Disney Literally Taking Times Square
Reid Pillifant Jan. 5, 2010, 4:30 p.m.
Since the Giuliani administration kicked out the porn stores, the phrase “Disneyfication of Times Square” has been used over and over again by those that kind of liked the seediness, by critics of those people, by references to those people, by sociologists, etc. It’s been a popular topic.
The weird thing is that Disney doesn’t actually have a store there. But it will soon.
The company has finalized its plans–reported by Dana Rubinstein last month–to open one of its Apple-inspired stores at 1540 Broadway. Steve Jobs helped the company re-think their franchise last year, which explains all of this high-tech child bait, detailed by the Times back in October:
Theaters will allow children to watch film clips of their own selection, participate in karaoke contests or chat live with Disney Channel stars via satellite. Computer chips embedded in packaging will activate hidden features. Walk by a “magic mirror” while holding a Princess tiara, for instance, and Cinderella might appear and say something to you.
It’s your birthday? With the push of a button, eight 13-foot-tall Lucite trees will crackle with video-projected fireworks and sound. There will be a scent component; if a clip from Disney’s coming “A Christmas Carol” is playing in the theater, the whole store might suddenly be made to smell like a Christmas tree.
Being Disney, they’re considering calling these “Imagination Parks,” and their president said he wants the stores to be “the best 30 minutes of a child’s day.”
And apparently Disney is part of yet another Times Square. The president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, told the Real Deal:
“[Disney will be in] the very spot where Virgin made a major statement,” Mr. Tompkins said. “Virgin was the beginning of the retail transformation of Times Square, which led to the Toys R Us ferris wheel and other entertainment-oriented retail.”