Disney Store

Disney Stores Worldwide
Industry Retail
Founded 1987
Headquarters Pasadena, California
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Elissa Margolis, SVP and General Manager
Parent Disney Consumer Products
(The Walt Disney Company)
Website disneystore.com

Disney Store is an international chain of specialty stores selling only Disney related items, many of them exclusive. Disney Store is a business unit of Disney Consumer Products.


The first Disney Store opened in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California on March 28, 1987.[ChWDC 1] In April 1990, the 50th location was opened in the Montclair Plaza, Montclair, California, along with the first Mickey's Kitchen fast food restaurant with 25,000 opening day visitors with out any promotions.[ChWDC 2][1]

The first overseas Disney Store opened in Oxford Circus, London, England in November 1990.[ChWDC 3] The first Japanese location opened in 1992[2] as did the first Australian store.[3] In 1992, Disney Dollars were available at Disney Stores.[ChWDC 4]

The second Mickey's Kitchen opened in May 1991 in Schaumburg, Illinois.[4] In March 1992, Disney Stores closed the two Mickey's Kitchen as the restaurants were only breaking even while well received by the customers as the company wanted to focus on overseas expansions.[4]

Duplicating the Disneyland attraction and merchandise location, the first Walt Disney Gallery opened outside of the park within the Disney Store, Main Place Santa Ana mall in California on November 4, 1994.[ChWDC 5] A Disney Store location opened next to the El Capitan Theatre in its building in 1998.[5]

In September 2000, Disney Store redesign two stores as prototypes in Costa Mesa and Cherry Hill, N.J. with more space with a high-tech look where theme park tickets could be bought via computers stations. When Disney indicated that this new model would be rolled out to 350 stores, they also indicated the closure of 100 locations worldwide. Analyst had indicated that Disney had over build stores. By April 2001, 20 stores were redone in the high tech style when a new president, Peter Whitford, was hired.[6]

Store Numbers
Year Licensed Disney Owned
1987 N/A 1
1990 N/A 50[1]
1992 N/A 126
1997 N/A 749[7]
2001 N/A 700[2]
2004 313[8]
2008 220[9]

In late 2002, two new prototypes were rolled out in Canoga Park and Torrance. In March 2002, Disney Stores Worldwide announced that the chain would be split into two types of stores, Disney Play and Disney Kids at Home while also continuing closing stores to reach 350 by 2005. The Disney Play stores would stock Disney character toys, plush dolls and costumes aimed at young children, while Disney Kids at Home targeted parents looking to purchase home furnishings, clothing and bed & bath products for their children. Some were expected to be a hybrid of both concepts. This roll out of the two store brands was expected to take 3 years.[6] On March 31, 2003, its 16 Australian locations closed.[3]

Licensed out North American and Japanese operations

Even though the Disney Stores maintained strong sales, mounting cost of sales and operation and the loss of key executives who had driven the Disney Stores to success led The Walt Disney Company to convert the Disney Stores into a licensed operation. The Japanese stores were sold to The Oriental Land Company in 2002,[2] while most North American stores were sold and licensed in November 2004 to The Children's Place.[8] The Walt Disney Company decided to keep the stores in Europe, along with the store in Manhattan, which was converted into a World of Disney store run by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 2004.[10]

The Children's Place intended to reinvigorate the Disney Store brand in the United States by expanding the number of stores, reducing initial selling prices. Previously, Disney Stores have been well known for inflated initial prices, which would be marked down substantially after just a few weeks. Also, The Children's Place opened Disney outlet stores, which have lower operating costs and typically have a high profit margin even though they have reduced prices versus mall stores. However, Disney's strict licensing agreement, which included the burden of being required to invest significantly in store remodels, contributed to the eventual decision by The Children's Place to exit the business.[11]

On June 22, 2005, the Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store opened up in the El Capitan Building on the ground floor replacing a Disney Store.[5][12]

Returned North American and Japanese operations

The Times Square store.

Hoop Retail, the Children's Place subsidiary operating the Disney Stores, announced on March 20, 2008 that they were in talks to sell the Disney Store brand back to The Walt Disney Company. Hoop Retail filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.[13] On May 1, 2008, 231 Disney Stores in North America once again became the property of Disney, operating under the Disney Consumer Products arm.[9]

Furthermore, Disney Announced in November 2009 that they were planning a massive "re-launching" and re-branding of all Disney Store locations, spearheaded by Apple's Steve Jobs, who pioneered the Apple Retail Store concept.[14] The new store look and feel was designed by New York-based design firm Pompei A.D.[15] With shuttering of the Disney Parks and Resorts run World of Disney Fifth Avenue New York City store in January 2010 due to high rent, a new design Disney Store replaced at 1540 Broadway becoming the flagship store when it opened late in the year capping off a 20 store opening year.[16]

The Oriental Land Company announced an agreement that it would sell its Japanese Disney Stores back to The Walt Disney Company. Disney took over beginning on March 31, 2010, Retail Networks Co., Ltd., Oriental Land Company subsidiary owning the Disney Stores in Japan.[17]

Ireland's first store opened on May 18, 2011.[18]

In early September 2012, the first Disney Baby Store opened in Americana at Brand, Glendale, California with an Operation Shower military mom baby shower on a Wednesday and a Grand Opening on Saturday.[19] On September 21, Disney announced a partnership with J.C. Penney to open a Disney department with 750-to-1,100 square foot at about 520 Penney locations.[20] On October 25, 2013, Disney announced that the first Disney Store in Shanghai, China would open in 2015. The new store will be the largest Disney Store in the world at 53,000 square feet.[21]


Disney Store in Toronto Eaton Centre
Disney Store in Vaughan Mills
Country Opened locations
US 03/1987
UK 11/1990
Japan 1992
Hong Kong 10/1994[22]
China 2015

Disney Stores are located in malls and commercial areas in the United States, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia and Japan. A small number of stores were opened in Hong Kong however, the Australian stores were closed in 2003, and the only Disney Store in Hong Kong at this time is located in the Hong Kong International Airport, which was renamed The Magic of Hong Kong Disneyland and managed by Hong Kong International Theme Parks. Disney also operated approximately 15 smaller-scale locations in airports throughout the United States, which were all shuttered in the early 2000s.

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, Disney Stores are owned by The Walt Disney Company. However, Japanese Disney Stores were owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company, the company that owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, but have now been bought back by The Walt Disney Company. From November 21, 2004 until May 1, 2008, Disney Stores in the United States and Canada were owned and operated by Hoop Retail Stores, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Children's Place, LLC. Oriental Land operates Disney Stores under a long-term license agreement with The Walt Disney Company, as did The Children's Place. In the United Kingdom and Europe, Disney operates approximately 30 locations.

Online presence

Entrance to Disney Store headquarters in Pasadena

Online retail at The Walt Disney Company began on November 19, 1996 with the launch of The Disney Store Online. At the time, the business was under the Disney Online business unit.[ChWDC 6]

In 1998, the company purchased Infoseek, and that purchase included Starwave. With that purchase there were now many other online properties under Disney Online including Disney.com, DisneyStore.com, MrShowbiz.com, Family.com, Movies.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, NASCAR.com, NHL.com, etc. This led to a new business named Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG) which grouped all internet sites under one business unit. In 1999, the business was changed from BVIG to Go.com and was then spun that off as a tracking stock. Also in 1999 the DisneyStore.com business was moved under a business named Disney Direct Marketing (DDM). DDM was a business entity under the company's Disney Consumer Products (DCP) division and ran the Disney Catalog. At the same time all of this was happening, the team that ran the DisneyStore.com site also built and launched ESPNStore.com, NASCARStore.com, DisneyTickets.com and DisneyAuctions.com.

Disney Auctions was created in October 2000 with a partnership between The Walt Disney Company and eBay. Items such as signs and ride vehicles from Disneyland and Walt Disney World were commonly sold as well as costume pieces and props from previously released movies from Walt Disney Studios.

In 2001, DDM was moved directly under the control of The Disney Stores business. The sale of The Disney Stores to The Children's Place didn't include the sale of DDM but did include the sale of the DisneyStore.com domain name, so in 2004 DisneyStore.com was changed to DisneyDirect.com.

In 2006, a complete rebranding was done. Disney Direct Marketing, Inc. was changed to Disney Shopping, Inc. (DSI), the domain was changed from DisneyDirect.com to DisneyShopping.com and the Disney Catalog business was shut down. In fall of 2006, Disney ended their partnership with eBay and moved the Disney Auctions website under its own banner.

In 2008, after the repurchase of the Disney Store business from The Children's Place, the domain was changed back to DisneyStore.com. In 2009, DisneyAuctions.com was completely shut down. In 2010, DSI was moved back under the control of the newly reacquired Disney Store business and a complete redesign of the site was launched. Also in 2010, the Disneystore.co.uk site was completely rebuilt on the same platform as the US site. The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and in 2011, MarvelStore.com was relaunched using the same technology as the Disney Store website. A new online store (DisneyStore.fr) for the French market was launched and a new store (DisneyStore.de) for the German market was launched. Also in 2011, a Mobile Web version of the Disneystore.com was launched as well as an iPhone app and an iPad app.

A special Disney World vintage apparel line called "YesterEars" was available at the online store for a limited time in August 2016. YesterEars products pay homage to classic park attractions and destinations and is named after the former Downtown Disney Pleasure Island shop. Additional products would be announced in September.[23]


  1. 1 2 Stevenson, Richard W. (May 4, 1990). "Disney Stores: Magic in Retail?". New York Times. pp. D1,D18. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Disney to Sell Its Retail Stores in Japan". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. September 11, 2001. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Disney Store closing its doors". Australasian Business Intelligence. Inside Retailing - ABIX via COMTEX. October 15, 2002. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Vaughan, Vicki (March 28, 1992). "Disney Restaurants To Close After Lackluster Performance". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store". D23: Disney A to Z. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  6. 1 2 Verrier, Richard (March 2, 2002). "Disney Stores to Get Redesign". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  7. Holson, Laura M. (August 30, 2004). "A Nike Veteran Adds Some Swoosh to Disney's Tired Mouse". Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Disney buys back store chain from Children's Place". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. May 2, 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  9. 1 2 Chmielewski, Dawn C. (September 6, 2011). "Head of Disney Consumer Products group steps down". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  10. McGeehan, Patrick (September 23, 2009). "For Disney, the Magic on Fifth Avenue Ends". New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  11. Daniel, Robert (March 27, 2008). "Children's Place's Disney Store unit files Chapter 11". MarketWatch. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  12. "Hollywood's Coolest New "Hot Spot"" (Press release). Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. June 22, 2005. Archived from the original on December 14, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  13. "Disney takes back Disney Stores from Children's Place". USA Today. AP. May 1, 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  14. Barnes, Brooks (October 13, 2009). "Disney's Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  15. Loewe, Erin (March 21, 2011). "Modern magic". DDI. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  16. Pasquarelli, Adrianne (January 5, 2010). "New mouse house for Times Square". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  17. "Company Overview of Retail Networks Co., Ltd.". Company Profiles. Business Week. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  18. "Disney store for Dublin". The Mirror. London, England. March 23, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  19. Cox, Josh (September 6, 2012). "Disney Baby debuts with a military baby shower". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  20. "Disney Shops Headed for J.C. Penney". Women’s Wear Daily. September 19, 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  21. "World's Largest Disney Store Set For Shanghai". The Hollywood Reporter. October 25, 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  22. "Disney Retail Operations Expanded To Hong Kong". Orlando Sentinel. October 25, 1994. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  23. Dineen, Caitlin (August 18, 2016). "Disney launches vintage 'YesterEars' merchandise line". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  1. "1987". Retrieved 26 November 2012. source:
    *Prince of the Magic Kingdom, by Joe Flower, 1991.
    *Work in Progress, by Michael Eisner, 1998. Page 243.
  2. "1987". Retrieved 26 November 2012. source:
    Business Week, June 25, 1990, Volume 52. Page 54.
  3. "1987". Retrieved 26 November 2012. source:
    *Work in Progress, by Michael Eisner, 1998. Page 246.
    *The New Internationalist, December 1998, Number 308. Page 19.
  4. "1992". Retrieved October 13, 2015. source:
    Disney Magazine, Summer 1997. Page 68.
  5. "End of 1994". Retrieved March 27, 2015.
    *The Disney Channel Magazine, October/November 1994.
    *Eisner, Michael. Work in Progress. (1998). Page 343.
    * Disney A to Z - The Updated Official Encyclopedia, by Dave Smith, 1998. Page 593.
  6. "July-December 1996". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
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