Fans of the “Prop Shop” at Universal Studios Florida have missed their favorite merchandise location for many months. The Williams of Hollywood merchandise location, known by many as the “Prop Shop,” closed back in June. At that time, Universal Orlando announced that the Williams of Hollywood store would be closing “to make way for a new retail experience” and “more details will be shared in the months ahead.” Yet, we still lack official information about the new purpose of the Williams of Hollywood store. However, The Brown Derby Hat Shop at Universal Studios Florida reopened as a temporary prop shop on December 15th.
This transitory re-purposing of this infrequently used merchandise location follows a pattern at Universal Orlando recently. For example, Honk Honkers, over in Islands of Adventure, only opens when the nearby sweet shop closes for refurbishment or particular use like the Grinch meet and greet opportunity. At least for the short term, The Brown Derby Hat Shop serves as the prop shop. Until recently, The Brown Derby Hat Shop fell in the category of unused.
For those unfamiliar with the prop shop phenomenon at Universal Studios Florida, used items from attractions or events would be sold in Williams of Hollywood. For example, many props from the former Shrek 4-D attraction were sold in Williams of Hollywood prop shop. The Brown Derby Hat Shop offers some unique merchandise in fine prop shop fashion.
The new sign in front of The Brown Derby Hat Shop declares that this prop shop will be limited time only. The sign also reflects the theme of the shop façade very well.
Once you enter the shop, the work of the Visual Merchandising Team makes a solid impression. This group continues to put in much effort for merchandise locations with a short shelf life, like the Tribute Store. The circular banner around the shop from the horror classic “Bride of Frankenstein” tells you that when you enter this place, you have not entered a hat shop but something far more fitting to Universal Orlando’s style.
The current items on sale in this temporary prop ship display a bent toward Halloween seasonal items. We can see many props from the scarecrow stalk. A sign that might reference the “Dead Coconut Club” from the 2022 Halloween Horror Nights season looms behind a sign saying “Voodoo.” If you are a fan of Halloween Horror Nights, then you might find some treasures within this temporary store.
The props on sale relate to more than just Halloween, however. You can find some SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise. Some cool-looking arcade video game shells can be purchased. Sadly, these arcade games are not operational though they would look great in any game room. Previous Mardi Gras season promotional material and props sit ready to be purchased from this store. Jurassic World promotional materials and merchandise could be seen on shelves in this temporary prop shop. Guests should remember that items in the prop shop can appear and disappear quickly.
At this point, we have many questions about this prop shop and the fate of the previous one. We have yet to hear from Universal Orlando about how long this new limited-time prop shop will be around. We have only well-educated rumors about recent merchandise locations taking over Williams of Hollywood.
The most consistent rumors indicate that the former prop shop, former Darkroom, and annual passholder lounge closing this month, will be combined into a new merchandise area. That area could also be a preview center for Epic Universe opening in 2025. One rumor I keep hearing (yet, I have no solid sourcing to support it) states that this area will be turned into a Super Nintendo World merchandise location, like what happened in a similar-looking area of Universal Studios Japan before their Super Nintendo World area opened. Once again, officially, we know nothing.
Still, the new prop shop at The Brown Derby Hat Shop shows promise. This might be the best use of this infrequently used merchandise location in quite some time.
Are you interested in visiting this prop shop? Did you see any props or other merchandise you want to take home to your house? What do you think of the small changes being made at Universal Studios Florida like this and new arcade at exit to Men In Black: Alien Attack attraction? Please let us know in the comments.
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