Welcome to the 2015 Imagineering Awesome series on Mouse on the Mind! You can access all of the posts by clicking on the link at right.
I don’t have to tell you who wrote today’s post … you’ll figure it out before you even finish the first paragraph! Because this idea is so very very very Estelle (formerly of This Happy Place Blog and still of Rather Be Reading). You’ll see what I mean:
At the heart of every Disney movie, every theme park attraction, there is a story. Even if the final film is nothing like the origin story (hello, The Little Mermaid), even if a film inspires an attraction’s story to expand (The Pirates of the Caribbean), even if a film totally effs up an attraction’s original story (Haunted Mansion) and we desperately try to forget it, we are given a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories are so important to every entity of this company, and that’s why, as an unofficial official Imagineer nicknamed Awesome, I’m proposing an honest to goodness bookstore in a Disney Park.
I hate to shit on Disney’s Hollywood Studios when it seems like the entire park is disappearing, but the Writer’s Shop — as cool as it is — is not cutting it. I’m sure this place is on the chopping block too, and it’s a shame because the space could be the indie-feeling bookshop I want to see Disney embrace — whether the reasoning behind it be about their own publishing company, support for children’s literacy, or because it’s the only kind of gift shop they have yet to feature on their property.
But where? Where would this adorable little shop go? Good question. DHS seems like the obvious choice to me. It’s cozy and adorable and a place I’d love to people watch on a rainy afternoon. It never feels TOO crowded plus with the Streets of America nearby, I could see this fitting nicely. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom just don’t work. Epcot possibly? If the Imagination Pavilion was in better shape, yes. Books and imagination? They go together like peas and carrots. Basically, the existence of my dream bookshop is dependent on the two Parks that need the most work.
Since that’s up in the air, let’s talk musts:
- There must be fairy tales. This goes without saying.
- There must be an indie author section. I’d love to see Disney embrace the self-published and small houses with historical and non-fiction titles (see: Jeff Heimbuch’s Main Street Windows or Aaron Wallace’s The Thinking Fan Guide to Walt Disney World). Even with the beauty of the internet, it’s not easy for these authors to get their names out there. I would imagine the company would come up with a strict qualifying system but it would be such a lovely touch. Walt was an unknown once too.
- Coffee and snacks. Let’s not overcomplicated this. I’m fine with a mini-Starbucks with cookies and some healthy choices too. I see this place with the local/frequent visitor in mind. We want to soak in the atmosphere but we want to feel like we are on vacation too.
- Knick knacks. Forget the kitchen supplies at the Writer’s Shop and let’s go with journals, pens, postcards, eReaders, bookmarks, TOTE BAGS (I would buy one every single trip), pencil cases, ART. The possibilities are endless — just don’t let them overshadow the books.
Now the best part of my plan? I want a character in here. Not Goofy or Belle but a slightly eccentric yet endearing Citizens of Hollywood type that will make every experience in this bookstore a new one. Is someone being too loud? Is this character crying over a great book? Is she name dropping about an author she met once 40 years ago? Not only is this a lot of fun for the interaction but this detail would give the shop a Disney pop.
As someone who constantly had her own nose in a book on Disney vacations, I would have loved to get lost in a space like this on family trips — especially when I was finally allowed to go around the Parks without my parents. It may have all started with a mouse, but before the mouse there was love for a damn fine story. Those stories are what keep us going back to these parks over and over again, to spots where our own stories have deepened in the loveliest of ways.
What do you think of Estelle’s story of a new bookshop and snack stop? Let us know what you think in the comments below!