By Charly SHELTON
In 1987, a new store opened at the Glendale Galleria. One of the best, most successful malls in the state, the Galleria has seen many new retail concepts come and go, as this is the mall where new ideas are tried out. Some fail miserably; others have a few locations open up in other places. But some rise to glory to be a national or international chain. One of those stores that started at the Galleria and became a multi national success is The Disney Store. Store No. 1 opened in 1987 and remained in the same location until just a few weeks ago.
After 25 years, the first Disney Store location closed its doors, only to reopen them in a new location within the mall on April 29. The Disney Store is now located nearer to the food court and is completely redesigned with a layout that all Disney Stores will eventually switch over to.
Shoppers enter the store to find a pixie dust trail that runs the length of the store. This magical blue road goes past several different displays that offer a view of the different “neighborhoods” that entice shoppers to venture off the trail to come explore. The Princess Neighborhood features a walk-in castle for the little ones where inside they can see their favorite Disney princesses come to life in the magic mirror.
Further down the pixie dust trail is the Cars/Toy Story Neighborhood where guests are shrunk down to the size of a toy and can go shopping in their own toy carrier. The huge display is fashioned to replicate a behandled toy case where youngsters can keep their cars or action figures, each in their own cubbyhole.
Set in and around the neighborhoods are white screens in the shape of trees. Projectors bring these trees to life as birds fly in and out, characters from films such as “Sleeping Beauty” and “Bambi” frolic among the branches. Scenes can even change to correspond with the music playing through the air or the clips showing on the big screen of The Disney Store Theater, located next to the toy carrier in the Toy Story Neighborhood.
Kids who decide they are bored with the wonderland of toys and excitement all around can come to the Disney Store Theater where they will find a huge screen playing clips of films, trailers and even Disney trivia. The screen is controlled by a tablet computer on the side of the screen and kids can choose what they want to watch next. There are digital games and apps on the tablet as well to keep them entertained while they wait for their clip.
In front of the screen there are chairs and tables full of crayons and coloring pages so that even if they don’t find anything in the store to catch their fancy, they can still go home with a work of coloring art.
All of this in the theater is beneath a colorful gazebo, so no digital leaves will fall on guests.
Perhaps the best part of the new layout is that aspects of the design are exclusive to the Glendale Galleria. For example, along the top of the store’s walls where they meet the ceiling is a custom skyline displaying Disney and Pixar characters in silhouette, hanging out in the Glendale area. Wall-E is at the Brand Library. Dumbo’s Circus tents are set up just around the corner from The Alex Theatre. The old bridge near the Rose Bowl lights the way for Cinderella’s coach taking her to the ball. This is specific to the local area and it shows the dedication that is expected from Disney.
So The Disney Store has moved after 25 years. Though it is no longer store No. 1 it is still The Disney Store made even better because of its new design, more interactive elements for the kids, and nice little perks for the parents.