Disney is in the process of turning its stores into entertainment destinations by April 2010. Disney is getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe - as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square.
Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs. The chain's traditional approach of displaying row after row of toys and apparel geared to Disney franchises will be given a high-tech makeover and incorporated into a new array of recreational activities. The goal is to make children clamor to visit the stores and stay longer, perhaps bolstering sales as a result. Over the next five years, analysts estimate that Disney will spend about $1 million a store to redecorate, reorganize and install interactive technology.
The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall.The involvement of Jobs, the Apple chief executive who joined the Disney board with the 2006 acquisition of Pixar, is particularly notable.
''Dream bigger - that was Steve's message,'' said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products.
Disney will adopt Apple touches like mobile checkout (employees will carry miniature receipt printers in their aprons) and the emphasis on community (Disney's theater idea is an extension of Apple's lecture spaces). The focus on interactivity - parents will be able to book a Disney Cruise on touch-screen kiosks while their children play - reflects an Apple hallmark. Employees can use iPhones to control those high-tech trees.