I am sure no one is surprised to hear that I have already been to Ikea twice!!!
And I am thinking I really missed out on the boat, what was I thinking? I TOTALLY should have went to work at IKEA part time in the evening so that I could get their %30 off employee discount.
Ok so Yes Ikea is busy. But if you go on a weekday during the day it is not at all insane. They have parking helpers that usher you right to your spot to park in. Also the whole store is built for large amounts of traffic. So while there were allot of people you could still walk through the place well. I am sure the weekend will be insane. But going on a weekday during the day was not bad.
The store is HUGE, no not big, GIGANTIC.
Day 1, Thursday (day 2 of the grand opening): I went with the whole load of kiddo's. We went to the kids play place. This is how it works. Your child must be out of diapers, taller then a mark on the wall, and shorter then another mark on the wall. My little 4yo Ari almost was not tall enough to go in. Next you grab a bin with a number and have all of the kiddo's take off of their shoes and put them in a bin. Then you fill out an information sheet, you know, name address ages. Then they give you a PAGER, how great is that, a pager. (Later in the day I saw a daddy going back to pick up his little girl because she was crying and they paged him.) Then they look at the clock and write it on your sheet. Your kids can play for one hour, but in one hour you need to pick them up. The pager has a number that matches the shoe bin. Your number is written on a name tag for your child. The your children are let into a "control" area where they only seem to let one set of kids in at a time, while they make sure everything is in place. Next the kids are shown to the play area with bathrooms, a climbing wall, "a swimming pool full of balls instead of water" (this is how my kids described it), a movie loft with bean bags, a pet shop, twirly trees with a hide away inside of one of them, a rocking reindeer, a bouncy turtle, and bear chairs (last three are Ikea items of course, selling to the kiddos ;).
Next Sterling and I took the elevator up to the second floor. We looked around and were still not done with all of the top floor in a hour. We were almost to the kids room shopping area by then. Just past the kids shopping area is restroom and the food court and an elevator to go down and get your kids. We went down to get the kids and they all said "Pretty please mom can we come back again and again, allot of times." And of course my answer was "if you are good this shopping trip :)".
The kids and I then went back upstairs to see the kids shopping area. It is totally touchy feely. They expect the kids to climb on the beds and play with the toys. By the toys is a "try it" area where some of the toys are set up out of the package for the kiddos to play with. In between the different kid room displays are little mouse holes. The kids go into a room and climb on and play with everything until they get bored and climb through the mouse hole to the next room. Your main job is to keep up with them :). One display room had a tea party set up on a table and all the kids sat down and had a little tea party, until they got bored and jumped through another mouse hole.
My plan was to explore this area until we were done and then go use the restroom and eat. After eating I was going to consider taking the kiddo's back down for a second turn in the play place (if they let me). But just about this time little Sterling (who was way past his nap time) decided that he was sick of moving on past all these cool stuff. And the big Giant stuffed turtle cushion was too cool to want to leave EVER. Sterling started screaming when I took him off of it and he did not stop until we got into the van. Se la vie.
Total time in the store about 1 hour and a half, and we only saw about 1/3 of the store.
Day two, friday (day three of the grand opening): The girls are off to Granny's, and I only have Sterling. Sterling is well rested and happy. This time I start out exploring the store backwards. The day before while I was hurrying out of the store with a screaming baby I saw the "scratch and dent" section just before the registers on the east end of the store. I decide to start here. It is full already, and I found two good deals, a toy with some missing parts, and a little kid stool.
After the As Is section I start to realise that going backwards might not be the best idea. Every step I take into the store I am going to have to retrace on my way out. I was worried because I did not have a huge yellow bag for my strange cart, but luckily I found one easily when I did get past the warehouse area to the showroom. The down stairs is full of all of the little things, dishes, lights, blankets, etc. I found lots of great kitchen gadgets that I have been missing, filled up my bag, and did not pay allot by the time I left.
Everything is different in person then on the web page. Half of the things are bigger then they look on the internet (like the GIANT sun lights for the girls room), and half of the things are smaller then they look on the internet (like the cute silver light for the kitchen.) Some things are better built then I expected (like the trofast towers) and others are not built as well as I had hoped (like the knodd garbage cans). I am going to have to totally re plan everything. :(
Friday BTW is allot busier then thursday was, almost too busy.
I was hoping that the store had more selection and items then the web page, but for the most part this is not so. I think I found a few items I do not remember seeing on the web page, but they are the exception. Also I expected to see everything on the web page in the store, and this was also not so. There were some pictures I liked on the web page that I could not find in the store.
On the way out we got to taste test some sparkling juice, found some Swedish orange cookies to buy to snack on, bought the crazy large IKEA blue bag instead of the plastic bags, used self check out, and were happy with our experience.
Total time in the store about 1 hour and a half. Still we only saw 1/3 of the store, 2/3rds of the store down, one more 3rd to go.
P.S. If you have not already seen my ikea decorating plans check out my multiply page.