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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor

Downtown Disney Soft-Opening Review

World of Disney Store and Rainforest Cafe - Page One

January 2, 2001
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

After spending a great New Years Eve at Disneyland, I got a few hours of sleep and headed back to the park for the Soft Opening of Downtown Disney and the World of Disney Store.  I've only been waiting for this store to open since November, so I needed just a very little encouragement to drag myself out of bed this morning. I can assure you: it was worth the lost sleep!

The new World of Disney store in the mall at Disneyland
The new World of Disney store in the mall at Disneyland

Honestly, I've been a little concerned about this store, based on what I've been able to see from the exterior. If you look at the store from the outside, you don't see a lot which grabs you by the ear and pulls you through the doorway. The window displays are all painted flats, similar to theater lobby displays, themed to different Disney movies. There are no animated figured in the windows - nothing moves. Instead of the great animated windows that you see at the Emporium, or even the 3-D display windows at the other stores in the park, these windows are all flat and lifeless. Like the new Disney Store windows. But that's another story.

It's hard to look in...
It's hard to look in...

What merchandise you have been able to see until this point has all looked like generic souvenirs. There's lots of Disneyland Logo apparel visible through the windows. Lots of snow globes and ceramic figurines and the requisite Wall of Plush. 

If I were Mary Jo Tourist, and I had just stepped off the tram in front of the World of Disney store, there is nothing on the exterior of the store to make me *need* to step inside. It looks like a big Disney Store on the outside, full of the same merchandise I'll probably see in the park.

Appearances can certainly be deceiving. Once inside the World of Disney Store, I was speechless. Utterly and completely speechless. The store is HUGE, and it is filled with all sorts of amazing merchandise has never been seen on the left coast. Some of the items are going to be familiar to people who have been to the store in Florida. Other items are totally new, themed to the new Disney's California Adventure park. 

Let's go on a tour of the store and the merchandise. You enter through one of the two doorways on either end of the store, or through a door in the center section. The store is broken into little "shops" within the store, each with it's own theme and decor. Let's start with the East door, and enter the first shop.

Be his guest!
Be his guest!

The first area you enter is filled with ceramic and resin souvenirs. Lumiere greets you from atop a fixture. This is where you're going to find Snow Globes, ceramic figurines, salt and pepper shakers and all manner of picture frames. If you're familiar with the stores at Disneyland, think China Closet, as much of the merchandise is similar between the two stores. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas very visible from the exterior, so guests see much of the same merchandise available elsewhere in the park. 


Regular Snow Globes

DCA Snow Globes
DCA Snow Globes

There are several unique items here. Among these are the DCA themed Snow Globes and photo frames. They were hot sellers today - I saw the same fixture being restocked several times. 

Tigger's the culinary guy...
Tigger's the culinary guy...

From this room you enter the next section which is the Home and Garden area. It is a Pooh-Themed area, presided over by Tigger and his Wind Machine. This is sub-divided into areas focusing on Linens, Home Decor, Cooking and Serving Wear and Garden. If you have been DYING to get one of the Mickey Mouse mini topiaries, this is the place for you.

Pottery hundred acre wood
Pottery hundred acre wood

This area is the most unusual, sort of the Disney Store meets Pottery Barn. There are lamps, pillows, candles, cookbooks, dried pastas, garden stakes, and my absolute favorite: Character Drawer Pulls. If you're a fan of Restoration Hardware, you know just what I'm talking about. You can transform any dresser or cabinet into a Disney theme just by your existing hardware with these inexpensive pulls. I have seen these before at WDW, and was kicking myself for not getting them at the time. 

If you can pry yourself away from this area, come with me to the next section. We'll walk through the hallway which houses Garden on one wall and Candles on the other.

Garden Dept.
Garden Dept.

Candle Dept.
Candle Dept.

We then emerge into the next area: Adult Clothing. Again the shop is subdivided into areas for Men, Women and Sleepwear. 

The circle of t-shirts
The circle of t-shirts

The Men's area is quite well merchandised, with attractive displays and fixtures. You'll find a nice selection of business attire, as well as sportswear. There were a lot of new logos and collections to be found. 

Men's Dept.
Men's Dept.

Sleepware Dept.
Sleepware Dept.

The Women's selection is less impressive, with a smaller collection of tees and sweatshirts. There is a large selection of sleepwear, as well as a collection of body care products. Leopard Print Eye Covers, anyone?

CONTINUED on NEXT PAGE


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

World of Disney Store


ABOUT THE EDITOR

Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.

In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.

If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.

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