We’ve been anticipating for years that the opening of the all-encompassing World of Disney would swallow up the requirement for several of Disney Village‘s original shopping destinations, clearing out units for new uses. With the new store well on its way to completion, we’ve got our first possibility for one of those new tenants: LEGO. Following the expected September opening for World of Disney, rumour has it that the current Hollywood Pictures boutique will be cleared out to make way for a LEGO store in the same unit in Winter 2013.
Numerous LEGO Stores can be found across the United States, with a more limited scattering of seven in the UK, nine in Germany and one in Denmark. The two of note, of course, are the LEGO Imagination Center stores in Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Florida. These larger-format stores are decorated with Disney-themed brick models and offer special activities alongside the sale of bricks and model kits. Hollywood Pictures, especially with its flat façade, might not allow for quite the same look as these stand-alone stores, but it is one of the larger spaces soon to become available in Disney Village.
One of the few dashes of Hollywood glamour at the Euro Disney Resort in 1992, this Festival Disney original (pictured below with its original marquee) became rather superfluous as long ago as 2002 with the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park. Its neon lights, colourful murals and art deco details provide a near identical experience to the Legends of Hollywood boutique inside Disney Studio 1.
Of the four shops in this row, Hollywood Pictures will be the most surplus to requirements post-World of Disney. The Disney Gallery could still have a niche in collectibles and the recently-revamped Disney Fashion could certainly stay on as the hub for Disney-branded clothing. World of Toys, which sits between Hollywood Pictures and Café Mickey, will have an awkwardly-similar name and would be another likely candidate for replacement. Further back down the street, the generic Disney Store presents the biggest opportunity, big enough for a large restaurant or to be split into several units.
Helping to build upon these rumours are the recent refurbishments of LEGO’s two existing Disney locations. The Florida Imagination Center reopened following a revamp in April 2011, while a project to improve the Californian location (pictured in the concept art above) has just begun. Constructing a third store in Paris at roughly the same time next Winter would give LEGO a neat annual investment programme in Disney properties and a presence in France which it currently lacks.
This might seem a conflict of interest, given the LEGOLAND parks in Windsor, Billund and Germany, but these, along with the indoor Discovery Centres in Berlin, Duisberg and Manchester, are operated separately by Merlin Entertainments with LEGO retaining only a 30% stake. With numerous Disney ranges in recent years such as Toy Story, Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean, not to mention Star Wars, such a store would add welcome variety to the merchandise offer at Disneyland Paris.