The array of shops in Downtown Disney is amazingly diverse, ranging from the ultra chic to the incredibly banal. The only method to this madness is that the new Disneyland is trying to offer something for everyone. "Shop 'til you drop" is a distinct possibility in this glitzy annex to the Disneyland Resort. It offers more things to see and do for families on vacation, and has enormous appeal to residents of the Los Angeles area as a shopping destination that includes fine dining. So, my fellow shopaholics, let's dive in!
Starting with the granddaddy of the shops in Downtown Disney, we have "World of Disney". It's billed as the largest Disney Store in all of California, and I believe it. The store was packed with California Adventure toys, souvenirs, and clothing as we expected. However, like most of The Disney Stores these days, the oceans of coffee mugs, figurines, t-shirts, and stuffed toys soon start to become an enormous blur during a trip to Disneyland. There's little to make this store special unless you were visiting the area and not planning to actually go inside either of the theme parks. No imagination was at work on either the design or merchandising here. Half the offerings are available at any Disney Store in the world. For Disney fans and collectors, the greatest advantage is that you could buy just about anything you had seen in the park and so you could avoid having to carry your little treasures all day.
Definitely not something you'll find in every shopping mall, it's "Hoypoloi". Disney refers to its offerings as "eclectic", and that seems only too appropriate. The shop features hand-made one-of-a-kind gifts made by artists from around the world. Don't let the esoteric description here put you off. You'll be surprisingly glad you took the time to browse through this shop even if your tastes don't normally run to the ultra-modern. Check their website at www.hoypoloi.com for a glimpse of their wares.
We don't have kids in our house, so the Lego explosion of the past 20 years has sort of snuck beneath our radar. But there's no escaping the popularity of these iconic building block toys, and no wonder. You can start as simply as making little houses or graduate to making remote-controlled robots. Over 400 different Lego playsets can be found in this 4,500 sq.ft. store here in Downtown Disney that includes play areas so kids can have a blast playing with these great toys.
"Starabilias" is a kitschy little store that crams thousands of souvenirs of your favorite movies and television programs, along with autographed memoribelia. There's another of these in Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World. We enjoyed the antique Coke machines and the autographed items here, but most of the merchandise could be found in any decent shopping mall... and at a better price. And the store was so cramped that it made shopping uncomfortable. If you're looking for real memoribelia, head for Hollywood.
Other shops include: