So I visited the Leicester Disney Store yesterday. I had been told that the stores had lost a lot of their magic, but I didn't really get that impression myself. I was impressed with the size and layout. There was a lot of stuff in there, but it didn't feel cramped.
I do agree that the old mountain of cuddly toys will be missed, but I suppose it was never that efficient for finding the one you wanted anyway. In larger stores, I suppose a compromise between it and the shelves could be reached. But at the end of the day the shelves provide faster, easier access to the toy you want, so they probably should win out.
The decoration of the store was quite impressive too. The areas all match the properties they apply to and there is not an inch which is not colourful. The carpet is marvelous and unique, the walls a joy to behold.
The service was also exquisite. There's not a cast member in there who didn't have a smile on their face. One got the impression was was surrounded by people who loved that they were in this place. They also seemed to be very well trained with the young lady who served me expertly boxing what I was buying in a few seconds and only 1 try. It took me multiple tries and significantly more time to mimic her when I was resealing the box later.
I was also pleased to see that the big screen playing Disney musical numbers which I remember delighted the young me was still in use, in this case pumping songs from High School Musicals 1 & 2 - as well as a couple of older songs from cartoons if memory serves - all around the store. I caught myself miming along a couple of times and I wasn't alone.
Looking around as I was being served I saw a young girl delightedly handing over a collection of coins in exchange for some Mickey Mouse shaped Chocolate Lollipops. She was quite clearly on Cloud Nine and the Cast Members were sharing in the fun. Watching this take place, I could really see the famous Disney magic a work.
There are cynics who say The Disney Stores are corporate greed at its best. They're wrong. However frivolous you think the products, or whatever opinion you have on the pricing, you're missing the point. The Disney Stores bring the magic that little bit closer to the children in all of us.
PS: I was buying the Pajama-Wearing Mickey with a Teddy if you were wondering.