What It Is
The Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle is the ultimate home for the Disney Princesses. This new castle includes fairytale-themed rooms for all of kids' favorite Disney Princesses. At the top of the castle, there is a bedroom for Rapunzel with a spiraling hair elevator that transports the princesses from floor to floor. The three-story castle also includes a kitchen where Snow White can bake, a fancy dining room for Belle to serve her guests, a bathroom for Ariel to lounge in the tub, a sewing room for Cinderella to make dresses, and a royal vanity for Aurora/Sleeping Beauty. The castle comes with more than 30 accessories to furnish each room. Dolls are sold separately.
To enhance the play, the Ultimate Dream Castle also comes with a code to download the free Disney Magic Mirror app for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. With the app, kids can use their smart device's camera to scan the castle's defined labels to unlock and trigger activities in each room and around the outside of the castle. Activities include baking with Snow White, popping bubbles with Ariel, sewing with Cinderella, making music with Aurora, and painting with Rapunzel. There is no activity with Belle, but you can scan an image in the dining room to see an animation and unlock a princess crown. When kids finish each activity, they can scan a castle label again to see their completed activity pop up on-screen as though it was really in the castle.
Why It’s Fun
The new Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle merges physical and digital play to create "magical" princess experiences with kids' favorite Disney Princesses. However, the doll play and the app play are really two separate things. The interaction between the app and the castle is actually very minimal. In fact, kids don't even need the castle in order to play with the app. If a child is playing solo and is using the app and the castle together, she'll need two hands for holding the app in just the right spot and playing the activities. That leaves no hands free for bringing a doll into the play. The app is a nice extra feature and something that kids can play with even when they aren't near the castle, but ultimately, what's going to keep kids coming back to the Ultimate Dream Castle is the opportunity it provides for kids to use their imaginations and create their own princess activities and adventures.
Who It’s For
The Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle is for Disney Princess fans ages 3 and up.
What To Be Aware Of
It took us 45 minutes to assemble the Ultimate Dream Castle. The instructions were okay. They are all picture instructions and can be confusing.
The app is not very intuitive for young kids and it can be difficult to line up the smart device so that it properly scans the castle. It will be helpful if you review the app's instructions before playing. To do this, press the "I" in the upper right-hand corner of the app. The app will ask a parent to enter a three-digit code and that code is provided. Then touch the question mark button to find out how to navigate through the app and what specific label images to scan on the castle.
The app can be downloaded without the purchase of the castle, but it will cost you $3.99.