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Friday, November 2, 2018

the all-new world of disney: first thoughts


it looks like tinkerkait.com's new theme wasn't the only makeover that took place this week.






For years, #wod had been one of the most cherished parts of Downtown Disney.  Unsurprisingly, it survived the dramatic cuts and changes made to the downtown entertainment and shopping district when it made the transition to Disney Springs.  However, like Walt once said, "Disney(land) will never be complete.  It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."  As Disney Springs changed, the inevitable became apparent: If we were going to keep World of Disney, it would have to go through an extensive makeover to keep the store current and consistent with the newly visioned Disney Springs brand.

So for about a year, World of Disney underwent construction.  On Saturday, October 27, the newly re-imagined World of Disney store in Disney Springs opened its doors to guests.  Of course it came with fanfare, and even my girl Tink was in attendance.




I'll be the first (well, maybe not first) to admit that I was ready to crucify the new design.  Disney Park fans tend to be adamant on preserving the "magic."  When I say "magic" here, I'm referring to a very specific architectural and design era of Walt Disney World Resort that largely encompassed the 90s and early 2000s.  Rooted in nostalgia, most Disney Parks fans today long to preserve the rides, stores, restaurants, and all-around ambiance of this time period, where the Disney Parks were at peak popularity.  Up and until last year, World of Disney remained untouched since it's opening day in 1996.  There were whimsical characters everywhere, each room was immersed in a different "theme," and in general, it just screamed "1996 Disney Aesthetic."  It's easy to understand why the Disney Park fan community didn't want to see it change.  

The community is mostly online now, and run by millennials who largely associate this store with their childhood trips to Disney.  After all: it hadn't changed since 1996.  Shamefully, I have to admit that I fully empathize with the majority of the community.  In 2010, Downtown Disney was our first stop on our first family Disney vacation.  WoD was my first experience in the immersive magic of Walt Disney World, and it remained a favorite spot throughout multiple family vacations and my Disney College Program.  I could feel change coming when Disney Springs first announced a renovation, but I didn't want to see WoD go.   The announced makeover seemed like a compromise paved with good intentions: keep the magic, make it current.

But is the 2018 interpretation of "magic" so far off from the 1996 interpretation that WoD may as well have been demolished?

While I was (unfortunately) in Manhattan this weekend, and will be until our vacation begins Thanksgiving week, The DIS has uploaded a ton of amazing photographs that capture well enough what the new World of Disney store has to offer.  Let's take a look together.

From hereonin, all photographs used in this post are property of {Telecashter and The DIS}.

023_world-of-disney-reimagined
Property of The DIS

The new signage made its debut earlier, and at first, I was indifferent to it.  Now that the full "vision" of the newly re-imagined WoD has been revealed, I understand it, and I'm able to appreciate it.  

Essentially, the new WoD pays homage to the history of the Walt Disney Animation Studios.  There are paint jars that twinkle with pixie dust and pencil sketches everywhere.  Take a look at this stunning display:

015_world-of-disney-reimagined
Property of The Dis

^ I REALLY adore that.  From what I've seen, it's the highlight of the design of this store.  It's subtle, but there's something really humbling about the homage to Disney's "Nine Old Men."  Maybe it's the Disney historian or hand-drawn animation advocate inside of me, but this little detail seems perfect.

This picture, which depicts the {Nine Old Men of Disney's animation studios}, got me teary eyed:

001_world-of-disney-reimagined
Property of The Dis

On the floor, it looks like the rooms have been demolished in favor of a more open, easy-to-access warehouse concept design.  I support it.  It looks like this will ease up the crowded walkways that made shopping at WoD frustrating.  To quote TheTimTracker, who's review of the new WoD can be found {here}, "this World of Disney is GIGANTIC.  So much space in here now."

Aside from the "Nine Old Men" theme, it looks like the majority of the "theming" in WoD is used to describe where exactly everything else.  Example: bright neon signs that says "cute," "adorable," and "cuddly" by the stuffed animals.

008_world-of-disney-reimagined
Property of The Dis
wod-ear-hat-display_optimized
Property of The Dis

Look at all those rose gold ears!


wod-mickey-ear-hat-display_optimized
Property of The Dis
Understandably, there's a very large Mickey Mouse themed display in the new store... pushing Mickey's 90th Birthday merch like no tomorrow.  Happy birthday, boss.

My personal favorite display, for obvious reasons, can be found here:

005_world-of-disney-reimagined
Property of The Dis

That's about as far as we need to go for this post.

First things first: I really enjoy that in this new concept, the merchandise is incorporated into the theming.  The displays are as much a part of the design as the neon signs and artwork are.  I also enjoy the open-floor concept, as opposed to rooms.  It looks like it will certainly ease traffic flow and make WoD seem a little less claustrophobic.  They're making good use of the space they have, and I really appreciate it.

I won't lie: theming wise, it reminds me a lot of the Marketplace Co-Op that opened its doors in the Disney Springs Marketplace in 2015, which also takes on a more minimalist approach to "magic."  At this point, I think it's safe to say that the days of immersive Disney theming at Disney Springs are gone.  It's just not part of the direction that the downtown entertainment complex wants to go in.  Diehard Disney Parks fans are probably not a fan of this reveal, and for good reason.  It's going to take a lot of adjusting for a lot of people who are used to the nostalgic magic that World of Disney utilized.  However-- attachment to the old WoD aside, I think everyone will at least appreciate the tasteful nod to Disney's "Nine Old Men" that the new store brings.  

I really like what I've seen of the new World of Disney-- but I also have a very minimal attachment to the old WoD, and I've already loved the direction Disney Springs is taking!  I appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the redesign and I can't wait to see what the store is like in person when I visit this month.

Of course, that's just my opinion!  I would absolutely love to hear what you guys think of the newly re-imagined World of Disney store in Disney Springs.  Do you guys love the change, or do you a part of the #OldWoDSquad?  Let me know in the comments down below and maybe I'll feature you next week.  As always-- I'm all Ears.

cheers,

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