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Disney Princess Party DVDs: Volume 1 | Volume 2

Disney Princess Party: Volume One DVD Review

Buy Disney Princess Party: Volume One DVD from Amazon.com Disney Princess Party: Volume One
DVD Details

Running Time: 100 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Release Date: September 7, 2004

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio)
Dolby Digital 5.1 & Dolby Surround (English & French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Pink Keepcase


The bulk of Disney Princess Party: Volume One is a collection of child-oriented games and activities that Disney expects can carry an entire party on its own. The DVD is divided into three sections, plus DVD-ROM content.

Party Planner

The first section prepares parents for the fun ahead. Game Instructions explains the eight games and activities, and what materials will be needed for each. If you only want to choose some of the games, the list provides instant access to one set of instructions.

Planning Tips provides a series of screens with advice for planning your Disney Princess Party, remembering to take care of invitations, the cake, RSVPs, and snacks. You'll need a good month before the party if you want to follow these directions to a T.

Rounding out the section, you'll find a notice about "Enhanced Computer Features" (covered later) and the standard "Register Your DVD" option.

Ariel's Scavenger Hunt Belle's Storytime Cinderella's Tiara

Games

Eight games and activities are presented here, with a "Play All" option allowing you to dabble in a non-stop session of interactive fun.

Ariel's Scavenger Hunt can be played with teams, but it works if you're flying solo as well. It requires real life things, that the party preparer was supposed to scatter about beforehand, as covered in the "Party Planner" section. You then tell the DVD if Team Sebastian or Team Flounder found the item first and scored the point, and Ariel keeps track of who's ahead.

Next is Belle's Storytime, which is kind of like "Mad Libs", only you're choosing from one of four pictures instead of coming up with the requested part of speech. Unfortunately, there seems to be just two story opportunities here. When you've made all your choices, Belle reads a story with your words filled in. How silly!

In Cinderella's Tiara, the narrator takes you step-by-step through a paper tiara-making procedure. As 2 inches is said to be "a little less than your finger," again, I guess I'm not the target audience. But children with a flair for crafts should enjoy this project.

Jasmine Says is "Simon Says" but with Jasmine calling the shots. She randomly selects one of nine actions of Aladdin characters and you do the action in the video clip. But, here's the twist, you do it only if she says "Jasmine Says." The game works best with a group of people, but as you control the pace having to press the "Next" button to move on, it's easier than usual to not get tricked. Maybe I'm just really good at this game.

Princess Personality Quiz Snow White's Follow the Princess Sleeping Beauty's Spell

Princess Dress-Up takes you step-by-step through the process of getting ready for the ball, putting on shoes, a dress, gloves, a scarf, etc. While you put on each element, there are some film clips of Disney princesses. When you're all done, you get to look into the enchanted mirror and see which princess you are most like. How they know? Beats me. Boys may want to sit this one out.

The Princess Personality quiz is ported over directly from the Sleeping Beauty DVD. A series of questions are posed, and you choose the answer that fits closest to your interests and beliefs. When you're all done, the quiz will tell you which one of seven Disney princesses you are most like. I was the "Belle" of the ball!

In Snow White's Follow the Princess, the eternally cheerful heroine of Disney's first feature film tells you what to do and you do it! Clips show the dwarves having fun doing what Snow White says. I know for a fact that kids absolutely love these "repeat" games. Whether there's value to play such a simple activity again and again, though, I'm not sure.

Merriweather hosts Sleeping Beauty's Spell, which is essentially "Freeze Dance." When Maleficent shows up, you stop dancing and must sleep until the three fairies break the spell. The game runs under 5 minutes, which may be too short or too long, depending on how your youngsters feel about dancing to Sleeping Beauty instrumentals. I prefer M.C. Hammer myself.

Mrs. Potts and Belle in "Mrs. Potts' Party." Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder in "Message in a Bottle." And there's no Kevin Costner!

Stories & Music

This section provides two animated episodes and a music video, which it plays through with a "Play All" option.

First is "Mrs. Potts' Party" (24:22), a sequence added to the Special Edition of Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World. Like the rest of that direct-to-video feature, this is television-quality animation that wasn't even deemed strong enough for television, as the "Beauty and the Beast" cartoon never made it on air.

Mrs. Potts has been feeling gloomy. To cheer the usually amiable teapot up, Belle plans a surprise party for her. But everyone has trouble deciding on the type of music, flowers, and cake. Plus there's the risk of waking Beast from his deep sleep. As with the other Belle shorts from Magical World, this short ends with a song. The topic of this featurette-length short makes it an appropriate inclusion, but that doesn't make it easy to overlook the poor animation and writing.

The second story is "Message in a Bottle" (22:00), a 1992 episode of "The Little Mermaid" television series. Ariel finds--you guessed it--a message in a bottle. The message is from Simon, a prisoner in a cave looking to be rescued. Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder brave danger en route to the cave, and then they face a giant sea monster. The monster turns out to be Simon, the writer of the message, who's looking to have a party with some new friends. Bringing Simon home to King Triton poses another challenge. I quite enjoyed this episode. It's an example of a good TV cartoon and the most widely appealing feature on the DVD. There are no opening credits, but the end credits are in tact.

There is the music video (3:45) for the all-new princess song "If You Can Dream." This appears on all three of these Princess DVDs, as a montage featuring clips from Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Mulan, and Aladdin and vocals from original voice cast Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O'Hara (Belle) Lea Salonga (Jasmine/Mulan), and Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas), with Susan Stevens Logan and Christie Hauser filling in for Cinderella and Aurora. The clips are never perfectly synched with the generic princess lyrics about romance and aspirations, plus the song's modern pop/dance feel collides with the timeless princess tradition, and renders the original voice cast unrecognizable. Still, I'm sure plenty of people will enjoy it.

Lastly, there is Princess Background Music, which provides one minute of instrumental music from "If You Can Dream" (also heard in the main menu), set to clips of the Disney princesses amidst a pink-tinted sky of clouds. I guess this is what you could put on when the kids are eating, and have it loop again and again and again, as it does.

Simon, the lonely sea monster in this enjoyable episode of "The Little Mermaid." The Disney Princesses perform "If You Can Dream."

DVD-ROM

On DVD-ROM equipped computers running at least Windows 98 or Mac OS X, you'll be able to access a bevy of additional features designed to make your princess party flow well and be cool.

Party Checklist helpfully provides lists of all the materials you'll need to play Ariel's Scavenger Hunt, Princess Dress-Up, and Cindrella's Tiara. Game Instructions provides textual overviews for all eight of the DVD's games and activities.

There's also a nice-looking animated Screensaver provided, which features scenes from Disney princess movies among the pink cloudy fairy tale sky.

With the Birthday Party Custom Invitations, you fill in the name, date, time, place, and contact, and you'll get to make invitations that feature some colorful Disney-copyrighted artwork of Ariel, Jasmine, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, and Belle.

DVD-ROM Coloring Pages Recipe for Sleeping Beauty's Castle Cake

Under Birthday Party Recipes, you'll find the required ingredients and directions to make "Cinderella's Celebration Sticks" and "Sleeping Beauty's Castle Cake." Mmmm...castle cake.

You'll also be able to print out up 12 Coloring Pages featuring Ariel, Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine, and occassionally their male counterparts. Lastly, after the party is over and the pixie dust has settled, you can print out Birthday Party Thank You Cards, with just one design that features the six most prominent Disney princesses.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Everything here is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen. The two television episodes look pretty good (well, aside from the inferior quality of the cheaper animation) with no glaring transfer problems.

The stories and music video feature Dolby Surround tracks, which are entirely serviceable. Games are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but these activities don't call for the type of directional surround effects of something like "Timon & Pumbaa's Virtual Safari."

Disney Princess Party: Volume One DVD Menu Planning Tips for the Princess Party Planner

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, and PACKAGING

Since Disney Princess Party is essentially a collection of bonus features, there's nothing that hasn't already been addressed and nothing additional specified as an extra.

The disc opens with a promo for the Disney Princess Collection DVDs, and previews for Pooh's Heffalump Movie, and Mulan Special Edition DVD. The Sneak Peeks menu provides a "Play All" option and includes ads for upcoming Magical World of Winnie the Pooh DVD volumes, Home on the Range, Eloise at Christmastime, the Disney Princess merchandise line, and Disneyland Resort.

The 4x3 menus display castles in the sky, as sparkles and clouds are animated, and we zoom in on different castles for the different submenus. Inside the case is a 4-page DVD Guide with synopses of the games and a listing of the other contents. You'll also find a subscription form for Disney Princess Magazine and a colorful 20-page booklet of princess tips, merchandise advertisements, and coupons.

For those who buy all three Disney Princess Collection DVDs, there is a mail-in certificate to get a Disney Princess Castle Playhouse (a $30 value) free, with a $7.99 check to cover shipping and handling.

Come party with the Disney princesses! No, it's not Arabian Squares. It's "Jasmine Says."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Those who enjoy games and activities included as bonus features on Disney DVDs should be interested in Disney Princess Party: Volume One, which contains eight of them. These games are geared strictly for children and all are of the basic interactive set top type, rather than adventure or trivia ones. Whether or not you can get an actual girls' party out of this DVD is debatable, since TV-based activities as simple as these are only like to hold kids' attention so long, even if many call for crafts, dancing, and other physical actions. With some activities of your own to supplement, I think you could probably pull it off.

For me, the highlight of the DVD was the episode of "The Little Mermaid" TV series, but that likely wouldn't be enough to draw me in. Of course, it should be noted that this DVD is intended for little girls, and I am neither little nor a girl. If you think this is something your girl or girls and their friends would enjoy, then you may well be right. Go for it!

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Disney Princess Party: Volume Two
Disney Princess Sing-Along Songs: Once Upon a Dream
Disney Princess Stories: Volume One - A Gift From the Heart
Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment

Princess Movies on DVD
Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (Special Edition)
Beauty and the Beast (2-Disc Platinum Edition)
Sleeping Beauty (2-Disc Special Edition)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2-Disc Platinum Edition)
The Little Mermaid (Limited Issue)
Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

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Reviewed September 3, 2004.