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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course, no post office is complete without instructions on what you can or can’t bring:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Inside you’ll find a train. But it’s a small model one circling the store:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before entering, note some of the details of this store on the exterior:
Below is a list of of the manifestos of various ships that were docked, but now have been plundered:
The detailing inside speaks to the fact that we are in a fortress. That includes this cannon, waiting to be put to work:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.