If you have a Disney fan in your house then you’re going to love this activity. Little and I had the best time yesterday at the Magical Disney Store on State Street. I had heard that every day, the first child in line at each of the Disney Stores (featuring the Magical New Store Design) can “open” the store. That’s all I needed to hear and I grabbed my little pirate (forget princesses she is a huge fan of Jake) and headed down to State Street. While there are 11 Disney stores in Chicago, only the one on State Street features the Magical new store design. Once Little knew where we were headed it was her idea to put on her Jake costume.
We arrived at the store about 30 minutes before opening time (10am) and were first in line (phew!). Right at the stroke of 10am, Marcus (a Disney store employee) came out and asked Little if she could help him unlock the magic inside the store. He presented her with a huge key and helped her turn it in the big lock.
She watched in awe as the velvet ropes in front of the store fell to the ground, and the store lit up. Marcus then presented her with her “very own” key to remember this special event. (If there are multiple children waiting, they try and include all of them in the opening, but only the first in line receives a key. So keep this in mind when planning your arrival time).
Once inside, she was enthralled by the princess castle with a magical mirror. Look for the princess wands hanging nearby, and wave them in front of the mirror and watch your favorite characters appear.
She also loved sitting in the Disney theatre area where she controlled a playlist of Disney clips on the big screen and colored multiple Disney coloring sheets.
As part of her special day, I had told her in advance that she could pick out one item as a special gift. Of course, we left with a Jake doll. The State Street store also has some special “Chicago” merchandise which I think makes it a particularly fun stop if you have out of town guests.
If you want to make a day of it, I highly suggest going across the street to The Walnut Room in Macy’s for lunch (the 45 foot tree is spectacular this year). It’s like a step back in time and Little particularly loved the fairy princesses that came around to all of the tables and sprinkled their fairy dust. On your way in, stop and look at the Macy’s holiday windows which are charming this year.
And if you don’t have time for a full lunch, you may want to take advantage of Magnolia Bakery also being in the Block 37 shops, and indulge in a little treat (maybe it’s my NYC upbringing but I could live on these things).
Leave it to Disney to come up with such a fun and meaningful way to engage kids. Little loved it, I loved it, and it was a wonderful and free experience. I highly recommend it.
Disney: Magical New Store Design 108 North State Street (Block 37 Shops on North State Street)
CHICAGO, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 269-4776 Hours:
Monday 10:00 – 8:00
Tuesday 10:00 – 8:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 8:00
Thursday 10:00 – 8:00
Friday 10:00 – 8:00
Saturday 10:00 – 8:00
Sunday 11:00 – 6:00
- Hallelujah, the main entrance of this Disney store is inside the Block 37 shops. That makes the few minutes of waiting so much more bearable. I brought paper and crayons so she could draw while we waited in line.
- While a costume is certainly not required, all of the Disney employees in the store just loved that she was in costume and showered her with attention.