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Disney Store: Old vs. New

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  • Disney Store: Old vs. New

    This weekend, I received my newsletter from Disney Visa Card and they had an article about the 25th anniversary of their retail locations. Within the article, they posted a photo of the new layout, along with an inset photo of the old style store. Seeing the two side-by-side made me quite nostalgic for the old stores.

    Last year, maybe longer ago, Disney announced that they would be closing some of their locations, and those that remained would get a major overhaul, both inside and out. Their biggest point was that they would be including magic mirrors all over the place that would react to merchandise, as well as other interactive points throughout the stores. However, after changing over a few locations and finding the cost to be outrageous, and the technology to not quite be what they had been promised by their vendor, the concept has been all but abandoned. Even their new location in Times Square did not see the new mirrors, and were given the lame trees with changing images.

    The old stores had large glass windows, framed by film borders, and screamed "Disney" as you walked by. The interior walls were arorned with what now are sold at the parks as "Big Fig" characters. Now, the stores are general open locations, with product bursting out the doors. Worse, the retail location near me here on Staten Island is a white front with the giant red silhouette Mickey head as the entry way, and giant ad banners on either side.

    Before the "improvements", Disney Stores used to carry merchandise that was beyond clothing and general toys that you could pick up at any Toys r Us store. They offered high-end collectibles, Disney Classics sculptures, and animation sericells, in the back of their stores located in a rotunda signed with "The Gallery". Warner Bros. stores offered these items and Disney quickly followed suit to offer their up their own. Now, it's clothes, plus, and dolls as far as the eye can see.

    Anyone else remember/miss the old style store? Were these changes worth what we've got today?



    Last edited by supernova; 02-19-2012, 10:02 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

    Took my nephew to the mall today to look for Cars stuff, and every time I'm there, I'm nostalgic for the World of Disney store in Manhattan, too.
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    • #3
      Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

      I'm taking your side on this one. I miss the old stores, too. I used to be able to get so much more there. Now, it's all tee shirts and coffee mugs and stuffed animals. That stuff is a dime a dozen at Wal-Mart.
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      • #4
        Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

        I also agree with you on this one. The old stores were like a bit of Disney away from Disney (or home away from home) and now they just feel like any other retail store that is geared toward children. I loved the old windows that would reach out into the mall walkways and were so similar to the windows you find on Mainstreet, filled with not just merchandise but statues and decorations etc. befitting of a Disney window. I know a lot of it has to do with the whole changing of hands/responsibilities as it related to the stores but the bottom line is, it's still Disney, it's Disney merchandise... it should feel more like a Disney store.
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        • #5
          Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

          No comparison. The old stores blow away the new ones. The new stores are geared to little kids. The old store had everything. When my wife worked at our local mall, I'd walk around the Disney Store waiting for her to get off work. The selection of Disney "stuff" was amazing. Miss the Disney catalog too as long as we're on the subject.
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          • #6
            Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

            I wonder if Steve will come by and find this post. I'd love to see his thoughts (being that he's a CMM at his local store).
            Sometimes all you need is a reminder that out there lies a better place... a better world... a Walt Disney World.
            Visited In: 1983, 1988, 1989 x2, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 (passholder), 2007 (x2 x3), 2008, 2009 (x2), 2010, 2011 (x2)
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            • #7
              Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

              I think part of its downfall was the temporary purchase by Children's Place.
              Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!
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              Really Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.

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              • #8
                Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                I liked the older ones too, of course. I do agree the whole Children's Place debacle (although I'm guessing Disney made out on the deal) wasn't helpful as far as overall store quality. The discussion about merchandise has me thinking a bit about the overall homogenization of Disney merchandise across the board. There are still some pretty neat items out there, but if the overall direction is to have every store in the parks sell the exact same stuff, then why not do that at the retail outlets too?

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                • #9
                  Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                  I've seen parents load up at the local Walmart over on 535/536, presumably because the products are cheaper. Heck, they go nuts at the tourist trap shops along the main roads, too. So if their bill is high there, imagine what it would have been at the parks.
                  Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!
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                  • #10
                    Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                    the worst thing that ever happened was the franchising out of the Disney Store... I really miss the store when it was at the mall near me... the merchandise there was so much better than what they have now...
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                    • #11
                      Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                      Disney opted to capitalize on their heavy NY/NJ traffic coming out of Newark Airport by placing one of their Disney Outlet stores at the outlet mall directly across from the airport. There is a huge billboard advertising the store just before the exit on the NJ Turnpike (had to cost them a bundle). Trouble is, it's an outlet for store merchandise, not park merchandise like at the Character Connection store at the Orlando Premium Outlets. And again, I find myself really missing the World of Disney store over on 5th Avenue. The current cr@ppy Disney Store in Times Square can't old a candle to that place.
                      Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!
                      www.autographshowcase.com/disney

                      Really Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                        Originally posted by supernova View Post

                        Before the "improvements", Disney Stores used to carry merchandise that was beyond clothing and general toys that you could pick up at any Toys r Us store. They offered high-end collectibles, Disney Classics sculptures, and animation sericells, in the back of their stores located in a rotunda signed with "The Gallery". Warner Bros. stores offered these items and Disney quickly followed suit to offer their up their own. Now, it's clothes, plus, and dolls as far as the eye can see.

                        Anyone else remember/miss the old style store? Were these changes worth what we've got today?
                        I found the beginning of the downfall to be when Disney leased off the stores to Children's Place Clothing.
                        There is a Disney Store in Woodfield Mall that it just sadness now. It once was beautiful and had good books, nice jewelry, statues and I could go on but you all remember. Now one of the largest malls in America and a tourist attraction to Schaumburg Convention Center, is a junk store. Loaded with cheap toys, low quality clothing and princess dresses beyond count. I'd understand if it was working out financially but there isn't many people in the stores. The CM's are on your tail as you glance with the constant can I help as you try to browse. I have a comfort zone for being escorted around a store, I don't ask for a personal shopper. Most of the time what I purchase is a gift card for someone who is going the WDW but generally give the store a once over while there. I find it odd Disney has bypassed this particular Disney Store for any updates given that Woodfield also is home to a DVC Sales Center.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                          I loved working at the Disney Store(1991- 1996) because of the different merchandise such as the watches, animation cells, and figurines. Even the clothes for adults was better. Opening the first store in Canada was that much better because we would have so many guests come in and say it was just like being there with the atmosphere and merchandise. Now it is just toys and kids clothes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                            Originally posted by HauntedGabe View Post
                            I found the beginning of the downfall to be when Disney leased off the stores to Children's Place Clothing.
                            What's that they say about 'great minds'?
                            Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!
                            www.autographshowcase.com/disney

                            Really Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Disney Store: Old vs. New

                              Originally posted by WDW Donna View Post
                              I loved working at the Disney Store(1991- 1996) because of the different merchandise such as the watches, animation cells, and figurines. Even the clothes for adults was better. Opening the first store in Canada was that much better because we would have so many guests come in and say it was just like being there with the atmosphere and merchandise. Now it is just toys and kids clothes.
                              I loved picking up my figurines there as I wasn't going to the parks every year back then like I am now. I also loved picking up the bas relief plates they released for the movies (only the villain plates, of course). Now I was nearly excited to see the 25th Anniversary stuff at the store, but somehow couldn't bring myself to pick any of it up.
                              Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!
                              www.autographshowcase.com/disney

                              Really Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.

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