While resident Jill Yates Dover watched her two sons play on the brightly painted "presents" beneath the center's decorated 90-foot white fir Christmas tree Wednesday morning, she reflected on the changes over the last few years.
"It's great for me," Dover said. "There are great stores, and it's much more current and up-to-date with trends."
Dover also complimented the additional parking, which increased by 1,100 spaces in 2007, and the elaborate redesign of Island Cinemas.
However, a carousel and children's train ride were removed during the remodel. The rides were something Dover brought her 6-year-old son, Carson, to every week.
"We probably rode those 25 times a week," said Dover, who also has an 18-month-old son, Davis.
The center will continue to have seasonal and family-friendly events, like the Nov. 18 tree lighting that featured photos with Santa and Disneyland Resort characters, who danced alongside students from Laguna Beach's Musical Theatre University.