My advice when custom ordering is to make sure to allow PLENTY of time for them to arrive before your trip. I say this because our first order had the wrong sizes, which will happen more than likely when you don’t know how their shirts will really fit. After sending them back, they refunded our shipping costs and sent out the correct sizes. We wore them to the Magic Kingdom and we had a lot of people ask us what a “Brithiversary” was, which we happily explained. It was a nice way to celebrate a special day.
For our trip in June 2009, we got lucky again and Kel and I were again at the Outlet. Instead of the “Incredible” shirts, I found White “BNL” shirts which were from “Walle.” “BNL” stood for “Buy N Large” which was the company supporting the people on the ship in the movie. Again, the sizes left were Large and X-Large, so I repeated what I had done years before, bought the Large, cut the logo out, and added it to a plain white t-shirt. It worked out great and again, our family had a blast wearing them to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have to add that not only is a great way to show family unity, but it looks sharp in pictures.
Now, you can also make your own shirts at home. A great place on the Disboards http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=105 shows a person’s wonderful talent of creating Disney images for those who would like to iron on images to plain shirts, pillow cases, bags, etc… It may seem like you will save money doing it on your own, but compare costs before venturing into a lot of work. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! J
I highly recommend that you try wearing same shirts with your family or friends for at least one day. I think it’s a fun way to enjoy your Disney vacation, and a great souvenir to wear later and remember your trip. Please let us know in the comments below if you have done this, how you did it, where you bought them, and please post a picture on our fan page, The Relocated Tourist, on Facebook. We would love to see you in them!
~Amy Falk Petermann