Shanghai Disney Retail Magic: Part I

Shanghai Disney Retail Magic: Part I

Most who have visited Shanghai Disneyland have referenced the wealth of thematic detail played out throughout the park. Every Disney park has so many details within, many of which are found in the attractions and in the general park ambience. But much of it can be found in the retail areas, and that’s especially true here at Disney’s newest park. Let’s look at the many stores at Shanghai Disneyland and see some of those details played out. We might even look at some of the merchandise. Not everything is perfect, but there’s a lot to admire about the work that has been done here.

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Let’s work our way clockwise around the park. We’ll start with by venturing down the right side of Mickey Avenue as you enter the park.

Mickey Avenue: Entering the Park

Most think of Carefree Corner as a shop at the end of Main Street at Disneyland as you approach the castle. This one is at the front of Main Street on the right as you enter. The exterior is whimsical in design. It’s bright and cheerful and invites you to enter. When you do, you find some headwear and apparel. But its biggest offering at the beginning of the day is the opportunity to purchase a Disney PhotoPass.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Retail to the right of the entrance to Mickey Avenue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Beyond that, the real shop’s purpose is to redeem those same photos at the end of the day. Its location is no different than shops you see at the Magic Kingdom or at Epcot. They too are at the right when you enter. Still, the prominence of the shop should lend itself more to when you come in, rather than when you exit at the end of day.

Shanghai Disney Retail
An empty queue at closing for obtaining photographs. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

If you go back to the exterior photo earlier, you’ll note a sign for the post office. It is actually part of this same shop. The shops look small on the outside, but they unfold into larger spaces on the interior. Again, Magic Kingdom’s shops and Disney’s Hollywood Studios retail stores do the same thing. What is great is that there is some cute postal theming attached to this space.

Shanghai Disney Retail Magic
Mailboxes of the Disney gang at Carefree Corner. Note their names. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Of course, no post office is complete without instructions on what you can or can’t bring:

Shanghai Disney Retail
I was always confused on the rules regarding overnighting magic lamps. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Adjacent is a confectionary store themed to the childhood home of Minnie Mouse called Sweethearts Confectionary. Lots of touches, with a feminine approach that contrasts the previous masculine tones. This is typically found in shops that fall one after the other. They offer a mixed contrast so that you feel like you are in different stores, and not just one big Walmart.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Note the whimsical fonts used in the signage. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This store is located like the one at Magic Kingdom. It’s also on the right, and perfect for those wanting to get a treat going into the park. There are snacks and sweets ready for immediate consumption and there is even a real-life candy kitchen.

Shanghai Disney Retail Details
Sweetheart’s Confectionary. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

But a big part of the store houses boxed cookies and treats to be used as gifts. In this way, it’s similar to the retail outlet found in World Bazaar in Tokyo Disneyland. Only there, such treats for family and friends are found on the right side of the street. And there is a major cash register section for handling such demand.

Here is a closer look at the theming:

Shanghai Disney Retail
Truly whimsical theming–comparable to Toon Town shops, but still its own creature. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Since the theming in so many of these stores and restaurants deal with random Disney characters, I initially wondered if Whistle Stop Shop was a reference to the song from Disney’s Robin Hood. That would have been cool. But alas, this whistle stop references trains. The problem here is that there are no real trains. It looks like a train station. And here is a whistle stop. But there is no train. In fact, it’s down and around the corner at the end of Mickey Avenue, away from the other train station that is at the entrance to the park.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Whistle Stop Shop exterior. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Inside you’ll find a train. But it’s a small model one circling the store:

Shanghai Disney Retail Magic
Whistle Stop Shop Interior. Note the small model train running around. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Trains are so much a part of Disney theme parks. Unfortunately, this is the first Magic Kingdom-style park to not have an actual train going around it. This store tries to make up for it by celebrating the heritage of trains at Disney. The locations listed below alludes to a number of Disney projects.

Shanghai Disney Retail Magic
Scheduling board at Whistle Stop Shop. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Note that this is the only location where you can find Mickey Mouse ear hats featuring your name embroidered in English or Chinese. Even though Hong Kong Disneyland has been around for some time, apparently they have never made an effort to embroider hats in Chinese.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Serious machinery for a playful set of mouse ears. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

We should also mention that it’s the major stop for Duffy the Disney Bear merchandise. He sometimes makes appearances at this location. All in all, this is a nice store. But it’s a little off the beaten track, not sitting exactly on Mickey Avenue itself. And it’s no replacement for not having a train.

Adventure Isle

For what constitutes an amazing land with awesome attractions, there is little in this land that focuses on retail. Originally, there was Laughing Monkey Traders. Not a big store, but nicely themed. That said, it was merchandise you could find in any location, and nothing really themed to attractions such as Camp Discovery and the Challenge Trails.

Since then the store has been retitled Chip and Dale’s Trading post. Here it offers merchandise themed to the little critters. But nothing attractions related.

Treasure Cove

There isn’t much in terms of major retail offering in either Gardens of Imagination or Adventure Isle–at least that’s worthy of mention here. Laughing Monkey Traders was once a textile dye workshop. Now this general store offers toys, plush, apparel and even custom leather product.

So, let’s move on to Treasure Cove, where the major retail experience is just a few steps off of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. Most visit this shop having come off of the attraction. It’s part of Fort Snobbish. But we’re visiting Doubloon Market from off of the plaza.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Doubloon Market. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Before entering, note some of the details of this store on the exterior:

Shanghai Disney Retail
To the Power and Glory of George, King of Great Britain. Who knew that the day this fort was dedicated just happened to be the same as the day Disneyland was dedicated? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Below is a list of of the manifestos of various ships that were docked, but now have been plundered:

Shanghai Disney Retail
Ship manifesto outside the shop. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The detailing inside speaks to the fact that we are in a fortress. That includes this cannon, waiting to be put to work:

Shanghai Disney Retail
Retail in the setting of a Caribbean fortress. Props and theming take up a good deal of space in these environments. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Like previous shops we have showcased, notice that the queuing is very defined for the Chinese audience, who can easily slip their way to the front of a line.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Also note the thematic detail to the cashier counters, using luggage and sections of ships. A small mast in the background offers draping at the windows. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

My eye caught several items I hadn’t seen in locations like Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar at Magic Kingdom. Clearly merchandising has been busy trying to find new merchandise for people to purchase.

Shanghai Disney Retail
Unique Disney products can be found in these stores. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Let’s move toward Fantasyland. As we do, we pass by one of many retail kiosks. It’s small but has some nice theming. This is Scuttle’s Shiny Things and includes a broken crow nest up on top. Nothing unusual about the merchandise in this location. But as I mentioned in a previous article, this kiosk suggests the possibility of a more major Little Mermaid attraction being added to a space between these two lands. We’ll see what eventually happens.

Making Shanghai Disney Less Overwhelming
Scuttle is apparently the proprietor of this kiosk. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Three key stores make up the retail options in Fantasyland. We’ll finish Part I of this series with Hundred Acre Woods gift shop. Exiting The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, we come to a forested cottage. It’s settled fairly deep off of the main Fantasyland path, so you’re not likely to enter it from off the street.

We would expect, of course, plush and other goods related to the silly ol’ bear. This image bares that out:

Shanghai Disney Retail
A store in the Hundred Acre Wood. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

What’s really great about this store is that it isn’t just limited thematically to Pooh plush. Woven in the theme are other Disney forest friends. Note the windows behind the cash registers:

Shanghai Disney Retail
This Hundred Acre Woods store also offers other forest friends, such as characters from Bambi. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The retail itself remains largely centered on Pooh and friends, but it’s still a lovely shop that thematically stretches across other Disney stories. Notice also the chandeliers, to include limbs bearing flowering lights. Its low level lighting and cool air is a contrast to the harsh summer heat outside.

That’s it for Part I. We’ll visit two more shops in Fantasyland in Part II, then visit Tomorrowland and back down the right side of Mickey Avenue as we exit the park.

J. Jeff Kober

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