Disney to Revamp Stores, Return to Times Square

Starting with the June 29 grand opening event at The Shops at Montebello, in California, Disney has undertaken a massive Disney Store redesign initiative that will see the opening of a Times Square location this fall and the introduction of more than 300 revamped stores worldwide in the next five to six years. The Montebello store, which features a Cars-branded Ridemakerz exhibit that lets kids build custom 1:18-scale vehicles as well as a Disney Princess Magical Mirror that reveals characters as girls wave their ‘magical’ wands, was the first of 20 newly redesigned Disney Store locations that will open in key markets in the U.S. and Europe by the end of 2010.

Disney Store Times Square
This fall, Disney will unveil a new Disney Store in New York City’s Times Square.

The store redesign is reflective of the how the Disney brand has changed since the first Disney Store launched in 1978. What was a company that was heavily concentrated on animated films now also includes live-action films, Disney Channel properties, music, and the Marvel library.

“When we looked at the old store design, we felt that the new store design needed to be flexible, dynamic, and ever-changing,” says Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide. “We found some of our old store designs to be very static and not adaptable to how the Disney brand was changing.”

A keystone to this new Disney Store campaign is establishing a new Times Square outpost. The new Disney Store, which is set to launch this fall at 1540 Broadway, is designed to offer an even bigger and better technologically engaging experience for shoppers.

“It will be a two-floor location with more square footage,” says Fielding. “The space also has incredibly high ceilings, which will allow us to take these experiences and make them even larger in scale.”

Fielding adds that there will be product and experiences that will only be available at the Times Square location.

The rollout plans for introducing new stores over the next five or six years is based on a real estate strategy that involves patience. In establishing Disney Stores in high-volume, high-density tourist markets, Fielding says Disney will be patient to ensure it secures ideal locations for the revamped Disney Stores.