The Disney Vault Approach to Parenting

12/06/2013 10:14 am ET | Updated Feb 05, 2014

I spent Friday afternoon watching The Little Mermaid with my kids. I had waited a long time to share this -- one of my very favorite Disney movies -- with them because, until now, it has not been available to purchase on DVD in their lifetimes. Sure, we could have watched the VHS version my mom had saved from 1989, but my VCR/time machine/flux capacitor was broken.

But now that Ariel and company were released from the Disney Vault, their emancipation made us all disproportionately happy to see them. (By "us," I mean me, for the childhood nostalgia aspect, and my husband, for Ariel's seashell bra and 22-inch waist aspect.)

Not familiar with the Disney Vault? This is the term that the Mouse Empire uses for its policy of putting home video releases of its films on moratorium. Disney claims this process is done to both control their market and to allow their films to be fresh for new generations of young children.

Translation: They are masters of overseeing their brand and jacking up demand/pricing.

And this got me thinking about the genius of Disney marketing.

And then it got me thinking about my own marketing skills on the domestic front. Perhaps I could learn something from Disney.

Instead of just not preparing a favorite family meal, or wishing an annoying toy away, what if I added some Disney spin?

What if I started putting things in the Vault?

It would go like this:

"Mom, where are the Oreos? You ran out of Oreos! Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mom, Mommmmmmmmmmmmm. MOOMMMMMMM!"

"You know, darn it, they're in the Vault. They'll be released sometime next year! I'll let you know just before that date by sprinkling your room with pixie dust, at which point you can forfeit a year's worth of allowance to enjoy them again for a limited time."

Or, like this:

"Honey, you haven't made my favorite marinara sauce in ages. Can we have some soon?"

"The one that takes seven hours to make? Oh, gee, did I forget to tell you that it's in the Vault? I'll send you an email when I have a release date available, but we could probably expedite the process if I negotiated with the Vault from, say, a remote spa weekend locale. In the meantime, how about some pasta with butter? For a small premium, you have the option of Mickey-shaped noodles."

Or, maybe even like this:

"Kids, remember, this is your last week to use the Play Doh."

"Ohhhhh noooo, it's going in the Vault? Where the Rainbow Loom lives?"

"That's right! But look what we have in the meantime -- this 1946 Bambi play set that just got released from the Vault!"

Oh yes. I am rubbing my hands together like a bitchy Disney villain just thinking about all the things I could put in the Vault.

  • Glitter in all forms, including sparkly toys that shed and crafting supplies.

  • Any candy that is not my favorite.
  • LEGOS. All of them.
  • The Elf on the Shelf. Obviously.
  • My vacuum.
  • And you know what? If I were a true student of Disney, I'd make sure to do this right. I'd send a series of increasingly annoying notes to my family for the six months ahead of an item's release from the Vault. You know, to build buzz. And then, just as they start to show some mild interest by setting aside their cash, I'd give the item a slightly new and shiny name, along with an outrageous price increase. Sort of like how my kids, clearly victims of marketing, are referring to our new Little Mermaid DVD by saying, "Hey, let's go watch Diamond Edition again!"

    Hm. I could offer them:

    • Platinum Oreos

  • Never-Fucking-Happening-Again Marinara
  • Sayonara, Limited Edition Play Doh
  • And, finally, I'd fill everyone with trepidation and gratitude over the short period of time we're given to enjoy these released items.

    "How's that sauce, honey? You know, only three weeks until it goes back into the Vault -- FOREVER... bwahahaha!"

    Obviously, my potential access to the Vault is making me giddy. Drunk with power, even (or maybe just drunk). But I mustn't get sidetracked -- there's a lot of prep work to do if I'm going to make this happen.

    Starting with the collection of 3,879,558 Legos.


    This post originally appeared on The Fordeville Diaries.