'Disneyland Adventures' - the Computer Game

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Disneyland Adventures is a computer game originally released for the Xbox 360 console using the Kinect1 in 2011 and later updated and re-released for the Xbox One console and Windows in 2017. The plot of the game? You are a child exploring and enjoying the Disneyland theme park in California. By using your arms, body and voice you can guide your customisable character around the park where you can meet and interact with 42 Disney characters and complete different 100 quests and 18 different ride-inspired mini-games, each of which has different levels and different flavours. The quests essentially turn the virtual recreation of Disneyland into a large game of hide and seek, with many other hidden secrets to look out for.

Lands

Just like Disneyland, the game takes place in different lands with many different characters in each land. Mickey Mouse gets about a bit as he can be seen in many lands and not just one.

The lands, in clockwise order from the park entrance, are:

  • Main Street USA

    Attractions: Fireworks and Parade

  • Adventureland

    Attractions: Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise

  • New Orleans Square

    Attractions: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Critter Country

    Attractions: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain

  • Frontierland

    Attractions: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Mickey's Toontown

  • Fantasyland

    Attractions: Alice in Wonderland, Disney Princess Fantasy Faire, It's A Small World, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pixie Hollow, Peter Pan's Flight

  • Tomorrowland

    Attractions: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Space Mountain

Each land also has a shop. In the shop you can purchase the photo albums and autograph books that will allow you to collect the photos and signatures of the characters located in that land. You can also buy a range of different Disney-themed clothing, from T-shirts of particular characters to complete costumes to make you look like a fairy. Also sold are a range of badges, named 'Pins'.

Each land has its own unique selection of background music from appropriate Disney films. So for example you can hear the theme from The Rocketeer (1991) in Tomorrowland, 'The Ballad of Davy Crocket' (1955) in Frontierland and 'Summer Magic' from the 1963 film of the same name in Main Street USA.

Attractions

Different badges, called 'pins', are used to track your progress throughout. Each attraction completed will award you with a pin depending on how well you have completed the attraction's mini-games. These come in differing levels; bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Many of the mini games can be enjoyed in a two-player mode. Exploring the virtual park can be done from a seated position and involves a small degree of waving and pointing, with optional voice commands available. Most of the mini-games require players to wave their arms although some may require varying degrees of crouching, standing and/or jumping. Players with limited mobility should be able to play the majority of the games to some degree, but may not be able to get the maximum available number of points.

Interacting with Characters

When you meet one of the Disney or Pixar characters, you can walk right up to them and greet them either with a wave, or the voice command 'Hi there'. Once you have said hello and are interacting with them, you can give the following commands:

  • High five – you high-five, shake hands etc the character.
  • Hug me – you embrace the character
  • Dance – you and the character do a little dance.
  • Autograph – the character signs your autograph book (assuming you have bought the correct autograph book from the appropriate Disneyland shop).
  • Take photo – you and the character pose for a selfie (if you have bought the correct photo album from the appropriate Disneyland shop).
  • Goodbye – you say farewell to the character.

Each character reacts to the different commands in a different way, with many having a range of responses for each request. Many characters when you greet them will ask if you will go on a quest for them. These are typically to locate hidden objects around the park or to take photographs of the different places. Sometimes you are asked to buy specific clothing. So for example you have to have the Space Ranger costume in order to be trained as a Space Ranger by Buzz Lightyear. Or you might be asked to play a mini-game and complete a specific challenge within it. Going on these quests, which are of differing difficulties, helps you earn badges and money.

As you explore the park undertaking each mission you can also take the opportunity to look out for other hidden secrets at the same time. Before too long you find yourself exploring Disneyland, hunting hunny pots for Winnie-the-Pooh as well as peeping and peeking for Peter Pan's Shadow.

The Characters

The interplay with the characters really are one of the game's key strengths. It should be noted that Ariel the Little Mermaid appears with legs, while Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast appears in beast-form, rather than as the dull, generic prince he turns into at the end of that film.

The highlights of the voice cast include:

  • Core Characters:

    Russi Taylor voices Minnie Mouse, having voiced the character since 1986. From 1991 she was married to Wayne Alwin, the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1983 until his death in 2009. Bill Farmer voices Goofy and Pluto, having done so since 1987 while Tony Anselmo has been Donald Duck since 1985.

  • Princesses and Princes:

    Jodi Benson is the original voice of Ariel the Little Mermaid. Jennifer Hale who voices Cinderella is the world's most prolific female videogame voice actor. Robby Benson was the original voice of the Beast, Scott Weinger is the original Aladdin, Linda Larkin is the original Princess Jasmine, Anika Noni Rose is the original Tiana and Bruno Campos is the original Prince Naveen.

  • Pixar People:

    Jim Hanks substitutes for his older brother Tom to play Woody yet the real Joan Cusack returns as Jessie. Oscar-winning writer/director/voice actor Andrew Stanton plays Emperor Zurg and Finding Nemo's Crush, while the real Dame Edna himself, Barry Humphries, plays shark Bruce.

  • Others:

    Highly-talented Jim Cummings plays Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and the Cheshire Cat while April Winchell, daughter of Paul Winchell the original voice of Tigger, plays the Queen of Hearts. Chris Sanders was not the first voice of Stitch but had been the writer, character designer and director of Lilo & Stitch and has performed the role since.

There are a few strange choices of Disney characters represented in the game. Disappointingly, instead of Captain Jack Sparrow, the character from Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that you meet and interact with is Black Barty (Troy Baker). Being a child-friendly pirate in a family resort, the beverage he quaffs and craves the most is coffee rather than rum; at $5,000 a cup it is almost cheaper than a real drink at Disneyland.

Strangely, of the 42 characters that you can interact with, three are from Song of the South (1946) 2, with Br'er Fox given a particularly prominent role. This promotion of a film that Disney themselves have ruled out releasing due to its racist content makes children innocently want to see the film and can make for awkward conversations in which parents unexpectedly have to explain the concept of racist cartoon characters to children. The only other disappointment is that Disney's fairy society is apparently sexist and stratified. Only female fairies are considered fairies while males aren't called fairies but are second-class citizens ridiculously called 'Sparrowmen' instead3.

Difference With Disneyland Reality

The game is all contained within a virtual recreation of how Disneyland appeared in 2011 – as with most theme parks Disneyland is continuously developing and new rides have opened and old ones have closed or been rebranded since the game was created. Not everything in Disneyland has been created for the game, so for example you cannot enter the various restaurants. Some of Disneyland's rides and attractions have inspired themed mini-games that can be played by going to that attraction's location. Other rides result in the player watching a short video of that ride, such as the spinning teacups, carousel or Astro Orbiter. Other rides cannot be interacted with at all. Others have been removed from the game entirely because of rights issues; when the game was released LucasFilm had yet to be purchased by Disney and so Disney did not have the copyright to Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Similarly ToonTown was inspired by film 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' - the Film, which was a co-production with Amblin Entertainment. The ToonTown-themed rides therefore do not appear.

Disneyland Adventures is remarkably realistic and, if you have been to other Disneyland parks such as the Magic Kingdom in Florida or EuroDisney in Paris, it is easy to find your way around the virtual theme park. Yet there are differences to real life. If you go to Disneyland for real, do not expect to see Mickey Mouse money or Disney Dollars lying around on the ground for you to pick up and save up. The main difference is that in real life, you cannot simply expect to walk up to a Disney character or have a ride without queuing for two or more hours. In the game to get from place to place you have to barge your way through the other visitors to the park – this behaviour is not acceptable in the real world. Mickey Mouse will not give you a camera-phone and nor will Cinderella give you a magic wand capable of creating money out of thin air.

Review

In short, if you have ever wanted to pull the Sword from the Stone, dance with Cinderella4 or, erm, give Captain Hook a high-five, then this is the game for you. There are so many details and 'hidden Mickey' secrets to look out for that the game is virtually impossible to complete as there is always something more you have missed. As the game progresses you find you have to return to areas you thought you had completed only to discover new characters have appeared there now, or you now have a new item that you can use to investigate the land in a new way. The ride-based mini-games are delightfully different, allowing you to soar through the cosmos, fly over London, have snowball fights with Yetis or rescue the runaway train from ghosts.

1A gaming accessory with 3D motion capture, facial recognition and voice recognition capabilities that allows a player to interact with games by talking to them, waving and pointing. At time of writing (May 2019) a second-hand Kinnect for the Xbox 360 will set you back a fiver (£5).2Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear.3How is this different to ruling that only male fairies are fairies and naming female fairies 'Titwomen' instead?4But not after midnight.

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