Friday, October 17, 2008

Downtown Disney

As you are probably aware, the giant parking lot that used to be out front of Disneyland is now history. California Adventure occupies much of that vacated property. The rest has been converted into a huge, linear, outdoor mall and entertainment plaza. Think Bridgeport Village but with one long, very wide corridor down the middle and super-sized edifices. At one end is a gateway to Disneyland and California Adventure. At the other end is the original Disneyland Hotel, now renamed the Disneyland Resort. If you're really hauling hawkins you can make the walk in approximately 10 minutes.

The district is full of everything you might expect in a traditional mall: clothing boutiques, jewelers, food shops (e.g. Wetzel's Pretzels, Jamba Juice, Haagen Dazs), anchor restaurants (e.g. ESPN Zone, House of Blues, Rainforest Cafe), a cinema complex, cart vendors, fountains, and other typical mall-like stores (e.g. Fossil, a bookstore, Anne Geddes, a travel company, Build-A-Bear). Mixed in are a shuttle terminal to transport people to and from the new parking facilities (wherever that is) and a direct entrance to the hotel we stayed at, the Grand Californian. So I guess the Grand also fits into the old parking lot as well, as it sits between California Adventure and Downtown Disney, and also runs up against Disneyland Dr.

The favorite destinations among our group were definitely the World of Disney and the LEGO store. For World of Disney, imagine the Disney Store at the mall, add everything you can buy at any of the shops inside the parks, add design by the Disney Imagineers, and stuff it all into 50,000 square feet (that's 15 of our houses, both floors including the bonus room), then you've got the World of Disney. It is truly impressive.

The LEGO store was Djeryd's favorite destination in all of Southern California. It is everything you might expect from a store so named. 

Any enthusiasm or interest from either park that may have distracted Djeryd was always very short-lived. 

Space Mountain: "That was fun. I want to show you something really cool at the LEGO store."

In line for Nemo (taking Monorail to Downtown Disney afterwards): "Do you think we can go to go to the LEGO store later, before we go back to our hotel?"

On Indiana Jones: Me: "Are you doing okay, Djeryd?" Djeryd: "I don't like the cockroaches. I think we should go to the LEGO store after this."

While My and Sean were on Indiana Jones: "Let's go to the LEGO store while we're waiting for my mom and dad."

After Jedi training: "I want to see if they have Captain Rex at the LEGO store." Me: "Who?"

Waiting for our table at Rainforest Cafe: "Let's go to the LEGO store really quick while we're waiting." (It was only 100 yards away.)

Moping at Disneyland: Me: "What's wrong?" Djeryd: "Mom said something I didn't like." Me: "Is it about the LEGO store?" (wild guess) Djeryd: "It's not fair that we always do the things that everyone else wants to do (i.e. go to Disneyland) but never what I want to do (i.e. go to the LEGO store).

Unloading our cars at Enterprise, pulling his kit out of his backpack: "Look at what I got with my money at the LEGO store."

Asking Djeryd to open his LEGO bag to see if there was a receipt with the store's phone number on it so that we could call to see if they had Sean's wallet: "Wait. Look at what I bought at the LEGO store."

Going through security at the airport: "Look at what my Star Wars LEGO kit has inside."

Stowing our carry-ons on the airplane: "Can I get out my LEGO set and hold it on my lap. I won't open it. I just want to look at it."

Collecting our bags from the baggage claim and herding all of the kids together: "Do you want to see what I got at the LEGO store?"

Whoever has Djeryd for Christmas, two words:

Hot Wheels

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