Disney has had a checkered retail experience. When it came onto the scene it opened too many stores, resulting in mass closures. Later an attempt by Children's Place to run the several hundred Disney Stores also didn't fare well.
There's buzz again now because under the rebranded World of Disney moniker many are hoping that the chain can emulate Apple's success by creating a more interactive retail experience rather than simply hawking clothing, chotchkes and other wares emblazoned with Disney's many expense of the redesign. But it seems overall that Disney is making the right move here. If physical retail spaces are going to continue to thrive amid heated competition from online retailing, chains that can provide an immersive experience in their in-store environments will be important draws.. Admittedly, there have been some concerns about the
That's exactly with Disney is going for here and the rundown of what they're doing makes for an interesting read.
-A Pixar RIDEMAKERZ area that encourages children to assemble and accessorize their favorite Cars character toys, making use of a wide selection of rims, side pipes, hoods scoops, blown engines, spoilers and other accessories;
-A child-sized Disney Princess Castle including a "Magic Mirror," in which a Disney princess can be summoned with a wave of the wand to tell stories to children;
-A Disney Store Theatre featuring classic and new Disney entertainment. Customers can also use a touchscreen to play music videos, movie trailers and other film shorts on a 12-foot screen. In the vein of Apple's ( AAPL -- people ) lecture spaces, the theater will also serve for special in-store events such as reading time, scavenger hunts and other activities;
-Touchscreen kiosks placed around the store that give users 3-D animated views of Disney Store and DisneyStore.com products, as well as access to the latest Disney Store news via video clips, articles and social media feeds;
-Thirteen-foot interactive trees surrounding the store that display changing colors and images and play music set to an array of Disney themes;
-A Pixie Dust Trail that leads guests through the store and its major interactive elements