Hello Kitty is Coming to Universal Orlando and Hollywood
Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, today announced a partnership with Universal Parks and Resorts
to develop interactive Sanrio retail shops at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Universal already owns the theme park rights to Hello Kitty and related characters in their native Japan, where a section of the Universal Wonderland area of Universal Studios Japan is devoted to Hello Kitty.
From Sanrio's press release:
The shops will mark Hello Kitty's official retail debut at theme parks in North America and offer specialty merchandise including stationery, home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. The majority of merchandise will be devoted to Hello Kitty; Sanrio properties Chococat, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Purin and Keroppi will also have a presence. Hello Kitty confectionery and specialty co-branded Hello Kitty Universal park-exclusive products will also be available.
The Hello Kitty stores at Universal Studios will also offer enhanced interactive retail experiences. Customers can shop for custom designed merchandise, enjoy photo opportunities with Sanrio properties, create souvenir versions of Hello Kitty's signature bow, and even meet Hello Kitty herself.
Hello Kitty merchandise is ubiquitous, and Sanrio stores are not uncommon in the United States. (There's one in the Orlando International Airport, pictured above.) But brands such as American Girl have shown that retail stores can become attraction experiences with appeal beyond simply offering another place to buy branded merchandise.
There was no word in Sanrio's announcement about where in the parks or resorts the stores would be located. But Universal has pulled a permit for major interior renovations in the Lucy: A Tribute location in Universal Studios Florida, making that perhaps the most likely in-park location for the Hello Kitty store, if it is to be located in one of the parks and not in CityWalk.
Great NEWS everyone! :) Can't wait!!!
I wonder if that has any effect on the Japan store in Epcot where theres a lot of Hello Kitty items?
It shouldn't. That stores sells plenty of Transformers toys, and Universal has a ride for that, too. If anything, if this draws more Hello Kitty fans to Orlando, and they find their way to Disney (likely), then the Mitsukoshi store might even see its sales increase thanks to this move by Universal. Rising tide lifts all boats, and such.
I have the feeling Toon Lagoon is going to get an update soon....
The agreement doesn't include rides and attractions. A bit disappointing. My kid would love to go on a Hello Kitty adventure ride. Japan has a Hello Kitty theme park in the southern part of the country, very far from Universal and Disney. Anyways, they said Hello Kitty isn't a cat, but a little girl. That was a weird pronouncement.
It would be nice if they eventually get some sort of ride or attraction beyond the store. I think Universal needs more things for young/short children. I haven't taken my kids yet because they can't go on many rides. The minimum height requirement is 40" for most of the rides it seems like. I think my youngest may be 10 years old before she gets over 40"......
I hope that the retail store is placed somewhere in CityWalk. Lucy-A Tribute is located in the Hollywood section. I Love Lucy is a Hollywood property. Hello Kitty is Japanese. 'Nuff said.
Universal is building a critical mass. Meanwhile Disney coasts on the critical mass that Walt built.
Universal can do only what Sanrio agrees to.
Popeye gets a 9 rating from themeparkinsider fans and Dudley Do Right gets an 8 rating from themeparkinsiderfans.
Yeah, I understand (I'm under a different IP address for the time being). Just trying to make a little joke (albeit a bad one) about how you said you were happy with how "aggressive" Universal is being and yet you don't want them to get rid of Toon Lagoon, which would be an aggressive move.
I haven't been on the Disaster attraction yet, but I'll be sure to check it out next time in Orlando. Thanks for the tip.
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