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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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)
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).
This Walgreens boasts two drive-thru windows, exterior counterparts to their two interior counters – a drop-off counter and a pick-up counter.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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.
It also features a few local merchants amidst the tourist stuff, like the above computer sales and repair shop.
Besides the outlets and restaurants there are a few entertainment-oriented destinations, including a 30-screen AMC theater and the flagship Vans Skate Park.
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.
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.