A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Show Your Disney Side is a free app that lets kids take a selfie and then digitally play dress-up with a cast of Disney characters. Each creation saves automatically to the app's gallery, and kids can easily share their creations via social media or email. Some characters are locked; to unlock, kids either have to share their creations via Facebook or Twitter or visit a Disney Park in person. Some of the special effects for the villains could be scary for younger or more sensitive viewers.
What's it about?
SHOW YOUR DISNEY SIDE is a photo transformation app for iPhone and iPhone touch. Users take a photo or select an image from their camera roll, and then they align a marked template over the image's eyes and mouth. Next, users pick one of fifteen characters, including Frozen Fun (with Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff), Star Tours (featuring Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, and an X-Wing Pilot), Pirates of the Caribbean, Villains of Disney Parks, and Haunted Mansion. The last group of characters is locked: Users can only access them if they share three "transformations" via Facebook or Twitter or check in at a Disney Park or Resort site. Once they've chosen a character, users can adjust the character's hair, costume, and background frame. Each character has its own facial expressions -- Anna smiles, Captain Hook sneers -- and all characters blink as their eyes follow where your finger taps. Users can tap or swipe to make different effects appear, from snow for the Frozen characters to a jump to lightspeed for the X-Wing pilot. You can use the Video feature to record those on-screen effects, and the Share feature to automatically share the image or video via email, social media, or to the device's camera roll.
All videos and character images save to the app's gallery for later viewing; find the gallery by tapping at the top right or swiping to the right. Swipe to the left to find the Info menu, which includes Photo Tips, a link to DisneySide.com where users can directly upload their photos to a public gallery, and a link to buy the My Disney Experience app on the App Store.
Is it any good?
Show Your Disney Side is pretty simple -- take a selfie, choose a character, tap and swipe to see special effects -- and it does it well. The "magical" effects are a fun feature, and there's a good variety to keep kids entertained and tapping to see what each character can do. Keep in mind that some of these effects (especially Darth Maul's roar or the pirates' cackles) might be a little scary or uncanny for very young children, so supervision and guidance will be key. More practically, there are some potential privacy pitfalls here: Kids are invited to share to social media or directly to a Disney website, and this might give some parents pause. One set of characters is only accessible to kids if they share to social media or visit a Disney location, and some parents might bristle at this clear consumer tie-in.
Overall, this is a fun one-off app that can amuse kids and parents alike, and it's best used with attentive parent guidance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about tools that let people share images like the ones created in the app. Talk about your family's rules for using social media and the best ways for kids to use the app appropriately and safely.
Tell a story with the character you chose, or tell a story where you toggle between different characters. For example, pick Elsa from Frozen, and start telling a story in her voice. Then switch to Anna's image, then to Kristoff's to continue the story. Use the app to build your own storybook, either live while you play or using the images in a different app later.
Talk about how the app works. Why do you think you need to adjust the template over your eyes and mouth? How do the different characters move, smile, and wink differently?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.