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Happy Holidays from Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at the Walt Disney World Resort

MouseGear 2.0 at Epcot

posted on July 14th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


MouseGear 2.0 at Epcot

One aspect of working for Disney that I enjoy is the culture of continuous improvement. You may recall that I love quotes from Walt Disney and I recently found one that summarized his approach to improvements at Disney Parks: “Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.” A great example of this philosophy in action is now found at MouseGear in Epcot. I recently visited this merchandise location to speak with Mike Myers, Manager for Merchandise Operations at Epcot, about some of the enhancements.

MouseGear 2.0 at Epcot

“When MouseGear opened in 1999, it quickly became a top shopping destination in Epcot,” explained Mike. “Around 18 months ago, we wondered how we could improve on the shopping experience for our guests. [MouseGear] was a good location but we wanted to make it a great location.”

That challenge was met by a team of individuals representing global retail design, operations, planning, product development, facility asset management, sourcing and Walt Disney Imagineering who worked together on this next evolution of MouseGear. Construction started in August 2010 and was completed in phases until this past month.

At first glance you may not notice the improvements, as they are seamless to the experience. For me, I immediately noticed a difference as I worked in MouseGear over 10 years ago. The location felt bigger and Mike confirmed my observation.

“One improvement made was lowering the fixtures that hold merchandise,” continued Mike. “By lowering the fixtures, the location feels more spacious. We also relocated the registers to strategic points throughout the store thus making checkout easier.”

MouseGear 2.0 at Epcot

This means the “wall of registers” that I recall from my time at MouseGear is gone! Mike explained that new colorful signage and carpet were also added to the mix.

“Each product area now has a color-coded sign and label that appear on new store directional maps located at each entrance,” said Mike. “We installed new carpeting that creates a pathway to make it easier for guests to explore.”

MouseGear 2.0 at Epcot

One final detail that is easy to spot is the cast members’ new costumes. I love the nod to Spaceship Earth on the front of the shirt, and the colors look sharp (they match the colors now used in the location)! Mike explained that one item was added to the costume that may be familiar to many guests.

“During the costume review process, Gina Errico, General Manager of Merchandise at Epcot, suggested a ‘Hidden Mickey’ be added to the costume,” continued Mike. “We loved the idea as ‘Hidden Mickeys’ are found in many locations at Disney Parks. We added a small one to the back of the cast members’ shirts. But don’t tell anyone!”

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

8 Comments

1

Kalya on July 14th, 2011 at 10:09 am

One of my favorite peices of hidden magic in MouseGear is the Dream Finder’s machine hidden up above everyone. No matter what changes you make to the store I hope you always keep that.

2

Mark on July 14th, 2011 at 11:11 am

MouseGear is one of my favorite places to go in all of Walt Disney World. It’s the epitome of the WDW experience. I can’t wait to see the improvements when we’re there soon. I have a question…before MouseGear opened, I remember another large shop at Epcot. I was young, and the only thing I remember vividly is it having a second floor that overlooked the floor below, and there was artwork up there. Can someone tell me what this store was, and if it was at the same location Mousegear is now?

Thank you!

3

Steven Miller on July 14th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

@Mark – The location prior to MouseGear was called Centorium. It opened on October 1, 1982 in what was once called CommuniCore East. It wasn’t as large as MouseGear; it basically stopped where the doors to Test Track are located. You also may recall that CommuniCore East was also home to the Electronic Forum – a theater where guests could vote (including voting for the “Person of the Century”). That area occupied what is now the kids area in MouseGear.

4

Henry from CA on July 14th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

MouseGear 2.0! Looking forward to seeing it again. I’m not a huge merch guy, but when I am, I like it to be 2.0! Thanks for sharing, Steven!

5

Mary Kathryn on July 14th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I LOVE LOVE the improvements I have seen at MouseGear over the years. It is my favorite place to shop at WDW. I always buy a watch there (BEST selection!) and a sweatshirt (also a HUGE selection). I enjoy the kitchen section and kids area. I would love to see a Vacation Club merchandise section at the MouseGear. Is there any chance we can add that to the magic of the Gears? : )) I ‘d love to see a wider variety of DVC merchandise.

We are counting down to our next visit and second sailing on the Disney Dream.. it can’t come soon enough! Happy Day to you!

6

Melissa on July 14th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Another reason to revisit WDW (maybe in January)! I didn’t know there were maps to MouseGear. Wandering around and getting lost is more fun than using maps.

When (not if) I get my job with Disney, I’d like to do that kind of thing. Combine marketing and retail with promotion and keep guests excited about returning again and again. Sometimes the smallest changes create the biggest impact.

Off topic, but why does it take many tries to get logged on in here?

7

Dale from MD on July 14th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

MouseGear is a great place to shop — especially for that retro EPCOT Center line they carry now. One thing that does make me sad though is seeing the old DreamFinder ship in the decor. Really wish it was back in the ride where it belongs . . .

8

robert on July 18th, 2011 at 11:11 am

I think the changes look great from what I can see in the pictures!!!

8 Comments