With Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” now in theaters, I recently returned to D-Living in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. In January, this dynamic location was magically transformed into a charming boutique inspired by the opulent castle from the new live-action film. The shop is filled with many little details to discover thanks to dedicated Cast Members from Merchandise Presentation and Creative Services with Disney Parks Merchandise. I recently spoke with team members about their work on this enchanting destination in Town Center.
“We began planning the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme shortly after [D-Living] opened last November,” explained Melissa Calderon, who is one of eight Cast Members supporting Merchandise Presentation in the Disney Springs area. “We had a handful of days to physically transform the location, so collaboration was critical. Everyone on my team helped with fabrication including designing, building, and painting all the props guests see. One of the best parts of my role is getting to work on projects like this with such creative people.”
Guests visiting D-Living will immediately recognize one of Melissa’s beautiful contributions to the shop – a paper flower encased in a glass dome.
“My mother used to make paper flowers,” said Melissa. “I had never tried making a paper rose. I used tea-stained, printed paper that looked like pages from a book. I love reading but couldn’t bring myself to use pages from an actual book [laughs]. While the rose only took me a couple of hours to create, the hand painted ribbons with French phrases for one display wall seemed to take forever.”
Before the Merchandise Presentation team installed the props, Paul Seus, a Creative Services Cast Member, had already spent a month designing graphics for the location, including wallpaper that looks like a wall of books.
“In total, there are about 2,000 books guests see in the library-themed section, “said Paul. “I hid a few references to other Disney animated classics on some book spines. On the column capitals, guests may also find hidden roses which were inspired by the Beast’s enchanted flower from the film.”
For Melissa, the positive response from guests about her team’s work in D-Living is a highlight.
“I’ve loved seeing photos of the shop and reading comments from our guests about their visits on social media and the Disney Parks Blog. It’s a rewarding feeling knowing I’ve helped make a guest’s experience even more magical.”