The Starbucks You Are Here mugs debuted in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in early 2015. In my post about my YOU ARE HERE collection, I mentioned that my friend - a kind and generous blogging/Disney Twitter friend- happened to be visiting the parks that week. She took it upon herself to buy me the Epcot mug, knowing how much I love all things Epcot and Spaceship Earth. Little did we know at the time, though, that she'd be holding a bit of a collector's item.
About a week after the debut, these purple monorail mugs were pulled from the shelves. The mug returned a few months later, with the purple monorail stripe replaced with gray.
Why was the original pulled? There was a fatal monorail accident in 2009, in which the purple and pink monorails collided. Tragically, the pilot of the purple monorail, Cast Member Austin Wuennenberg, lost his life. The purple and pink monorails were retired after the accident, replaced by Teal and Peach.
How, then, did a purple monorail get through the initial design phase of this You Are Here mug? That's a mystery, as is exactly what led to the removal and redesign. Perhaps the company was being sensitive to the issue (albeit late), or perhaps there were complaints after the debut, but whatever the reason- the company acted swiftly, and the mugs were gone almost as quickly as they appeared.
The mugs purchased during that week or so of initial sale are quite rare. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was informed about their rarity later on, when I was telling a colleague about my gift. My friend could have easily sent me the new version once that came out. Or she could have just decided not to send me anythng at all- it was an unsolicited gift, after all, not even something I asked her to pick up, or was reimbursing her for. She ended up sending me the original anyway. Did I mention that she's kind and generous? She's a stellar pal.
I have since gotten the version with the gray monorail- another gift, this time from a relative. I'm currently using the gray monorail for my coffee, while the purple monorail sits safely on a special shelf, with some of my other Disney treasures.