SINGAPORE: Hours before the opening of the new Hello Kitty cafe at Changi Airport, fans of the iconic Sanrio character had already formed a queue outside to get their hands on a Singapore version of the famous feline.
As of 10.30am on Thursday (May 12), a crowd of more than 100 people were queuing outside the cafe ahead of its opening at 11.30am.
The cafe, the world’s first 24-hour Hello Kitty-themed restaurant, is located in the public area of Terminal 3’s Arrival Hall. It includes a retail section, which will sell 500 limited-edition plush toys of a Hello Kitty mascot specially designed for the Singapore cafe at S$49.90 each.
First in the queue were Ms Jaden Ang and Ms Maureen Setyadi, who started queueing at 7am on Thursday.
“We came to the airport at 11pm last night to check out the cafe. There was no queue yet so we just hung around. At 7am the people from the cafe came and we asked if we could start queuing for the plushies. We turned out to be first in line,” Ms Setyadi said.
The pair, who are unemployed, said they were “very big fans” of Hello Kitty and were hoping to get their hands on three of the plush toys. They had also queued for the McDonald’s Hello Kitty plush toys during their launch, they added.
Both said had no intention of selling the plush toys they are getting on Thursday for profit. “I think people who buy for profit shouldn't do that because you really spoil the brand,” Ms Setyadi said.
Stay-at-home momMsNg said she joined the queue at 11am to buy two plush toys for her daughters. Her daughters and herself are all fans of Hello Kitty, and they recently returned from Japan, she said.
"I really hope we can get the dolls because the queue right now is really long and we may not even manage to get one."
Property consultant Jeanette Lee, 37, was also spotted in the queue decked out in full Kitty-themed gear, including a Hello Kitty dress, bag and a bouquet of mini Hello Kitty toys.
"I've been a Hello Kitty fan since I was a little girl," she said. "The obsession obviously grew as I grew older and you get more of these themed (places) coming along ... I’ve never been to the other Hello Kitty cafes because I was not able to travel, so I’ve been waiting for it to come to Singapore."
Ms Lee added that the day was "especially special" because it was also her birthday, and she wanted to have her birthday lunch at the newly-opened cafe. Getting a plush toy would be an "added bonus" but was not her main reason for being there, she said.
And as the cafe opened its doors at 11.30am, those early to the queue were finally rewarded for their hours-long wait, with the first diners to get a taste of the cafe's offerings seated within about 10 minutes.