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When you think of Disney in Times Square, NYC. the company wants you to think of this

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and this

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and this

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But what a large portion of the 1.4 million tourists that pass through Times Square see every week is this

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and this

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It’s not a good situation. A half-decade or so ago in New York, there was just an occasional Mickey Mouse hanging out near the ABC studios trying not to look bored, a few years ago Elmo joined in the fun, but now there’s dozens of these costumed characters (often many duplicates of the same characters) just hanging out hoping that someone will give them a tip after posing for a picture with them.

This weekend New Yorkers, and a couple thousand lucky tourists, are in for a special Disney treat – Disney Parks is bringing a unique interactive experience to Times Square with a brand-new augmented reality play space. Guests will be able to engage live on screen with Disney characters on the 6-story tall, state-of-the-art digital display above the Disney Store.

Each person who participates has the chance to interact with a wide variety of characters doing an array of activities. For example, a dance-off with Donald or a duel with Captain Hook. Once the interaction is complete, the participant poses for a photo which is sent to them immediately via email.

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: