There are hundreds of wonderful places at Walt Disney World, but only a few of them are my favorite places. This is the next in a series of profiles of some of my most favorite Disney World spots.
The largest Disney merchandise stores at Walt Disney World are currently World of Disney at Disney Springs and The Emporium at Magic Kingdom (RIP to Epcot’s MouseGear, which will soon be replaced by a store called “Creations Shop”). Those places are where I go if I want access to the widest array of the latest Disney parks merchandise. I make it a point to visit these stores at least once per trip, if only to see what the recent trends are. The only other store I visit during every trip is small, in an out-of-the-way location, with a poor to middling selection of offerings: Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures (Merchandise of Extinction), located in the DinoLand section of Animal Kingdom.
I don’t visit Chester & Hester’s for its wares, which are typically available in dozens of other locations on property, but rather for the crazy over-the-top decor which never fails to delight and amuse. The store’s backstory, as created by the Animal Kingdom Imagineering team, is that this is a dinosaur gift shop that has taken over an old-fashioned gas station. The shop floor is standard Disney display, but every inch, and I do mean every inch, of the ceiling is dripping with dinosaur and/or gas station memorabilia: plastic figurines, wonky wooden skeletons, and hubcaps, like South of the Border threw up all over an archeological dig.
Every time I’m there I find another little scene or piece of flair – Godzilla! Piñatas! Pterodactyls wearing parachutes! It’s worth repeated viewing just to admire the wit and charm of the team that put this place together.
Have you visited Chester and Hester’s store before? What’s your favorite place to look for details at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments.