Upon entering the Toys 'R Us in Times Square, we were greeted by dancing blocks and lots of smiling faces. It's definitely not the Toys 'R' Us I was used to know; grumpy staff, toys scattered on the floor and not too many smiling faces. But if the Times Square stores is a gauge of what works - don't change a thing. And that's reinforced by the crowds of people looking to get a glimpse of the flagship store which is giving FAO Schwarz a run for its money.
The centerpiece is a 60 foot indoor Ferris wheel with cartoon character cars. The cost: $2.50 a ride. Other attractions include a huge Lego Empire State building complete with its own King Kong and a two-story high, walk through Barbie dream house. And you can't miss the 20 foot T-rex right out of Jurassic Park. Although, I thought it's loud roar might be enough to give little kids a nightmare. And that's what makes the place work. It's sort a dreamland in the heart of Manhattan, an oasis of fun in Midtown.
The store is huge, about 100,000 square feet. Four escalators and two glass elevators move the people around quickly and the store is well stocked, even for hard-to-find items. On the downside, the store is noisy. But hey, that's part of the fun and seeing your child's face light up makes it all worthwhile.