A new shop opened at Disneyland Paris Main Street U.S.A, and it's called New Century Notions - Flora's Unique Boutique. I have a full photo report about it for you, and as always let's thanks Max, D&M contributor and DLPWelcome webmaster for his precious contribution and great pictures.
The shop replace the beloved and highly themed Main Street Photography shop and after six months of works reopened on August 1st. Now, let's have a closer look at it and above you can see the new "vintage style" poster specially created for the new shop.
Facing the Emporium and next to Boardwalk Candy Palace - which has currently its facade in refurbishment, New Century Notions - Flora's Unique Boutique also has its new sign, but the one you can see on the pictures below is temporary, the final one will be put in place soon.
Let's go inside!
The first thing you'll notice at the entrance is the new design of the mosaic floor with a big "F" for "Flora"...
The length of the main counter has been significantly reduced...
It took six months of work to have this new shop reopening in a style quite different from the previous one and we now have a completely redesigned space with large shelves and good visibility on the merchandise products. These are the positives aspects but unfortunately, at the end, the atmosphere is less warm than before.
So, shelves everywhere, quite well done, but desperately with no special theming... Although the shop intend to sell product on thematic seasons, the goods for sale are currently mainly attractive for non-French tourists, as, according to Max, it's for the most a range of products about Paris - this might explain the quote "We carry the latest styles from Paris so you don't have to" that one can read on the bottom of the shop poster.
The only remnant of the old shop is the famous vintage phone, with which you can still listen to a phone conversation between two people of Main Street.
A closer look on the lights and stained glass windows...
Let's have a look at the exterior now...
The excitement of having a new shop arriving on Main Street unfortunately doesn't last. Even if we certainly have a shopping experience enhanced by the new layout of the place and the choice of interior colors palette, the considerable loss of theming in regards to the previous shop makes that you walk into a "simple" shop without a soul, unlike the other outlets on Main Street. And all the windows on Town Square now display only the shop products instead to tell a story as it was the case before when it was Main Street Photography - see pictures of it below.
The highly themed photographer office of the previous shop was put in place by Imagineer Eddie Sotto who spent a long time on it, to do it with "spirit" so it could look like a real office.
Below, Eddie Sotto's rendering for the above Main Street Photography photographer office.
A lot of DLP fans are furious about the new shop and it's pretty understandable. It sure is a pity that the old camera shop is gone but times change, guests were not buying anymore camera films and i can understand that the space is valuable. However, despite all of that logic, the irony remains that Main Street exists to celebrate things as they were. Main Street is a small town caught in technical transition. A street of businesses portrayed as "mom and pop" boutiques with the personality of their owners resisting the corporate "chain" retailers of today. In a sense, Disney has become the "Big Box" retailer of Main Street driving out it's own "mom and pop" boutiques and expanding over entire blocks. Things have indeed disappeared from culture and been victims of change, such as Horse drawn Streetcars and Gas lighting, but are they not the charm that we love about Main Street? In all Magic Kingdoms we clap along and enjoy Barbershop quartets and Ragtime piano with strangers and without devices or headphones. Things on Main Street (like candy, glass poodles and hat decor) are hand made on Main Street, as opposed to China. Main Street uses the obsolescence of the past to entertain us through contrast.
Main Street Photography - concept-art above - was all about photography which was invented in France. Thanks to technology, more pictures are now shot digitally in a day than in an entire decade prior to camera phones. Early photography before digital retouching was closer to truth, to life and a window into the past. I for one, would have loved to see a credible photo gallery of vintage images ( or new images taken the old way with silver background ) somewhere on Main Street to help this "selfie" obsessed generation appreciate where it all began. But instead we have one more merchandise shop without any special soul.
The main reason why it happened is because Disney has come up with a template or pattern for how to design stores and certain requirements for how retail must be done. No this, the size if that, lighting etc... And this new store seems to conform to all the other recent stores and the required template for how you must display merchandise. It's no longer a movie set. These new rules are a reaction to that. They don't see that anymore as a successful way to sell. So time marches on and we have to face - and eventualy accept - the fact the Disney stores now will always look something like this, but in a different flavor.
That's all for today and i'll be back soon with a new DLP update. In the meantime, don't miss the summer special offer on the great Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" book - for both ENGLISH or FRENCH editions! Thanks to this special offer you will save $50 on the normal price, so if you don't own the book yet i'm sure you don't want to miss it! Paypal and credit card payments are accepted, so make sure you to place your order now!
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Pictures: copyright Max Fan - DLPWelcome