On Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, I attended a media preview of the newly reimagined World of Disney at Downtown Disney! The official reopening is Oct. 26th but it will be open throughout the weekend and week. For over a year, they have been working on the design and development of the store to make it the ultimate shopping experience for guests! And you guys- it was AMAZING! I saw sections of the store (brick walls, wood floors,) as they were redesigning throughout the past year but seeing it all put together was absolutely incredible!!
The Story Behind World of Disney
Now some of you may be wondering why the brick? Why the open concept? What happened to all the Disney characters that used to decorate the interior? Where is the Disney magic?
Kevin Lively, who is a Writer at Walt Disney Imagineering, shared with us the backstory of the concept of the store which dates it back to the 1930s. In the “story”, the building used to be an old bus depot for Grand Californian tours. Walt Disney bought and leased the building to be used as an animation studio for his animators, the Nine Old Men. As they were renovating the store, they “found” all this stuff behind the drywall and in storage which they brought out to display around the store!
Stephanie Colvin, Creative Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, explained how the story was brought together through the designs on the walls, furniture replicas (they’re supposed to be the animator’s old desks), sketches, paint brushes and other details that really take you back in time to that era. The desks even have sketches on them because the animators would draw on their desks!
Magic is EVERYWHERE within the store. If you blink, you might miss it. Be sure to watch the pixie dust that brings paintings to life as it cascades through the paint jar bar behind one of the checkout desks. The enchanted posters behind another checkout desk magically come to life and changes periodically!
Alysia Kelley, VP of Visual Merchandising, spoke to us about the concept behind the redesign. They really wanted the transformation to bring THE BEST shopping experience for guests. There’s more light brought into the store with the addition of more windows. It’s incredibly bright in the store! You can see from one end of the store to the other so you can easily see something that might catch your eye or your wandering child. The aisles are wider and less cluttered so you can find things more easily.
I love how every section is labeled with vintage marquee letter lights so you know where everything is. This was probably one of my favorite things about the redesign. You can pretty much see all the merchandise so that your shopping experience is more enjoyable and you can find what you need (or what you don’t need but want because you saw it.)
Because the merchandise is so well organized, it makes your shopping experience that much better. You can easily find t-shirts because they’re all in one place and nicely displayed. They’re also arranged in a way so that you can find coordinating/matching family shirts quickly. They even have a popup shop of Disney Style merchandise which is always on trend with the latest and most Instagrammable Disney outfits and cute bags. All the ears and hats are in one section with a mirror close by so you can decide which ears are a must buy.
To celebrate Mickey’s 90th, Marianne Sharpe, Director of Global Merchandise Strategy, shared with us how they came up with the Mickey Mouse Club line. It’s a modern twist on the beloved show from the 50s. It’s the PERFECT combo of modern meets vintage. The Mickey Mouse Club line is exclusive to the World of Disney for 30 day. Then it will be available inside the parks as well as on shopDisney.com. I seriously wanted everything from this collection!
The Holiday collection is incredible! Their theme for this year is “Nordic Winter.” There’s so much merchandise from home decor, ears, hats, socks in an ornament, 12 days of socks, spirit jerseys, shirts, ornaments and more for everyone. You need to check it out and buy all the things!
Elements of Disney magic are sprinkled throughout the World of Disney! Be sure to watch for sketches that come to life as if someone is drawing it right before your eyes on the walls! The giant Mickey Mouse ears hat serves as the hub of the new Mickey Mouse Club line. The projections on the hat bring back the nostalgia and history of the Mickey Mouse Club to shoppers as they look for their perfect outfit. It is one of three feature “stages” where there are projections to delight shoppers and mesmerize mouseketeers young and old. Also listen closely to the music in each section of the store that adds to the magical shopping experience!
Be sure to stop by the newly reimagined World of Disney in Downtown Disney for a dynamic shopping experience like never before! You don’t need a ticket into the parks because it’s in Downtown Disney. Also check out Salt & Straw Ice Cream Parlor. I’ve been to the LA location and they have such unique and delicious ice cream flavors! While you’re at Downtown Disney, check out all the other awesome stops and restaurants (Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB and The VOID, Splitzville Luxury Lanes, Disney Home, The Dress Shop.). Ballast Point and Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes will be coming soon for even more dining options!
Thank you Disneyland for allowing me to come see the new World of Disney before it opened to the public. I have to go back so I can buy more things!