The Disney Store celebrates the grand opening of its new store at Westfield Plaza Bonita in National City on Saturday, April 16.
A quick call to friend and unofficial Mayor of National City John Dacapias confirmed my suspicions. “Wow!” John exclaimed. “This will be the biggest thing to hit town since they opened the Jollibee.” Pausing, he continued, “But hasn’t there always been a Disney Store in Plaza Bonita?”
Is it more a “reopening” than a “grand opening,” as the folks at Disney insist? No one seems to know exactly when this particular Happiest Store on Earth originally opened. (John dates it to the early ’90s.) I spoke with one of Disney's uptempo “cast members” who informed me they were closed for about four days, long enough to move from their cramped first-floor digs to more spacious accommodations on Level 2.
The doors open at 10 a.m., and the first 500 guests receive a free gift, while supplies last. In a move worthy of Rod Serling, one lucky child will be invited to “Unlock Imagination.” The rep declined to comment when asked if that meant a glimpse into the cryogenic vault that houses the heads of Uncle Walt and his lover, Vivian Leigh. Seriously, “unlock imagination” means a fortunate lad or lass gets to officially open the store.
You want celebrities? What would you give for a picture with Zac Efron, star of High School Musical? How about an autograph from Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews? Or former Mouseketeer Selena Gomez? Well, forget it! This isn’t Burbank, it’s National City, where we’re lucky to get a couple of college students dressed in full mouse regalia.
3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City
From noon to 4 p.m., parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for a Mickey & Minnie Meet and Greet held in Center Court. In addition to the renowned rodents, guests will be afforded a first look at new store features including the blue Pixie Dust Trail, Magical Trees, Disney Store Theater, and Storytelling Neighborhoods.