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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor

More about the World of Disney Store

Thursday, January 4, 2001
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

Tuesday morning, I was lucky enough to spend some time chatting with a manager from the World of Disney store. I want to thank her for taking time from her busy schedule to answer all of my questions, and to give me a phone- tour of the store from her perspective. I know, from the many store openings I survived, the last thing I wanted to be doing the next day was giving an interview!

After ending the phone call, I realized that there was a lot I had yet to discover in the store. Camera in hand, I headed back down there to dig deeper into the merchandise and decor. I wanted to show you more of the attention to detail that is found throughout the store. I'm also going to tell you about more of the unique and exclusive merchandise being offered only here.

An exclusive line of products called "Disney Presents" can be found throughout the store. This merchandise is unique to the World of Disney Stores, and much of it can only be found at the Anaheim location. This is a higher end line of home accessories and apparel. While these items are not totally devoid of character logos, the icons you will see are smaller and more subtle.

The largest collection of "Disney Presents" merchandise is found in the Home and Garden section. The entire "Color in the Garden" group is unique to the Anaheim World of Disney store. I can't help but feel that this is all inspired by Pottery Barn. PB did Frogs last year - Disney is doing Mickey. However, if you happen to have a "hidden" Mickey Mouse planter bed in your front lawn like I do (I swear, it was there when we moved in!), this collection is right up your alley. I'm going to try to see if I can get a topiary to grow on the Mickey frame. I've been wanting one since Disney Magazine published an article on how to grow them last year.

There is a collection of candles, separate from the Mouse Head splattered candles in the main room. These come in decorator colors, (not that "Mickey's Shoes Yellow" isn't a fine color...), and are fragranced. This group also includes stationary, candies, cookies and gift baskets, all in the same subtle design. 

Disneyland store Cast Members get a lot of requests for lamps, and the World of Disney store has a good selection of them. Some of them can already be found in the Disney Catalog, but others are unique to this store. 

There is a nice luggage and leather goods section in this store. One of the "Disney Presents" collections is made of brushed aluminum, and includes day planners, briefcases, suitcases and really really cute luggage locks. The "Mickey" design on these is so subtle, you can use it anywhere without looking like you're on vacation. Other groups are made of black leather and vinyl, with the same subtle Disney touches. 

I mentioned the very affordable Pooh desk set that I bought on Monday. There is an equally affordable Mickey and Minnie set available too, as well as several Pen/Notepad Holders in different characters. The Mickey Office collection from the catalog is available here, and even more pieces are offered. 

Another "Disney Presents" line is found in the baby / layette section. This is a  high-end collection of clothing and accessories, which includes a $120.00 hand-crocheted infant sweater. Not everything is quite so pricey. There are a number of decor pieces for baby's room, diaper table caddies, chalk boards and bulletin boards, trash cans and photo frames. My favorite item from this collection is the plush pink pig purse. I think I need to find a dress to match. 

If this seems over the top, remember that Pottery Barn has just launched an entire catalog devoted to this exact market segment, and will soon be opening new stores themed just to children's furniture and home accessories. Given the popularity of the Laura Ashley style, this merchandise is very well timed. 

Little Girls are going to love this store. Bring your daughter, your wallet, and a lot of time. There is entirely too much to look at. This chenille sweater is one of the nicer items available in the Princess collection. Everything is pink, purple or white, and features a varying selection of the Disney Princesses. There is an endless array of matching accessories: Purses, Backpacks, Notebooks, Wallets. You could probably do your back-to-school shopping without ever leaving here. 

Remember the line of "Tinkerbell Cosmetics"? Here's the next generation: a full line of glittery products for the Britney Spears crowd. There are lotions, lip glosses, nail polishes and overnight kits. Again, it's way beyond your basic Minnie Mouse t-shirt, but Disney is capitalizing on the same market which Bath and Body Works and Limited Too have found so attractive: Pre-Teens with Allowances. 

Here is where you could lose your daughter for hours - the Princess Wall. You will find dresses for the major Disney Princesses here, along with the shoes, wand, jewelry, wigs, hair bows, tiaras, gloves and comb/mirror sets to match. A fitting room is conveniently located right next to this wall. These dresses are MUCH nicer than any costumes offered at Halloween, and are made well enough to withstand lots of "dress up" days. I often see little girls wear these dresses into the park. The sight of a tiny princess standing next to the real life character in the park is just precious. 

I said that I could spend hours just looking at the ceiling of this store. I'm not kidding. Above is the ceiling / valance in the Alice room. As you wander around, these are the types of decorations you'll find in the other rooms: 

The scary trees from Snow White are hovering over you in the Villains room. 

The Pridelands Area is covered with a stained glass ceiling. Jungle themes paintings border the upper edge of the walls all around this area. 

The overall World of Disney theme is travel and exploration. All of the ceiling sculptures depict the Characters in various flying machines. The walls of the Great Hall are decorated with images of characters traveling throughout the world. And, there are certainly some strange tour groups being formed...

As promised, the Cinderella painting in the Housewares section. 

The detail even extends to the music you'll hear in the store. A great soundtrack has been created especially for this store. These are very "singable" songs, and you'll recognize most of them. There are some real classics in this collection. Don't be too surprised to find a Cast Member, or even a customer, singing along. 

It's impossible to convey the feel of this store in a handful of photos. If you're planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort, and you like to shop, make time to visit this store. I'm sure you'll be as enchanted with it as I am.  


One of our kind readers, Clark Daniels, sent this note about the assembly of his new DCA "California Screamin'" Roller Coaster Toy:

I was one of the few lucky people to get my own California Screamin' Roller Coaster from the World Of Disney store when it opened on the 1st of this year. Let me begin by stating the obvious, the coaster is pretty friggin cool.

The adventure begins with the box, made to look like a blue print for the coaster. Now had I paid attention to the box design, I would have gotten the hint of what was in store for me. Opening the fairly large box, I pulled out a 3 and half-inch thick bag of white track supports, and two non-descript cardboard boxes. Eagerly I opened the smaller of the two boxes and found a large assortment of curved white track pieces and bags of assorted parts. Eeek! Already the thing felt like a model. The last box revealed yet even more white track supports, track pieces, bag of parts, and finally the orange roller coaster train itself. The 8.5 by 11 multi page directions where tucked into the larger box.

Those of you that have ever built a model can appreciate the amount of stuff that came out of the box! I begin building the coaster at 4:30. By 4:37 I had the loop built and I though, "This is going to be a snap!" By 6:30 I was concerned that I would never finish building the coaster. At 7:15 I had placed a curse on each of the sadomasochists who had designed this kit.

You see, there is this bag of full stars and a bag of half stars that decorate the coaster track supports. Now you have a track support that has a place to push and plug in these gold colored stars. Each track support having around 50 or so stars that need placing. Multiplied that by four major sections, and you have some serious pain coming on. After the 100th star pushed in, the right thumb called it quits, by the 165th star the left thumb had joined suit. I ended up using the blunt end of a screwdriver to push in the rest of the stars.

Clearly labeled on the box is, "Some assembly required". Oh yeah, some. They needed to add the labels "Requires 3 to 4 hours assembly time", and, "Infinite patience required". This coaster kit is slightly easier to put together than a bike.

I finally had the coaster finished at 8:35 pm. I placed the train on the track and turned it on. Off it went around the curve, up the lift hill, down the other side and headed full speed to the loop. Now full speed for this thing is about as fast a constipated turtle. As it hit the loop, it began to crawl through the loop got around to the top and stopped. My imaginary riders must have been terrified being stuck on the loop like that. Imagine how this would affect my load times for the ride.

So I removed the train, took out the first battery, and immediately dropped the battery. The battery was hot. Both were. I discovered that there is a whole lot of load being placed on that little motor as it pulls those cars around the track and up the loop. I suspect that the motor will burn out on the little train in a few hours of continuous use.

After replacing the batteries with fresh ones, I started the train on its way. Off it sped, still constipated. Around the track the track it traveled. Up and around the loop it sped. I smiled. Gave myself a pat on the back, mixed myself a drink and got blissfully drunk. I had to do something to numb the pain in my thumbs.

Impressions -

First, the box may say ages 4 and up, but this is in error. There are many, many small parts that can cause chocking hazards to small children. Of major concern are small white clips used to hold the track supports together, track spreaders, and the half gold stars used in decorating.

Next, this kit requires at lot of time to put together. Most kids may not have the patience to put this thing together. I know there were several times when I was going to throw in the towel. I couldn't quit and have my thumbs suffer for not.

Finally, the layout of the coast is huge! Its eight feet in length and about two feet wide once completed. My coaster occupies a corner nook of my apartment, and it's a tight fit.

Nit pick stuff includes the noise of the little train, and the fact that it could have included a small load station in the box. Now I'm off to my local hobby shop to find miniature lighting to string across the coaster track. It's just screamin' for that!

As Disney fan I would highly recommend this item. Its something I think the park should have more of. I would love to see a working model of the Grizzly River Run complete with water! Why stop at DCA? How about a working model of Big Thunder? Or the rest of the Disneyland Mountains?

All I can say is "ouch". I have not had the time to do much more than examine the box mine came in, but I had already heard that this was a true "labor of love" to assemble. The other four toys in this series also require a little bit of time with a screwdriver, but nothing like this.

I was prepared for how large this is - so big, in fact, that the World of Disney store just displayed the loop and a few inches of track. That's all they had room for, in a 33,000 square foot store. 

I'm glad you like your roller coaster. I had not heard about a problem with the motor. Once I get mine working, we can compare notes and see if this is a problem with yours alone, or if they all have the same trouble. I'd also love feedback from those of you who have already assembled the coasters you bought. If this is a widespread problem, Disney should know about it quickly.


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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