Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jobs assisting with Disney Store redesign

Traditional Disney Store, Square One, Mississauga, ON

The New York Times reports that The Walt Disney Company is working on an exciting major revamp of the Disney Store retail chain and that Pixar co-founder and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Disney's largest individual shareholder since the acquisition of Pixar, was a prominent voice in the redesign strategy.

Jobs did not concern himself with the minutiae of the redesign process but rather influenced the company's vision—the first time he's done so for any Disney project since he joined the company's Board of Directors in 2006, following years as Pixar's CEO.

"Dream bigger—that was Steve’s message," Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney says in the piece, written by Brooks Barnes. For example, Jobs insisted that a prototype store be built to work out the concept properly, something most retailers won't do due to cost.

Jobs notably "provided access to proprietary information about the development and operation of Apple’s highly successful stores, and Disney executives visited Apple’s research operation in Cupertino, California." Like his 'lending' of Jonathan Ive to help with the design of EVE for WALL-E, this is very rare for Jobs.

It's a positive sign for fans and shareholders alike to hear that Steve (recently voted 'most admired entrepreneur' by teens) is back at work at Apple and more involved than ever at Disney. He, of course, recently had a liver transplant stemming from his brush with a rare form of pancreatic cancer earlier in the decade.

The New York Times article is filled with details about the new "Imagination Park" concept for the stores.

Recreational activities for kids, computer chip-activated hidden in-store features, touch screens (where parents can book Disney vacations) and even 'themed smells' will all be part of the experience offered to customers.

And borrowing from the unmatched shopping experience offered at Apple Stores worldwide, employees will be equipped with mobile credit/debit machines, resulting in a quicker checkout for guests.

The first of the new stores will open in May of next year in California, New York, and Madrid, Spain. Disney plans to eventually redesign all of its stores in North America and Europe.

(Photo credit: northernpenguin/Waymarking)


Kyle said...

I miss the Disney store. The one in my mall closed when they started that closing spree years ago. The only ones I have in my area now are outlet stores, which only get the left overs other stores cant sell.

I'd love to see them reopen one around here, but I'm not too optimistic. I don't have an Apple store either.

William said...

I wonder if this would also lead to a redesign of The World of Disney. Maybe not a complete redesign, but at least inclusion of the new technology being introduced.

The WoD has always been the crème de la crème of Disney shopping. I would hate to see the Disney Store become better then the WoD.

Mike said...

They're closing down the World of Disney store in NYC, next year I think it is. Will probably be replaced by the new flagship Disney Store in Times Square mentioned in the NYT article.

Chad Kerychuk said...

The Apple Store and Disney Store are right next to each other in West Edmonton Mall. Very strategic. Unfortunately, The Disney Store's variety of items has lacked since the acquisition The Children's Place. It would be great to see more items from The Incredibles, and more adult items too.

The Pixar prints for DVD pre-orders have lacked the image and quality of the previous versions and I'm not sure if this is because of the acquisition. I really don't need colored bordered on my prints as the imagery is so great on it's own. Even the choice of stills or production are has been mediocre at best.

This is probably a very good move for The Disney Store at a very good time and I'm looking forward to seeing more interesting layouts at the store. They've always been missing something at the store that Jobs magic could bring!

Obscura Metaphoria said...

hope this applies to the UK ones too, though i doubt it since they belong to a separate company.

PixarFanatic said...


On Wikipedia, a teaser poster for Cars 2 has been put up! Is this real or not?

PixarFanatic said...

OK, they need to reset the foreign timing on Box Office Mojo. They still say that it's 458 M worldwide, but Wikipedia says it's already walloped WALL-E and Monsters Inc with 549 M. Incredible. And next week, we'll probably see 600 M when it opens in the UK...

Will said...

This is PixarFanatic, using this name for the last time. Some user or hacker came up on Blue Sky Disney, and is now using my name!

To avoid trouble (should this other user come to The Pixar Blog), I am stopping using PixarFanatic here as well.

Will is my first name, and that's what I'm using.

Leirin said...

PixarFanatic, as for the Cars 2 poster thing, I inquired about it on its talk page. It seems fake to me. The picture, slogan, etc. all just seems reused from previous Cars stuff.

Jordan said...

Leirin: Are you IP address That's the only other person besides me who commented on the talk page about the poster.

Willl said...

This is Willl. Someone is using my name Willl, but with only 2 L's. This is confusing and I wish it would stop.

Anonymous said...

@ Jordan: How do you know the IP's of the commentors?