Disney is going theme park with its new Times Square retail store.
Perhaps trying to emulate the retail magic of Apple stores, Mickey Mouse & Co. will be transforming an old retail space in New York's Times Square into an interactive store with theme park attractions and children's exhibits.
Hoping to attract young consumers and their parents, the store will conjure up an interactive princess castle and a kids' theater offering animation and storytelling for the younger crowd. Also on display will be specific activities for kids, special events, and even celebrity guest appearances timed with major Disney film releases.
Much of the credit for the new store design, according to an October New York Times article, can actually be given to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who joined Disney's board in 2006, after the company bought Pixar Animation Studios. Just as he pushed for a certain design for the Apple stores, Jobs reportedly convinced Disney to fashion its own stores on a grand scale.
Jobs shared with Disney executives detailed information about the setup of the Apple stores and took them on a tour of Apple's research operations, the Times reported. Jobs also urged the company to first create a prototype store to work out any bugs, an effort that paid off by helping Disney build the right atmosphere and philosophy for the stores.
"Bringing Disney store to the center of Times Square is a monumental achievement, and we have created a retail experience that complements the energy and innovation that Times Square inspires," Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, said in a statement.
The new store, located at 1540 Broadway, the former home of a large Virgin Records store, will be Disney's second major New York venture. In the 1990s, the company helped change the look and feel of New York's well-known and once-run-down 42nd Street district by renovating the New Amsterdam Theatre into a new Disney theater with live productions.
With the store scheduled to open in the fall of this year, renovations should begin soon. Disney is already planning to apply this magic touch to more than 300 other outlets around the United States and Europe over the next five years.