Belfast Telegraph

Disney store reopens after major high-tech makeover

By Stephen McCaffery

The Belfast Disney store reopens today after a high-tech makeover. It is the only Disney outlet of its kind in Ireland and is the first of the UK branches to reopen.

The redesign is part of a global transformation of its shops to introduce interactive zones, mini theatres and a host of features it is hoped will add to the experience for children and parents.

Visits to see the Magic Mirror in the Princess Castle, or watch Disney clips in the store's theatre, are free.

Disney chiefs see their new venture as a bid to transform a trip to the store into a special experience.

Jonathan Storey, marketing director with Disney Stores Europe, said: "As part of Disney, we're committed to the value of entertainment and exclusive experiences.

"Disney is setting a new standard for the speciality retail category by integrating robust technology and creative store planning to make each visit different and that much more memorable."

Mickey Mouse and his side-kick Minnie will be in Belfast today to oversee the official reopening ceremony at the Donegall Place store.

But there will be an official opening ceremony every day in the store's new era.

The first child at the door each morning in Belfast will get to turn the 'Imagination Key' to open its doors, igniting electronic fireworks and setting the shop's interactive kingdom alive, complete with music, magic castle, animation trees, the Disney skyline and the Disney store theatre.

Every child who opens the store will receive a scaled replica of the Imagination Key.

The in-store theatre will host special events including animation classes, storytelling, quizzes, singing and dancing sessions. Events are advertised on the electronic 'What's New Board' in the front window of the store.

The Disney store chain first emerged in 1987 and is owned and operated by Disney in North America, Europe, and Japan.

The first store opened in California, and there are now over 200 in North America, in excess of 40 in Japan and more than 100 in the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.