The entrance to the PEZ Visitor Center houses this vibrantly delicious eye candy, a custom motorcycle built by team at Orange Coast Choppers. I’m not sure which came first, the PEZ motorcycle or the three (first life-likes ever!) dispensers of the Teutul family; which were three dispensers, part of a 2006 limited-edition series.
Entrance to this candy land cost $5.00 each person, which includes a $2.00 credit towards any purchase you make during your visit, plus an adjustable lanyard that comes with a big badge; as well as a chance to win a scavenger hunt gift. A pencil and playing card in hand, and I was off…
Look at that head! I was about 3 feet short of the blue edge on this big arse PEZ dispenser; which stands at the entrance, looking out waiting for the next person to push his button. Once the button is pushed, the head flips back and a big PEZ candy sticks out (see it in the 2nd photo up there?).
Each wall, in this time capsule of a museum, is lined with PEZ dispenser memorabilia and merchandise, from the 1920’s through the present day (keep reading for a sneak peek at the newest PEZ dispenser which has yet to hit the market).
PEZ began with a mint flavor, in a tin box in 1927 in Vienna, Austria (a beautiful country I must say!); before the modern-day dispenser (which began in 1955) with fun bobble like heads, (I bet PEZ may even be the influencers of the bobble head phenomena) which flip back to reveal a single piece of #glutenfreecandy. This #fatfreecandy is available in lots of fruity and tasty flavors, even in cola and chocolate, my favorite was banana; which was the only flavor I tasted, before spitting it out as I remembered I had given up candy for lent; thankfully I remembered because I wanted to try them all, especially the mango-yes I said MANGO PEZ candy. I’ll be back for sure!
The first character design was Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse.
Since 1955, over 1500 dispensers have been created, with fun toppers designed to look like the smurfs, Halloween characters, Popeye, plus many more iconic designs. They were sold in local grocery and convenience stores after being imported into the USA in the 1950’s. For a limited time some lucky children even received a FREE PEZ dispenser as part of their White Castle Burger meal sacks (I feel so deprived!).
While you walk around the museum you can check out the working areas located just behind the glass, where the workers are a stones throw away. This is the first museum I have ever been to, where I was served a buffet of candy choices. If you wished, you could taste every one of their flavors at their candy bar, located at the back of the Museum right next to the video greeting recorder; where you can send a FREE live video message to your friends via social media or email.
Along the walls of this museum you can read about their entire history, era by era. From their history, it’s evident that the PEZ company continues to utilize guerrilla and experiential marketing to the fullest. I love their PEZ candy girl uniforms, which must have left a grand impression on the minds of those lucky enough to see them in person.
By the looks of the PEZ Visitors Center, an insight into their out-of-the-box tactics, experiential marketing and social contact marketing, I can see how they became a true mainstay, as well as an iconic part of the candy and collector communities, selling over 3 billion candy bricks a year. The PEZ company is always part of the local culture too, which means they will probably be one of the last ones standing.
After taking in all I could at the PEZ Visitor Center Museum and loading up our cart with PEZ dispensers for the kiddies we took our chance to spin this wheel, to win a FREE PEZ dispenser. In order to win, we had to find all the clues from the scavenger hunt clue card, as we walked through the Museum, which made me feel like more of a kid. We won the deer and the frog ^_~.
If you’re a PEZ kid like me, get in the car and head northeast to Orange Connecticut, for a trip down memory lane, where the candy runs free and the dispensers a muck. You will find the PEZ candy pipes, space guns, Chick-fil-A cow dispensers and more.
I loved the covered dispensers below even more so because I love #HelloKitty and these are so cute and sooo fluffy…(you know the rest if you’ve seen Despicable me).
The PEZ Company expanded their candy line to include gummies, which were set out for sampling as well. Sadly I must report that they are not tasty at all. I wouldn’t buy them again, however my love truly enjoyed the bag he purchased in one sitting and wanted more.
Another great treat when you visit the PEZ Museum Visitor Center is the insight into what’s to come in the world of PEZ dispensers. They display upcoming dispensers, which is awesome in itself! I happened upon them sitting nonchalantly, in a shadow box, while looking so precious, with vibrant colors and fun hairstyles to boot.
Tell me what you think about the newest PEZ dispensers in a comment, or take a photo with your favorite PEZ dispenser and share it on twitter with hashtag #EatGoStay I would love to see some very antique dispensers too!
When you visit the PEZ Museum take the quiz and get certified in PEZ History!
PEZ Visitor Center
35 Prindle Hill Road
Orange, CT 06477