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
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...
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
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!
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
Regular 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...
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Visit our other shopping service, MouseMemories.com.
Don't forget to take a gander at our Disney CD and book selections available from