by Emily Owens Pickle
In 2010, Disney launched the new face of Disney Store. Disney Store was launched in 1987 and fall 2011 starts a 25-year anniversary kick-off. One of the redesigned locations opened last week near my home. While running some errands last week, my family and I decided to check out this new and improved Disney Store.
The first thing that catches your eye is a large gazebo placed in the middle of the store. It is lit in bright purple (comment below if you know why designers *most likely* chose this significant color to Disney history) and this structure draws you right into the heart of the shop.
Movie clips play continuously underneath the gazebo and there is a coloring station.
The path through the store is very dark with glittering detail and is lined with beautifully designed 'trees'. The white trees, which are flat and have projectors mounted above on both sides, fade between projected images of a 'normal' tree, with leaves and bark, to photos of children dressed as Disney characters and the characters themselves.
The effect is wonderful!
The theme of the store (right now) is 'i am'. It is a great melding of Disney characters and your child's imagination. This is very different from a one-way message that simply has items for sale from your favorite movies. Like the parks, the ambiance of the store was surprisingly immersive and touching.
A recurring criticism I have heard about Disney experiences and merchandise, particularly in the Magic Kingdom, is an over-emphasis on everything princess, pink, and glittery. At the entrance, the store was halved by a main aisle. On the left was what most would term 'girly' merchandise. There was a large castle display that had a three-way mini mirror inside and the far wall was lined with almost every female Disney character costuming imaginable.
The right side had many wonderful boys' costumes as well! Lining the far wall of the right side were pirate costumes, Peter Pan apparel and an entire Cars display complete with Lightning McQueen jumpsuits.
As you moved toward the back of the store, there are many toy displays and fun souvenir items for sale.
There was an adorable wall of jammies in all characters and sizes.
The part I most enjoyed about this store was classic Disney Imagineering: magic in the detail. Along the topmost part of the wall lining the entire store, there is a running monochrome mural with many familiar Disney landmarks and figures.
About every thirty seconds special equipment 'hidden' in the ceiling project fun images on the mural and some of these were very special " and surprising!
I was curious about the quality and uniqueness of the merchandise; would the store offer something different, especially when located so close to the Disney World property? I have spent a fair amount of time in the Disney Parks and can say that I found some very unique items in this shop.
Prominently displayed was the brand-new Disney Princess Designer Doll. Each doll is portrayed in classic design with a new fashionable twist. Other items part of this line included make-up and china.
If you are at home feeling nostalgic, I think the Disney Store is a wonderful place to spend some time scratching your Disney-itch. Confession: you saw a few paragraphs above I said this store was located "so close to the Disney World property" -- we recently moved to the Orlando area. And though I thought the re-design of the store was great, it is really to be viewed through the eyes of the child.
Last week when discussing our weekend plans my 4-year-old asked if we could visit the Disney Store.
Yep -- you can't get a better endorsement than that. Enjoy!
The previous post in this blog was Disney World: What's New, What's Next August 18, 2011.
The next post in this blog is A bit of Disney California Adventure.