A2RS Trip Report: Anaheim, CA

We’ll get back to Ann Arbor soon, but I got to visit Southern California recently. Orange County is commonly known as “The Ann Arbor of the West Coast” by literally nobody at all, but I have made reference to several artifacts of this area in the past, and it seemed like a good opportunity to formally document them here.

The Disneyland Target

Here’s Target #192, the Harbor Boulevard location. It’s about two miles south of Disneyland.

Exterior, Target #192, Garden Grove, CA. (C)A2RS

As I noted then, this Target is a very wide-footprint store. It has two entrances, just like Meijer. (A number of Target stores, usually in non-Midwest markets where Meijer doesn’t dominate, have larger footprints and expanded selections.) If you just look at the outside, you might think this is one such location.

But once you enter, you realize this Target is actually quite navigable on foot. It doesn’t go as far back as even the Target stores in the Ann Arbor area.

View from the back wall of the sales floor toward the front of the store. Target #192, Garden Grove, CA. (C)A2RS

In the photo above, shot from the home furnishings section: between here and the store’s cafe in the back center of the above shot, I count about nine aisles.

Target #192, Garden Grove, CA. View from patio and home section toward the south wall of the store. (C)A2RS

Both of the Ann Arbor area Target stores basically start at their single entrance way. This Target store has a significant sales floor going past either edge of its entrances, like a Meijer. The pharmacy, as well as health and beauty items, occupy the area past the north entrance behind Food Avenue (the cafe); on the south side of the store, housewares and small appliances can be found past the Disney souvenirs and behind the Guest Services counter, across from office supplies and greeting cards.

Target #192, Garden Grove, CA. View from front of store, near Guest Services and checkout #17. (C)A2RS

As the closest Target to Disneyland, this store has a particularly robust selection of officially-licensed Disney souvenirs. Everything from Mickey rain ponchos (get them outside the park to save a lot of money) to matching t-shirts for everyone from Dad to Grandma. And have you ever seen a Target with seventeen checkout lanes? Me either. Full disclosure: a few of them are self-scan stations, accompanied by this free phone-charging station:

“ChargeItSpot” secure phone charging kiosk at Target #192, Garden Grove, CA. (C)A2RS

At this store, you can securely charge your phone while you shop, an amenity I have yet to notice at Ann Arbor area stores.

Viva Bargain Center

This Target store shares its corner with Viva Bargain Center, a dollar store. Alongside today’s typical dollar store fare (smaller-size name brand or grey market home, beauty, and food products), they had an interesting selection of clothing and possibly some actual marked-down closeout items. I almost shelled out the two dollars for a plastic-molded smartphone VR headset but instead I took photos of these:

At Viva Bargain Center, these insoles were available only in Michigan State Spartans, Louisiana State, and Oregon State logo/colorways. (C)A2RS
“The Mach 6 is secretly the Mach 5’s older brother car, who drove away from home years ago, and almost made it to Disneyland.” (C)A2RS

In the outlets of Target, there are a fancy car wash, a party store (they don’t call them that in California, but that’s what it is), a Coco’s (California regional bakery-restaurant chain), and this delightful little Walgreens.

Walgreens #3674 (Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA)

Walgreens #3674, as seen from Harbor Blvd. (C)A2RS
Profile, Walgreens #3674, as seen from parking lot. (C)A2RS

As you can see, this Walgreens is considerably smaller than your typical Walgreens store. Several conventional Walgreens stores can be found within a few blocks, including one kitty-corner from Disneyland, sharing the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Katella Dr. with a Hyatt Place hotel (and across the street from its arch-rival, CVS).

Rear of Walgreens #3674. (C)A2RS

This Walgreens boasts two drive-thru windows, exterior counterparts to their two interior counters – a drop-off counter and a pick-up counter.

Interior view from entrance of Walgreens #3674. (C)A2RS

It also carries a selection of over-the-counter medications and other pharmacy products, but eschews the general merchandise and beauty products that a lot of modern drugstores stock.

Interior of Walgreens #3674, featuring cold remedies. (C)A2RS

The store seems to serve as an alternative to the shops in the lobby of the many hotels up and down Harbor Boulevard. Prices were comparable to other Walgreens locations and discounts tied to the loyalty-card program applied to purchases (can confirm, I got 50 cents off my pack of gum).

View from the north wall of the store toward the south wall, pickup/cashier counter. (C)A2RS

I’m not sure whether this store was purpose-built or whether it was renovated from a similar outlet concept, although this place gave me strong once-i-was-a-bank-branch vibes.

View outside from the entrance of Walgreens #3674. (C)A2RS

Unlike a typical Walgreens, where the blue-vested store clerks usually suggest you add that month’s featured candy to your order, the only folks staffing this location appeared to be pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. The interior pickup counter doubled as the checkout. I had to wait to purchase my gum until a pharmacy tech finished fulfilling a drive-thru prescription pickup (the wait was reasonable). They also had a small soda cooler, and stocked some basic candy bars and a rack of Frito-Lay products, including single-serving chips, nuts, cookies, and crackers.

The Outlets at Orange, Orange, CA

This outdoor shopping center lies a couple of miles east of Disneyland. Southern California’s generally pleasant weather lends itself to an outdoor mall, especially around here, where there isn’t really a walkable downtown area. It hosts many bars and restaurants, as a substitute. (I happened to visit on like the one day of the year when it was rainy and mid-40s, which figures.)

Fancy car/unrelated timeshare display at The Outlets at Orange. (C)A2RS

As a fellow property of Simon, the owner of Briarwood, The Outlets of Orange shares some features with its sister in our neighborhood, including the evergreen Fancy Car Display Accompanied By A Prize Drawing In Which The Car Is Not Actually A Prize, And The Prize Drawing Is Actually An Intake Form For An Aggressive Timeshare Vacation Sales Pitch.

Exterior, “Mac Bros Computers.” (C)A2RS

It also features a few local merchants amidst the tourist stuff, like the above computer sales and repair shop.

Corridor between Forever 21 and an art-themed cafe in which carefully placed windows render this reclining nude “safe.” (C) A2RS
I hadn’t been in a GameStop in like a year before entering this one, and it looks like all they sell now are surprise boxes and Switch games. (C)A2RS
Another typical corridor at The Outlets at Orange. As you can see, the stores are not exclusively Outlets, although there are a few. (C)A2RS

Besides the outlets and restaurants there are a few entertainment-oriented destinations, including a 30-screen AMC theater and the flagship Vans Skate Park.

The lobby of the AMC 30 at Orange. (C)A2RS

When you look past the fancy vestibule and the “Film City” livery at this location, the layout isn’t that much different from other large-scale AMC locations like Livonia 20. I watched “Alita: Battle Angel” in IMAX 3D and it was fine, though I found myself wondering if I should have attended the Dolby screening instead, since I don’t think we have a Dolby theater in the Detroit area yet.

The entrance to the Dolby-certified Theatre 15 at the AMC Orange uses digital projections to differentiate itself from the other screening rooms’ entrances. It’s probably better in other ways too, I guess, but I’ll have to take your word for it. (C)A2RS

Anyway, that’s California. A state of the union, a state of mind, a state of huge screens and tiny Walgreens. I will spare you all the photos I took in, and of, In-N-Out restaurants, for now.

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