I remember being a kid in the ‘80s when I first glanced at that distinctive clapperboard and realized the Disney Store had finally, finally arrived at my local mall! I remember walking through the store wide-eyed with wonder and excitement as the mall faded away and the world of Disney wrapped itself all around me. It was as if the magic of Disney had traveled all the way to Miami, Florida, just to visit me!
Many of you probably remember when the original Disney Store opened in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California — just a few miles from The Walt Disney Studios. Not everyone was convinced a store dedicated to selling Disney merchandise in a mall environment would work; so you can imagine how pleasantly surprising it was when thousands of guests arrived at the grand opening on March 28, 1987.
Since then, the Disney Store has grown to be an extremely successful business with hundreds of stores worldwide and DisneyStore.com. It’s amazing to think that just 26 years ago, the only retail location outside of a Disney park was a store at Orlando International Airport (which still stands today).
A fun fact you may not know is that the original concept was to have each Disney Store themed to the community where it was located — which is why the original Disney Store, located just a few miles from Hollywood, was Tinseltown-themed. And although the first 13 stores were themed based on their individual locations, the concept was changed in 1989 and most stores adopted the Hollywood-inspired design theme.
In the past few years, Disney Store has worked to take the retail experience to a higher level — adding new interactive experiences at many of its locations. For a limited time at the Times Square location in New York City, visitors could play along with a huge augmented reality screen. Check it out!
As a longtime fan, I can’t wait to see what Disney Store brings us next!