Although I can’t rank Planes amoung the very best of Disney films, I can say that it was a fun diversion (read my review of the film right here on Disney Dose). So when I received a review copy of the Disney Planes video game for the Wii system in the mail, I was uncertain what to expect.
I now know what I got: FUN! I find most games to be too involved, almost needing a college education to play, with overly complicated functions and controls. I guess if you play these games incessantly this would be no problem. But for the casual gamer like myself, less is more! And I suppose that’s why my review will differ from others on the Net right now: Hard-core gamers want hard-core gaming and Planes is not such a game. So most reviews I’ve read have been negative. Again, mine will be largely favorable.
With that in mind, I found the Disney Planes Video Game to be easier to get the hang of than most video games I’ve tried. The basic actions that you need to master are all found on the main controller with only one or two buttons needed for any given challenge. This makes Planes the perfect game for beginners, children, and the casual gamer. You can compete against time to win medals which are worth points which will unlock successive levels of play. You can move on to these levels, or stay and replay an existing level for better results.
However, that’s not to say that the game is overly easy or uninteresting! There are plenty of levels and many different challenges to play around with.
The concept of the game is to continue the world of Planes and take a closer look at the storyline in Planes. Fans of the movie can join Dusty, Ishani, Echo, and Bravo and embark on missions, fly in air races, and take grand adventures of the world.
The Disney Planes video game includes:
Game play in six breathtaking environments taken from the film
Pick one of the six characters from the film to play as
More than 40 missions and challenges
Three game play types including story, challenge, and balloon popping fun versions.
Pick your character: Bulldog
When I allot some time to gaming, I don’t want to find myself in some long drawn-out odyssey. I want a simple moment of fun. Planes delivers this in an entertaining experience. I also like that the game is family-friendly. This isn’t a first-person shooter game where all you do is fire at opponents until everyone is dead. Sorry for my naiveté, but is that actually fun? When you are called upon to do some targeting in Planes, it is to recharge generators, light torches, and the like. This game should teach hand-to-eye coordination and build the reflexes without numbing the soul.
OK, Planes won’t win the award for Most Awesome Game of the Year. But it should win some smiles and high fives from anyone who plays it!
Dusty flies low over some awesome scenery
I would give this game 4 out of 5 Stars for the reasons above. But I will be fair and note that it isn’t the most challenging and technically advanced game for the avid Wii user. And oh yeah, it’s only available on a very limited amount of platforms.
Available On: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, PC, Wii U, and Wii
Opening Night. Usually this is not the best time to see a movie. Especially a family movie like Disney Planes as you might expect the theatre to be packed and noisy children to be in abundance. And you are more likely to have this experience with a Disney or Pixar film due to the popularity of these studios.
But with Disney’s hit and miss track record of late, and Pixar’s tendency to favor sequels over original material, the problem of long line ups is diminishing. This was certainly my experience with Planes. We had approximately 20 people in our theatre for the 7:30 pm show, again, on opening night. It’s hard to say if people just weren’t intrigued with a world above Cars, or perhaps have had enough of the over-exploitation of the original Cars franchise itself. I was willing to reserve judgment and give it a fair chance and I’m basically glad I did.
Here is the official synopsis for the film:
From high above the world of “Cars,” flies “Planes,” Disney’s upcoming animated action-packed comedic adventure starring Dusty, a big-hearted, fast-flying crop duster who dreams of competing in the most exhilarating around-the-world air race in history. There’s only a couple of not-so-small problems – Dusty is not exactly built for racing and he also happens to be afraid of heights.
Despite his fear and with encouragement from his mentor, a naval aviator named Skipper, Dusty narrowly qualifies for the big competition. Dusty’s sportsmanship and speed begin to rattle the defending champ of the race circuit, Ripslinger, who will stop at nothing to see Dusty fail.
When disaster strikes during the climax of the final race, Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test. With the support of friends old and new, Dusty reaches heights he never dreamed possible and in the process, gives a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.
Without giving too many details away, Planes was an entertaining diversion with many funny plane-related gags. The animation was theatre-grade, albeit without the extensive depth of the original Cars movie. This is no doubt due to the fact that the film is produced by DisneyToon Studios, and not Disney or Pixar directly. Having said that, although I chuckled several times, I didn’t get the sense that the rest of the audience was invested in the movie.
Now I have to get a bit more negative. If Cars was a Father, and Disney Planes the son, then you could say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. My wives observation was that the movie felt very familiar and that’s because it is basically a remake of the original Cars movie.
Disney’s Planes V. Pixar’s Cars
The relationship between the mentor Doc Hudson and rookie Lightning McQueen is repeated between Dusty and Skipper whose voice and manner is almost identical to Paul Newman’s Hudson. Mac the truck is recycled as Chug. Sally morphs into Ishani to become Dusty’s love interest. Chick Hicks returns with wings to become Ripslinger, the movies main antagonist. Even John Ratzenberger returns (in a pseudo-Pixar role) as Pitty, the airplane tractor Dusty meets briefly at an airport.
That all being said, the carbon copy approach isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The formula of the original Cars movie works well, and children will likely warm to the characters, even though they won’t realize why. Perhaps that was part of Disney’s plan? As an adult though, I was looking for something to distinguish this movie from Cars, but didn’t find it. For a movie whose tag line is ‘from above the world of Cars’ it ends up being firmly grounded in that film.
On the bright side, the preview for Frozen was hilarious, which I hope is a good sign for that film. I hope Disney puts it on the DVD release! I will be adding Planes to my movie collection and hope that Disney puts some awesome extras on it. If forced to give Planes a star rating, I’d have to give it 3 out of 5 stars. Although I can’t really give any reasons why it was a bad film, I can’t give any reasons why it was a good film. At least, not a stand-alone or original film. But if you’re thinking of buying it strictly for your children, then I could easily up the rating to 4 stars!
In conclusion, I image some are thinking I’m being a bit harsh with my judgment. I will admit my review was written while wearing the rosy-colored glasses of Pixar admiration that we all wear. No film, even recent Pixar films, can stand up under such an unreasonable focus! But the reality is that we all wear those glasses and so Disney and Pixar have to deal with it. I don’t envy them that.
What do you think? Are we being too hard on Disney and Pixar? Is it possible to take off the glasses and just enjoy each new film for what it is, instead of what we think it should be? I don’t know if I can.
Watch for my review of Planes the game on the Wii system, coming soon!
Updated 7/21/18. Disney Pin Trading is a fun, interactive experience where Disney Guests can trade specially-marked Disney pins with Cast Members and fellow Guests. The great thing about Pin Trading is that there is no age limit, so the whole family can participate in this activity together. Disney would love everyone to become a ‘Pin Pal’ by buying and trading pins for life!
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Enjoy our complete guide to Disney pin trading. In this long article we have overviews of how to trade and a large pin graphic.
Guide to Disney Pin Trading
There are several ways to participate and experience the magic of Pin Trading. You can visit Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris, anywhere Disney Vacation Club units are sold, and possibly some Disney Stores in your local Mall. It’s rare, but I have seen some Disney Store Cast Members sporting a lanyard, such as at the Disney Store in Times Square, New York.
Once you’re at one of these locations, you need to locate a Cast Member. Pin Trading Cast Member’s will be wearing a lanyard and are always happy to see what you have to trade. All you have to do is find a pin that they have that you want and exchange it for one of your pins. But never reach out and grab a lanyard for a closer look! Always ask the CM to present the pin you want to see for a closer look. A CM will never say ‘No’ and so you’ll soon have a new pin to add to your collection!
Just remember that the pin you want to trade should not already be on the Cast Member’s lanyard. While at a merchandise location, if you don’t see a Cast Member with a pin lanyard, ask at the checkout instead. Sometimes they will have a pad under the counter with a selection of pins for trading. You can follow the same process to obtain one of these. And I do mean ‘one’. It’s generally the rule to trade only one pin from a Cast Member’s lanyard or pad, although some Cast Members who aren’t too busy may bend this friendly rule for a polite Guest. I have heard this rule bent often and some Cast Members that I have talked to.
Pins come in various price ranges grouped by color. Each Pin Trading location will list the prices for each color, but as of 2018, they are: Green ($9.99) Silver ($9.99) Blue ($12.99) Yellow ($12.99) Pink ($14.99) but some special pins can sell for much higher (like name pins, which are not tradable anyway). Lanyard sets and ‘puzzle’ pins (where two or more pins fit together to form one picture or word/saying, which must be traded as a complete pin set) are also higher in price.
And that brings us to…
Tip One: If you want to trade, buy green pins and trade them with CM’s for more expensive colors. You aren’t limited to trading in color groups only.
Tip Two: Buy pin starter kits that contain a lanyard and an assortment of pins, usually in a theme like Tinker Bell or Monsters Inc., etc. Don’t worry if you don’t want all of the pins in the set; simply trade them for ones you do want. It works out that each pin in the set costs less than the equivalent amount of green pins, so you can’t lose financially! Check at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a starter lanyard.
Lanyards and pin sets can also be won or obtained through a promotional giveaway by any of the Disney affiliates, like the ones below. But you likely won’t want to trade these away:
You may also find a special pin in a Disney DVD release, like these ones from the Zorro Season One and Season Two collector tins:
Tip Three: Beware of the counterfeit pins out there. Be wary of eBay or other auction sites that offer incredible deals for large pin lot amounts. Many of these auctions are legitimate, but some are not, and you could end up with fake pins that you can’t trade. I do recommend checking out Mouse Pins Online for a great place to buy a large amount of official Disney parks pins to take with you to trade in the parks in order to avoid paying high Disney Parks prices.
Cast Members may refuse to trade if your pin is not part of the Pin Trading program. Pins that qualify should be a cloisonné, semi-cloisonné, or of hard-enamel or an acceptable operating participant pin that represents a specific Disney event, place or location, character or icon. ESPN and ABC pins are also tradable. But remember: The Cast Member will make a final decision, which it is only good trading etiquette to accept! No arguing, please. Below is an example of an approved Event Pin:
Another thing to keep in mind are the special-release pins for Annual Passholders. Simply ask at designated locations (ask any Cast Member about these) and you will be shown a small selection of pins only available for APH’s. Like this one from 2006:
Pin Trading isn’t limited to between Cast Members and Guests. Guests can approach each other and offer to trade at any time. But obviously courtesy and caution must be exercised. No matter how much you might want a pin from another Guests lanyard, you should never push to trade if it’s a bad or inconvenient time for them!
Differences in Disney Pin Trading
There are two main differences between trading with Cast Members and other Guests. Cast Member’s will always agree to a trade, no matter what you offer (as long as it’s an approved pin). But another Guest can refuse to trade with you if you don’t have anything they want.
My Fourth Tip may help you here: Sometimes a fellow guest may have a pin on his/her lanyard that is no longer available for purchase, but you just don’t have anything they want on your lanyard. Try offering to buy them a current pin that they want in exchange. You may have to buy a Pink color level for them, but if it gets you that out-of-circulation pin, it’s a deal worth making!
The second difference is that you can trade as many pins with another Guest as you want, as long as the other Guest is willing to take the time and sees that you have more pins that they want as well. Again, just remember that Pin Trading was created by Disney to create a fun and interactive activity between traders, so always be polite and understanding to the needs and limitations of other traders. If they’ve had enough, be sure to thank them and send them on their way with a big smile!
Displaying Your Disney Pins
And with that last sentence in mind, just what will you do with all those traded pins when you get home? Here are some ideas:
Idea One: You can buy an official Pin Trading book to store your pins in. These come in a variety of sizes to suit the size of your collection. This will keep all of your pins in one easy to access place, and even make it easier to display and trade later.
Idea Two: Many like to display the pins they plan to keep on a special jacket or hat that they then wear when at the Parks, or around town for the more fanatical Disney fan!
Idea Three: Others, like myself, display their pins on a wall in some way. The most common technique is to use a board that you then frame, making your display of pins a work of art on the wall. But for my wife and I, we like to display our pins on belts that we then hang on our bedroom wall. Each belt contains 13 pins (to commemorate our wedding anniversary on the 13th) each of which symbolizes a significant part of our yearly Disney vacation. For example, this year was our first time visiting Disneyland in California, and the new attraction Cars Land. So we bought a Cars Land pin and added it to our 2013 Pin Belt. You can see it below:
No doubt you’ll find your own way to display or store your Pin collection!
Have a super fun time pin trading when you are on your Disney vacation and if anyone else that you know would benefit from the information above please share it with them.
Here’s the Next Step
While you are planning, the best way to set up for your trip is to know the locations of the best Disney pin trading spots. I wrote a BONUS guide to the best Disney pin trading locations at Disneyland.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our other ultimate guide to saving money and losing stress at the Disney parks.
Why Pin Trade?
Well, the first response to that is why NOT? In all seriousness, pin trading can be a really fun hobby for any Disney enthusiast. It’s also a great way to meet other people and make great memories at the parks. You don’t need to invest a ton of cash in the beginning, a little can go a long way for your first venture into pin trading.
The Official Disney Pin Trading site has this to say:
The fun of Disney Pin Trading is in the amazing variety. Find YOUR FAVORITE pins to personalize your Disney experience. Guests of all ages can hunt for favorite characters, attractions and features. Whether it’s the Little Mermaid or Mickey Mouse you seek, pin hunting is guaranteed to add thrills to your Disney adventure. Go find the pins you want and make some new friends! It is all up to you! Have fun! Disney Pin Trading is a great way to share the magic and bring home wonderful Disney memories.
Our editor from Mickey Visit has this memory to share of her son’s first day at Disneyland:
My son’s experience with pin trading happened on his very first trip to Disneyland. We made sure we were one of the first people in line at the gates an hour prior to opening. There were two nice ladies in front of us with two lanyards full of Disney trading pins. This was long before I even knew what pin trading was and neither did my son. When I told them this was going to be my son’s very first day at Disneyland, they instantly became overjoyed to be a part of that experience. They began explaining pin trading to me and my son and gave him over 10 pins to start his pin trading collection with! This sweet moment of generosity is what always makes pin trading stick out in my mind. My son wore those pins proudly throughout the parks that first day and jumped right into the fun. What a great memory and introduction to pin trading for us both!
Pin trading is fun for all ages and it’s a great way to build those Disney memories. You will likely remember when and where you received each pin- especially your favorites!
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Oops, there goes another one! Yes, with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney has taken on the responsibility of continuing another beloved franchise with its own unique history, set of colorful characters, and just a few gazillion fans. Rabid fans. And so we all wait, Star Warsians and Disneyacs alike, to see just what will become of that far away galaxy.
But Disney has absorbed other franchises too. Such as the one this article is really about: Marvel Entertainment. Or Marvel Comics for short. Or just plain Marvel for shorter. Yet another challenge of heroic proportions facing the world’s richest Mouse!
If you’re a Disney fan, but not a comic book fan as much, you may be wondering just what all the fuss is about. Will this latest amalgamation affect your fandom? Is there anything you need to know about this new addition to your tried and true Disneyverse?
And I’m here to walk you through it all. To do that, I’m going to recommend three publications that you should read to prime your knowledge, and perhaps motivate your acceptance, of Marvel.
Yes, True Believer, that is a mouthful and one big read! This 287 pager is a comprehensive romp through the history of the world’s greatest comic book company (sorry, DC Comic fans). Along the way, you’ll learn about the Golden Age (1939-1950) and the Marvel Age (1961-1970), the latter being the period when most of the famous superhero characters were created (Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, X-men, and many others).
But it will also introduce you to the Walt Disney of the comics world: Stan Lee. Likely you’ve at least heard the name, and perhaps seen his cameos in all of the Marvel movies from Iron Man to the latest Avengers outing. It was Stan who changed the face of comicdom for a new generation and set the pattern for all comic companies to follow. And this is perhaps the best reason to buy this book and do your homework! If you love Walt, you’ll love Stan.
Walt took the struggling concept of animation and reinvented it, causing all other studios to run to catch up. Stan did the same with comic books in the early 1960’s. Walt also new that no matter how pretty the images were a good story with believable characters were needed to put a project over. Stan also new this, creating characters with real problems, rooted in real cities, like New York.
So both men have so much in common. Unbridled creativity. Leadership. Innovation. Staying power. I can’t see it as anything but appropriate that Disney and Marvel should blend, as at least in spirit, it brings these two talented men ‘together’!
But your education in all-things Marvel is not over yet. You can’t understand the history of the World’s Greatest Comics until you meet some of the artists who created, along with Stan Lee, the most colorful superheroes the world has ever known. To do that, I give you the next book on our reading list:
The Romita Legacy introduces the reader to a father and son who added so much to the history of Marvel comics. John Romita Sr. worked on such classic characters as Captain America, Spiderman (ever heard of him?) and Daredevil. John Romita Jr. took over the character of Spiderman and ran with it, doing both his father and Marvel fans proud!
This 208-page book will give you many examples of artwork from both men as well as commentary on their affiliation with Marvel and extensive interviews.Their collective insight into the Marvel Universe should make any timid Disney fan comfortable with this new addition to their fandom.
Lastly, for the full experience, I recommend one more book:
Another long name, but don’t worry, the book itself is infinity longer. By the time you (finally) finish this epic opus of no less than 352 pages (depending on which edition you buy), you will know every, and I mean every, Marvel character that ever lived, fought, loved, and/or saved the planet. Sometimes twice in one day.
Here is a video book report from Youtube so that you could get a sense of the book:
From the obvious and well known to the thankfully forgettable, they’re all here. Chances are if you have a vague recollection of a silly superhero from your childhood, he or she will be in this book!
Again, for the Disney fan that is wary of just who may be joining the established Disney character roster, at least you’ll have a heads up on all the candidates. But don’t worry about seeing Spiderman or the Hulk at Disneyland anytime soon, as Universal Studios has the exclusive rights for the use of Marvel face characters for the foreseeable future (For a heated discussion on this topic check out the comments section of this article).
And there you have Marvel 101 for the Disney beginner. Buy that reference material and do your homework. Then you too will be ready to see Mickey Mouse hugging Mary Jane Watson the next time you’re visiting a Disney Park. Right after you see Goofy posing for caricatures with Chewbacca. Oh, the imagery!
I hope you like the article, if you do end up purchasing any of the books and gaining any knowledge make sure to come back and tell us about it and if you enjoyed this article, make sure to Tweet it and share it with your Disney friends who need to understand Marvel.