What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this section of Disney's Web site features characters from the animated film Cars. The site does a good job addressing safety concerns: Parents must activate chat for users under 18, they can manage their kids' accounts, and all text fields are either scripted or filtered. Content is age-appropriate. On the down side, advertising is everywhere -- before videos, in pop-ups that cover up content, and in animated banner ads. (Some ads are for Disney content; others link to outside Web sites.) There's also a Disney store.
What's it about?
Lightning McQueen and his four-wheeled friends are revving up their engines on DISNEY'S CARS, a new addition to the Mouse's online house dedicated to the popular Disney/Pixar flick. There's a handful of games featuring Cars characters, including Mater's Memory Game and Cars Bubble Jumble, as well as activities that encourage kids to get creative with coloring. Via video, visitors can go behind the scenes at the Cars premiere and witness a crazy day in the life of Pixar producers. Registered users can chat and customize their profiles with add-ons, which can be purchased with points earned through game play.
Is it any good?
The Cars characters are charming and the games are fun, but even die-hard fans might run out of gas trying to navigate through the site's many ads. A 30-second commercial appears before each video, pop-ups get in the way of games, and the abundance of Flash ads makes the site run like a rusty old jalopy. The navigation could also use a tune-up -- once you click through to another part of the site, it can be hard to get back to Cars.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how sites market their own merchandise. How much of this section is dedicated to Cars, and how much to other Disney properties? Younger kids can talk about which Cars character they like best and why.