Disney's Holiday Toy Preview was everything we expected it to be: MAGICAL! Although we're 4 months away from the Christmas season, we were given a sneak peek of the new up-and-coming toys that will be all the rage for the holiday season. Many of these toys are planned to be released August through November 2015. We chose our top picks for what gift-givers need to keep an eye out for (just so you can hold your status as “favourite” with the kiddies!)
If you're anything like us, we had never heard of Tsum Tsum before! Tsum Tsum (translated to “Stack Stack”) is all the rage in Japan as an online app. The game is a Connect 4 meets Disney characters – a series of Disney characters fill the screen, and players must use their finger to connect 3 or more of the same character within 1 minute. With each level, new characters are added, and when more are joined together, new tricks are revealed. The app is available for Android and Apple – we made sure to do our in-depth research of the game as well.
Due to the crazy popularity of this game, Disney has been steadily releasing the physical plush toys of these Tsum Tsum characters. In preparation for the holiday season, the Olaf bag will contain four Tsum Tsums: Anna, Elsa, Sven and Snowgie.
Why I love this? By bringing the online app to real life, it has opened up the ages this toy can be intended for. Children love plush toys, and by basing these characters off the app, it will allow younger children to recreate the game without using a device. The Tsum Tsums come in three different sizes, similar to the game. Already available on the DisneyStore.com are a variety of Disney characters: Mickey & Minnie and Friends, Winnie the Pooh, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, Chip & Dale, and Dumbo. On the first of Tuesday of every month, new characters are to be released. This Japanese craze is sure to be taking Disney Frozen lovers by storm!!
Disney’s Olaf Bag will be released November 3
“Enemies are invading Earth and your favourite heroes want YOUR help!!” There is absolutely no better way to appeal to kids – which is exactly what Disney’s all-new Playmation does. Fully equipped with various missions all over the planet, the storyline builds up children’s excitement by letting them know Tony Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner (aka Ironman and the Hulk) specifically made this device for their help in battling the villains. Their tagline says it all: “The Avengers Need You!”
Why I love this? Besides the amazing technology that is behind this design, it is more than just a video game. This interactive game allows children to be active and still use an app to track their stats and battles. We got the chance to get a behind the scenes demo and we were definitely impressed! Players will have to learn a series of different “moves” for defense and offense against their opponents. In true Disney fashion, no stone goes unturned – creators have made numerous online videos that provide more background story to why Ultron, Loki, and Iron Skull are terrorizing Earth.
The online videos also teach the players how to use their new defense weapons (all while staying in character of course). The Playmation Starter pack comes with a Repulsor Gear, worn on your arm and similar to that of Iron Man’s which emits the superpower to defeat your enemy. Armed with motion-sensing technology, you can block, dodge, run, and jump and the Repulsor Gear will detect every movement. Included in the starter pack is a Power Activator that will bring heroes and villains to life in the game.
Players will learn that depending on the light of the Activator, they can detect if they are being fired at or close to defeating their opponent. The kid inside us loved that when a villain was defeated the Power Activator actually jolted the character off the base – victory! There is the option of using this Activator as another components when playing two-player. Yes – you read right, there is the option for multiple players!
Players can unlock new abilities and skills through training sessions or by battling different characters. Additional “Smart Figures” are available for the Heroes and Villains, which allows you to create your own team or build an army of villains. Additional characters include Black Widow, Thor, Falcon, M.O.D.O.K., and Ultron.
Disney’s Playmation is available for pre-order, and ready to own at the beginning of October. This toy is intended for ages 6+.
Cars Daredevil Garage App
Disney’s Cars was a huge success and children everywhere began collecting the toy cars and racing them around their homes. Disney has now released a free app that allows kids to scan their die-cast cars into the app, and proceed to race various tracks with them. This app brings all of their toys to life in this game-changing concept. Race tracks can be customized and cars will be able to do jaw-dropping flips, turns, and jumps. There are over 160 compatible cars, meaning that players can keep growing their roster. Some of these cars are only available through app purchases.
Why I love this? While we’re not crazy about turning a hands-on game into a touch screen mobile app (we’re all for physical play for children) – we must admit that we appreciate this Disney app gives kids something ‘new’ to do with existing toys. We are also impressed with the toy meets video-game approach. There's less to pack when you've got an iPad or Smartphone versus a bag full of race cars and plastic race tracks while on-the-go.
The Daredevil Garage app allows children to create individualized race tracks, and bring their imagination to life by seeing their favourite cars perform a stunt they created! We’ve all seen kids physically flipping cars through loops, but now they will be able to visually see the cars perform these tasks seamlessly. The app has challenges that players have to work through and eventually receive points to be rated. Each car has different features that allow them to race differently, keeping this new and fresh for the players.
The app is free, but there are in-app purchases available including new tracks that are steadily being released.
Disney has earned an astonishing reputation by staying at the top of their game with creativity and practicality. These new releases are sure to keep kids entertained for months passed the holidays and have parents happy with their decisions. The concepts are new and ever changing just as we are, and especially kids. The holiday season sneaks up on even the most prepared of us - happy shopping!