First Look: Inside Disney Store’s Very First ‘Imagination Park’

With a wave of a wand, a Disney princess magically appears in the mirror. Photo courtesy Disney Consumer Products.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.

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Disney On Ice Presents Disney/Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 3′ on Ice Using State-of-the-Art Projection

Disney on Ice presents Disney/Pixar's 'Toy Story 3'Toy Story 3, the record-breaking #1 movie in the world, is so hot it’s cool as everyone’s favorite toys take to the ice in Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3! An award-winning creative team and a cast of world-class skaters are bringing Woody, the pull-string cowboy; space ranger Buzz Lightyear; Jessie, the yodeling cowgirl; and the rest of the gang to fans and families around the country in this brand-new live ice spectacular produced by Feld Entertainment. This fast-paced and witty tale of friendship launches a 2-year, 75-city North American tour on September 3rd in Lakeland, FL.

To enhance this live experience, the production will feature state-of-the-art projection design, allowing adults and children alike to virtually shrink down as Andy’s room is transformed from human to toy-sized. Families are whisked away, reliving iconic moments from Toy Story and Toy Story 2 before they embark on the brand-new adventure of Toy Story 3. This innovative 3D technology, a first for any Disney On Ice show, blends four separate images into one massive 3D projection using the entire ice surface to create oversized effects and scenic elements, altering the audience’s perception of scale. Memorable scenes take on a new life as a pinball machine of monumental proportion is created at Pizza Planet, with the massive pinball table projected onto the ice and the score board on the stage behind it. This perspective, among many others throughout the show, reinforces the audience’s experience as a toy-sized spectator.

“An award-winning team of artists, designers and technicians are redefining the theatre of ice with a show that challenges the audience’s perception of scale,” says Producer Nicole Feld. “Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 is Feld Entertainment’s most innovative show ever.”

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‘Toy Story 3′ Posts Record-Smashing, Beyond ‘Incredible’ Opening Weekend with $109M

After reporting an amazing $41M box office on its opening day, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 has gone on to take in a reported box office opening weekend estimate of $109 million, crushing Pixar’s previous record of $70.4 million set by The Incredibles in 2004. When considering inflation, The Incredibles barely passed the $100 million mark within its first week whereas Toy Story 3 has already surpassed that number (~$106M) in just a few days.

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REVOLVEclothing Offers Up Exclusive ‘Toy Story 3′ Tees from Today’s Hottest Designers

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Disney Consumer Products (DCP) unveiled limited edition Toy Story 3 designer t-shirts recently by fashion provocateurs Henry Holland, Victor Glemaud, Jonathan Saunders, Costello Tagliapietra, and Cassette Playa at a private celeb-studded fashion unveiling at REVOLVEclothing boutique in West Hollywood. Each designer was inspired by a Disney?Pixar Toy Story 3 character and chose Rex, Hamm, Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear as their design muses. On the same day as Disney?Pixar’s Toy Story 3 film opens in U.S. theaters (June 18, 2010), these edgy couture tees inspired by the franchise are now available exclusively at the popular online retailer REVOLVEclothing.com and at the REVOLVEclothing boutique for SRP $70-$108.

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Photo Gallery: Joan Cusack Signing for Disney Store Limited Edition Jessie Doll

903799408_img_0655 In honor of the theatrical release of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, The Disney Store created a limited edition talking Jessie doll which will be sold at select locations nationwide. For the product’s unveiling at the Michigan Avenue store in Chicago, IL, D23 invited a limited number of members to have the first opportunity to purchase the doll as well as meet and greet with Toy Story 3 co-star and voice of Jessie, Joan Cusack.

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Aflac Debuts Paint Scheme for NASCAR #99, Inspired by Disney/Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 3′

Aflac NASCAR #99 featuring 'Toy Story 3' Paint SchemeAflac today announced the creation of a special Toy Story 3 paint scheme for the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion that will be driven by Carl Edwards at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on June 20. )

The paint scheme reflects a collaboration between the Georgia-based insurance company and Disney/Pixar, following the release of a television commercial using Pixar’s unique brand of animation. This marks the second time Aflac and Disney/Pixar have worked together for cross-promotion.

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Disney/Pixar’s YouTube Blitz: Pogo Presents ‘Toyz Noize’ and ‘Buzzwings’ and More

Disney/Pixar unleashed a furious storm of YouTube videos recently on its official channel.

Among the offerings are new video remixes from Australian DJ Pogo who shot to Disney fame with his previous release UPular last year in honor of the Disney/Pixar film UP. Pogo continues the new tradition with Toyz Noize and Buzzwings, using soundbites and footage from the Toy Story films backed with a music track to create a brand new viewing experience.


In addition to the music videos on YouTube, cast and crew from Toy Story 3 talk about their YouTube addiction themselves. The video features director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla Anderson and cast members Kristen Schaal (Trixie) and Jeff Garlin (Buttercup).

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Thinkway Toys’ Toy Story Definitive Collection Vol 7: Lasseter’s Tater Talk on Mr. Potato Head

Disney Consumer Products and Thinkway Toys have revived the popular video series on the Toy Story Collection line of toys with a brand new installment, this one featuring the all new Mr. Potato Head. In this episode, John explores the origin of the Playskool favorite’s (potato) chip on his shoulder and why Don Rickles was the only real choice to voice the sarcastic spud.

Mr. Potato Head from the Toy Story Collection by Thinkway ToysHere’s some of the features you’ll find with the Toy Story Definitive Collection Mr. Potato Head:

  • Highly detailed film replica from DISNEY/PIXAR’s digital data.
  • Has detachable eyes with eyebrows, ears, nose with moustache, mouth, arms and hat.

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Disney Books, Music and Videos Being Released During Week of June 13

Here’s look at some of the Disney-related books, movies and audio CDs being released this week. Please note that this list is automatically generated and information is not guaranteed by this site.

A Busy Day (Available Tuesday, June 15 or Pre-Order from Amazon.com)

Soar to infinity and beyond with this exciting novelty book that features Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang!  Readers can lift-the-flaps to help Woody and his pals meet the new toys, slide the windows to see the little green aliens making pizza, touch Rex’s scaly dinosaur skin, and much more! Young fans will love discovering all the fun tactile elements of this busy Toy Story 3 day!

To order or for more information, click here


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Video: ‘Toy Story 3′ Television Commercial Montage

Disney/Pixar has just released this collection of the five ads currently running on television for Toy Story 3, reminding us that ‘this summer the best things in life are 3′ and asking the question: which one is your favorite?

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