Early yesterday morning, a small group of Disney D23 members were invited to visit the all new Disney Store Times Square before it opened its doors to the public for a private shopping experience and in-store continental breakfast. With the store operating in soft mode since last Thursday, Disney Store President Jim Fielding was on-hand to celebrate with the Disney D23 members as was Jodi Benson, the voice of The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and Toy Story 3‘s Barbie.
With check-in for the event commencing at 7:30 am sharp, guests were ushered into the lower level of the store which features a combination of New York City-themed merchandise, exclusive to the Disney Store Times Square location, as well as seasonal Disney Store merchandise and that aimed towards an older demographic, but more on that later. At the event’s official start time of 8 am, guests were invited to journey upstairs to the more ‘traditional’ ‘Imagination Park’ concept store which is where Fielding addressed the crowd from the store’s gazebo which serves as the 350 square foot Disney Store Theater.
Fielding talked about the store’s genesis in August of 2008 and how when he first saw the location at 1540 Broadway, former home to the world’s largest Virgin Megastore, he knew he had to have the space. According to Fielding, it took nearly a year for Disney Store to obtain the lease for the store because the space was in such high demand. He spoke of the nearly 250 cast members, some of which had returned to the company, it took to conduct interviews, hire and train new staff for the store which maintains 24 hour shifts to keep the store in tip-top shape. Although the store is open until Midnight most days, Fielding noted that they have had to keep running the store to 1 am due to large groups of guests still remaining inside. He mentioned that by year-end, they will have opened 19 of the new concept stores with an expected 30 – 40 in 2011, including two in Canada (but declined to identify where specifically). Surprisingly, the most profitable store worldwide is the Paris on the Champs-Élysées store according to Fielding, but he joked that the Times Square store calls Paris daily to make sure they’re beating them.
Of course Fielding spoke to the store itself, which consists of two floors, although the Virgin Megastore it partially replaced was four. He explained that the mezzanine from the former store was removed, resulting in a longer escalator ride and that half of the fourth floor, which houses the store’s internal offices, was also removed, allowing the store to have its high ceilings. About 80% of the merchandise found on the lower floor, according to Fielding, is unique to Disney Store Times Square while the upstairs is what he referred to as ‘”Imagination Park” on steroids.’ The ‘Imagination Park’ portion at Disney Store Times Square is roughly twice the size of the norm so far, all told easily making it the largest Disney Store in North America. The store is so large in fact that its Disney Princess castle is 20 feet tall and features not one, but two of the magic mirrors.
After tackling a brief Q&A session in which Fielding responded to questions along the lines of the current location of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse figures that once hung over the entrance to the former World of Disney store (they’re in storage at Walt Disney Imagineeering as the World of Disney was operated by Disney Parks and Resorts, not Disney Consumer Products as Disney Store is), he introduced Jodi Benson to the attending crowd.
Although all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a grand opening will take place the morning of Tuesday, November 9 (doors will open at 1 pm), Disney Store President Jim Fielding made it known via his twitter that the store, the largest of its kind in North America, will commence a soft opening on Thursday, November 4 at 9 am.
The store is located at 1540 Broadway in Manhattan, between 45th and 46th Streets.
Many announcements on upcoming Vinylmation releases came via the official blog today with the first being what was promised yesterday: a look at the last of the four initial Vinylmation figures to be exclusive to the Disney Store Times Square in New York City when it opens on November 9.
The 9″ ‘Graffiti’ by artist Gerald Mendez will be a limited edition of 1540 pieces (1540 because that’s the street number of the store on Broadway) and will even be individually numbered. It will retail for $49.95 and have a purchase limit of two per guest per day (assuming it even makes it to day two).
Through their official Facebook page, Disney Store has released the following video which features Mickey Mouse taking center stage in the heart of Times Square as the new state-of-the-art marquee is turned on. In addition to a large video screen which shows upcoming promotions related to the store and company, the Disney logo itself as well as the facade of the building have video elements.
Making its official grand opening on November 9, the Disney Store Times Square will be the largest of its kind in North America, featuring a two-story Princess castle, the Imagination Park experience and an entire floor dedicated to merchandise that can only be found at the location.
Disney announces an online contest on Family.com to win a trip to the grand opening celebration of Disney Store’s Times Square, New York City location on November 9 and a starring role during the star-studded opening ceremony. The crown jewel of Disney Store’s slate of store openings around the world this year, the Times Square location will be celebrated with magical festivities including celebrity appearances, live musical performances, a parade of Disney’s most beloved characters and interactive experiences storewide. Beginning October 19, Disney fans will have just one week to register online for the chance to join the fun in-person, win a $250 shopping spree, and have the distinction of their child taking the stage to turn the key to imagination and officially unlock the all-new Disney Store in Times Square. The lucky family will also meet award winning singer Jordin Sparks during a private VIP reception after she performs Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” theme song, which she rerecorded to celebrate the 2010 release of the Blu-Ray and DVD.
On Sunday, November 7, Disney D23 members and their guests are invited to attend a sneak peek at the newest and largest Disney Store, the two-level level store in the heart of Times Square in New York City.
Beginning at 8 am ET (check-in at 7:30), D23 members will be served a complimentary continental breakfast inside the store. Jim Fielding, President of Disney Stores Worldwide, will share behind-the-scenes stories of the design, development, inspiration and evolution of this unique retail design. Disney Store cast members will also be on hand to show off the store’s interactive exhibits.
Disney Living, the official YouTube channel of Disney Consumer Products, has announced a new YouTube video contest in which the winners will each receive a $100 gift card good at any Disney Store or DisneyStore.com.
To enter the ‘Happy Halloween from Disney Living Contest,’ create a video up to two minutes in length and submit it as a video response to one of the three new videos from Disney Living spoofing iconic moments from classic horror films, such as this one for The Shining:
Disney Store has announced a contest in which five correct entries will receive a free Halloween/roleplay costume from Disney Store. To enter, watch the video below and identify the 30 different Disney costumes in the order they appear in the video (costumes may appear more than once).
Once you have your list, email it to [email protected] with the subject line of ’30 in 30.’ Entries must be received by the end of October 8 and are limited to one per person/address. For full details and rules, click here.
The Disney Design Group and Disney Store have released a full list of Disney Store locations that either currently sell or will sell Vinylmation products. According to the entry on the Vinylmation blog, all the stores listed will carry Vinylmation items by the end of September 2010, but not all stores will carry all available Vinylmation items. The blog also alludes to the fact that Disney Store will soon be offering its own Vinylmations exclusive to Disney Store, as we first revealed on Twitter when we were told about select stores selling Vinylmation at a Disney Consumer Products event back in June.