Midnight toy releases have been a fun tradition for Star Wars fans for at least the past two decades– I remember lining up outside Toys R Us in early 1999 to get my hands on a Darth Maul action figure– but tonight’s Triple Force Friday event was not so fun for collectors on the hunt for the newest merchandise tied into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, and Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order at Disneyland Resort.
We arrived at the event just after the scheduled check-in time of 8:00 PM and saw that there were about twenty or so other attendees in line ahead of us, so my wife and I decided to walk around the resort and come back later on. We returned at 10:00, found ourselves about fifty people back, and crossed our fingers there would be enough copies left of the few pieces I’d decided I would limit myself to from tonight’s releases– the Hasbro Star Wars Black Series figures from the upcoming Disney+ live-action series The Mandalorian. I heard many people around us talking about their strategies of grabbing Black Series toys, and it was clear to me (as always) that they would be among the most sought-after items.
Watch Star Wars Triple Force Friday at Disneyland Resort:
When the time finally came to be admitted to Disneyland’s World of Disney flagship merch store, the people at the front of the queue had been waiting for over four hours straight. And then around 12:03 AM, we filed into the massive shop to find that not only was the Triple Force Friday display space about one-fifth of what World of Disney had devoted to Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Force Friday in 2017 but there was also not a single Black Series figure to be found on the shelves. In fact, I don’t think there were action figures of any assortment available (up to and including Funko Pop! Vinyl figures) except for a Disney Parks exclusive four-pack of The Rise of Skywalker droids. The extreme disappointment was immediately evident on most guests’ faces, as we began to see folks leaving the event completely empty-handed.
There were t-shirts, mugs, hats, LEGO sets, static figurines, ships, and other various merch on the shelves, but no action figures. Cast Members asked about the lack of toys gave a variety of responses: one clerk informed me they hadn’t received the full shipment of Triple Force Friday releases, another shopper was told they didn’t have time to put everything out. Either way, there were a lot of unhappy campers in Downtown Disney District after midnight– all of whom (myself included) were left crossing their fingers they will be able to track down these collectibles elsewhere.
Here’s the thing– I understand if circumstances beyond the employees’ control prohibited Disneyland Resort from stocking the most desirable items on this Force Friday, but as soon as the powers that be had become aware of that fact, they should have made it clear to the hundreds of fans camping out in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, so that they had time to find an alternate venue for the nationwide event. I’m sure many of them would have reluctantly found their ways to a nearby Target, given the alternative. Barring that, enact some sort of rain check scenario wherein attendees would gain access to the toys once World of Disney does finally get them in stock.
Triple Force Friday was a heavily promoted but poorly realized start to the promotional push for this fall’s selection of otherwise enticing Star Wars content, and it left a very bad taste in my mouth because of how it was handled at the Happiest Place On Earth. I’m glad I was there in part to cover the evening’s activities for this website, because if I had gone specifically to get those toys, I’d probably be about three times as upset as I am right now. And I’m crossing my fingers that Disneyland's mishandling of the event was an aberration and the remainder of the rollouts go smoothly, because as we rode the tram back to the parking structure without having purchased a single item, I couldn’t help but worry this might be a portentous omen of things to come.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.