Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christmas in August aka Disney Interactive’s Family Fun Event

Most of the time I have to refuse invitations to media events because they take place during the day and like many of you, I work full time. To be honest, I don’t get to too many evening events either.

When Jess Myers from High Road Communications (part of Fleishman-Hillard Canada and a sister company of my employer, iStudio) invited me and my kids to Disney Interactive’s Family Fun event preview of new games for the holiday season, being that it’s summer and all, the event was late in the afternoon and it provided me a chance to do something cool with my 11-year-old, I accepted. (I extended to the invitation to Jenny but she was unavailable.)

We made it to the ROM for 4:40ish and were privately escorted up to the event room. L’il Spo felt like quite the VIP. When we arrived, gamers and families with young kids were moving about the room playing with about 10 different games on a mix of consoles – DS, Wii and Xbox. It was really welcoming and felt like a safe place for kids to explore and engage with the games including:
Princess and the Frog, and A Christmas Carol as extensions of the upcoming movies
Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force
Toy Story Mania
Sing It: Pop Hits and,
Split Second

During summertime when kids are used to waiting in long line-ups, it was nice they were able to avoid them here. They had the freedom to mull about and take their time playing and previewing new games without anyone nagging them to get off.

Another really cool part of the event was the opportunity for kids (and their parents) to meet and speak with members of Disney Interactive’s game development team. Alicia Mirelez, an associate producer at Disney Interactive, befriended L’il Spo while he was playing Toy Story Mania – a game she produced – based on the Toy Story Midway Mania ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We also had a great chat with her while we indulged in some yummy, kid-friendly snacks provided by Daniel et Daniel. As a parting gift, the kids were given “extremely generous” loot bags with a variety of Disney non-electronic swag. L’il Spo loved his Club Penguin mascot.

What wasn’t so cool is the fact that he just had to have is own version of Club Penguin for his DS and I got suckered into buying him one on the weekend. ;-)

If you were invited to an event like this with you kids, what would you like to see? What type of information would you like about holiday gifts? (Jeez, I can’t believe it’s only August and we’re talking holidays already.)

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