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Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Aloha, Mickey: Honolulu's Ala Moana Disney Store
In 1990, I got to go on a trip to Hawaii. Yes, it was just as wonderful as I had imagined. At the time, I knew there was a fairly new Disney Store at the Ala Moana Center, a shopping district serving Honolulu/Waikiki on the island of Oahu (I knew about it because the Disney Catalog listed all the Disney Stores). I made sure I was able to see Honolulu's Disney Store, even though I ended up not buying anything. The Ala Moana Center was different from any shopping mall I'd seen. It was a traditional looking mall, except it did not have a roof. We entered the mall through a large souvenir store, then rode the escalator to the second level, which was home to the Disney Store.
I think there was an opportunity missed here. This could have had a cool Hawaiian theme, but it did not. Instead, it was themed to various Disney shorts. Maybe the idea was to make the local visitors feel like they'd left Hawaii.
Fantasia was a popular theme for the Disney Store. The brooms from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" help Mickey get ready for his close-up.
This Disney Store was fairly spacious, and it had a front and back entrance. The back entrance was just a simple glass door.
This display was on a turntable. The animated displays were a nice touch, and I cannot understand the logic in their removal from the Disney Store concept.
Mickey's Nephews were often seen in animated displays, but rarely seen on any merchandise sold at the stores.
The characters in scenes like this one featuring "Mickey and the Beanstalk" had nice costumes. Later display figures were totally made of fiberglass (I'm guessing it was easier to maintain and clean them without cloth clothing).
I wonder how many people tried to jump up to touch Donald Duck?
These displays were very detailed (there's even a little bird in the tree). It's nice to see Pete and Chip and Dale here.
I had a wonderful time seeing Oahu, and got to visit a place called Sea Life Park, which featured a "Wholphin" (the offspring of a bottle-nose dolphin and a false killer whale).
I also got visit Maui on this trip. This was amazing! We stayed at the Aston Kaanapali Shores in Lahaina (right next to an Embassy Suites that had a waterfall running down the middle of the building).
Apparently, the Disney Store at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu shut down and reopened as a much smaller, less themed location. Too bad!
Of course, Disney is working on something exciting and new in Oahu. In 2011, the Aulani Disney Resort in Ko Olina will debut. Mahalo, Mickey!