Representatives from both the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire were out in full force this morning as LEGO virtually transformed New York City’s Times Square into Yavin IV to unveil the world’s largest LEGO sculpture. Consisting of 5,335,200 LEGO bricks and weighing in at a svelte 45,980 pounds, the full-scale LEGO X-wing Starfighter arrived with much fanfare. Built in the LEGO model shop in Kladno, Czech Republic, the 1:1 replica of LEGO kit 9493 took 32 builders 17,336 hours to construct. Its true 1:1 scale means it measures 11 feet in height, 43 feet in length and has an impressive wingspan of 44 feet. In addition, the cockpit can fit an actual ‘pilot’ (serving as a photo-op during the three day event).
The X-wing is stationed in Times Square through Saturday, where it serves as an ambassador for the new animated series, ‘The Yoda Chronicles,’ debuting May 29 on Cartoon Network at 8:00 pm ET (a special follows at 9 pm, covering the big reveal).
‘Just as kids love to test and hone their LEGO building skills and imaginative storytelling, our LEGO Master Builders are always testing their creative skills to top their last larger-than-life sized creations,’ said Michael McNally, Brand Relations Director for LEGO Systems. ‘The size and structural complexity of a freestanding model 42 times the size of one our retail sets was a challenge they could not resist.’ The sculpture had to be engineered to withstand transportation, assembly/dis-assembly, resting above the New York City subway system and even earthquakes as it will be on display at Legoland California from June 15, 2013 through the end of the year.
While visitors can board the X-wing for a photo-op, other activities include: photo-ops with life-size LEGO Star Wars figures including Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; participate in free building classes with a LEGO master builder; make and take home a mini-X-wing; and check out a display of ‘The Yoda Chronicles’ LEGO sets. Visitors can also claim a goodie-bag which contains a commemorative double-sided poster, mini-magazine/comic book which includes articles and 2013 Star Wars mini-fig checklist and more. Additionally, a special commemorative edition of the 9493 X-wing Starfighter LEGO set is available exclusively at the Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square for $74.99 which includes a limited edition Yoda ‘NY I (heart)’ mini-fig through Saturday or while supplies last.
The event is open to the public from 10:00 am through 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Below is our photo gallery from the event. Click on any of the thumbnails to see a larger version:
We have learned that Walt Disney World will be hosting a ‘Disney Memories’ event this Saturday, November 19, in the New York City Times Square area, as part of its ‘Let the Memories Begin’ / ‘One More Disney Day’ campaign. Details are sketchy, but sources have told us the event will take place at
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm by the Disney Store location and will involve virtual appearances by Mickey Mouse and some of his friends.
We believe the event may be tied to a proper launch of the Disney Memories app that was recently released (and subsequently pulled within hours) on the Apple App Store. Perhaps the app may have been released prematurely, as Disney Parks later activated a site for the app at DPARKAPP.COM which goes to a page designed for mobile devices and directs visitors to either the App Store or the Droid Marketplace for the app (at this time, the Droid link goes to the Radio Disney app). Part of its functionality, the app allows the user to unlock special content at Disney Store Times Square.
Additionally, Disney Parks has established another mobile site at DisneyMemoriesNYC.com which appears to allow online visitors to take a photo with an app and contribute it, a suggestion that it may offer some element of interactivity with the giant Disney Store LCD screen above the store.
We will update as more information becomes available to us.
UPDATE #1: 11/17/11 – The Disney Parks blog has announced that the event will be an open event on Friday and Saturday and involves using the Disney Store Times Square’s electronic billboard to allow guests to interact with it.
We’ll be checking it out first thing tomorrow morning and will have more details then.
Have you ever wanted to be an Angel? Here’s your chance! To celebrate one of the most talked about shows of the season, ABC will give fans an opportunity to look and feel like an “Angel” for the day, in the heart of New York. The all-day event taking place on Wednesday, September 21, in New York’s Military Island from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., will bring a taste of Charlie’s Angels Miami Townsend Agency. Professional makeup artists on hand will offer up quick mini-makeovers with Covergirl products to transform passersby into fearless, glamorous “Angels.” Once each alluring transformation is complete, event goers can strike their best “Angels” pose and have their photo taken in a selection of scenes that will appear on the large jumbotron in the middle of Times Square. Participants will receive a branded photo in addition to having their big screen image emailed to them to share with friends and family. “Charlie’s Angels” premieres Thursday, September 22 at 8:00 pm ET/PT on ABC.
Everyone deserves a second chance — even a thief, a street racer and a cop who got in a little too deep. After all, the three women who solve cases for their elusive boss, Charlie Townsend, are no saints. They’re angels…Charlie’s Angels. “Charlie’s Angels” stars Annie Ilonzeh (“General Hospital”) as Kate Prince, Minka Kelly (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Eve French, Rachael Taylor (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as Abby Sampson and Ramon Rodriguez (“The Wire,” “Daybreak”) as John Bosley.
Disney Store Times Square has announced that as part of the third annual Fashion’s Night Out, they will be throwing a ‘Stylish Ever After’ bash at the flagship Times Square store located at 1540 Broadway.
What’s promised is a magical evening of pampering and accessorizing as guests are invited to get a sneak peek at the latest Disney-inspired lifestyle product lines while being treated by royalty. Guests will receive an exclusive mini-manicure with the Disney Princess Designer Collection nail polish and have the opportunity to customize their very own charm bracelet with celebrity jewelry designer Kidada Jones at the Kidada for Disney Store charm bar. Fashionistas will leave smelling as whimsical as Tinker Bell with a special sneak preview of the latest Disney Store Fragrance, Pixie Dust, the first scent that will be available as a personal scent, in eau de toilette (EDT) form.
Families are encouraged to join the event will kick off at 4 pm. Festivities continue on through 9 pm and the Disney Store will remain open until 1 am.
What better way to introduce ABC’s exciting new summer adventure series, “Expedition Impossible,” than by descending on Times Square Military Island area? To kick off the reality show’s premiere, ABC will erect a sand dune in the iconic New York location and construct multiple physical challenges on Thursday, June 23, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., ET. “Expedition Impossible” premieres Thursday, June 23 at 9:00 pm ET on the ABC Television Network.
Just as teams of ordinary people on the television show will be doing the extraordinary in the biggest adventure of their lives, Times Square passersby will have a unique opportunity to participate in fun and games through a number of challenges promoting team competition. The Times Square event will reflect the same physical and mental nature of “Expedition Impossible” through highly visual and interactive means. Upon entering the event area, spectators will receive a “passport” that they can get stamped after completing each challenge, redeemable at the Expedition Rewards tent for a customized “Expedition Impossible” water bottle (while supplies last).
Excavation Impossible, a challenge made possible by the new Ford Explorer, will give participants a fun and entertaining opportunity to dig around in the sand, competing as a team, and interact with the new 2011 Ford Explorer.
Additionally, event goers can opt to take a personal challenge by harnessing up and strapping-in for an expedition up one of the three 30-ft palm trees at the Coconut Tree Climb. The Moroccan Mind Challenge will require teams to think quickly and use snap judgment in order to be the fastest team to construct a customized “Expedition Impossible” puzzle. Plus, those who feel like traveling to the desert or visiting a Moroccan city can visit the Expedition Images photo tent and choose from a variety of sceneries, courtesy of a green screen. Visitors will receive a branded photo directing them to www.expeditionimpossibleonabc.com, where they can download their photos and share their adventurous day with friends and family.
About “Expedition Impossible”
From creator and executive producer Mark Burnett comes high adventure and human drama in ABC’s new summer series, “Expedition Impossible.” The show features 13 teams of 3 who will push themselves to the limit racing in an expedition across vast deserts, over snow-capped mountains and through raging rivers in the beautifully exotic, fabled Kingdom of Morocco. Each week, a new stage of the expedition will be revealed to the teams. Will they crumble under the pressure of having to think clearly in the great outdoors, or find a way to work together to complete the expedition? After 10 legs of competition with drama, lighter moments and great characters, one team will cross the finish line first to claim victory. Each winning team member will receive $50,000 ($150,000 total for the team) as well as a new Ford Explorer. “Expedition Impossible” is hosted by adventurer, zoologist, big cat trainer and all around risk taker, Dave Salmoni.
He almost (?) wasn’t kidding, when one follower on Twitter proclaimed me virtually homeless when I first announced the full closure of the Disney Store in New York City’s Times Square in the wake of a remodel just six months after the store first opened. So naturally when I was offered the opportunity to peek inside the store a day before it’s set to re-open to the public, I leaped at the chance.
One of a handful of media invited to tour the new changes, not only did I get a first hand look at what’s new at the store, but also received a preview of exciting new lines of merchandise and Disney Store-sponsored events to come.
Many of the changes are — shall we just say — not subtle. Guests who would often complain that the store had a crowded feel from the moment they stepped inside may be relieved to notice that much of the merchandise displays placed front and center are now gone, opening up the space just a bit. The second major alteration to the store’s layout is the first floor has now adopted the ‘Imagination Park’ model. While it’s here that you’ll still find the New York City-exclusive merchandise, Disney Couture, Bloc28, Vinylmation and the like, the floor now sports a pixie trail and trees have taken root. No longer is the first floor a virtual separate store from the second level, but the two are now tightly integrated. Sketches of characters along the wall borders have been replaced with the iconic ‘Imagination Park’ scenes which feature Disney toons frolicking amongst buildings and scenery specific to each of the store’s locations. Pinocchio watches kites (and Dumbo) fly by the carousel in Central Park while Duchess from The Aristocats takes her kittens for a stroll in the park. And, perhaps making her Imagination Park debut, there’s Rapunzel swinging away next to Bambi and Snow White.
Many of the other changes on the first floor would otherwise be non-extraordinary, mostly of the typical inventory placement cycle variety, but for the fact that guest services, a.k.a. the registers, have been moved from below the escalator to the rear of the floor. It’s also quite worth noting that the wall behind the cast members behind the registers now features the ‘Imagination Park’ key, the oversized prop used to physically and symbolically unlock your imagination each morning as part of the store’s opening ceremony. I was told featuring the key is part of the 2011 design subset of the ‘Imagination Park’ model and will not only be a key element moving forward, but will retroactively be added to all prior remodeled stores.
The last major change to the first floor actually finds itself sandwiched in the middle of both floors — the escalator. Realizing what a long, non-eventful ride it is to the second floor, Disney Store has re-imagined the journey, once again replacing character sketches with the ‘Imagination Park’ concept. At random intervals, magical moments occur in which Disney characters and film-inspired moments join guests for the ride. Music specific to the projected images plays in sync as well, as evidenced by the following samples we were shown which feature the floating lanterns from Tangled, Tinker Bell, a bouncing Tigger (my personal favorite) and Winnie the Pooh:
For the record, the second floor of the store remains unchanged. As unchanged as an ‘Imagination Park’ style Disney Store can be that is. And here is where we get into some of the new elements being added to the ‘Imagination Park’ stores as of Friday.
Those guests who have already experienced the ‘Imagination Park’ Disney Store concept are no doubt familiar with the magic mirror in which the wave of select Disney Princess merchandise will instantly transform an ordinary mirror into a visit with Cinderella, Ariel or Tiana. After much anticipation, guests will now have the option to visit with Rapunzel. There will be five different encounters with Rapunzel, one of which is shown here (apologies for video being sideways):
A new magical moment is also being introduced tomorrow: the Buzz Lightyear Flyover in which Buzz Lightyear falls with style around the store’s borders:
Beginning Tuesday, May 31, all Disney Stores that carry Disney Vinylmation (except the outlets) will begin trading, as is already offered at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Trading will be open, meaning three figures will be placed in a lucite casing and placed at the various registers and guests will be allowed to trade one of their own Vinylmation figures for one on display.
We were also given the lowdown on Disney Store’s in-store events for June. In honor of Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 (June 24, 2011), each Saturday will play host to an event themed to Lightning McQueen’s tour around the world, focusing on a different country each week. Free passports will be offered to get stamped week to week. More information on the Cars 2 in-store events can be found here.
The tour of the newly remodeled store was pixie dusted with news of new merchandise and endeavours by Disney Store as well. Following hotly on the heels of the new Kidada for Disney collection (whose display has been relocated and expanded to the first floor — and yes, the limited edition vinylmation is still available), Disney Store is launching its new line of fragrances on Friday, beginning with (naturally) ‘Imagination.’ The collection consists of a scented candle (with which we were all gifted), room spray, hand wash and hand and body lotion. So what does ‘imagination’ smell like you ask? According to Disney Store, it smells like ‘an enchanted forest of sequoia trees, cool moss and green leaves.’ We were told that the next scent to be introduced will be ‘Magic,’ followed by ‘Imagination Winter,’ but we wouldn’t be surprised to some day find others such as ‘Pixie Dust,’ ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Wonder.’ Guests to each ‘Imagination Park’ style store will be greeted with the scent of the season as well as have the opportunity to sample each scent prior to purchase.
Another new item going on sale tomorrow worth noting is the highly anticipated POP! Vinyl collection by Funko. You can read more about them and see images of the entire first series here.
Below, please enjoy our gallery of images from today’s tour where you can click on any of the thumbnails to view a larger version.
Disney Store Times Square will re-open to the public at 10 am on Friday, May 27. The first 500 guests will receive a free gift and the celebration continues from 11 am through 1 pm with games and additional giveaways.
Just six months after its triumphant return to Manhattan, the two-floor Disney Store Times Square located at 1540 Broadway, the largest in North America, will be fully closing its doors beginning on May 16, as confirmed by @DisneyStore.
While the second floor has followed the store’s new ‘Imagination Park’ concept model, the lower floor was more loosely themed and focused primarily on New York City exclusive items along with Disney Theatrical, Vinylmation, Disney Couture and Bloc28, along with some standard Disney Store merchandise. Within the past couple of weeks, these items have been moved to the upper floor while the first floor undergoes a complete renovation.
Up until May 16, the upper floor has and will remain open for guests to visit and experience the retail location, but the shop will have to close for a period of 10 days beginning on May 16, with a grand re-opening scheduled for May 27. The reason for this complete closure, as explained to us by a store manager, is that no guests can be allowed inside the premesis during the painting process. The upper floor is not expected to be altered in any way.
Knowledge of the closure and changes by store cast members appeared to be limited at best, but those who appear to be aware of the changes are expecting a spectacular overhaul of the lower floor when it re-opens.
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.
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).
That figure will join the already announced 3″ Minnie Mouse as the Statue of Liberty and the 9″ ‘Hey, Taxi!‘ as well as another 9″ figure, ‘New York, New York’ by Jim Valeri which pays homage to the boros, neighborhoods and landmarks of the greatest city in the world. It will retail for $44.95 and will also have a purchase limit of two per guest per day.
Next up is a sneak peek at the Vinylmation figures to commemorate the release of TRON: Legacy. Remember that in addition to these figures, Disney Fine Artist Noah will be releasing just a handful of custom hand-painted figures also inspired by the film at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts (at the latter of which he’ll be making an personal appearance) on November 21.
Lastly, the blog announced release information for the 3″ Walt Disney World Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights figures (photos can be seen on the official blog). Both will retail for $16.95 each. The MVMCP one will be released November 8 in the Magic Kingdom at the Emporium, Mickey’s Star Traders, Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe and the Frontierland Trading Post. The Osbourne Family Lights figure will also be released on November 8 but at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Mickey’s Of Hollywood, Youse Guys Moichendise, Beverly Sunset, Sorcerer’s Hat Shop, Art of Disney Gallery, Tower of Terror Shop and the Stage One Company Store.
Both figures will also be released at the Disneyland Resort on November 12 at D-Street in the Downtown Disney District.
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.