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Admittedly we were a bit hasty with our take on the Disney Parks Memories App when it was first released a few days ago for the Apple iPhone and iPad 2 devices. Although it was soon pulled as we also reported, it was re-launched last night with some minor revisions, along with an Android version. After it was re-released and we were invited to experience some of the enhancements it offers when you visit specific locations, we decided to take a second look.
In short, the free Disney Memories app allows you to super-impose one of several Disney-branded stamps (such as park icons, or Disney Parks ears) over your device’s camera’s preview window so you can user your finger to position the stamp as well as the camera itself so that it appears the stamp interacts with your photo’s subject. For example, it will allow you to virtually place Mickey ears on a loved one’s head, helping to bring the Disney Parks experience home. You can also choose from a selection of Disney Parks Memories borders for the photo.
Once you take the photo, you can then share it with friends and families through several options including email, SMS/MMS, Twitter and Facebook. No matter how you share it, the recipient(s) will get a link to a private Disney Memories site that will show off your Disney Memories creation. Note that there is no option to directly save your photo to the device for quality assurance reasons, as it contains copyrighted content.
The magic doesn’t end there, however. At the Disney Store in Times Square, the unlock feature uses your device’s GPS functionality to recognize where you are and unlocks special virtual character meet and greet experiences. Instead of just the stamps, you’ll have the ability to superimpose a character to pose with the person whose photo you’re taking. At launch, characters include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Tiana, Rapunzel, Captain Hook and Stitch with perhaps more on the way. Best of all, you don’t have to go to New York City for the unlocked feature, you can visit one of several select movie theaters nationwide — just look for a special standee at the theater or try out the app there. Exclusive to Times Square, however, is a special Disney Store Times Square photo frame.
Here is a demo of the new Disney Memories app and how the virtual character interaction works:
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There are a couple of caveats: At press time, the Apple iOS version for iPhone and iPad 2, although functional in every other aspect, does not work for the virtual character photo. Although it does work on the Android version, I had trouble with the app on my T-Mobile G2 recognizing I was at the store (despite confirming the GPS and even uninstalling and re-installing the app), though it seemed to work flawlessly on a Verizon phone.
To celebrate the launch, Disney Parks and Resorts is hosting a special outdoor virtual experience only at the Disney Store Times Square, today and tomorrow. Guests can visit the store and stand at a special location (across the street, in the pedestrian area) and virtually interact with one of many Disney characters in an augmented reality experience. Guests who visit the experience will also receive a free pair of Disney Store Mickey ears (while supplies last).
As an added incentive to check out the launch event, Disney Store Times Square is suffering from Muppets Mayhem this weekend where merchandise is 20% off store-wide.
Although the virtual outdoor experience is only for Friday and Saturday, the indoor experience with your Android (and soon Apple) phone will continue to be available. So next time you plan on visiting Disney Store Times Square (or one of the select movie theaters) be sure to first download the free Disney Memories app for your Android or Apple phone to add a dose of even more magic to your experience.