I just returned from visiting my local Disney store. I was at the mall to pick up some park passes for my trip to Disneyland this Saturday (interestingly enough, I never actually bought the passes, more on that later). The store had been closed for a few months for a redesign. The reviews I had seen of the new design were not exactly sparkling, so I was excited if not a bit wary to see Children's Place's new incarnation of the Disney store.
The changes were obvious even approaching the store. The classic display windows and double glass door had been replaced with a giant red Mickey Silouette:
Ok, not to bad so far, right? The new entrance also sported a new Disney Store logo:
Not to shabby. The new design is certainly a bit simpler, more modern perhaps.
Shall we dare a peek inside?
Suprise suprise, some major changes had taken place behind that construction wall:
The new store layout has its pros and cons. For one thing, it is much more open, which gives it the feeling of being bigger. The one problem with this however is that is takes away the smaller, cosier feeling the old Disney store had. The new design also trades away the old purple and pink color scheme for a brighter white and red. A hard tile floor replaces the soft carpet. All of this makes it feel more like a Save-On then a Disney Store. At the very least, the video screen at the back remains in place. Also apparent is the lack of much Disney theming. Gone is the rich Disney saturated and magical Disney store design, replaced by a much simpler and more basic design that relies on a few Disney themed displays. The more obvious one is the Sorcer Mickey statue that dominates the center of the room.
The Statue however is just a Display case for some toys, little lego-ish things in various color schemes. I unfortunetly didn't get a chance to get a good look at them.
The other bit of obvious Disney theming is at the Counter, which I noticed had moved from the right side of the room to the left (sorry the pic is a bit blurry):
The counter it self is decorated to look like Mickey's shorts, and Displays on either side hold candy and are made to look like his feet and hands.
As far as actual Disney character theming goes, thats basically it. I mean, theres the merchandise being sold, and the video screen at the back, but that is it as far as Displays or design elements go.
JUST Mickey? I mean, Mickey is Disney's main character property, but what of the dozens of other Disney characters? Not even the Fab Five have any representation. This leaves the store feeling bland, if not sterile. I mean, if we removed all the merchandise, painted over the counter and took out the Sorcerer Mickey and Hand and Feet displays, could you really tell it was a Disney store? Maybe. Before, the store had characters galore, even a film strip running along the perimiter of the ceiling.
But we mustn't dwell on the pass, there's still a few more things to be mentioned.
For one thing, the merchandise is seperated fairly squarely down the middle. Girls' and Princess merch is on the right...
...and boys' toys and action figures are on the right:
Now while (at least for me) it would have been a good enough reason to visit the Disney Store simply to take pictures, that wasn't why I was there. I went to get park passes for Disneyland this saturday. The Disney Stores have sold them as long as I can remember, and I always pick them up there, since the ticket line at the park can often be long, and they don't offer fastpass .
Sure enough, they do offer both passes and annual passes:
However, there was a problem. Maybe you noticed it in the pictures above. If not, go back and look for something thats missing.
Did you catch it? They don't sell one-day-one-park passes! You can only get a one day park hopper pass, which costs about $18 dollars more then a one-day-one-park pass. And since there will be three of us there, that would mean an extra $54 dollars. That amount alone would almost buy a whole extra ticket, and would certainly cover lunch for three at the Plaza Inn. Being that I don't really plan to spend any great time (if any at all) at DCA, forking out extra for an upgraded pass wasn't gonna do it for me.
I should point out that this was not the case before the redesign, hence this is a new policy. I'm not entirely sure why they did it, I suspect they are trying to get people to visit DCA, as Al Lutz has informed us of its obvious attendance shortcomings.
Well, that was my time at the new Disney store. Off to Restoration Hardware!