Disney Store opens at Florida Mall in new Imagination Park location closest to Walt Disney World

in Disney, Entertainment, Merchandise

Over the past 14 months, Disney Store has reinvented itself, opening new “Imagination Park” locations in malls worldwide offering a more inviting environment in which guests of all ages can not only shop, but also be entertained and immersed in the world of Disney. Beyond a the merchandise, these new stores, designed and operated by The Walt Disney Company, have been created with the idea of entertaining those who shop there. And yesterday, roughly 30 minutes from Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the newest Imagination Park location has opened at the Florida Mall.

Disney Store entrance

Since the first new Disney Store opened in June 2010 at Montebello, Calif., guests have praised the interactivity and decor of the Imagination Park concept. Each morning at these stores begins with a special opening ceremony allowing young guests to help “unlock” the magic at the store for the day. Character meet-and-greets and other special activities are regularly scheduled inside.

In fact, a public grand opening ceremony at the Florida Mall is scheduled for this Saturday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m., followed by meet-and-greets with Buzz, Woody, and Jesse from 12-4pm in the Center Court near Saks Fifth Avenue. (Disney Store recommends you bring your camera!)

Taking a look inside, guests follow a pixie dust-sprinkled pathway, guiding them through the different themed areas.

Store overview

Store overview

Along the way, enchanted trees feature projections of familiar sights, including Disney Fairies, hidden Mickeys, and even a few Marvel characters.

Tree projections

Boys and girls are equally welcomed into the store immediately upon entrance, with Disney Princess merchandise to the left (including an elaborate walk-through mirror-lined castle of sorts for trying out Princess outfits) and a Cars-themed Ridemakerz experience to the right.

Princess area

Cars Ridemakerz

Cars Ridemakerz

The new Disney Store designer Princess dolls are on display, with availability trickling out over the next few weeks.

Designer Princess dolls

A usual variety of Mickey Mouse and other Disney character merchandise, mostly apparel and plushes, are scattered throughout the store.

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse merchandise

Plushes

Plush

There’s an entire wall devoted to Disney’s newest major acquisition, Marvel, featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, and many other characters.

Marvel

Guests have a chance to buy into one of Disney’s latest crazes, Vinylmation, with plenty available for purchase near the checkout area.

Vinylmation

The center of the store features a large video display and play area, where kids of all ages can choose music videos and movie clips while engaging in a variety of activities like coloring. The display is controlled by nearby touch screens, featuring popular Disney artists and film options.

Video screen and coloring

Touch screens

The path that leads guests in also takes them back out of the store. And while I saw many leaving with bags of newly-bought merchandise in hand, I left without making a purchase.

Projected trees

While there are plenty of items for children to be found in Imagination Park Disney Stores like this one, there isn’t much for adults. A few collectibles and T-shirts aside, the merchandise is firmly targeted at a younger audience. It’s a complaint many adult Disney fans have had throughout the multiple variations of the mall Disney Stores over the years. A visit to a Disney theme park offers a seemingly endless supply of adult-oriented merchandise, but these Disney Stores almost exclusively for kids. As a result, it does, however, offer parents a great place to shop for a child and for Orlando locals, a way to buy some of the newest Disney merchandise without having to step foot on Walt Disney World property. The Florida Mall is often crowded, attracting many tourists, but not nearly as much as the stores at Walt Disney World, so shopping at the new Disney Store may prove to be a less trouble-free experience.

Back in June 2010, we spoke with Disney Store general manager Paul Gainer at the grand opening for the newly redesigned Montebello, California location about working with Apple’s retail team to develop the new store concept as well as a few specifics about what’s new inside the style of store, the details of which still apply to this newest location:

The new Disney Store at the Florida Mall won’t remain the closest location of its kind to Walt Disney World forever. Plans call for another similar store to be built at the Mall at Millenia in the coming months. But both locations are sure to thrive in the city that is home to millions of Disney fans.

More photos inside the new Disney Store at the Florida Mall:

4 Comments

  1. Wild Ol' Dan

    Howdy Ricky,

    I just returned from our local Disney Store down here in New Orlins…and I confess myself longing more than a little for the magic of the “good ol’ days”. Today there’s…oh, I don’t know…a cheapness about all the pink and blue plastic to be found in Disney Stores…once upon a time there was magic to be found there instead…
    I remember a time when you could find the Walt Disney Classic’s Collection in the store, and quality Mickey Mouse and other character watches, stuff for the home, and…well…things that inspired wonder and enchantment. Today these “marketers” have replaced all that with cheap plastic “glass” slippers and beach towels…all the quality of those cheap souvenir places found along International Drive and the Irlo Bronson Parkway…you know the places I’m talking about…stop in, get a dozen T-shirts for $2.99…

    I believe the marketers have completely lost sight of what it used to be like to be “Mouseketeers”… Do you remember when you could buy original Disney artwork and animation cells in the Disney Store? It wasn’t that long ago…

    Disney should not be simply cheap pink and blue plastic things…if the company wants to truly change their image in a positive way they need to BRING BACK THE MAGIC! Sell stuff for ALL AGES…clothes, household goods, collectibles that all capture that timeless magic and QUALITY that is truly Disney. Not glitter and tinsel…but heart! Real, honest to gosh, wipe a tear away, and feel happy inside, heart!

    I just thumbed through the latest D-23 magazine…in this issue they have some wonderful memories of what Walt Disney World used to be like…and my gosh, there was the beautiful Empress Lilly Riverboat in all her glory shining like a big, beautiful wedding cake there in the lagoon. What on earth possessed Disney to cheapin’ that… makin’ it FULTON’S CRAB SHACK? The Empress Lilly was designed as a tribute to Mrs.
    Walt Disney for gosh sake!

    That is just a small example that demonstrates the Disney management’s lack of understanding, lack of respect for their own rich and wonderful heritage. To Walt Disney it was never just about “making a buck” …it was about creating something wonderful…something magical…something that the whole family could enjoy…a place where “age could relive fond memories of the past and youth could savor the challenge and the promise of the future.”

    The Disney Store should never have been made into “The Cheap Disney Toy Shop”…bring back the magic…bring back the wonder…bring back the fun…for ALL ages! Ask some of the ol’ timers what the Walt Disney Company was like back when Walt was still around…his efforts continue to inspire warm and wonderful memories…and loyalty…all these years later. Remember the magic…

    Wild Ol’ Dan

    1. Tim

      The adult stuff didn’t sell till it went on clearance. It may have sold in the 90’s, but this isn’t the 90’s anymore. The Disney craze isn’t as BIG as it was back then. There was a rejuvenation during the Disney Renaissance which is why the stores did so well then. I honestly think that what the stores are focusing on now, is the smartest. Kids toys, kids apparel with a FEW adult items is the way to go.

  2. Tim

    To the previous comment. The adult stuff didn’t sell till it went on clearance. It may have sold in the 90’s, but this isn’t the 90’s anymore. The Disney craze isn’t as BIG as it was back then. There was a rejuvenation during the Disney Renaissance which is why the stores did so well then. I honestly think that what the stores are focusing on now, is the smartest. Kids toys, kids apparel with a FEW adult items is the way to go.

  3. roman

    THE PARK MALL DISNEY STORE SOON GRAND OPENING

Comments are closed.