The recently announced Limited Release Hocus Pocus Villains Spectacular MagicBand, as well as all other Hocus Pocus merchandise that was supposed to be released at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year, has yet to appear for sale and is most likely cancelled. But why?
The first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was on August 25th, 2017, and many party goers were shocked to find that no Hocus Pocus merchandise was available at the event. Disney Parks Blog had even posted beforehand about the merchandise to be released at the parties, including the new MagicBand, as you can see from the image below. But on August 28th, 2017, the blog modified their post to remove any reference to the products. Many guests who questioned Cast Members about the merchandise were told many different things, from “we don’t have it all in stock yet” to “it will never be for sale”, and it seems that no one on the front lines has been given the correct and official reason for why it’s not available. There is a possibility that the Hocus Pocus merchandise could be for sale at later party dates, but the chances of that appear to be slim now that the Disney Parks Blog has modified their original post.
Rumor has it that there is actually a legal/copyright issue regarding the artwork that has caused the merchandise to be pulled back and potentially destroyed. References have been made, specifically on comments on this blog, about how the artwork is very similar, even almost identical, to art by Alexander Henry called Ghastlies, as shown below. Notice the scraggly hair style, pink circles under the eyes, and the small pupils. Also, the cat on the Disney artwork is almost identical to Sebastian by Alexander Henry as well. Maybe the artwork was just too similar for Disney to take a chance on releasing it? Was there a licensing problem? Or maybe there was a legal threat? No one outside of Disney really knows.
Disney’s art, then Alexander Henry’s art.
Other rumors have mentioned the possibility that maybe there is an issue with rights and/or revenue shares with studios or actors involved with the film, but I find this rumor harder to believe since Disney had Hocus Pocus merchandise back in 2015 without any issues (but with different artwork) and the eponymous stage show will continue on at the parties as well.
One interesting aspect of all of this is that one piece of Hocus Pocus merchandise did get released for just a few short hours on August 22nd, 2017 in the Magic Kingdom at a gift shop. Some Cast Members there accidentally put out the Hocus Pocus MagicBand for sale, during normal operating hours, before it quickly got pulled the next day. I know that at least five bands were sold, and I was lucky enough to get one for myself. Some orders were also placed in the Shop Disney Parks mobile app for the band around that same time, but all orders have since been cancelled by Disney.
If the band never makes another appearance in public for sale again, then it has quickly become one of the rarest MagicBands in existence. Time will tell if this holds true.