Some of the features already are offered on Disney's subscription-based product for children, dubbed Blast. Sources said Blast also may soon receive a major upgrade, with added offerings including more advanced games. Disney spokespeople declined comment.
The changes represent Disney's continued expansion in the Internet space, which chief executive Michael Eisner has been saying is a small but fast-growing area for the media giant. Disney holds a controlling stake in Infoseek and has launched an Internet gateway dubbed Go Network.
As for Disney.com, the company encourages Netizens to register to learn more about the new site, apparently in an effort to boost traffic and advertising revenue. Disney.com is identified as "a partner of the Go Network."
"We're having a grand reopening," according to a preview posted on Disney's Web site. It promises the following:
New multiplayer games. "Play them with your friends or take on a world of Disney.com gamers," the site reads.
Make New Friends. "Get your very own Disney address. Chat with your favorite Disney characters and other stars."
More Disney Adventures. "Join your favorite Disney characters in animated stories, or make up a new audience."
Your Own Disney Studio. "Create Disney art, print out your creations, or test your Disney puzzle skills."
Disney already has been making frequent changes to its Web page.
The current site also includes a link to a "look at the new events home page." It includes live chats with Disney characters and the option of receiving sound and animation by downloading Macromedia's Flash software.
As reported, a Disney travel store focuses on e-commerce, allowing users to buy tickets to Disneyland, for example.