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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Disney Princess Stories: Disney Princess Party 1
Disney Princess Stories: Disney Princess Party 1
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 7, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Crichton | posted January 5, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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This is the third release in the initial wave of Disney's "Princess" collection which is a series of DVDs geared toward young girls. And, well, i've saved the worst for last. Not that the first two were "must have" discs, but this one was the least watchable for me. Then again, i'm not the target audience.

Or gender.

The disc starts off by forcing us to choose between "English" or "Francais", followed by semi-forced trailers which we can bypass. Once we get to the meat of the disc, we're presented with the first of a multitude of menus. Selecting Party Planner, which is where they instruct us to start, brings us to our first sub-menu of four options, including Enhanced Computer Features & Register Your DVD. I'm still trying to figure out what these two options have to do with planning our "Princess Party" since one is just a screen that informs us that there's ROM content on the disc [only after your FORCED to install the interActual Player], and the other is the standard "How to register your DVD" screen. The other two options, Game Instructions and Planning Tips, are only slightly more useful. Game Instructions brings us to yet another sub-menu with tutorials on the various games found on the disc. The Planning Tips option gives us information on when to throw the party and what to do as the party date nears. F'rinstance: "1 Week Before the Celebration: Order the cake or if you'll be baking one yourself go ahead and make, then freeze." Why were we supposed to start here again?

Well, after navigating back to the main menu, the Games option will bring you to a sub-menu with eight new options. They are:

  • "Ariel's Scavenger Hunt" - This game requires a grownup to gather items before the party. During the game Ariel will rattle off items in her underwater grotto that the kids, divided into two teams, have to find around the house.
  • "Belle's Storytime" - Youngsters choose characters and actions to put together a story that Belle "reads" back to you. Basically, a visual "Mad-Libs" with a dash of "Choose Your Own Adventure" thrown in for the heck of it.
  • "Cinderella's Tiara" - This is more of an activity than a "game" as it instructs you how to make a tiara similar to Cinderella's.
  • "Jasmine Says" - There are nine boxes with Aladdin characters doing various actions. Youngsters must mimic what the characters do. But, get this, ONLY if...wait for it..."Jasmine Says".
  • "Princess Dress Up" - This is another "game" that requires preparation by the grownups. When the game starts, Sleeping Beauty will direct youngsters to put on the articles of clothing as they're instructed to. Once they're fully dressed, each child is instructed to look into an enchanted royal mirror and, after selecting the "Princess Star" on screen, the mirror will tell you which princess you're the most like.
  • "Princess Personality" - After answering a brief, "princess" themed quiz, Merryweather, the fairy from Sleeping Beauty, will assess your answers and tell you which princess you're the most like. I was never very good at tests.
  • "Snow White's Follow the Princess" - Another "do as I say" game that has Snow White telling you what to do while footage from Snow White plays.
  • "Sleeping Beauty's Spell" - Yet ANOTHER "do as I say" game. This time, you're commanded to dance until Maleficent puts you under a spell to sleep. Once the spell is broken by Flora, Fauna or Merryweather, you have to get up and dance again as it repeats itself.

Stories & Music option brings us to a sub-menu with four options for us. They are:

  • "Mrs. Potts' Party" [24:25] - This was ported over from "Beauty And the Beast: Belle's Magical World" DVD and it tells a story which sees Mrs. Potts down in the dumps, so Belle organizes a party for her as hilarity ensues. I was surprised to find out four of the main character voices had returned for this feature, including Belle [Paige O'Hara], Beast [Robby Benson], Cogsworth [David Ogden Stiers] and Lumiere [Jerry Orbach - RIP], yet the main character of the short, Mrs. Potts [Angela Lansbury], chose not to reprise her role. For shame, Angela!
  • "Message In A Bottle" [22:02] - This is an episode from the first season of the Little Mermaid TV series. In it, Ariel finds a bottle with a message in it from someone named "Simon" who is "a prisoner in a sea monster's cave". Ariel, Flounder and a hesitant Sebastian, journey to find him and it turns out "Simon" is....nah, that'd be telling. All of the original voices, save Flounder's, are back. Yes, I know I gave Angela heck for not returning, however, the name of this cartoon isn't "Flounder In A Bottle", now is is?
  • The "If You Can Dream" Music Video
  • Princess Background Music - Selecting this plays a calm, soothing instrumental version of the "If You Can Dream" song as we soar above the clouds with scenes from the various Princess features. However, there's only close to one minute of song before it repeats [in an endless loop, unless you hammer your DVD player until it stops...or hit the play button].

Back on the Main Menu, there's a Projector that lets us choose from a variety of trailers that can also be found on the other Princess releases. The Set Up menu, allows viewers to select from a wide variety of Spoken Languages [English & French] and a vast number of Captions & Subtitles [English].

The DVD-Rom content on this disc is for the grownups. It contains recipes, a party checklist, custom invitations, coloring pages, thank-you card and a party checklist. The invitations and the thank-you cards can be customized and printed out. There's also a screen saver for your computer.

Video: The video for the majority of the disc is really good, the colors and hues are vibrant and the picture is sharp. The Ariel cartoon, which was originally broadcast on television in the 90s, shows its age but is free from compression errors. Unfortunately, there are some slight instances of dirt on the print and there is a softness to the picture. However, do you really think the kids'll mind? Or course not.

Audio: Like the previous Princess releases, the Dolby Surround tracks, both English and French, are pretty good. Home theatre demo material? Nah, but it gets the job done.

Conclusion: Even though I realize that i'm not the audience that Disney had in mind when they made this disc, I hate to say, if you have easily amused children gathered in one room, there should be enough content on here to keep them occupied for a while. However, unless you plan on putting on a weekly Princess Party, i'd tell you to Rent It since I don't think this one has a high rewatchability factor. Then again, these are kids we're talking about, so what do I know?

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