Disney Reinventing Stores as 'Imagination Parks'

Apple's expertise will help transform shopping into entertainment
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 1:25 AM CDT
Shoppers walk by the Disney store on the Champs Elysees in Paris.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
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(Newser) – Disney has unveiled ambitious plans to bring the theme park to the shopping mall by turning its network of stores into interactive "Imagination Parks." The overhaul—designed using the expertise of Steve Jobs and his Apple Stores team—will cost some $1 million per store and focus on providing entertainment and a sense of community. Computer chips in packaging will trigger interactive features, and kids will be allowed to watch film clips of their choosing and chat with Disney stars via satellite.

"This only works if it’s an experience,” Disney Stores Worldwide president Jim Fielding tells the New York Times. The reboot for Disney Stores was approved after much internal debate, with some execs fearing parents might treat the stores like day-care centers. The new look will be rolled out next May at the company's existing stores and some new ones, including a possible new flagship store in Times Square.