What do you get when “The Happiest Place in Manhattan” collides with the “City That Never Sleeps”? Answer: Disney Store Times Square. This flagship location, the largest in North America, offers the latest in exclusive Disney merchandise. Here you will find two-floors of toys, clothes, collectibles and more. Every detail of each item has been created with intention, offered in a store that was built the very same way. New York City Monthly learned a little bit more about the brand and its home in NYC from Jonathan Storey, VP, Store Experience and Jon Endicott VP, Store Design and Construction.
What are three similarities between Disney and New York City?
Three similarities that come to mind when I think of Disney and New York City are:
Magical – New York City is such a magical place. All the sights, sounds, people, cultures – it’s unlike any other city, which is what makes it so special.
Futuristic – When Walt described Disneyland he said, “Here you leave today – and visit the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” These words are very similar to describing New York City. It has so much history and yet it feels very futuristic at the same time.
Energy – The energy in New York City is undeniable, and that’s something you find at Disney as well. At Disney Store specifically, energy plays a huge role in our culture and how we engage with our Guests.
What’s an aspect of the store itself or an area to browse that you think is often overlooked?
If you’re visiting New York, you can’t miss our selection of city-specific merchandise. This special collection is something you can only find in our Times Square location, and it’s particularly special given the iconic nature of the city and our characters.
But my favorite thing about our Times Square Store is the unique opening ceremony that is special to this location. Every day, at every Disney Store around the country, we open our Store’s with a special ‘unlocking imagination’ ceremony. However, in our Time Square Store, the talented Cast Members sing and dance to a special song; it is very Broadway-esq! It is certainly worth making sure you are there nice and early to witness.
We categorize everything in our Stores by franchise or story instead of by product category. For example, in our Star Wars area, you can find everything from toys to pajamas to accessories and collectibles. Our franchise-first approach makes it easier for Guests to find what they’re looking for.
The Disney Store houses everything from two-feet tall Mickeys to Darth Vader masks. How do you find a balance for each Disney entity so nothing feels out of place and that visitors feel like there’s something for everyone?
There is never a shortage of incredible content powered by four amazing brands – Disney, Disney.Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel – and dozens of franchises. We like to say we have a high-class problem of trying to figure out how all of our stories and characters can live in the Store in ways that are true to their individual backgrounds and story lines.
It’s a collaborative process between several teams. These teams look at what product we have to o er, what stories we can tell with that product, and what is the best layout that will make it easy (and fun!) for our Guests to shop.
One of the qualities New York City is best known for is its fast-paced way of life; while the Disney brand is applauded for being the antithesis of that, almost a suspension from reality. When designing the Times Square store what architectural or decorative approaches were used to marry the two? Or, was it important that they stay separate?
It is very important that all of our Stores are a reflection of the Disney brand and heritage. Our mission statement is “Creating Magical Moments for Guests of All Ages,” so we do want our Guests to feel a mind shift when they enter our Store.
In addition, the local areas where are Stores are based are also important. We pay homage to the local environment by incorporating local landmarks into our murals on the walls. In New York you can see the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge.
There’s so much to take in throughout the store, do you suggest visitors find what they’re most drawn to and jump around or is the experience enhanced by following a particular path, start to finish and seeing it all?
One of the features of our Store is a blue Pixie Dust path, which winds its way from the front of the Store to the back (on both floors), helping people find their preferred destination. With that said, it’s truly up to the Guest how they prefer to explore our Store! There is so much to do, see and shop, our Guests are sure to be enchanted around every turn.