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Largest Disney Store in North America opens in Times Square with a Celebrity Filled Event

I know we’ve had a lot of coverage of The Disney Store here on the blog recently. However, it’s a great location and a good showcase for the Walt Disney Company right on the modern day equivalent of Main Street USA, aka Times Square NYC. Therefore, I think it deserves some attention. Yesterday morning Mayor Bloomberg joined Disney Characters, celebrities and top Disney executives to “Unlock Imagination” and officially open the doors of largest Disney Store in North America.

There was a celebrity filled parade, a few performances, and, of course, a dedication ceremony. More details on that and photos are below the cut:

Jordin Sparks with The Disney Store president Jim Fielding

Today, Disney Store celebrated its worldwide high-tech makeover with an over-the-top grand opening of its premier Times Square location. Crowds of fans, proudly wearing Mickey ears, cheered on while a colorful parade of Disney’s most beloved characters, from Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Cinderella and Buzz Lightyear, arrived to join Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Walt Disney Co. President and CEO, Robert Iger, celebrities including Melissa Joan Hart of ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey;” Anika Noni Rose, voice of Princess Tiana from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog;” ESPN’s Jesse Palmer, award winning actress Brooke Sheilds, Broadway stars and top Disney executives as they unveiled the largest Disney Store in North America. Disney Store Times Square, the crown jewel of store openings this year, culminates the first phase of a worldwide transformation that solidifies the retailer’s global leadership in children’s retail and aims to deliver “the best 30 minutes of a child’s day.”

Anika Noni Rose holding a doll of her character Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog

“Disney Stores play a critical role in how millions around the world experience our brand,” said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. “The new store design allows kids and families to have a fun and immersive experience while shopping for their favorite Disney products. We couldn’t be more excited to open this new Disney Store worthy of New York and Times Square.”

Fans were wowed by Disney Store’s digital billboard soaring 68 feet above Times Square. Weighing over 1,000 pounds, stretching 2,250 square feet and featuring 2.3 million diodes, the bright beacon showcases new and exclusive Disney content 365 days a year. Disney Store’s digital billboard played an integral role in the celebration as exclusive clips from upcoming highly anticipated Disney holiday films “Tangled” and “TRON: Legacy” were shown to thousands of fans in Times Square during the grand opening “pre-show.”

ESPN host Jesse Palmer and some really cool TRON: Legacy merchandise

Robin Roberts from ABC’s Good Morning America hosted the opening ceremony, offering commentary as Disney characters magically arrived by horse-drawn carriages, classic cars and along trails of Pixie dust. The excitement built up as Roberts enlisted help from Mickey and Minnie Mouse to open the store. Cheers from the crowd rose as Mickey then called for reinforcements, triggering a dramatic entrance from Tinker Bell as she swooped in across Times Square’s iconic digital billboards followed by Buzz Lightyear jumping in to the rescue. Dazzling fireworks lit the sky as they applied the perfect blend of magic, innovation and technology to help Disney’s sweepstakes winners 9-year-old Aden Schwartz and his 5-year-old brother Trevor Schwartz from Boston, Massachusetts to “unlock magic” and turn the oversized key to officially open the store..

“The opening of the Disney Store in Times Square will help make the crossroads of the world an even more vibrant place to visit,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City’s relationship with Disney dates all the way back to 1928 when Mickey Mouse made his debut in Steamboat Willie at the Colony theater. From the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens where the ‘It’s A Small World’ attraction was first seen to Disney’s more recent investments in one of the City’s oldest and greatest theatrical landmarks, the New Amsterdam Theatre, Disney continues to bring magic to the millions of residents and visitors of New York City and jobs and activity to our economy.”

Guests flooded the store when doors opened at 1 p.m. to be among the first to experience the two-level, 20,000+ square foot store and its key attractions including:

-Two-story, 20-foot high Disney Princess Castle complete with its “talking” Magic Mirror

-Colorful Lucite trees springing up throughout the store, showcasing custom Disney content

-Disney·Pixar CARS-branded Ridemakerz custom car building experience

-Expansive 12-foot screen nestled in the 350-square foot Disney Store Theatre that allows guests to personalize their experience by selecting favorite Disney film clips, videos, classic animation and more

-Breath-taking skyline surrounding the store featuring New York signature landmarks

-Exclusive New York City inspired Disney merchandise found nowhere else in the world

Each feature brings to life the stories of Disney’s most popular characters for local New York residents as well as the estimated 26 million tourists that visit Times Square each year. To extend the magic to as many guests as possible each year, the Disney Store Times Square will be open 105 hours per week, 9 a.m. to midnight every day.

As one of the newly designed Disney Stores, a unique opening ceremony will take place every morning at the Times Square Disney Store: one lucky child will be chosen each day to take part in the opening ceremony and officially “unlock magic” at Disney Store with an oversized lock and key. The child also receives their very own replica key to take home as a keepsake to remind them of that special day. This opening ceremony is a Disney Store ritual which creates magic every morning.

About Disney Store
The Disney Store retail chain, which debuted in 1987, is owned and operated by Disney in North America, Europe, and Japan. Disney Store is an affiliate of Disney Consumer Products, the business segment that extends the Disney brand to merchandise. Disney Store carries high-quality products, including exclusive product lines that support and promote Disney’s key entertainment initiatives and characters. Disney Store opened its first store in Glendale, California and, in doing so, originated the themed retail business model. There are currently more than 200 Disney Store locations in North America; more than 40 Disney Store locations in Japan; more than 100 Disney Store locations in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, and online stores and Each Disney Store location offers a magical shopping experience that can only be delivered by Disney (NYSE: DIS), one of the world’s largest and most successful entertainment companies.

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