Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mickey's of Glendale

Imagineering banner

One of the perks of D23 membership is being invited to shop—every three months or so—at Mickey’s of Glendale, the exclusive company store on the Disney Imagineering campus. Some Disney merchandise is unique to just this store and anything with the Imagineering logo is especially coveted. We had never been to Imagineering, so decided to take advantage of the opportunity yesterday.

The store opened at 8AM. We arrived after 9AM—surely most of the shoppers would be gone by then? Wrong! After finding a parking spot on the street, we walked in through a small security gate, where we were each given a numbered wristband and told we’d have to wait at least an hour-and-a-half to get into the store. We were expecting a long line. Instead, about a hundred people sat around on colorful patio furniture just inside the gate, while Radio Disney blasted from a nearby speaker. Books filled with thousands of Disney pins were spread across several of the tables as pin-trading is apparently a big part of these events. We learned later that collectors aren’t allowed to sell their wares on Disney property, but trading is highly encouraged. In fact, in two weeks the campus is reopening for a huge pin-trading event, which is expected to draw hundreds of collectors.

Mileage post, with distance to every Disney theme park
(32 miles from Glendale to the original Disneyland)

We do not do pins, but we are all about the Disney creative process and so were most excited to be inside the sanctum sanctorum of Imagineering, where Disney entertainment venues (e.g., theme park rides, cruise ships, resorts, and even retail stores) are first envisioned and then designed. Though we were restricted to just a small portion of the campus, the area we did see was lush with gardens and Disney artifacts. I was especially thrilled to see an old PeopleMover car, sort of parked to the side of one of the courtyards, and former skybucket tucked behind it. Can you imagine working where pieces of iconic Disneyland rides are just lying around?

 A blue skybucket hiding behind a PeopleMover car

Lush landscaping

We ended up waiting far longer than just an hour-and-a-half, but it was a beautiful morning to sit outside, so we didn’t mind; plus we had wisely brought the L.A. Times to read.  Once we got inside the store, it took us only about 10 minutes to find what we wanted: several Imagineering shirts that we’re assuming will be the envy of all of our friends and coworkers. The trading pin area was a mob scene, so we stayed as far away as possible.

An iconic Disneyland "D" just standing 
outside the employee cafeteria

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