Disney Store: “The Happiest Place on Earth”

December 23, 2023

The Disney Store is a chain of specialty stores selling only Disney-related items.

There are 21 Disney Store locations in the United States.

The first Disney Store opened in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, on March 28, 1987. By 1994, new Disney Stores had opened in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and New York City.

In 1994, the first Walt Disney Gallery opened in California and was operated by Disney Store. 

In March 2002, the Disney chain split into two types of stores, Disney Play and Disney Kids at Home. The Disney Play offered Disney character toys, dolls and costumes aimed at young children; Disney Kids at Home targeted parents looking to purchase home furnishings, clothing and bed & bath products for their children.

Although the Disney Stores maintained strong sales, the rising costs of doing business, and the loss of key executives led the Walt Disney Company to convert the Disney Stores into a licensed operation. In 2004 most North American stores were sold and licensed to The Children’s Place.

The Children’s Place planned to revitalize the Disney Store brand by expanding the number of stores, and reducing initial selling prices. The Children’s Place also opened Disney outlet stores, offering the products at reduced prices versus mall stores.

In 2007, a store website made its appearance.

In 2008, Hoop Retail, The Children’s Place subsidiary operating the Disney Stores, sold the brand back to The Walt Disney Company.

On October 4, 2019, Disney opened 25 “shop-within-shops” inside Target stores.

In early 2021, Disney announced that it would close at least 155 Disney Store locations in North America and focus more on its e-commerce operations. 

Gloria Sauvé

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