While many other retailers are cutting back and playing it safe, Disney is taking risks. Disney is putting into motion an expensive and very aggressive redesign of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe.
Disney will be getting a high-tech makeover from the floor up incorporating recreational activities. The goal is to make children want to visit the stores and want to stay longer, hopefully boosting sales.
After much internal debate, the estimated million pound reboot is being set in motion. Several board members feared its lavishness would prompt parents to use the stores as a nursery and others worried people would come for the entertainment and not buy anything.
There will be theatres in which children can view clips of their choice as well as participate in karaoke contests. Children may even be able to chat with Disney stars via satellite. Computer chips embedded in the product packaging will activate hidden features in the store. For example, holding a princess tiara will activate a “magic mirror” and Cinderella might appear and say something to you.
More features include the 13-foot-tall Lucite trees which will crackle with video-projected fireworks and sound with the touch of a button and the scent component. If a clip from Disney’s coming “A Christmas Carol” is playing in the theatre, the whole store might suddenly be made to smell like a Christmas tree.
The brilliantly redesigned stores may bring in the crowd for entertainment only, but the hope is that when customers are ready to spend money again, Disney stores will be ready.