The Disney Store is my church.
It is my home.
It is a part of me – who I have become.
The Disney Store was my first job when I was 16, when I was still living in Aberdeen. It was my dream to work there when we finally got our very own Disney Store. It would become my first job again, when I moved to Leicester to be with Ben. It saved me. It was there when I needed it.
I worked there for 5 years. That’s 5 years of work experience, memories, funny stories, friendships; whether they were short or long lasting. I haven’t worked there in over 3 years, but I still visit the store regularly, and my dear friend Jen is still the Assistant Manager, and we are still very good friends. Jacob has had a ball running around the shop floor, over-whelmed by all the magic and familiar characters he has begun to know and love.
Why is it being taken away from me? Taken away from Jacob! His little brother, who is not yet with us, will never set foot in the store. I am really sad and upset by that.
Jen text me on Ben’s birthday to tell me the news. My local Disney Store, the store I worked in, and met Jen and my many other friends, was being closed 14th January 2017 (THAT’s TOMORROW!). It was such a shock, and such sad news to hear before christmas.
From my own experience working at The Disney Store, and in retail, I am aware that stores are not safe, and I had a few scares myself of losing my job due to the store being closed when I was there. However I always felt, that as long as sales were good, and there weren’t much competition, then the store would be safe.
Leicester has become very well known across the world over the last couple of years, due to the finding of Kind Richard III, and Leicester City FC winning the Premier league last season. The City has been on the map, so I don’t believe the Disney Store has closed due to bad sales.
The store is situated in the original “Shires” area of The Highcross shopping centre, which opened in September 2008. The Disney Store has been there for over 20 years! It has the American style interior, and lots of classic Disney characters right around the store. The window hasn’t worked for years, but still has Mickey and the gang inside to welcome the guests. And remember when the Disney store used to have the plush mountain?? That had been taken away just before I started, but the mark in the carpet remained for a long time after.
Disney has stated that they are working to spread the magic across the UK, and yet they have taken another store away from the Midlands and the UK. They have made it more difficult for some families and children to experience the unique magical experience you get when visiting the Disney Store.
I don’t believe closing a store is helping to spread the magic, do you?
I went as far as signing a petition to keep it open. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t work. But hopefully it will let the cast members know how much the store is going to be missed by the public of Leicester.
So as a member of the public, who is about to lose one of their favourite places to visit, if you have a local Disney Store, or any retail store, that you visit often because it makes you happy… Keep visiting, keep buying their products, and try not to take advantage – you never know when it may be closed.
I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the cast members I have had the pleasure of working with, or who I’ve met across the UK. It’s a wonderful experience being a cast member, and I am fortunate to have kept a lot of happy memories from my time working there, and my visits as a guest. Especially my visits with Jacob.
I will continue to ‘Share the Magic’ in my own way!
Fellow cast member, who’s character name was “Lilo” on her name badge!