Disney Store: New Look, Same Magic

by Emily Owens Pickle
Guest Blogger


In 2010, Disney launched the new face of Disney Store. Disney Store was launched in 1987 and fall 2011 starts a 25-year anniversary kick-off. One of the redesigned locations opened last week near my home. While running some errands last week, my family and I decided to check out this new and improved Disney Store.

The first thing that catches your eye is a large gazebo placed in the middle of the store. It is lit in bright purple (comment below if you know why designers *most likely* chose this significant color to Disney history) and this structure draws you right into the heart of the shop.

Movie clips play continuously underneath the gazebo and there is a coloring station.


The path through the store is very dark with glittering detail and is lined with beautifully designed ‘trees’. The white trees, which are flat and have projectors mounted above on both sides, fade between projected images of a ‘normal’ tree, with leaves and bark, to photos of children dressed as Disney characters and the characters themselves.

The effect is wonderful!



The theme of the store (right now) is ‘i am’. It is a great melding of Disney characters and your child’s imagination. This is very different from a one-way message that simply has items for sale from your favorite movies. Like the parks, the ambiance of the store was surprisingly immersive and touching.



A recurring criticism I have heard about Disney experiences and merchandise, particularly in the Magic Kingdom, is an over-emphasis on everything princess, pink, and glittery. At the entrance, the store was halved by a main aisle. On the left was what most would term ‘girly’ merchandise. There was a large castle display that had a three-way mini mirror inside and the far wall was lined with almost every female Disney character costuming imaginable.



The right side had many wonderful boys’ costumes as well! Lining the far wall of the right side were pirate costumes, Peter Pan apparel and an entire Cars display complete with Lightning McQueen jumpsuits.



As you moved toward the back of the store, there are many toy displays and fun souvenir items for sale.




There was an adorable wall of jammies in all characters and sizes.


The part I most enjoyed about this store was classic Disney Imagineering: magic in the detail. Along the topmost part of the wall lining the entire store, there is a running monochrome mural with many familiar Disney landmarks and figures.



About every thirty seconds special equipment ‘hidden’ in the ceiling project fun images on the mural and some of these were very special ” and surprising!

I was curious about the quality and uniqueness of the merchandise; would the store offer something different, especially when located so close to the Disney World property? I have spent a fair amount of time in the Disney Parks and can say that I found some very unique items in this shop.


Prominently displayed was the brand-new Disney Princess Designer Doll. Each doll is portrayed in classic design with a new fashionable twist. Other items part of this line included make-up and china.

If you are at home feeling nostalgic, I think the Disney Store is a wonderful place to spend some time scratching your Disney-itch. Confession: you saw a few paragraphs above I said this store was located “so close to the Disney World property” — we recently moved to the Orlando area. And though I thought the re-design of the store was great, it is really to be viewed through the eyes of the child.


Last week when discussing our weekend plans my 4-year-old asked if we could visit the Disney Store.

Yep — you can’t get a better endorsement than that. Enjoy!

Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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14 Replies to “Disney Store: New Look, Same Magic”


    Purple was Walt Disney’s favorite color!
    I love the idea of bringing in some of the luxury Disney items that you find on property … great idea! About adult merchandise: I think they are trying to make a swing towards that with the new princess collection, which includes make-up, but I agree. It would be nice to see some interesting adult merchandise. I am a huge fan of Disney art myself (lithos, a great idea).

    @Carol…I haven’t heard about the store opening but that is great! If you make it there early, we would love to hear about it.

    @Robert: during a second visit I noticed the tributes to Florida (eg, Buzz Lightyear watching the Space Shuttle launch…it was too cool) — great catch and nice to know it’s changed up by city!

    Thanks for the comments everyone 🙂

  2. I appreciate the pictures and I think the store looks beautiful. I live in Ontario, Canada and here there is only one Disney store within a half hour of where I live. I miss the magic when I’m not in the World.

  3. My family still love going to the Disney Store but after my last visit I did notice something wrong. It seemed like the assorment of clothing has been reducing somewhat. Reading these posts helped me realize that the adult clothing is mostly non-exsistant! It’s been relegated to a display table. Also, Disney is seriously missing out on the tween market. My kids are 10 & 11 and two years ago we would buy clothes and toys constantly. Now, I can’t get them to look at much of anything….

    The new pics look incredible and remind me of our visits to Disney World. I am so eager for them to come to the South Suburbs of Chicago.

  4. I too miss the adult items at the Disney store. I’d like to see them come back with the embroidered button down shirts with the characters on them. Also some adult jewelry would be nice.

  5. I have to say that I am missing the items that were geared towards adults at TDS. The only thing left seems to be coffee mugs and Tshirts, and honestly, I have more than enough of those. The only time I go to TDS anymore is to preorder a movie when they are doing lithos with it–the walls of my house are covered in them.

  6. TY for the preview! I am headed to the same store on Monday, we live in Kissimmee! By any chance, were you there first thing in the morning when the store opened? I hear they do something ‘magical’ at that time.

  7. I agree that the Disney Store is not what it used to be. We loved to go there to see new collectible items and the Disney lenox collections. Then they got rid of all of that and brought in really expensive toys and kids clothes. I never buy anything there unless it is clearance now. Target and Walmart have much cheaper Disney toys and clothes. They need to sell more adult things…bring in the Dooney and Bourke lines, lenox, swarovski, adult jewelry, etc…and bring back the Disney customer service! The people who work there now are so unfriendly! I miss the days of chatting with castmembers about Disney etc..half arent even Disney fans!

  8. Emily replies: I agree the DS was not up to Disney standards for quite a few years. But as Deb mentioned above, it has been reclaimed and redesigned–try it out! Would love to hear back with your honest opinion. Thanks for reading!

  9. In response to the question regarding the color purple, does it represent Disney’s imagination in relation to figment? I am curious of what the color means in Disney history. Thanks for the help.

  10. The purple is a tribute to the Epcot character of Figment, as the stores are considered “imagination parks.” The mural skyline you mention is unique to each location; our new Cincinnati store has several Cincy landmarks worked into the Disney imagery.
    As for the comments about adult merchandise; the trouble with the adult merchandise has always been that it rarely sells, even when it is stocked in different assortments. The new stores do sell adult tees, mugs, snowglobes, vinylmation, etc. What is it you don’t see there?

  11. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again and again. The downfall of The Disney Store from what it once was is due to one reason only, they quit catering to adults.

    They used to have a great supply of adult clothing and such, and then they decided to become a toy store. Why would people pay full price for items at TDS when they could get the same thing for less money at a store like Wal-Mart?

    I’m not sure who is running TDS, but they really need to get back into the business of adult merchandise too. I used to spend a lot of money there, emphasis on the “USED TO”.

  12. I haven’t set foot inside a Disney store in years. It used to be a place my wife and I frequented on our date nights, because the merchandise was of such high quality and there was always something new to discover. As time passed the quality/variety diminished and eventually Disney sold the Disney store franchise to another company (affiliated with the Childrens Place, I believe). During that time, we stopped visiting the store. I’m not even sure how much influence/control Disney has over the design, layout or merchandising at Disney Store today. But I’m glad you like what you saw. Maybe I will peek inside and see for myself. But I’d rather just save myself for the real “magic”.

    Deb Koma replies: For what it’s worth, the Disney Company bought the Disney Stores back from the Children’s Place in 2008, so I guess they have total control over them now. This current “rebranding” and “relaunching” of the Disney Stores was announced in November 2009, and was led by Apple’s Steve Jobs, who pioneered the Apple Retail Store Concept.

  13. The Disney store near us closed a couple years ago. We always enjoyed going to the store to get that tiny bit of Disney magic while not at the parks. Wish one would come back to our town soon.