by Fancy Free Diva
Up here in New England, it gets pretty cold this time of year. And when we can’t jet away to sunny Disney World or Disneyland, we have to do what we can to bring a little bit of Disney to us. One of the ways we accomplish that in our house is Disney Family Game Night.
If you’ve been to any toy store or toy department, you’ve probably seen the Disney themed Candyland games and other games featuring Disney Princess and favorite characters, but Disney has also created a more high-end line of games featuring Disney characters and attractions called “Theme Park Editions.”
I first saw these games while shopping at the Walt Disney World resort, and we have gifted ourselves with several of them over the years, including a Hollywood / Twilight Zone Tower of Terror themed Clue game and a Haunted Mansion themed Life game. While each of the games costs between $45-$75, if you are a true Disney fan, the price is definitely worth it.
We have played both of these games with Fancy Free Daughter, who is also a huge fan of both, so in these reviews I’ll cover not only the craftsmanship of the game itself, but also information about the playability of the game with children.
First, let’s use our powers of deductive reasoning to solve a mystery. Now, if you’re used to playing Clue, then the Hollywood Tower of Terror version of the game is not that much different. What I will say, though, is that I really appreciated the craftsmanship that obviously went into the game pieces. It comes packages in a collector’s tin, and there is no cheap plastic here. Each of the weapons (a golden awards statuette, a reel of film, a director’s camera on a tripod, a hotel room key, etc.) is crafted out of metal. Each of the character pieces are metal, too, but each metal character sits atop a sturdy plastic pedestal of various colors (a la Miss Scarlett or Colonel Mustard). The characters, of course, come out of the Tower of Terror storyline and feature popular Disney characters. Mickey plays the leading man; Minnie is the starlet; Goofy is the bellhop; Donald is the angry director; Pete is the agent; Daisy is the little girl.
Diva Tip: The small details are what make this game so wonderful for Disney fans. For example, the film reel is #1994, the same year the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction opened at Walt Disney World.
The board game itself is surrounded by the magical Twilight Zone lightning, and the rooms in the Hollywood Tower Hotel are designed to evoke the height of 1939 Hollywood glamour. As with the traditional Clue game, there are various secret passages to help you move between places like the Tip Top Club, the Boiler Room, the Lounge, and the Lobby, just to name a few.
In order to solve the “crime,” you have to determine which cast member used which prop in which location. To that end, the game cards and tally sheets help players keep track and make guesses. The game itself plays almost exactly like your typical Clue game, but the added Disney elements really do add an extra dimension of fun.
For Fancy Free Daughter, the hardest part is keeping her paper hidden from prying eyes so that other players do not benefit from her clue cards and tally marks, but the rules themselves are easy enough to understand. When I asked her what her favorite part of the game was, she said, “I like the doors you have to go through and the secret passageways…our house should have secret passageways, too!”
This game definitely gets an Academy Award!
The Haunted Mansion themed Life Game, however, was a little more challenging, but definitely worth the time it took to assemble the game board, read through all of the copious rules, and try to remember all of the little directions in order to play the game. Like the Tower of Terror Clue, the theming of this game is spot on, but here there is no collector’s tin or metal pieces. Everything is well made of plastic or paper, but it doesn’t have the same collectible feel that the Tower of Terror Clue game has.
Diva Tip: The game board took some time to assemble, putting all of the bridges and houses in place, affixing stickers, punching out game pieces, etc. I recommend taking the time to do all of this the day before you plan to play, because it will take awhile to get everything set up just right. Also, use some small plastic bags (sandwich or snack size) to store the extra pieces in the box for easier organization!
The game pieces themselves, though, are fantastic! Instead of the little plastic cars as in a typical Life game, you drive around in a Doombuggy!
Master Gracey’s likeness and our friends from the paintings in the Stretching Room can be found on all of the money, which is measured not in dollars, but in screams.
In other punny humor, you must attend the Boo-niversity in order to get educated for a profitable Scareer.
You also have to purchase a tomb, rather than a house, and you pick up hitchhiking ghosts in lieu of having children.
As for game play, like the original Game of Life, there are a lot of nuances. For example, if your Scareer is not lucrative enough, you can go back to the Booniversity to get educated for a new one. You also collect spiderweb Life Tiles when you land on certain spots (we completely forgot about these the first time we played!), and there is a special feature that allows you to Spin to Win under certain circumstances or to earn money whenever other players spin a certain number.
Even with two Booniversity educated adults playing the game, too, it took us two or three times to get it right and make sure we were following all of the directions and making use of all of the features. That being said, Fancy Free Daughter loved this game. She had a hard time counting the money because of all of the zeroes, but with a little help from a fellow Happy Haunt, she was ready to retire in New Orleans Square.
While this game was more difficult to play, it was equally as fun. We are huge Haunted Mansion fans, and we really appreciated all of the special details on the game pieces that referenced aspects of one of our favorite attractions.
If you’re looking for some great souvenirs to bring home with you from your next Disney Vacation, these Theme Park Game Editions will continue bringing Disney magic to your home long after you’ve returned!
For more amazing ideas, read all about Fantasmic Diva’s tips for Experiencing Disney at Home or Military Diva’s tips about How to Bring Your Disney Vacation Home, Family Style. Or, if you just can’t wait to get back to the parks, request a quote for your next Disney Vacation from contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel. Click here for a free quote!
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