If you’ve been reading this blog for any of the last seven years, at some point you’ve gleaned the fact that I’m the resident Disney nut round these parts. I jump on most Disney-related brand news, and I take a week off a year (at minimum) from said blog to visit at least one of the world’s Disney theme parks.
So it was quite literally a dream come true when I got the invite to Citizen Watch’s celebration at Walt Disney World, in honor of its strategic alliance with Disney that includes branded in-park clocks, a new line of Mickey timepieces, and more. To experience something behind the scenes—and for it to be jewelry-industry related—in a place that feels like home to me, well, that’s truly something special.
So I didn’t hesitate, except to ensure that it was okay to bring my tag-along gang of baby and hubby (props to the entire team at the Promotion Factory, which was beyond accommodating to this new mama, who can hardly bear to part with her little one), and my suitcases were pretty much packed just as soon as I sent my RSVP.
I would have been thrilled to be there either way, but my expectations of this event were blown to the moon and beyond. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined what was in store for us after seeing an itinerary that included dinner and a fireworks dessert party for the first night and a press conference, paired with a tour of the Magic Kingdom to see Citizen’s branded clocks throughout the park, the following day. Little did I know the absolute experience that was to come. (Except where noted, all photos are mine.)
The first evening consisted of an incredible dinner held in the catering kitchen of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Truly hands-on, they put us to work as groups of attendees divvied up each course of the night’s meal. I got dessert duty, which may have exposed some of my weaker points in the kitchen, but I had a blast nonetheless. The night concluded in a lounge-like patio setting outdoors, under a sky filled with fireworks (and bellies filled with sweets).
Not only did this opportunity introduce me to the wonderful world of Citizen’s partnership with Disney, but it also put me in touch with a flurry of new people: National Jeweler’s Michelle Graff, who after all these years, I had yet to actually meet; Citizen’s chief marketing officer, Ellen Seckler, who was a fellow dessert team member (and fared much better than yours truly); and Marico Corbin, head of operations at A Blog to Watch, who I took to immediately and enjoyed sharing the fun with.
The event wasn’t exclusive to the jewelry industry, though. When a group of familiar faces gathered in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort prior to dinner that evening, I struggled to place them, but knew I had seen many of them before. Then I realized—cue starstruck freak-out—I follow them on Instagram! Just as our industry has its influencers, the realm of the Disney-obsessed has them, too. And I follow all of them. How absolutely rad to share an experience with these women, whose Instagram content brings that bright bit of Disney magic into my life on the daily. Even if I totally acted the tongue-tied groupie in their presence.
Breakfast was on the docket for the next morning, and off I went, expecting, well breakfast, with a side of presentations to learn from while we ate. Shouldn’t I have already learned—nothing about this was going to be typical. As we waited in a small conference room, sipping coffee at cocktail tables, Citizen’s new global commercial, featuring the iconic “I’m Late” from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, played on a big screen (watch it below).
As the commercial finished, Alice in Wonderland‘s White Rabbit came hurrying through the room, disappearing through a doorway made to look like a grandfather clock (with a Citizen timepiece at its center, naturally). Just as Alice would, we followed the rabbit into the room where the breakfast would take place, and—the gasps were audible—were met with a true wonderland. (For videos and more photos from this, check out my Disney Stories highlight on Instagram.) It felt as if the Mad Hatter himself had engineered this tea-party setting, complete with mismatched chairs (I picked the coziest-looking one), eclectic tableware, and colorful decor. The famous doorknob from the film came to life, with expert knowledge of the event’s attendees, while Alice herself—along with the White Rabbit, apparently not so late he couldn’t stay awhile—took photos with guests. Did I mention the food was great, too?
Following our memorable meal, a press conference took place in the previous room, with presentations from Citizen’s Ellen Seckler and president Jeffrey Cohen, as well as—and yes, I freaked out again—senior vice president of operations for the entire Walt Disney World Resort, Jim MacPhee. Pinch me. We were also treated to views of the to-be-released watches (which you’ll read more about, below).
Next up, a tour of the Citizen-branded clocks that now dot the Magic Kingdom park. A gorgeous placement greeted us along Main Street, U.S.A. (pictured at top), while the clocks were also present at the Fastpass entrances to iconic rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and more. And because I can only assume that the Disney deities have smiled upon me, our VIP tour came with extra VIPness—getting onto some of the park’s most iconic rides with minimal wait (it was like that episode of black–ish that I love to watch on repeat) and snacking on some of the park’s best eats.
In addition to the clocks showcasing the Citizen logo in the Magic Kingdom, California’s Disneyland Resort features a number of versions, too, including one on Main Street, U.S.A.
But you wanted to know about the watches? Right, that makes sense, this being a jewelry industry website and all. Though the watches won’t be officially available until spring 2019, they’re fully worth the wait. I may wear my Disney freak flag loud and proud, but I also prefer a more subtle, sophisticated approach when it comes to my Mickey merchandise. For this, Citizen delivers.
In celebration of the Big Cheese’s 90th birthday, eight Mickey timepieces round out the line of new releases, in two sizes: 29.5 mm and 40 mm. The larger pieces feature a range of Mickey designs, from the Mouses’s lovable mug to a quad of Mickey poses (one outlined in his signature red), while another sees Mickey “chasing after time.”
The two 29.5 mm pieces showcase a miniature Mickey face nestled alongside diamond accents, a very chic ode to the one that started it all. The price range for the pieces is $295–$475, and they will be available on Citizen’s website in late March 2019.
Magic, the Mouse, and the hands of time—all elements of one very unforgettable experience. Thank you again to the folks at Citizen, and to the Promotion Factory, for having us. It was a celebration fit for the mouse that started it all, without a doubt.
Stay tuned for more as the company continues its fruitful relationship with Disney, and visit citizenwatch.com for current products and news.
Top: Citizen-branded clock on Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom (image courtesy of the Citizen)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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