Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Disney Store Opens It's First Imagination Park in the Southeast!

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I know you recognize that logo.  It's the unmistakable logo for Disney's retail arm -- The Disney Store.  You may notice the logo looks a little different...that's because Disney is in the process of creating a whole new chain of retail stores across America called Imagination Park!

I, along with friends, had the privilege of attending a very special (and very magical) media night at their newest store here in Atlanta (the first one in the Southeast)!  It is conveniently located within Atlanta's Perimeter Mall, close to the food market and across from Starbucks.  (Win Win)  A great traffic location that should pull in families and adults alike.

From the outside, as you can see, it looks like a normal Disney Store, but step inside and you are immediately greeted with the Magic that can only be Disney.  This year, Disney is helping families create new memories, and  these new Imagination Park Disney stores play right into Disney's theme for 2011. 

Here are just a few ways that Disney is helping families create memories and Magic at their new Imagination Park stores:
  • Every morning, at random, a child will be chosen and given the store "key" (this isn't any ordinary key).  There will be a special ceremony to open the store and invite guests to "unlock the Magic."

    •  A special Disney "scent" will be used in the store.
    • The ATL Disney Imagination Park will have a special ATL Skyline showcased along its upper perimeter featuring Cinderella's Coach racing across the bridge of Piedmont Park, Ariel & Eric (her Prince) in a boat with the ATL skyline behind them, and Mickey & Minnie running into Atlanta's famous Fox Theater!
    • Magic Trees - 12' tall animated trees that have projections on them that will reflect the moods, seasons, and special events in the store!  (While we were there, the Villans "took over" the store!  They appeared on all the Magic Trees until Tinkerbell appeared to chase them away!)

    Disney's mission with their new Imagination Park stores is to deliver the "best 30 minutes of a child's day" through immersive experiences.  Three major elements, in each store, combine to help children achieve this new goal.  I loved visiting each one, but the new Ridemakerz custom car building experience was my favorite!

    The Disney*Pixar CARS-branded Ridemakerz custom car building experience is a smaller and scaled-down version of their huge shop at Downtown Disney.  Children, assisted by Cast Members, will use tools to assemble their own car(s), which they can then customize by choosing from a wide assortment of accessories.  Several different body styles are available - four (4) different Lightning McQueens, two (2) Sallys, and three (3) Maters.  (I may not have those numbers exactly right!)

    I knew how much fun this was because my own son made one of these at Downtown Disney, and this trip, I wanted a chance to do it myself!  Here are few pictures of the Ridemakerz area of Imagination Park:

    The two other interacting features of the new Disney store are the Disney Store Theater and Princess Castle with Magic Mirror.

    Children can find their way to the Disney Store Theater by following the blue path around the store.  The theater houses a huge video library of Disney film trailers, clips, videos, and classic animation.  It features a huge 12' screen, and families can actually choose what they want to watch (new Disney content will be uploaded on a regular basis).  Throughout the day, Disney will use the theater to host events such as the Imagination Parade, drawing workshops, and trivia contests!

    For girls, Disney has unveiled the new Princess Castle with Magic Mirror.  Inside the Princess Castle is a magic mirror that comes to life and tells the story of your favorite Princess when you wave their matching wand in front of it.  Each Disney Princess will appear and briefly tell their story through film clips.  Here's a neat tip I didn't know--each Princess voice was recorded exclusively for the Disney Store mirror!  (How cool is that?!)  ...and most of the voices were recorded by the original actresses!

    As for the rest of the Disney Store, it is pretty much the same as the stores you've visited before.  All your favorite merchandise is there -- plush, clothing, a small selection of housewares, and the ever-growing-in-popularity Vinylmations.  Here are a few shots from around the store.  (I hope to have the rest up on my flickr page soon.)

    One other interesting thing to note is that there is a Disney Junior section in the back of the store where younger-aged children can play.  A huge display can be crawled through and it also features knobs and buttons to makes sounds and wheels turn.  The whole display is done in the recognizable Disney Junior colors.

    To hear more about Disney's newest Imagination Park store, please stop by my friend Kelsey's blog, Rhymes with Delicious.  She did an excellent write up and tells you more about the store and her experience there.  She was also kind enough to lend me some of her FABULOUS photos!  (Thank you Kelsey!)

    If you are in the Atlanta area, stop by Perimeter Mall and visit the new Disney Imagination Park store.  While you are there, you may even recognize a few familiar faces--several of the Cast Members working there are from the Mall of Georgia and North Point stores!

    Here's an added bonus:  With each new store opening in 2011, Disney Store will donate 10% of the first day's sales to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the United States. What a great way to carry on the creating memories theme for this year!

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