Disney.com relaunches, gets slower

Disney.com has a new look, but is this a leaner, faster version of the site or just the old one with some prettier mouse ears?

Disney.com unveiled its new look this morning. Announced last month at CES by CEO Bob Iger, the new Disney.com aims to bring more personalization to the site and cash in on provide Disney content to share with others. Funny thing is, you can't even share the content on outside sites like MySpace or blogs.

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It's downright tough to find the new personalized area of Disney.com, but it's called XD. The Flash-based XD interface takes about half a minute to load, and you're greeted to a smattering of widgets featuring Disney content that appears automatically depending on what "channel" you're on. What's strange is that all of the channels and content are kid-centric, despite the Iger's claimsthat the site would tailor its content by age demographic. Maybe Disney is intending on rolling that out in the future. For now, expect to find out what's happening on That's So Raven instead of juicy details on love triangles and smoke monsters on Lost.

Maybe the most disappointing aspect of the Disney revamp is how long it takes to load. While it looks kind of pretty once it's done, eye candy can only go so far. I can understand the XD features taking a while since it's loading a giant Flash player, but it took around 10 seconds to fully load the home page from a really fast connection. For dial-up users, there's a lite version of the site, but I'm a firm believer in making good first impressions with quick-loading front pages for everyone.

The lack of sharing for the XD widgets is disappointing. It's that same "walled garden" mentality that AOL is just now beginning to let go. Protecting content is one thing, but providing it online for free with such tight restrictions is bad form in the age of widgets and YouTube. Hopefully Disney will open (and speed) things up in the coming weeks.

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