Well, the internet strikes again. Disney has announced they are looking to close about sixty of their stores by the end of this year, but have not announced which ones. In El Paso, we have two. One at Cielo Vista Mall and one at The Outlet Shoppes of El Paso. No word yet if El Paso stores will closes.

A couple of years ago, I was chosen to join the amazing Cielo Vista Mall Disney Store team. Originally, they said no to me and broke my heart, but like a true Disney movie, they gave me a call a few hours later, to grant me my weird retail happily ever after.

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While I was only a seasonal Disney cast member and honestly, not really good at the job, I absolutely loved the experience of working at the store. Unlike other retail stores, I have worked at, this store was filled with magic and unique experiences.

Many of these experiences I think are overlooked by El Pasoans. Did you know they host special events you and your children can get involved in, while you shop? Yeah, sometimes you even win prizes! When I was working there, not too many people would show up for these.

The Halloween ones are my favorite. Remember when we could play games with strangers, like in this 2019 video of a Halloween in-store event?

Disney Store cast members host these events and I even had to host one. I was so nervous to do it, I was horrible at it.

Working there really made me appreciate these stores being a little piece of Disneyland in the Sun City. The cast members were always happy, never fought with a Disney fan, and sprinkled a little pixie dust any chance they could on a princess or hero.

Oh, you also had to speak in Disney while you worked. It is way harder than you think.

As a millennial, I still remember the old Disney design of the store and miss the experience of the songs being blasted over the store speakers; as I begged for the latest Disney princess doll.

I know many people became comfortable with online shopping and it saves businesses money, but do you really need to save money, Disney?

Do you not appreciate spreading Disney all over the country? Being able to touch, feel, even smell the toys and clothes makes the experience so magical. Yes, I mentioned smell because I have a stuffed Bing Bong from 'Inside Out' (which smells like cotton candy) that I purchased after a shift at the store.

Emily Slape
Emily Slape

He isn't even my favorite character but the detail in this product makes him too cute! The details is something I truly love about Disney. From the movies to the products, they know how to make you spend your money.

The whole in-store experience is something beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I want everyone to stay safe while they shop and that might be a little hard with kids running around. I just hope Disney sees these stores as a chance to give that Disney experience to families who can't afford to visit Disneyland every year.

After 2020, we can all use a little magic to keep a smile and jobs in the borderland.

Here are 50 of your favorite retail chains that no longer exist.

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