The majority of Americans don’t live within driving distance of a Disney theme park, but they do live within driving distance of a mall. That’s why Disney is experimenting with a new store concept in six of its 340 mall stores. A central feature of these stores is a large video screen where aspiring Mouseketeers can watch a live feed of the daily parade down Disneyland’s Main Street.
“It’s not unusual to have 50 people or so come [for the parade] on a Tuesday or Wednesday,” the entertainment mega-company’s executive in charge of stores, Paul Gainer, told Bloomberg News.
If that’s not immersive enough for you, there are plans to bring in vendors that will sell popcorn, cotton candy, and mouse ears, since there’s nothing more Disney than relentless up-selling.
The stores can also do two-way communication and celebrations for kids, with Donald Duck serenading guests celebrating their birthdays from the screen.
Disney’s retail stores are suffering the same problems with foot traffic as other retailers, and it doesn’t help that Disney hasn’t had a merchandise-heavy hit movie like Frozen in a few years.
This year’s release of the next Star Wars saga installment, The Last Jedi, may help with that problem, but doesn’t solve the wider issue of declining mall foot traffic. Creating events that people will want to attend, and that help promote the company’s theme parks and characters while they’re at it, is at least an on-trend way to get people in the store.
If they buy some popcorn, a princess dress, and a lightsaber, that’s even better.