Did you know that you can get FREE Disney magic in your life? And you might be able to get it close to your home? It’s true! All you need to do is go to a Disney Store right before opening, and they will let YOU open the store with magic.
We went to our local Disney Store at the Castleton Square Mall in Indy this week so that the youngest Adventure Kid could open the store for his birthday. He LOVED it!
Here’s what happened:
I called the store the day before going so I could get the lowdown on when we needed to be there and what the odds were that an Adventure Kid would be able to open the store. I’d seen some videos online of other people opening Disney Stores, and I couldn’t make out what the protocol was. According to the cast member on the phone (Disney calls their employees “cast members”), the odds were in our favor! She said that most mornings, there are no guests there to open the store. This made me feel great about our chances, but she did caution that she could not guarantee our spot and that there is no sign up nor reservation. Even though the youngest Adventure Kid’s birthday was on a holiday (Labor Day), we decided to take our chances.
Per the cast member’s instructions, we showed up to the store 10 minutes before opening. No one was there waiting, but there were cast members inside of the store setting up merchandise. They didn’t acknowledge us, but they were in the back of the store, and I think this is part of the magic. A couple of minutes before opening, all of the lights in the store turned off. Then, a cast member wheeled a podium with a giant book on it to the front of the store. She asked the Adventure Kids (by this time their BFFs had shown up to help watch it go down) if they were willing to help open the store. They excitedly shouted, “YES!”
For the first attempt to open the store, the cast member asked the kids to use their “magic fingers” to throw magic to the back of the store. She said that while using those fingers, they needed to yell, “Rise and shine!” They did this. That didn’t work. They speculated that maybe if they shouted louder, then the store would open. At this point, the cast member gave the Adventure Kids and one of their BFFs (the other BFFs wasn’t interested in participating that morning) a sorcerer’s hat like Mickey wears in Fantasia. The hats were blue with silver stars, made of felt, and stood straight up on the kids’ heads. Adorable!
On the videos I’ve seen online of store opening ceremonies, all of them had a giant lock and one guest was given a giant key to unlock it in order to signify opening the store. In those videos, the guest opening the store was given a small souvenir key to take home. This is not the magic we experienced, but I think what our cast member did was even better for our group! It was nice that they all three could participate.
Now that the kids had on their magic hats, the cast member instructed them to pose for a picture. Then, she told them that they needed to shout the magic words in order to open the store. The magic words were written across the giant book she’d wheeled out. They are: “Let the magic begin!” She encouraged them to shout very loudly. This time, their magic words actually turned on the lights in the store! They were so surprised! Then, she instructed the kids to run into the store, so they happily sprinted off.
Once in the store, the cast member gave our birthday boy a happy birthday button to keep. She also told the kids that they could keep their sorcerer hats. They were very excited! We actually didn’t even buy anything on this visit because we had other places to go to continue the birthday celebration. That’s the great thing about this. NO purchase is required!
We highly recommend this experience if you live close enough to a Disney store or will be near one anytime in the future. By the way, it does not have to be your birthday for you to be able to open the store. You can go any time! From what I’ve read online, it does sound like some stores might be more popular than our local store, so just keep that in mind when making promises to kids or to yourself about being the one to open the store. I could not find any information about which stores do which type of ceremony, so you might want to call and ask a cast member at the store you’ll be visiting.
Also, I’ve read in unofficial forums that if there is more than one person who wants to open the store, then priority is given to kids (over adults). These forums also say that priority is given to a kid celebrating a birthday (over those who aren’t).
There are Disney Stores in 36 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and around the globe. If you’re in the USA, Puerto Rico, or Canada, you can use this page to find the closest store to you.
Have you ever opened a Disney Store? If so, what was your experience? If not, what do you think about getting some free Disney magic sometime soon?