Sanrio, the company that owns the infamous Hello Kitty character, among many other cute money-making characters, has announced a partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts to bring Sanrio retail shops to Universal Orlando and eventually to Universal Studios Hollywood as well. This comes on the heels of the major announcement of the partnership between Universal and Nintendo and adds yet more giant intellectual properties you’ll be able to find at Universal Studios parks (and not at Disney). The new retail location is scheduled to open later this year at Universal Orlando, and at a still-to-be determined time for Hollywood. The stores will offer stationery, home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. The majority of merchandise will be devoted to Hello Kitty, however Chococat, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Purin and Keroppi will also have a presence. Exclusive Universal branded Hello Kitty products will be available as well.
Universal already owns the theme park rights to Hello Kitty and friends in their home country of Japan. There is a section of Universal Studios Japan already devoted to Hello Kitty, but this will be the first time Sanrio characters will be found in a theme park stateside.
No word yet on where the new retail stores will be located, but my money is on the Lucy: A Tribute building inside of Universal Studios Florida for the Orlando location. Not only is it near the entrance to the park as well as several kids’ attractions like Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4D, but they have recently filed a permit for a major interior renovation of the Lucy building. See the entire text from today’s press release below and let me know what you think of the announcement. Is Hello Kitty something you think does or doesn’t belong in the parks?
The Supercute Universe of Hello Kitty is Coming to Universal Theme Parks
Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand best known for beloved pop icon Hello Kitty, and Universal Parks & Resorts have announced their partnership to develop Hello Kitty interactive retail experiences scheduled to open later this year at Universal Orlando Resort and in the future at Universal Studios Hollywood.
This will mark Hello Kitty‘s official retail debut at theme parks in North America and offer specialty merchandise including stationery, home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. The majority of merchandise will be devoted to Hello Kitty; Sanrio properties Chococat®, My Melody®, Badtz-Maru®, Purin™ and Keroppi® will also have a presence. Hello Kitty confectionery and specialty co-branded Hello Kitty Universal park-exclusive products will also be available.
The Hello Kitty stores at Universal Studios will also offer enhanced interactive retail experiences. Customers can shop for custom designed merchandise, enjoy photo opportunities with Sanrio properties, create souvenir versions of Hello Kitty‘s signature bow, and even meet Hello Kitty herself.
“Our partnership with Universal brings Sanrio’s experiential entertainment presence to a new level,” said Janet Hsu, President and COO of Sanrio, Inc. “We look forward to this introduction into Universal theme parks to offer new connection points to Sanrio fans of all ages.”
Sanrio’s partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts highlights the brand’s continued expansion into lifestyle entertainment. Recent projects include the successfully unprecedented ‘Hello Kitty Con’ fan convention and ‘Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty’, a record-breaking museum exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival, a live entertainment show and interactive fan festival that has reinvented the concept of a live character show, is currently touring select cities in the U.S. and Canada. Sanrio’s unique approach to lifestyle entertainment has proven to be a highly effective way of connecting with their legions of fans of all ages across the country.
Sanrio is the global lifestyle brand best known for pop icon Hello Kitty, who recently celebrated her 40th Anniversary. Home to many endearing characters including Chococat, My Melody, Badtz-Maru and Keroppi, Sanrio was founded on the ‘small gift, big smile’ philosophy – that a small gift can bring happiness and friendship to people of all ages. Since 1960, this philosophy has served as the inspiration for the broad spectrum of unique products and experiences. Today, more than 50,000 Sanrio-branded items are available in over 130 countries and upwards of 15,000 U.S. retail locations including department, specialty, national chain stores and over 80 Sanrio boutiques. For more information please visit www.sanrio.com and www.facebook.com/hellokitty.
About Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the globe today’s most relevant and popular entertainment experiences. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world’s most thrilling and technologically advanced film- and television-based attractions. Comcast NBCUniversal is a global media and technology company that owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news, sports and entertainment networks; Universal Pictures, a premier motion picture company; significant television production operations; a leading television stations group; and world-renowned theme parks.
Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, which includes Universal CityWalk Hollywood. It also owns Universal Orlando Resort, a world-class destination resort featuring two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure), four resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. Comcast NBCUniversal also has license agreements with Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Japan and Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. In addition, Comcast NBCUniversal has recently announced plans for a theme park in Beijing and an indoor theme park to be developed as part of the Galactica Park project in Moscow.