Disney recently released ‘Disney Pix,’ its free software for its new AppClix iPad ‘appcessory.’ Manufactured by Vivitar, the AppClix effectively replaces Disney’s previous lines of licensed PIX digital cameras. In addition to being able to plug directly into the iPad to download and share photos, the AppClix boasts a 7MP camera, which is an impressive milestone for what is basically being marketed as a toy.
But this is not about the AppClix camera, it’s about the ‘Disney Pix’ app released to support it. While the Disney PIX cameras were not well received by consumers, the photo-enhancing software that came packaged with it had been uniformly praised. While I must confess I have never seen the PIX software in action, I have no qualms with blindly stating that what ‘Disney Pix’ offers has to match — and more than likely, exceeds — what the previous software offered.
The first thing to know is that like the free Cars AppMATes app, you do not need to own the AppClix to download and use ‘Disney Pix’ as you can not only reference photos from your camera roll, but there are opportunities to create full images from scratch using a combination of theme backgrounds, stickers and frames. For example, here I took a theme from the Disney Fairies section and added stickers from Disney Fairies, Mickey & Friends, Muppets and Phineas and Ferb. There’s also a section for Disney Princess and a More.. option which offers more generic stickers and frames (Pixar and Marvel are noticeably absent). Stickers aren’t just as straight forward as the ones seen here either. There are fun elements such as face and hair pieces so you can decorate a friend’s photo, props from the respective franchise, etc. Mickey & Friends even features the Fab Five in different art styles, including the popular Cuties line.
Stickers and photos can intuitively be resized and rotated by using two fingers and the appropriate gestures while photos can also be cropped and flipped with a basic editing option. The app even understands layers so you can place objects on top of each other as you wish. Other tools include a text tool which allows you to add text to your scrapbook creation with the color and typeface of your choice and an airbrush tool which will allow you to draw anything you like freehand with a range of colors and sizes. The app also handles switching between portrait and landscape modes exceptionally well.
Once your work of art is complete, you can save your project permanently and/or email it to someone. Save projects can be viewed and retrieved through the main menu which allows you to sort your projects by date created or alphabetically, although I could not see a way to actually name the project, so the option appears moot.
There are a few problems with the app which tend to be more of a tradeoff considering what the app offers. The first thing you’re likely to notice is that it appears to be very memory intensive and you’ll soon see warnings telling you to delete objects before adding them or the app may take that liberty itself (it tells you it removed objects when it does so). The iPad I tested the app on is a 16GB device so larger devices may perform better in that respect. While the text tool allows you to choose your color from a full color palette, there’s no preview option when selecting and the tool doesn’t show you the color chosen until you type (or you can type first and change font/color after), which is a minor annoyance. Lastly, the app may favor smaller fingers because there are so many options when it comes to stickers and frames, that it’s easy to pick the wrong one, although it’s very simple to remove undesired objects.
How the Disney AppClix performs has yet to be seen, but if you own an iPad and are a fan of Disney and its franchises, this app is a zero brainer. You can download it straight from the App Store for free today.
Disney Memories App Offers Virtual Character Interaction at Disney Store Times Square, Other Locations
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:
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.
Disney Mobile today released “Tap Tap Muppets” for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Available for free from the App Store, “Tap Tap Muppets” brings Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and the rest of the gang together for what fans will surely agree is the most sensational celebration of their favorite Muppet music.
Based on the popular “Tap Tap Revenge” gameplay, the most successful mobile music franchise of all time, “Tap Tap Muppets” features six full tracks including three songs from Disney’s “The Muppets” soundtrack, which will be released by Walt Disney Records on November 21. The app also includes three of the most memorable songs from the Muppets tribute compilation, “The Green Album.”
“Tap Tap Muppets” Full Song List Includes:
- “Life’s A Happy Song” Performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter
- “Let’s Talk About Me” Performed by Chris Cooper
- “Me Party” Performed by Amy Adams and Miss Piggy
- “The Muppet Show Theme” Performed by OK Go
- “Movin’ Right Along” Performed by Alkaline Trio
- “Night Life” Performed by Brandon Saller and Billy Martin (Good Charlotte)
“Tap Tap Muppets” is also jam-packed with video, character profiles, movie info, and more. In addition, players can connect socially to the Muppets.
“Given the important role music has always played with the Muppets, it makes perfect sense that ‘Tap Tap Muppets’ is the first Disney-branded game for the ‘Tap Tap’ franchise,” said Bart Decrem, general manager of Disney Mobile. “This app gives Muppets fans and gamers alike an opportunity to experience the beloved music of the Muppets in an entirely new environment.”
The “Tap Tap Muppets” App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
Yesterday, Disney Parks released its first official app for Apple iOS devices, titled ‘Disney Memories.’ Inspired by the ‘Let the Memories Begin‘ campaign, the free, well-intended app was practically imperfect in every way and was consequently ill-received by every one we asked in an informal poll. The description for the app was as follows:
Make your pictures come to life with Disney magic.
Plus, with the help of Disney Parks magic, some of your favorite Disney Characters might be even closer than you think. Whether you just met Mickey at a Disney Park, or you are dreaming of meeting Mickey for the very first time, this app will let you transform your pictures into very special Disney Memories you will want to share.
The first problem with the photo app was that it was only available for devices with cameras (iPhone, iPad 2), despite having the ability to modify images in the camera roll, which immediately alienated many Disney fans. Ironically enough, even though it was able to modify photos from the camera roll of those able to use the device, it was unable to actually save to the camera roll, another huge oversight on the side of the developers, designers and quality assurance.
For those that were able to actually use the app, the promise of ‘Disney Magic’ and the appearance of Disney characters left fans feeling empty. Instead, users of the iPhone and iPad 2 app had limited choices in enhancing photos with little icons and a few frames, pushing the Disney Memories campaign. Of the icons that were available, many were generic, although some were Disney specific, like park icons. In either case, the small icon choice appeared on the photo in a pre-determined location, blatantly ignoring the potential of the Apple iOS interface and laughing in the face of what dozens of apps had been able to do before it.
To add insult to injury, the app further teased Disney characters by offering the ability to ‘unlock’ additional options by visiting ‘your local cinema or Disney Store Times Square,’ but reports on this functionality have not been found online, so there’s no telling if the app could deliver on the promise.
Less than 24 hours later, the app has been pulled from the App Store. Perhaps to revamp it enough to be able to present something that might actually be worth downloading and using it, perhaps to avoid further embarrassment of releasing such an inadequate product from a company that has produced so many apps of infinitely better quality.
This latest botched gesture by Disney Parks to promote its memory campaign is just the latest in a series of moves that suggests its 2011 campaign to harvest guests’ private moments for its advertising stockpile is losing steam. It was recently revealed that the tagline ‘One More Disney Day‘ was nothing more than another way of soliciting material from guests while trying to convince them to add another day to their vacations.
UPDATE #1: 11/15/11 – Disney Parks has activated one of two domains it registered for the Disney Memories app since its recall. DPARKAPP.COM now forwards to a page promoting the app and promising an Android version in addition to the Apple iOS version. The link for the Droid version currently links to the Radio Disney app in the Market, however.
In an industry first, Disney introduced today Disney AppMATes™ Mobile Application Toys, a new toy line that comes to life digitally when used with an Apple iPad by allowing kids to use the tablet’s screen as a virtual play mat. Developed in collaboration between Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and Disney Mobile and featuring patent-pending technology, the Appmates toy line features miniature Disney·Pixar Cars 2 vehicles with sensors on the base of each toy that are recognized as a unique footprint by an app with no cable or Bluetooth connection required. Simply download the free Cars 2 Appmates app from the iTunes app store, place your favorite Appmates toy character on the screen and play.
“We have cracked the technology code in changing the way kids play with their toys,” said Sunny Lauridsen, director of digital toys for DCP. “Kids will always use toys to play out their favorite Disney stories, but Disney Appmates now allows them to include technology which has become a way of life for them through a beautifully rich app.”
The magic begins when kids place their vehicle on the iPad and begin to explore the world of Cars. Available for download in early to mid-October Cars 2 Appmates app is a free app created by Disney exclusively for use with Appmates toys. By guiding the Appmates vehicle on the screen, the iPad becomes a virtual play mat where kids can experience the world of Radiator Springs.
“We believe iPad is becoming a critical canvas for the next generation of storytelling, and with Appmates we’re bringing Disney characters to life in a way never previously imagined,” said Bart Decrem, general manager of Disney Mobile.
Cars 2 Appmates features include:
- Exploration — Drive around the world of Radiator Springs to discover landscapes and hidden secrets by simply placing the Cars toy character on the screen and turning it in any direction. Drive through mud and up ramps, visit friends at Flo’s V8 Café or check out your Car’s reflection, showing off your latest gear and gadgets.
- Directed Game Play — Perform missions unique to each character. Completed missions — like helping bring a tow hook back to Mater — gain hubcaps, the virtual currency. Collect enough hubcaps to personalize each car with special features like a unique horn sound, customized tire tracks, and cool gear like a rocket launcher or spy vision goggles.
- Racing — Rev up the action by racing against World Grand Prix opponents and your Radiator Springs friends. Five racetracks are available at launch. Race around Willy’s Butte, jump off Carburetor Mesa and roar through downtown Radiator Springs earning hubcaps in day or night races.
Each toy unlocks different features and content within the app specific to the character, allowing kids to come back over and over to enjoy an imaginative, open-ended play experience using the Appmates toys. Fans can download and test the app by simply using their fingers to drive a virtual car through the world, but the play experience is optimized to come to life with the Appmates toy vehicles.
Created in collaboration with Spin Master, Disney Appmates toys launch Oct. 1 at national retailers, Apple Store, Apple Store online, Disney Store and DisneyStore.com with vehicle two-packs (SRP $19.99) featuring four characters including Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell. Two additional characters — Francesco Bernoulli and Shu Todoroki — will launch in November and be available exclusively through Apple Store and Apple Store online.
With dominant market share, the Apple iPad has become the leading tablet and a shared family device. Just in time for the holiday season, DCP will also introduce an expanded line of ‘appcessory’ products to engage and inspire creativity with kids using the iPad. Products include a durable and protective iPad case featuring a Disney·Pixar Cars design (SRP $49.99); Disney Pix Camera that allows kids to take their own pictures and connect them back to the iPad to personalize photos and create albums (SRP $79.99); and Disney Spotlight mic that gives kids a fun way to sing along — karaoke style — with their favorite Disney music (SRP $59.99 wired mic, $99.99 wireless)
NOTE: Full walk-throughs for the game have been produced and are available on YouTube and are available at the following links:
- For Chapter 2, ‘Troubled Waters’ (2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, 2-9, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-13, 2-14, 2-15, 2-16, 2-17, 2-18, 2-19, 2-20)
- For Chapter 3, ‘Under Pressure’ (3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, 3-10, 3-11, 3-12)
- For Chapter 3, ‘Under Pressure’ (3-13, 3-14, 3-15, 3-16, 3-17, 3-18, 3-19, 3-20)
- For Chapter 4, ‘Sink or Swim’ (4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7, 4-8, 4-9, 4-10, 4-11)
- For Chapter 4, ‘Sink or Swim’ (4-12, 4-13, 4-14, 4-15, 4-16, 4-17, 4-18, 4-19, 4-20)
Do not be fooled by the cartoon graphics, adorable animation and sound and the children’s book moral tale of Swampy the Alligator who’s different from the rest — Disney’s newest mobile game for the Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), ‘Where’s My Water?’ is an original, mind-blowing game of logic combined with whimsy, resulting in fun, addictive gameplay.
The game stars Swampy the Alligator, who — unlike the rest of his kind — doesn’t wish to roam the sewers of the city, wallowing in dirty water and feasting on rats, no. What Swampy wants more than anything else in life is a bath and it’s up to you to redirect the water through the earth so that it ends up in his bathtub. It sounds deceivingly simple, and at first it is, but it quickly evolves as more elements are introduced such as switches and algae which grows out of control when water touches it and other liquids such as acid and sludge that can hurt just as much as they help, quickly forcing you to rely on your sense of logic and ability to foresee the consequences of your actions in order to ensure Swampy’s good hygiene.
The game also features a couple of familiar elements, but enhanced for gameplay. Where there are usually stars to collect in these types of games, ‘Where’s My Water?’ has you collecting rubber duckies (naturally). Only it’s not enough to just touch the duckies with the water, you’ll need to pump enough water through them to fill them up to collect them. Again, it sounds and looks deceivingly easy at first, but as the game progresses, you’ll need to wisely divert just enough water to cover all three duckies and Swampy’s bath.
The game also features hidden objects, or collectibles. Collect all three from each subset and you’ll unlock a bonus game which uses the accelerometer to move water around the screen to collect the bonus rubber duckies. As with regular gameplay, these too will get harder as more elements are introduced.
Collect enough rubber duckies, and you’ll unlock the next chapter. The game comes equipped with four chapters, consisting of 20 levels each at launch time, with more free updates promised along the way.
Achievements are also part of the game, my favorite currently being the OCD achievement, which I earned during one level by hitting the level restart button seven times quickly enough just to ensure I could fully clear the screen.
Having completed most of the game already, there isn’t anything negative I can point out, other than I’m going to be really sad once I run out of levels to clear. The most negative thing I can say is that I realized just a few moments ago, that I had collected so many duckies, I managed to somehow skip an entire chapter, but of course that just means more game time!
‘Where’s My Bath?’ is a rare example where the developers did everything right. From the audio and visuals (including the interactive main menu and Swampy’s reactions to things happening (or not happening)) to the gameplay to the user interface itself, which prominently features a restart level button separate from the in-game menu options. Just one thing almost worth not noting: while the game claims realistic physics, the water does appear to be a bit slow to move/react, but it doesn’t detract from the gameplay at all.
Available now on the iTunes app store, ‘Where’s My Water?’ is a virtual steal at just $.99.