Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turn left at the Iron Man

You know you are in a special place when your enquiry as to where the toilets are is answered with a “Go up past the Incredible Hulk and turn left at the Iron man” and this weekend found me at such a special place – Disney’s London Headquarters.  They had kindly invited me and the family to visit them to see their new AppMATes Mobile application toys and who am I to turn down an offer like that.
I didn’t tell the kids about the trip until the morning of the event as who wants to hear an “Are we there yet?” type convo for a week - it was bad enough I had to hear it for the hour it took us to get there.  I would like to describe to you how the building looks like the massive fairy tale castle you see at the start of the Disney films, but I have been sworn to secrecy.  It’s also the reason I can’t tell you that as soon as I passed over the threshold and into the HQ itself, the hands on my watch magically turned into Mickey Mouse hands.
As the kids entered the room where they were holding the demos of the toys their eyes went as wide as saucers, but both for different reasons.  Kaede saw the toys and was instantly sold, Nate saw the buffet table and was instantly hungry.  I kid you not, the boy ate four croissants, three pan au chocolats, six fruit spikes and a fistful of sweets.  At one stage, the only way to find him was to follow the croissant crumbs.
Kaede and I went straight for the AppMATes, basically they are tiny cars (based on the Cars film) that you use in conjunction with an iPad and the Cars 2 app (which is free to download from iTunes).  You then use the cars on the iPad to control the play as you explore Radiator Springs.  There are tons of things to unlock and explore and each character has some of its own unique content as well.  Here’s a link to a video clip as I don’t seem to be able to do it justice in words http://bit.ly/Appmates-Demo
I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a lot of fun playing it and Kaede certainly did.  They even managed to coax Nate away from the food to have a go, no mean feat indeed.  It seems quite easy for the little’uns to use, very responsive to their movements and it doesn’t hurt your iPad.  The packs are available as a single Lightening McQueen (£12.99), or as double packs including loads of the new characters (£19.99).
After we finished having a good play with all the toys, we went into their private cinema and watched Cars 2, which of course was awesome.  I’ve always been a fan of the Disney/Pixar stuff and this certainly didn’t let me down.  I loved the innocence of the first movie but I think the second one has just edged it in terms of fun and excitement and a couple of jokes that were definitely aimed at the Dads in the audience.
Thanks to Disney and Eulogy PR for the invite and for the bag of goodies they gave the kids on the way out.  Apparently I am now officially the coolest dad in the world for arranging this trip, result.

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