ORLANDO, Fla. – Guests visiting Universal CityWalk now have two different places to shop for some of their favorite movie and theme park merchandise.
Earlier this month, Universal opened its all-new, 8,300-square foot flagship location across from the Red Oven Pizza Bakery.
The store opened at the same time Universal was transforming the old studios store location into what is now known as the Universal Legacy Store.
News 6 recently had the opportunity to stop by both merchandise locations to see what’s inside and what differentiates the two stores.
Rob Cametti, the director of visual merchandising at Universal Orlando, spoke inside the new pristine location Wednesday.
“So, this store in general, it’s sleek, it’s contemporary, it’s timeless,” Cametti explained. “We’re looking forward with this store. This is the newest of the new. This is where all the new lines of merchandise are going to hit before it goes into the park.”
As guests step inside the all-new store, they’re greeted with a beautiful open design that features Universal’s gold and royal blue accent colors.
Above most merchandise areas in the store are blue prints and schematics of some of Universal’s famous theme parks and attractions.
“We wanted to pay tribute to our past, and talking about that architectural theme, you’ll see around the store,” Cametti pointed out. “These were actually pulled from our archives, so these are all real schematics that were used for the development of the parks.”
Cametti said that while the store is timeless it will also be constantly evolving.
“So as new things come out, you know, right now, we’ve got the whole front of the store for the Jurassic World: Velocicoaster, because that’s the newest thing that’s coming for us. So there’ll be something that follows right behind that, it’s going to keep rotating and changing, and we’re gonna keep bringing in new products.”
In terms of new products, Cametti said the new location offers the biggest selection of Harry Potter merchandise anywhere on property.
The store features one area specifically for wands.
It also features a new Wizarding World of Harry Potter home collection, which includes Hogwarts house-inspired drinkware, serving plates, coasters and more.
Just a few steps away from the new location, Universal’s former studios store transformed into the Universal Legacy Store.
The hybrid store-museum combines merchandise with Universal Orlando’s rich 30-year history of films.
“The whole store is set up like a prop warehouse,” Cametti explained. “So the idea is that for the past 30 years this is where we’ve been storing all of the props and archiving everything, and for the first time, you’re now able to come into the Universal prop warehouse and kind of go back in time to see all of the things that helped create this resort.”
Props, photos and original models of Universal attractions line the tops of all the merchandising locations.
Guests twist and turn around dozens of artifacts that have now been uncovered. Some items even being held by passionate team members over the years.
“A lot of this stuff is just a labor of love that team members knew that, you know, had some sort of historic value and they held on to it,” Cametti said.
One popular piece of merchandise that fans of the theme parks have grown to love is the new Universal retro line.
The merchandise pays tribute to former attractions like JAWS, Back to the Future: The Ride, Disaster and Kongfrontation.
“We really wanted to lead in with, you know, our marquee brand or retro marquee. So, this has been huge for us in the past couple of years, and people just love it, I think one of the most popular things about this store is there’s a real connection with the fans and they’re seeing things,” Cametti explained.
Something that stands out in the the Universal Legacy Store is the unique one-stop personalization station in the middle of the store.
Guests can currently get Harry Potter items embossed, embroidered and engraved. When asked, Cametti said more themed items will be available as this area in the future.
Throughout the store, creators have installed plaques that represent the different attractions. Each plaque displays unique facts including the ride’s opening date.
Cametti pointed out that around the store’s perimeter wall is a timeline of events in the park’s history.
Timeline events include when leaders first broke ground on the park and when different attractions opened or closed.
Outside the store are two iconic large gargoyles sitting on boxes. Cametti said they’re two of the same gargoyles that once sat on top of the former Universal Studios archways when the park opened to the public on June 7, 1990.
“We completely refurbished them, you know, over the years they had some, you know, broken fingernails and whatnot but we got a complete refurbishment on them, repainted them and brought them back to their original glory,” he said.
Cametti pointed out that each time he visits the store, he notices another detail.
“You know this store really is bringing to light how important this park’s history is to fans and there’s a connection, there’s an emotional connection, it makes you realize and go back to all those memories that you’ve had here,” he concluded.
Both store locations are open daily at Universal CityWalk.
Select merchandise featured at these stores is available at the Universal Orlando Online Merchandise Store.
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