At D23 Expo in 2009, Disney Store President Jim Fielding regaled an eager audience with his tale of the Disney Store. From its humble beginnings to the next chapter in the Disney retail experience. Dubbed ‘Imagination Park,’ Fielding briefly touched upon what he defined as being ‘the best thirty minutes of a child’s day.’
Today, Disney Store turned to the first page of the new chapter as they unveiled ‘Imagination Park’ to the world via its Montebello, CA location, just outside Los Angeles and it’s every bit of wow that one had come to expect from the hype. Eventually all the Disney Stores are expected to adopt the new look and philosophy of Imagination Park, but — for now — 20 locations are expected to receive the update this year, including new stores in New York’s Times Square and San Francisco’s Union Square, amongst others.
With a new store design comes a new costume for Disney Store cast members and Imagination Park is no exception. The new Disney Store cast member costume is a gingham blue checkerboard shirt with khakis. Cast member name badges have also been modified, this time to include the individual cast member’s favorite Disney character.
We had already known about the castle which features a special mirror: when children hold special Disney Princess merchandise with an embedded RFID chip in the packaging, they are instantly greeted by Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White or Tiana who appears in the mirror right before their very eyes — as if by magic.
But if you’re thinking Imagination Park is neglecting the boys, think again! Because right here in Imagination Park is a small RIDEMAKERZ station. The very same custom-R/C car store that has already set up shop at Downtown Disney at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts has found a home in Imagination Park. But what sets this particular RIDEMAKERZ apart is that it offers vehicles and accessories based on Disney/Pixar’s CARS, which are exclusive to the Montebello store.
Virtually everything Fielding has talked about in Imagination Park can be found here. A large custom screen housed inside a gazebo allows children to pick and choose the multimedia presented to them and provides other exciting opportunities to take advantage of the new technology.
Another Imagination Park element talked about is the ability to add a little scent to the air, such as pine trees if A Christmas Carol was playing in the store. Although it’s not quite there yet, the ability to scent the air is there and it does just that about every 20 minutes or so with the single scent currently available. And what’s a park without trees? Or more precisely, what’s an Imagination Park without magical trees? These treescan interact with guests and provide special experiences you’ll have to see to believe such as creating displays of virtual fireworks to celebrate special occasions.
One thing that’s missing that had been discussed is something called ‘mobile checkout’ — the ability for Cast Members on the floor to check out guests on the spot without having to wait on line at registers. Although it’s not available at the present time, we hear it may not be far behind.
And the magic doesn’t stop at just the experiences, we also encountered some additional surprises in way of inventory. For example, while they’re not even available in the parks as of yet, the Montebello Disney Store is selling Toy Story and Have a Laugh Vinylmations.
The Disney Store at the Shops at Montebello opened today as part of a soft opening with a grand opening planned for June 29. Today, the first 500 guests received a special gift (Mickey ears) while on June 29, there will be a formal grand opening of the store with Disney execs and characters appearing throughout the day in addition to the other festivities.
Throughout the month of June, be sure to visit your local Disney Store for fun family activities in honor of the release of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3.
Some of the events taking place this month include:
- Toy Story 3 Craft Activity (June 5): Now kids can create their very own adventure for Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the whole Toy Story 3 gang with a 2-D playset they will put together in the store (while supplies last). Parents don’t forget to bring your camera because there will be plenty of great photo opportunities you won’t want to miss. This event will be from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
- Toy Story 3 Bingo (June 12): Forget the old B-I-N-G-O and bring kids in to play the new and exciting Toy Story 3 Bingo! Played just like traditional bingo, Toy Story 3 bingo features the favorite Toy Story characters. Kids who participate will have the chance to win fun prizes (while supplies last). Session 1 starts at 11:00 a.m. and Session 2 starts at 12:30 p.m.
- Toy Story 3 Scavenger Hunt (June 19): Join Disney Store for a day of fun, excitement and a special surprise. Kids will start the scavenger hunt by receiving some secret clues to find a specific Toy Story character or product in the store. Once kids find the character, they will be challenged with answering questions about the character. When all of the answers are completed correctly, they will be able to decode a mystery message and receive a special surprise (while supplies last). This event will be from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
- Toy Story 3 Adventure (June 26): Help Woody rescue the toys from Sunnyside Daycare Center. Kids can win a free activity sheet or other prizes. Kids will be asked to complete four adventures/activities. Upon completion of all the activities, kids will receive a certificate and special surprise for participating (while supplies last). This event will be from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
These exciting events also provide the perfect time to get your set of Toy Story 3 collectible trading cards, free with any Toy Story 3 purchase. See here for more details.
Beginning this week, Disney Stores in North America will be offering free Toy Story 3 collectible trading cards with any Toy Story 3 product purchase (while supplies last).
The set is broken up into five series which will be available to customers on the following schedule:
Series 1: May 24 – 30
Series 2: May 31 – June 6
Series 3: June 7 – 13
Series 4: June 14 – 20
Series 5: June 21 – 27
Disney Store is poised to redefine children’s retail, launching a magical new store design in major markets across the United States and Europe this summer. The innovative Disney Store design will be unveiled for the first time in June at The Shops at Montebello in Montebello, CA just outside of Los Angeles, followed by the European premiere in early July in Madrid, Spain at La Vaguada. A unique destination developed from a child’s perspective, the new store design integrates the latest technology to create an enhanced shopping experience inspired by Disney’s most popular characters and stories.
“We have infused Disney magic into all elements of this one-of-a-kind retail experience, and have selected prime retail centers to launch the Disney Store of the future,” said Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide. “Special features like the iconic Disney Princess castle with magic mirror and the Disney Store Theater are just two of the amazing elements in the new store that will enrich every child and family’s experience at the Disney Store.”
More than 20 new and remodeled Disney Store locations are slated to open this year in premier retail centers throughout North America and Europe. North American locations have been confirmed for Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York; Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California; International Plaza in Tampa, Florida; Stockton St. in San Francisco, CA; and Fashion Valley in San Diego, CA. European locations cover four markets with openings in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK. These include NorteShopping in Oporto, Portugal; Orio Center in Bergamo, Italy; and UK locations including Centre MK in Milton Keynes, Bon Accord Centre in Aberdeen and Donegal Place in Belfast.
Disney Store Expands ‘Earth Day’ Collection in Honor of ‘Friends for Change’ and OCEANS; Free Hat Offer
In addition to the limited-time only ‘Save the Planet’ merchandise featuring the Alien from Toy Story 3, Disney Store has expanded its Earth Day 2010 merchandise to include merchandise inspired by Disney Channel’s Friends for Change ‘Project Green’ and the new anthem Make a Wave by Joe Jonas and and Demi Lovato which also serves as the end title song for Disneynature’s OCEANS.
In honor of OCEANS, guests who bring six plastic bottles or aluminum cans to their local Disney Store on Earth Day, April 22, will receive a free Friends for Change and OCEANS co-branded baseball cap made from six recycled plastic bottles itself.
Parents can also also bring kids to the Disney Store to pick up OCEANS themed activity sheets that teach children about our lakes, oceans, rivers, and streams and how we can reduce the amount of trash and waste in our waterways. OCEANS offers an unprecedented look beneath the sea, and can be a great viewing experience together for families and children. Disneynature’s OCEANS will also contribute to The Nature Conservancy’s ‘Adopt a Coral Reef,’ through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, on behalf of every person who sees the film in theaters April 22- April 28.
Don’t forget to visit the DisneyStore.com Earth Day Boutique. Shop Now!
The Disney Store has had its share of corporate logos over the years and the current one (pictured, top) hasn’t been around for all that long, but a recent trademark application for a logo featuring ‘words and a cluster of stars’ suggests that Disney Consumer Products may have more in mind than just a series of store makeovers for its retail chain and online shopping destination.
DCP also recently welcomed the chain of Disney Store Japan back into the family.
Disney Pook-A-Looz: Classic Disney Favorites with an Irresistibly Cute Twist (Plus Limited Time Offer!)
Now available at Toys ‘R’ Us, the Disney Store, DisneyStore.com and the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, we first came across Disney Pook-A-Looz last year at the Disney D23 Expo and instantly fell in love. Their official tagline is Too cute for their own good and we couldn’t agree more!
The quirky, offbeat take on classic Disney characters was inspired by the urban vinyl toy culture which has progressively been taking the nation by storm and helps to accentuate physical features that the characters are traditionally known for.
‘We focused on capturing one key element, gesture or trait of each character during the design process. We wanted the look to be very unique, quirky and cool,’ said Jose Zamora, lead designer. ‘When you think of the Queen of Hearts, you think of her mouth, so we brought that out in the design. With the Cheshire Cat, you think of the teeth. So we focused on that famous grin.’
The initial collectible set of 20 is available from DisneyStore.com and some individual Pook-A-Looz can be found Disney Store retail locations, the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort and at Toys ‘R’ Us which also sells Pook-A-Looz-inspired accessories such as keychains and clothing with more on the way. Some Pook-A-Looz, such as the Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas can only be found at the Disney theme parks and keep an eye out for seasonal and other Pook-A-Looz in the future such as the Muppets collection which is expected to be released in Fall of 2011 (and consider this our request for Maleficent). Be sure check out the official Disney Pook-A-Looz website for more information and photos (including their really cute backsides).
PLUS: For a limited time only! Purchase the entire 20 piece Disney Pook-a-Looz set and get FREE shipping on your entire shipment at DisneyStore.com! (offer valid only through 4/4 so act fast!)
With special thanks to Disney Consumer Products, we have hi-res images of the initial collection. We do advise that if you own a pair of sunglasses with cuteness protection factor of at least 15, that you wear them before clicking the thumbnails below. We’ve also thrown in a few of our own photos from the Disney D23 Pook-A-Looz exibit including our most prized possession — the D23 exclusive Steamboat Willie keychain.
The Disney Pook-A-Looz plushes retail for $12.99 each while the keychains retail for $7.99 each.
It was announced yesterday by The Walt Disney Company Japan that Disney Japan will acquire Retail Networks Co., the company that owns and operates the country’s Disney Store retail locations, from parent company Oriental Land. Talks of the acquisition began last year and the transition is expected to be finalized as of April 1, 2010, the eighth anniversary of RNC. RNC owns and operates 54 Disney Store locations throughout the country, although it’s expected to close six of them by March.
Financial details for the transaction have not yet been announced. Oriental Land is the parent company for the Disney Parks in Japan.
The Disney Store will host activities all month long to celebrate the world’s most iconic character Mickey Mouse, and his friend Minnie Mouse. Come join the fun with daily activities the entire family can enjoy, and check out the adorable “I Love Mickey” products for under $20 including new lovable Mickey and Minnie plush just in time for Valentine’s Day, stationery, and an assortment of apparel and accessories for kids and adults available at Disney Store and www.DisneyStore.com
Special in-store events at select Disney Store locations nationwide include:
* Mickey Storytime and Sing-along – February 7-13, M-F at 5 p.m. and 7p.m.; Sat. and Sun. at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (with a special Mickey Valentine’s Craft Activity and Storytime on February 10)
* Mickey Trivia – February 14-20, M-F at 5 p.m. and 7p.m.; Sat. and Sun. at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
* Learn to Draw Mickey - February 21-27, M-F at 5 p.m. and 7p.m.; Sat. and Sun. at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Dates and times are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please call your local store or go to www.disneystore.com/updates
The Disney Store will also be giving away Disney Gift Cards to fans who post a photo of them with their favorite Mickey product via their Facebook page.
The closing of 2009 saw the end of an era for New York City in that the World of Disney, located in the world-famous Fifth Avenue shopping area, shuttered its doors forever. A taste of the Disney Parks, the World of Disney store was a sister store to its Downtown Disney counterparts, offering NYC residents and tourists the opportunity to purchase theme park merchandise, Disney on Broadway merchandise and — of course — NYC branded merchandise, some of which eventually became available at Youse Guys Moichendise in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The location was a holdover from when the city was virtually covered by Disney Stores. When Disney began closing the stores, all of the New York City stores fell victim, but Disney kept and held on to the Fifth Avenue store (which was the flagship Disney Store at the time) and eventually transferred it over to Disney Parks and Resorts, re-opening it as the World of Disney in October of 2004 as the license to operate the regular Disney Store chain was famously transferred to The Children’s Place.
Believe it or not, since Disney closed all the Disney Stores in NYC, there have been no Disney Stores to pop up in Manhattan. It would be a while before New York City would even see its first Disney Store in the outer boros. Perhaps The Childrens Place couldn’t open one in Manhattan by the terms of the agreement, but as there was no real overlap between the two in terms of merchandise, there was a giant pothole in the hearts of those longing for a local Disney Store.
In 2010, that pothole will finally be filled as Disney announced plans to open a Disney Store in Manhattan, at the tragic cost of losing the World of Disney store. One saving grace, however, is just like most anything in New York City, the new Disney Store will no doubt be a hotbed of activity flaunting the latest and greatest in technological advances and the Disney difference, offering an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
The location of the Disney Store, scheduled to open in fall of 2010, will be located at 1540 Broadway, in the heart of Times Square, between 45th and 46th Street. Now you may not know that address by name (MTV has its home at 1515 Broadway), but you may know the former occupant of that space, Virgin Megastore (as seen in the background of many movies, most recently 2012). At the time, the 3 floor, 60,000 square foot retail location (which included its own multiplex movie theater), was the largest Virgin Megastore in the world. There’s no mention of how much space Disney will be taking over, but the location is beyond ideal, located next to the world’s largest toy store, Toys R Us, which itself features a two-story tall ferris wheel.
The new Disney Store will incorporate technologically advanced displays including an interactive Disney Princess castle to serve as one of many magical centerpieces at the new Times Square location. An all-new children’s theater will feature the latest Disney entertainment, classic animation, and continue Disney’s rich tradition of storytelling.
“Bringing Disney Store to the center of Times Square is a monumental achievement, and we have created a retail experience that complements the energy and innovation that Times Square inspires,” said Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide. “We’re focused on reinvigorating retail and providing a unique shopping destination to millions of families from all over the world who travel to New York for a magical experience.”
“Disney’s bold move to restore 42nd Street’s greatest landmark theater in the 1990s was THE turning point in Times Square’s recent history. We are thrilled that Disney is bringing its creative energies yet again to Times Square with this new Disney Store. An iconic brand is coming again to America’s most iconic place,” said Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Alliance.
Renovations will begin soon at the Times Square location, designed to showcase a wide assortment of products inspired by iconic Disney characters and key entertainment properties. The newly-designed Disney Store will facilitate interactive play and imagination, host children’s activities, special events, and celebrity appearances. Over the next five years Disney Store plans to strategically balance its retail portfolio, enter new markets, and transform more than 300 locations across the US and Europe to feature the new design.
Update: 1/5/10 - Although Disney is not yet ready to discuss how much of the space will be used, sources have indicated it will be approximately 25,000 square feet, or nearly half of the existing space. By comparison, it’s estimated that the former World of Disney location consumed about 36,000 square feet.
Update: 10/6/10 – We hear the tentative opening date for the store is November 6. We’ve replaced the original photo with a current image of the store.