The Disney Store was the first shop in the Galleria to open Friday, unlocking its doors at 4 a.m. And even after 9 a.m. the lines snaked to and fro, much like the expansive lines to get on rides at Disneyland.
Instead of Goofy and Mickey, shoppers were greeted by assistant store manager Maria Martir or one of the clerks who handed out glossy fliers that featured the store's early-bird incentives.
"We just wanted to see what's in there," said Dawn Ignatian. "Our attitude was to check out the sales and we thought by getting here at 9 a.m. we could beat the crowd."
It didn't work, but the long line didn't put the pair off.
"We figured after we circled around the parking lot a couple of times we were determined to see it," Dawn said.
Shoppers started lining up at 2:45 a.m. to take advantage of the 20% discount that expired at 10 a.m., Martir said.
"It's a good start to the holiday shopping season," she said.
Conditions in the rest of the mall were similar.
Mervyn's manager Christine Hillyard came in at 3 a.m., opened the store at 5 a.m. and planned on closing at 11 p.m.
"It's been busy," she said between answering her two-way radio and re-hanging some apparel. "Business is good. Mervyn's has had a good couple of months and that should continue through December."
She said it was too early to identify any trends but said children's apparel was doing well.
In Burbank, Sylmar resident Stella Contreraz employed a strategy of arriving outside the Macy's at the Town Center Mall at 5 a.m. -- an hour before the 6 a.m. opening with her two daughters and one son.
Having her children with her meant additional gift cards the store was handing out for the first 300 customers and less money she would have to spend, Contreraz said.