New Gift Shop Displaces Disneyland Paris Photo Shop

Written by Alain Littaye. Posted in Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris, Features, Weekend Update

Tagged: , , , , ,

GiftShopOpeningImage

Published on August 09, 2014 at 2:00 am with 5 Comments

The Disney merchandising team has made some very sad changes to an iconic Main Street U.S.A. shop – this time in Disneyland Paris. Alain Littaye has the heartbreaking story of the transformation of legendary Disney Imagineer Eddie Sotto’s photo shop into “Flora’s Unique Boutique”. Perhaps her name was Flora Walton? ~~Rick

New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique Opens at
Disneyland Paris’ Main Street U.S.A.

by Alain Littaye
Disney and more blog

080801

A new shop opened on Disneyland Paris’ Main Street U.S.A, and it’s called New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique. We have a full photo report about it for you today. As always, let’s thanks Max, D&M contributor and DLPWelcome webmaster for his great pictures.

The shop replaces the beloved and highly themed Main Street Photography shop. The new shop opened on August 1st after six months of construction. Above is the new “vintage style” poster created for the new shop.

080802

Facing the Emporium and next to Boardwalk Candy Palace, which now has its facade in refurbishment, New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique also has a new sign. The one you can see in the photos below is only temporary. The final one will be put into place soon.

080803

080804

080805

080806

Let’s go inside!

080803

The first thing you’ll notice at the entrance is the new design of the mosaic floor with a big “F” for “Flora”…

080807

080808

The length of the main counter has been significantly reduced…

080809

080810

080811

The new shop has reopened in a style quite different from the previous shop. The space has been completely redesigned with large shelves and good visibility for the merchandise. Unfortunately, in the end, the atmosphere is less warm than before.

080812

Shelves everywhere, quite well done, but with no special theming. The goods for sale are mainly attractive to non-French tourists,. According to Max, for the most part the shop sells a range of products about Paris – thus explaining the quote “We carry the latest styles from Paris so you don’t have to” that can be seen on the bottom of the shop poster.

080813

080814

080815

080816

080817

The only remnant of the old shop is the famous vintage phone on which you can still listen in on a phone conversation between two Main Street citizens.

080818

A closer look at the lighting and stained glass windows…

080819

080820

080821

080822

Let’s have a look at the exterior now…

080823

080824

080825

080826

080827

The excitement of having a new shop arriving on Main Street unfortunately doesn’t last. Even if the new shop has been enhanced by a new layout and a new interior color palette, the considerable loss of theming in regards to the previous shop makes this an establishment without a soul – particularly startling since this is in sharp contrast to the other stores on Main Street. And now all the shop windows on Town Square displaying merchandise, there is no more storytelling as was the case with Main Street Photography as seen in the pictures below.

080828

080829

080830

080831

080832

080833

080834

080835

080836

The highly themed photographer’s office of the previous shop was designed and supervised by legendary Imagineer Eddie Sotto, who spent long hours to create the feeling of a real office.

080837

080838

Below, here is Eddie Sotto’s rendering for the above Main Street Photography photographer office.

080839

A lot of DLP fans are furious about the new shop and it’s pretty understandable. It sure is a pity that the old camera shop is gone. Times change, guests were not buying photographic film and I can understand that the space is valuable. However, despite all of that logic, the irony remains that Main Street exists to celebrate things as they once were. Main Street U.S.A. is supposed to tell the story of a small town at the crossroads of technological transition. A street of businesses portrayed as “mom and pop” boutiques with the personality of their owners resisting the corporate “chain” retailers of today. In a sense, Disney has become the “Big Box” retailer of Main Street, driving out it’s own “mom and pop” boutiques and expanding over entire blocks. Things have indeed disappeared from culture and been victims of change, such as horse-drawn streetcars and gas lighting, but are they not the charm that we love about Main Street? In all Magic Kingdoms, we clap along and enjoy barbershop quartets and ragtime piano with strangers and without devices or headphones. Things on Main Street (like candy, glass poodles and hat decor) are hand made on Main Street, as opposed to China. Main Street uses the obsolescence of the past to entertain us through contrast.

080840

Main Street Photography – concept art above – was all about photography which was invented in France. Thanks to technology, more pictures are now shot digitally in a day than in an entire decade prior to camera phones. Early photography before digital retouching was closer to truth, to life and a window into the past. I for one, would have loved to see a credible photo gallery of vintage images (or new images taken the old way with silver background ) somewhere on Main Street to help this “selfie” obsessed generation appreciate where it all began. But instead we have one more merchandise shop without any special soul.

The main reason it happened is because Disney has come up with a template or pattern for how to design stores and certain requirements for how retail must be done. This new store seems to conform to all the other recent stores and the required template for how you must display merchandise. It’s no longer a movie set. These new rules are a reaction to that. They don’t see that anymore as a successful way to sell. So time marches on and we have to face – and eventually accept – the fact the Disney stores will never be the same.

Pictures: copyright Max Fan – DLPWelcome

Alain is the editor of one of the most amazing Disney books ever published. This book is a must for every serious Disney book collector.

PRE-ORDER - Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality (Open Edition)

Order your copy now from the MiceChat store – HERE.

About Alain Littaye

Alain is the author of Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality and a long time Disney historian and blogger. His book is known the world over as one of the best Disney theme park books ever assembled. You'll often find his work featured in the MiceChat Weekend Update and can find his latest musings on his personal blog: Disney and More Blog.

Browse Archived Articles by

5 Comments

Comments for New Gift Shop Displaces Disneyland Paris Photo Shop are now closed.

  1. That’s too bad. This is the way the shops are designed at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. They are nice enough and suggest the period but there’s no real story to them. The shops on Disneyland Paris’ Main Street were the most amazing I’d seen in a Disney park – most of them still are, I’m sure. I remember the first time I visited Disneyland Paris, it took us an hour to get beyond Main Street. We just kept wondering from shop to shop, our jaws dropping in amazement at all the attention to detail, the stained glass, the mosaics, and how every shop seemed unique and had a distinctly different story to tell.

    That was during the park’s 5th anniversary year and recently after Disney had announced plans to construct Disney’s California Adventure. I remember shaking my head, unable to believe that the company that had designed and built such a beautiful park could be the same one contemplating the construction of DCA.

    How very sad that it appears some of the DCA mentality had invaded what is quite possibly the most beautiful park to bare the Disney name.

  2. Something is wrong at Disney with their ideas about Main Street. The Markethouse at Disneyland in California was stripped of it’s sole, more merch was pushed into the Penny Arcade and now that mentality seems to have crossed the Atlantic.

  3. You’ve gotta have a few high themed low sales volume places on Main Street or it really just becomes a generic mall to avoid instead of a place to explore. You should see the Penny Arcade at Disneyland where they ripped out classic arcade machines for candy and recently installed generic slushy machines.

  4. Reminds me of what they did to Disneyland’s Main Street. People have mentioned the Candy Palace and Crystal Arcade (no longer places to explore; they just sell generic crap that you can get at Six Flags with about the same amount of theming).

    However, the worst is that Starbucks they put in on Main Street. I thought it would be themed — a Main Street coffee house that just happens to sell Starbucks drinks. Nope — it is a generic Starbucks that happens to be on Main Street. As with the photography shop in Paris, there are no illusions that the mom-and-pop, turn-of-the-century feel has been pushed out.

  5. Can’t believe they have put the blond cheap wood shelving in next to the dark mahogany like Victorian interiors still existing. Looks like an after thought on a budget. Glad Western Wear still has its original mining interiors.