When China’s first-ever Disney Store — the largest store to date — opened last May, it was on par with Backstreet Boys dropping by TRL
in the late ‘90s. Between heavens-bound skyscrapers in the Lujiazui financial district area of Pudong, Shanghai, the line snaked back and forth for over one mile with customers waiting eight hours for the doors to open. The line grew so long that the store essentially closed one hour after the first guests entered due to overcrowding concerns, capping the line with timed wait signs creeping up past two hours. Minnie and Mickey made an appearance, of course, and those who did make it inside clocked at least a couple trips’ worth of time to the actual park which, when it opened this year, would be an hour away by train.
Having heard how crazy opening day was, I wondered for months how eye-poppingly big could this Chinese Mickey mecca could truly be. So, of course, when I traveled to the opening of Shanghai Disneyland Resort, I had to make a pit stop at the flagship Shanghai shop to see it myself.
The store takes up 54,000 square feet, which the The Los Angeles Times
smartly equates to "about a third of the size of a CostCo". Only there are no $1.35 cones of soft-serve, no endless aisles lined with five-pound containers of snack mix, and not even any shopping carts, because no one will be buying more than they can carry. There just isn’t that much in the store. The shop itself feels confoundingly small, offering a curated selection of keychains, jewelry, school supplies, and on display up front, a variety of Tsum Tsums, the small, stackable pellet-shaped character plush for which the obsession among collectors is likely to soon reach