Disney Stores will get a theme park-like makeover

Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 10:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steve Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall. 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.

Read more from The New York Times.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:30 AM

This is a really great idea. Combine the Disney store with Disney Quest type activities only on a smaller scale. Kids won't wan't to leave (poor parents) :)

To bad alot of Disney stores have already closed up shop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:26 PM

There's still two open near me, one in Manchster, NH and another in Salem, NH.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 3:38 PM

I thought this was cool:

The company followed his advice, working for the last year on a full-scale, fully stocked store inside an unmarked warehouse in Glendale, Calif.

Sounds like a play right out of Ocean's Eleven. Not sure if I really like the mobile checkout though. I've been to an Apple Store a few times and that aspect kind of annoys me. I think that might work for iPhones that require a bunch of setup. But for plush?

Also, as a retailer, wouldn't I want people to have to walk through the entire store to get to the checkout, just to make sure they don't miss any *buying* opportunities?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 5:58 PM

What I like about the mobile checkout is that most of the time there's no line (holidays aside). The Apple Store is the only retail situation where I've not had any seriously bad experience. I've bought one computer, two iPhones, and AppleTV, lots of accessories and two service visits. I dig it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 6:20 PM

What i find most amusing in this is Disney offloaded hundreds of these stores to Children's Palace in 04, then wanted them back years later, after closing off a butt load of these stores before and after the original sale time. Now the few that are left, they are transforming into this.

What a very odd timeline these stores followed. Seems this new idea would be even more the rave if you didnt have to search for a store that had them as opposed to years ago when almost every big city had at least 2 of them. But I guess its easier to go big when you dont have to outfit as many.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 6:55 PM

I think the quote that's most telling is that everyone sells Disney crap, so if you're not going to do it in some unique way, why bother?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 6:39 AM

What are they gonna call the revamped Disney store, the "iMouse?"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 12:14 PM

Jeff said:
I think the quote that's most telling is that everyone sells Disney crap, so if you're not going to do it in some unique way, why bother?

The problem is, IMO, is that the Disney stores have relegated themselves to selling just that - crap. I worked for (and opened) a Disney Store back in 1994, and at that time, we had a lot of things you couldn't find anywhere else - watches, figurines, high-end collectibles, nice jackets, along with the usual array of plush and t-shirts. Now, they sell nothing but the cheap toys, plush, and t-shirts. I still always visit the store, hoping I'll find something I want, but more often than not, I find what I want on eBay.

I would have to see this whole concept before I make a judgment call on it. If they make it unique and different from the stuff you can get everywhere else, then this could prove to be good.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:23 PM

If they intend to reverse this an go more the route of high-end boutique, I think there's hope that what you describe will go away. One of the things that I always thought was cool was the stores that had art galleries in them. It was a lot of square footage for insignificant sales, but it made everything feel more high end.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 3:52 PM

I know when I had a limited time to visit the 5th Ave. store in NYC I spent my time entirely up on the third floor looking at expensive collectibles and artwork. Had they not had anything interesting like that, I suspect I wouldn't have been inclined to buy the pin that I did, as my interest level in purchasing something would not have been very high. I realize though that those are World of Disney stores and not the cookie cutter mall stores, which I glance in as I walk by and see nothing that catches my eye. The window display at my local mall that has a lot of classic figures is nice, but the rest of the store is just plush and clothes, and very much focused on the young girls. I hardly ever see a young boy go in or come out when I'm there.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 1:51 AM

It is nice that they are finally redoing this after that joker screwed everything up several years ago when they overpopulated, made the merchandise bland (crap as we are calling it), and eliminated any charm to want to go into the store. I remember as a child always wanting to go only to the mall that had the Disney store near my house so I could play in there. There were great collectibles, a large movie screen showing old Disney classics, animatronics littered around the perimeter. Every where you looked in the store there seemed to be a story told. The current version that they ended up creating earlier this decade, at just about every mall, lost all charm and were just a location that you could purchase junk for three times the price you would find at your local department store. Not sure how I feel about the new plan but anything is a step up....right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009 11:15 AM

Careful what you say. Jeff might start getting emails from "that joker". ;)


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