A Mickey Mouse Store

For years, Walt Disney Co. has sold souvenirs and apparel decorated with Disney cartoon characters in stores at the popular Disney theme parks. More recently, a Disney store opened at the Orlando International Airport in Florida.

Until this month, however, the Burbank-based company has never played a direct role in selling merchandise in less touristy spots.

Now Disney is preparing to open a store at the Glendale Galleria on March 28, for a "trial run," according to Stephen B. Burke, director of development for Disney's consumer products unit.

Burke said Disney's venture doesn't pose a competitive threat to companies already licensing Disney characters, because Disney simply functions as one additional retailer.

The lease is "long term," Burke said, but he added: "We see this very much as a test."

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