If you follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts you probably saw us posting pictures of Tsum Tsums the last couple weeks while we were visiting the UK. Since there are some differences between collecting Tsum Tsums in the UK versus the US I thought it warranted a blog post to discuss what we found!
Before we go into the details it is worthwhile to talk about the history of Tsum Tsum in the UK.
The UK was one of the last places that Tsum Tsums appeared. While they first started appearing in the US last summer, they didn't appear in the UK until this past February (even though they had also arrived in the European Disney Store a few months before that). Not only did they not appear until long after everywhere else, when they first arrived, they weren't even at the UK Disney Store. Clinton's (basically the Hallmark of the UK) was the first place to debut Tsum Tsums with the Disney Store not getting them until a month and a half later.
That being said, lets start with talking about the Disney Store.
We visited several UK Disney Stores and found they all had a great selection of Tsum Tsums, especially compared to the US Disney Store. In the US, towards the end of the month, we are used to only finding the core range of Tsums and sometimes not even all of them. In the UK we found the core range (Mickey, Minnie, etc), Frozen, Aladdin, and even a few Tsums that haven't been seen in the US since their initial debut (Perry, Jiminy Cricket, etc). They also had a good assortment of medium and large Tsums including some that we have never seen in the US (Large Donald and Large Perry).
In addition to the actual plushes, all the stores had a decent amount of other Tsum Tsum related items (T-Shirts, bags, etc). They also had the pencil cases that are available in the US but happened to be on special offer for only £3.99 (about $6.50) when you bought more than £10 of stuff total. Since we only had one of the pencil cases we took advantage of this offer to get all the rest at almost half price!
The UK Disney Store also has another promotion that I really wish the US Disney Store would offer. When you buy Tsums in the Disney Store you get a card and for each Tsum you buy you get a stamp in the card. If you forget your main card they will give you another smaller card with a section you can cut out and tape to your tracking card (also if you order on-line they will send you one of these smaller cards for each Tsum you buy). Once you have purchased 25 Tsums you bring the card back to the Disney Store and get a special silver pin. Once you collect 50 Tsums you get a gold pin! This is a great promotion as it encourages people to buy more Tsums and also rewards them for doing so. The only "complaint" that I had about this program was that you only got one stamp per Tsum regardless of the Tsum's size. So if you bought a mini Tsum you got one stamp and if you bought a large Tsum you got one stamp even though large Tsums are significantly more expensive than minis.
Despite their late start on Tsum Tsums, the UK Disney store has been following the rest of the Disney Stores with their Tsum Tsum Tuesday releases. While we were there they also posted on Facebook asking which older sets people would like to see re-released! A couple days later they said they had an overwhelming response and would be re-releasing an older set (Cinderella, Inside Out, and Little Mermaid) along with the new set for Tsum Tsum Tuesday for Sept, Oct, and November. Given the popularity of these sets in the US and how quickly they sold out I wonder why the US Disney Store isn't following the UK's lead and re-releasing them too.
Overall the Tsum Tsum collecting experience is much better at the UK Disney Store! Hopefully the US Stores take some lessons from the UK!
Here are some pictures of the Tsums we found at the various stores:
One Disney Store we visited is a special store inside Harrods (a HUGE department store in London). Harrods has some "stores within a store" including a mini Disney Store (although it is actually bigger than some regular Disney Stores we have been in LOL). This Disney Store has some exclusive merchandise that can only be found at Harrods. While there weren't any "Harrods" Tsum Tsums (yet) they did have one special set of 30 Tsums that included a number of hard to find Tsums. It is expensive but if you were just starting out it would be a great way to get a jump on your collection!
Now that we have discussed the Disney Store we can move onto Clinton's. As I said previously, Clinton's was the first place to release Tsum Tsums in the UK and for awhile were the exclusive source of Tsum Tsums. They have continued to add new sets of Tsum Tsums that have followed the same Tsums that have been released at Target in the US. The quality of the Tsums at Clinton's is probably a bit better than Target although the design seems to be the same. They are more fully stuffed than the Disney Store and some of the shapes can be a bit off (for example Goofy is very sausage like) just like Target. However, unlike Target, they seem to really be pushing Tsum Tsums and have maintained a great selection. A few weeks before we arrived they had added two new ranges: Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story. While there were a few missing from some stores we were pretty easily able to find them all, as well as some slightly older ones we hadn't gotten yet. All the stores had big colorful Tsum Tsum displays featured prominently at the front of the store and they are obviously popular (we saw several people buying basketfuls of Tsums). Since Clinton's is everywhere (pretty much every mall and every town/shopping center has at least one Clinton's) this means that you see Tsums all over the place!
Shortly before we arrived in the UK we had heard that Tsum Tsums had started to appear at other stores and sure enough we found Tsum Tsums in Toys R Us and Smyths (a UK Toy Store chain) as well some other stores. The Tsums at these other stores are the same as the ones at Clintons (made by the same company with the same tags) but it seems like Clinton's still gets to release sets first as we didn't see Toy Story or Alice Tsums anywhere other than Clintons. It was a little strange to see Tsum Tsums so many places!
Overall the UK is a great place to collect Tsums! Between a great selection at the Disney Store (not to mention their special offers) and finding Tsums easily at other 3rd party stores it is very easy to grow your collection! Hopefully the US Disney Store can up their game to match the variety you can find in the UK!