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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      02.05.2002 09:45
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      A house with one PC can be a problem. When your kids get Net savvy then it might be time to reach for an informal schedule to avoid all the filibustering required to stay online. Yes, it?s many a night where I hear the question "How long are you going to be dad?" ringing in my ears as the little urchins kick me off. The subject of all the hype seems to be Disney.com. Trouble is, you see, it applies to all ages even me. My boy is 6 years old and my daughter 9 but there is so much stuff for them to go at that I simply don?t get a chance to chat on Tooyoo (ahhh). Just quickly, before I start...if you are new to the planet then you won't know that Disney is a worldwide corporation based on it's founder - Walt Disney. He created his own animation studios way back in the early part of the 20th Century. The Disney Brothers Studio signed a contract with Margaret J. Winkler, a New York distributor, to produce six Alice Comedy short films, for US$1500 each, with an option for six more. This date is considered the beginning of the Disney studios. In 1937 Disney had the breakthrough movie hit with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His financial interests never looked back after that with a procession of animated gems spawning the world's most famous theme parks, 2 of which are in Orlando & California. The organisation today is a huge conglomerate and has a turnover of billions of dollars. Disney.com is the official home website. So what?s all the fuss about? Well, the main page is flash enabled with midi files too boot so you get a cacophony of sound and colour. It uses an image map that means that the main portal is divided into different segments effectively partitioning the site. The site is quick to load for such a large one and has the customary search facility at the top to compliment the site map. I have a window in my schedule so I can tell you all about it before the kids muscle me off. First stop ? shopping. Thi
      s little section is entitled Disney Store and auctions with a drop-down menu giving you the options of DisneyStore.com, Disney Auctions and Main Street merchants. OK...we?re in and it?s a Mickey Mouse greeting together with a Mermaid centre stage. Disney is a business, you know? Here you can shop till you drop (all at Disney prices mind). You can send a Disneygram, buy some lovely clothes and accessories, choose some gifts, toys and all manner of accessories. There is even a Disney Gallery although a resin, hand painted sculpture of Bambi will set you back $125. Purchasing is made easy with the shopping cart facility to give you that online shopping trolley feel. Sadly, you can?t ride on the back so I suppose you?ll just have to use your imagination. Needless to say, you?ll need to register your personal details to make a purchase but then what did you expect? Disney Auctions is a subsidiary of E-Bay, which many Dooyooers will be familiar with. Yep, bid online for all sorts of goodies and watch the time slip away as you wait with baited breath to see if your bid has won the day. Main Street Merchants is quite a jazzy little number. Here you?re transported to a typical looking, cartoon version of a US High St complete with requisite stores. These include Disney Home & Garden, Disney Baby, Disney Party and Disney Store.com. There?s even a quaint bell ring when your mouse wanders over the store image to simulate the tinkling of a bell when you enter a shop. I had a peek in Home and Garden and found all sorts of housey things like paints, bedding and bath sections. There?s even a store locator based on zip (US for postcode) code but that?s not much good to you unless you live in the States. There?s even a design-a-room tool which allows you to model the look you want based on everything from the colours of walls to the kind of toys you want! Hmmm...we?ve spent a few quid (or dollars) in the Disney stores so what?s next? I?ve still got a few mi
      nutes before James comes back. He?s making mud pies again and bound to get grounded any minute now by his mom. There is an Entertainment section, which drops down into an Activity Centre, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Video & DVD, Disney TV Shows and Disney A-Z (are you beginning to detect a theme?). For the most part, these are self-explanatory but the activity centre is kinda cool. Ooh...what a din! Check out the Web Toons. Here you?ll get some comic strip type adventures with some rather nifty background music (even if it is a bit loud). The one I had a look at was about Drake Mallard going on holiday with some Pink Panther-esqe background midi. Pets and Animals is Shockwave enabled and designed for you to record a song. Didn?t get too far with this one. I?ll ask the kids how it works in a bit. Disney Blast is an online gamer?s paradise although you do have to subscribe. It?s $4.25 per month and in return the little uns get all manner of snazzy interactives. There is a Print Centre where you can print off piccies to colour in of your fav Disney characters, a Paint & Play section and even Safety Net with safety tips for minors (no, not the type that covered in coal dust, tsk). As if that wasn?t enough, the next section is Kid?s Island. I mean; just how much fun can you stand? We?re starting to get a little overlapping as the drop down features games, music, X Games camp, Disney Interactive, Zoog Disney, Toon Disney, Radio Disney and One Saturday Morning. This is a whole lot of games and activities based on the slightly older children?s tastes. You can pick up Radio Disney and listen to live streaming audio or check out Toon Disney based on the Disney cable channel. Ultimate Obstacle Course with Cadet Kelly is Emma?s favourite game of the moment not surprisingly involving Cadet Kelly negotiating several obstacle courses ushered in by a drum beat midi file. OK, I?m running out of time so I?ll skip to Playhouse Disney. Yippee...one of my favourites
      ! This compliments the Disney dedicated TV channel that I have to watch (he, he) with the kids. All your favourites are there including Stanley, Rolie Polie Olie, The Book Of Pooh (with an h, Charlie), Bear in the Big Blue House, Out of the Box, PB & J Otter and a guide for grown ups telling you about the educational content of the shows. So, if you click on the Rolie Polie Olie option you?ll get treated to the theme tune along with games and activities dedicated to the cute little robot. My favourite is Stanley ?cos I love the music and his Great Big Book of Everything. It?s aimed at the younger ones, hence my adoration of this channel. Go on, treat yourself and have a peak next time you?re online or watching cable. These shows are really cool you know? Disney Blast has it?s own part of the site map featuring a dog kennel with Mickey poking out. Subscribe or not to subscribe. Hmmmm?what do you do? Well, there?s plenty of stuff on site that should mean you shouldn?t need to. Depends on how demanding your kiddies are and how generous you feel. If you are anything like me and already forking out for swimming lessons,Karate lessons, school dinners blah, blah then you?ll want to savour the free facilities and avoid paying the subscription. Of course, you may be more generous than me, in which case it?s a free world. Yep, I can hear him getting shouted at so I better get a wiggle on. He?ll soon be grounded again and only have the PC as an option. Family Fun involves FamilyFun.com, Craft Finder, Recipe Finder and Party Planner. Family Fun.com is a parental magazine showing suggested holiday destinations (not all Disney), Spring Garden projects and other wholesome ideas to get you off that infernal PC and back to nature. Craft Finder is a little Blue Peterish involving suggestions on how to make things with cardboard, paper and a little glue. It?s meant to fire up the kiddie?s imaginations although mine hardly need it. What James and Emma can?t m
      ake with a packet of Frosties and some paper glue simply can?t be made. Recipe finder is a plethora of different recipes for different occasions. You know, when Mickey calls round he?ll want a suitable Disney-enhanced meal. There are easy recipes, ones for special occasions and the like. Top recipe when I looked was rustic spinach and ham pie (bet Jill can?t cook that one). Party Planner seems a good idea. With a drop down that allows you to select the child?s age, it gives you step-by-step instructions on how to go about putting together your party. There are some I?ve never heard of like Firefighter and Dinosaur parties that sound fun. The Pirate party would suit my lad best. There are some really genuinely useful suggestions ranging from what games to play to what food to prepare. Yep, like this one. Last but not least is the Cinderella gif proclaiming the vacation section. We did use this prior to our holiday in Disney, Florida last year. It has details on all of the hotels available including blow by blow accounts of the individual hotel facilities. It also features details of the Disney Theme parks giving a little away on what to expect from the rides. We got a little excited at the images giving us a clue as to what to expect when we got there. You can even sign up for the Disney Cruise liners although this was a little outside my price range. You can purchase your theme park tickets online and enquire about details for a fully-fledged vacation. Disney have their own holiday company set up and will be only to please to organise your trip (I went through Airtours myself). You?d expect to pay a little more with Disney but probably best is to get comparative quotes. The Disney destinations are popular with no shortage of alternatives so try Thompson and Virgin along with anyone else you fancy and compare cost along with what you actually get for your money. All in all, this site is A1. Great graphics, loads of great games, links to kiddies TV
      programmes and genuinely useful stuff add up to an action-packed site. Navigation is spot on and the design is impressive. Well, all good things must come to an end and both my son and daughter are hunched over me breathing down my neck. Their eyes have lit up at the thought of going on Disney.com so what chance do I stand? We all love this site to bits and recommend it to you all. I really must get another PC! Thanks for reading from Marandina and the little Marandinas and a special thank you to our adopted Auntie, the eponymous Jill Murphy for being the inspiration behind this one.

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        26.10.2001 04:54
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        When the late Walter Disney started out in the early 1920s with his company Laugh-O-Gram, he could hardly have imagined the enduring and wide ranging appeal that his life's work would achieve. Although it is now thirty-five years since Walt passed away after suffering from cancer, the Disney corporation lives on. As well as the production of new features, the corporation still does rather well from its many theme parks as well as video and now DVD releases of all the classic animated films of yester-year. Thankfully the Disney corporation has latched onto the benefits of modern technological advances, and as well as using new techniques in the production of new films, and the release of old films on DVD, Disney is also keen to promote the presence of its brand via the Internet. The official Disney web site (at http://disney.go.com) is a collection of all the various strands that the corporation offers. There appears to be something for everyone in the seven main sections into which the information is organised: • Entertainment This section concentrates upon the area for which Disney are most well known. You can find out details of all past and present Disney films, videos, DVDs, TV shows, computer games and just about everything that has ever been produced by the corporation. The Disney A to Z is particularly interesting with extensive details of the long and impressive history of the company. • Kids Island Information-only sites are tedious, so Disney sensibly gives its visitors something to do when they visit this site. A variety of games and music will give children hours of entertainment and may be just the thing if you need a bit of peace and quiet! • Playhouse Yet more entertainment from characters such as Pooh Bear, Rolie Polie Olie as well as a few others that I've not heard of, but will probably be more familiar to the younger generation. 
        226; Blast This is Disney's own on-line forum for kids. Please note that registration is required to access this section, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Disney will do their utmost to ensure that this is a safe environment for kids to come and interact. • Fun For Families Yet more fun with details of recipes, ideas for craft items and parties, as well as a link to the family.com website, which has loads of great ideas for things to do. • Vacations In this section you can book tickets for one of the many Disney theme parks across the World, or vactions to stay at one of Disney's many resorts. You are also able to explore Disney's resorts in more detail to discover what they have to offer. • Shopping Disney has made good use of its merchandising rights over the years, and continues to exploit its brand as vigourously as ever. As well as the main store, there are links to Disney auctions as well as other suppliers that stock Disney merchandise. The site has been built using Macromedia Flash 5 software, so you will need to have this installed on your PC to feel the full benefits of all the gadgets and gizmos that are on offer. Consequently certain sections can be quite slow to load unless you have broadband access, so standard modem users will need to show some degree of patience. This site certainly has a lot of information, although at times it does appear a little bit too cluttered. However, kids are bound to like exploring all the areas on offer as there is so much for them to see and do. {An original Dooyoo opinion © Blackjane 2001}

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