Changes are coming to World of Disney stores in Anaheim, Orlando
Disney's flagship merchandise locations at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs and Disneyland's Downtown Disney are getting remodeled.
Disney announced today that it has redesigned and soon will begin to refurbish these retail locations. The construction will begin in mid-February, though Disney is planning to do the work in phases so that the stores will remain open to shoppers.
"When the interior redesign work is completed, guests will discover the products they love from Disney Parks in a dynamic and distinctly Disney retail environment," Disney said in a statement.
In addition to the changes at the World of Disney stores, which will continue through 2018, Disney is opening a Disney Home store next month in the former D-Street location at Disneyland's Downtown Disney. February also is the month when Disney is slated to begin work on the transformation of the western side of the resort, starting with building a new parking structure on the Pinocchio lot and eventually resulting in the construction of a fourth hotel at the Disneyland Resort, which will lead to the closure of several locations on the western end of Downtown Disney, including the AMC movie theaters, Earl of Sandwich, the ESPN Zone, and Rainforest Cafe.
To help balance the loss of those locations, Disney soon will open a Splitsville restaurant and bowling lanes on the former House of Blues site at Downtown Disney and also has announced plans for a Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer restaurant where Build-A-Bear has been.
In Florida, this is just the latest in the ongoing changes and expansions in Walt Disney World's shopping and dining district. Anyone who hasn't visited Disney World in a few years likely would be shocked at all the new stores and restaurants in what was formerly also known as Downtown Disney and is now Disney Springs. Heck, anyone who hasn't visited in just a month or so will find something new, with three new restaurants opening last week.
Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney has so much construction going on. Hold off a visit until 2019 if you can. I would love to see the final result, but this means 2022 when the new luxury resort opens.
Construction of a new hotel in that location is proof that they overplayed their hand with the City of Anaheim and lost big. Downtown Disney in Anaheim is going in a direction that saddens me deeply. The loss of Earl of Sandwich which was an incredible eatery and a decent cost, Build-a-Bear where we've had several amazing family memories including our daughter's birthday party, Ridemakerz, which is closing before our son has the chance to discover building his own car, etc. All to shoehorn a new hotel and sell more beer. The writing is on the wall as to the desired demographic and Downtown Disney. Families with young children are out.
I fear the bland modern look of the Disney Stores is coming to World of Disney. A Disney Store should be fanciful, not hip and modern. AMC theaters? Who goes to Disneyland to watch a movie? It's ok in WDW, where people are spending a week's vacation and need something different to do one night, but not in Disneyland. Rainforest Cafe was unique but maybe getting dated. Earl? People like it but personally I'm not impressed, I think Togo's is better.
Well on the "who goes to Disneyland to watch movies," keep in mind, something to do when it rains. Plus, Downtown Disney attracts locals as much as tourists who don't go to the parks, just a night out somewhere fun.
Spending two hours in a cozy, air-conditioned movie theater is a GREAT way to enjoy a FULL day in a theme park. Nobody bats an eye at the idea of leaving the parks mid-day to go back to the hotel for a swim and a nap. If you aren't staying on property and don't want to waste the time it takes to travel all the way back to where you are staying for pool time, a couple of hours off your feet in a movie theater is a great idea.