Tuesday afternoon I was given a tour of the newly redesigned Disney Store at Bellevue Square in Bellevue, WA. This is the first new concept store opening in Washington state. District Manager Lori Pulliam was my gracious host and tour guide. What I saw is how all the Disney Stores have been and will be designed to look like, with some local flavor thrown in. The store itself has been more interactive and a lot more fun for kids of all ages, but the newness begins before you even make your way inside. Outside the store is a digital display screen that provides all kinds of information on any special events happening and other useful information. There is also a unique opportunity each day for one lucky child to help open the store. Each morning there is a special opening ceremony whereupon one child will get to unlock the store with the oversized key and lock. This happens each day at opening time.
Once you enter the store, you can follow the Pixie Dust Trail, a glittering blue path that weaves throughout the store, although there is much to see “off road”, as it were. The first things you’ll notice is Disney Princess Castle. This contains a variety of princess costumes and accessories, which children are encouraged to try on. To see how you look as your favorite Disney Princess, there is the Magic Mirror. Waving a wand in front of the Magic Mirror will call forth the Princess associated with that wand to tell you how you look. Yes, I did try this and Princess Tiana thought I looked smashing!
On the other side of the path from the Castle is the CARS Ridemakerz zone. Here you can build your own character vehicle from Cars and Cars 2. There are real drills to help you construct your own Lightening McQueen, Mater, Sally or any number of other car. You can choose your own chasis, body, rims, engine, spoilers and many other parts to trick out your ride. The tools are easy to use so you don’t have to be mechanically inclined to enjoy.
All along the Pixie Dust Trail are these very cool Lucite “Magical Trees” that reflect the time of year with the appropriately colored leaves. However, take a closer look and you will see some of your favorite Disney characters appear and climbed around the branches. You never know who will show up. And word is that Mickey Mouse himself is hidden amongst the leaves.
At the end of the Pixie Dust Trail is the Disney Store Theater. Here kids will fins a table with plenty of crayons and paper and other fun activities. The main highlight, however, is the huge video screen. There is a station where guests are encouraged to pick and choose from a huge library of clips, trailers and music videos from Disney’s library of films and TV shows. There will also be some of your favorite Disney characters on hand to lead you through drawing workshops and other fun activities. Oh, and it it is your birthday, be sure to mention that.
One last, fun feature is the skyline running along the top of the walls within the store. These skylines are unique to each store as they feature silhouettes of well known Disney characters relaxing or exploring local landmarks that are prominent in each region. Look closely at the skyline in your local store fro some recognizable places. Also, you never know when Tinkerbell will be flying around, so keep your eyes open.
Look, I know this is a retail store I’m talking about, but if you’re at the mall and want to avoid the bright, glaring lights and loud, thumping music, this is the store you want to hang out in. Your kids won’t be bored and asking you leave every ten seconds and you’ll appreciate the respite from the mall madness. I’ve given you the highlights, but there is much more to see at the Disney Stores so make sure to stop in the next time you’re at your local mall. The one at Bellevue Square is a lot of fun and made this big kid smile. Thank you to Lori Pulliam and Disney for the tour.