Halloween is coming, and everyone's two favorite junior imagineers have joined the Creepa Crew in their new outfits at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party pre- Boo to You Parade show in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. There's a video with this, too from the nice folks at MouseSteps.com.
Dan Povenmire's sister Tiana (the inspiration for Aunt Tiana in "Candace's Big Day") is welcoming a new baby boy in December, to be named Sullivan. However, Sullivan will require three surgeries by the time he turns three due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare condition in which the left side of the heart is underdeveloped. Dan has designed an original T-shirt to raise money for baby Sullivan's heart surgeries. Cost is $25. (Kids, please ask your parents). Mobo85 has more in his blog entry.
Because I've included the two article about Disney Infinity this time, my only Crat Corner item this time is to mention that our Halloween theme will be activated in a day or two. It will probably be the last time this one is used because we now have several Halloween episodes to choose from in designing a new theme for next year.
Ah, October. One of my favorite months of the year. A month where ten teams enter, but by All Hallow's Eve, there can only be one. Just like there can only be one of The Numbers Game! Without any further ado, let's get to the newsletter section that breaks down the numbers of our favorite show.
"Thanks But No Thanks" premiered on Friday, September 13. 2.508 million viewers said they were welcome, a 24 percent decrease from the previous "regular" episode. The household rating decreased accordingly to 1.5. The episode was unable to crack the Top 10 in any of its target age groups, and also suffered a large decline among Adults 18-49, dropping by 34 percent to 0.4. Finally, the total viewership was only good for 19th among Disney Channel programming on the week.
Phineas and Ferb followed up with "Troy Story" the following week, on Friday, September 20. Despite the presence of a BAGPIPE SOLO!!!, it could only muster a 2 percent increase to 2.554 million viewers, scoring a 1.6 household rating. These figures ranked 13th among all Disney Channel programming on the week. Phineas and Ferb checked in at No. 6 on the week among Kids 6-11 with a 5.8 rating in the age group. Its performance among Adults 18-49 was...less stellar, dropping by another 17 percent down to a 0.3 rating.
The Numbers Game will be back next issue to cover the Phineas and Ferb Halloween doubleheader: "Druselsteinoween" on October 4, and the "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror" the following night. Until then, leave your thoughts in the Comments section, go Brew-oh, right, they stunk this year, and remember...that the numbers never lie.
Not Much in the Halloween Costume Category in 2013
We are so psyched for this All Hallows Eve this year. New Halloween episodes, check.
And what about costumes, you ask? Well, last year, we tried to explain that many stores had decided not to stock Phineas and Ferb costumes, mainly because of what some people describe as "licensing issues" or that they were for the lack of a better word, limited to online stores.
If you want to try to do a homemade costume, please refer to last year's article dealing with the subject in question. One of the new items online this year are "big head" masks, and with a little imagination if you could buy that and a Luke Skywalker licensed Star Wars costume, you can deliver a sneak preview of next summer's big crossover. Be forewarned, though, it would likely cost up to a hundred smackers combined for everything without accessories.
Other than that idea, try to have fun, and if you want to submit your homemade costume ideas for the annual Fan Art issue which comes out at the end of December (and you have parental permission for those under the age of 18), post them to RRabbit42's message wall.
Note from RRabbit42: there are a few Halloween costumes out there, including an unofficial one for Perry. Those will be in the next newsletter, which I will try to get out "early" (closer to the intended publication date) so you have time to buy them.
Later this month, Disney will begin releasing "Wave 2" of the individual characters and Play Sets for the Disney Infinity game, which all of the packaging refers to as "Series 2", and later there will be a Wave 3/Series 3. Because this is not just a video game but a video game with collectable pieces that have different capabilities, it can be confusing exactly where you can buy each item and what the best deal might be. I am going to take a shot at trying to clear up that confusion.
In my area, there are seven places you can buy Disney Infinity items: Best Buy, Disney Store, GameStop, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart. I also took a look at Amazon and Costco's websites. Your area may have other retailers where you can find these, such as JB Hi-Fi in Australia. All prices listed are in U.S. dollars and were rounded to the nearest dollar. In general, the prices are pretty consistent from retailer to retailer, which seems to be standard practice for products like this. The manufacturer sets the price and the retailers can't deviate much from that.
For example, all 7 places sell the Starter Kit for $75 regardless of which system. Online is a mostly a little cheaper. Target's website has them for $68 each, and Toys R Us is currently running a sale where they are $60 each in the store and online. Walmart's online prices were about $60 for four of them, but the Wii U version was higher at $80. Add in the promotion Subway is running this month where if you buy a Fresh Fit Meal, you can get a code that is good for $5 off a Starter Pack at Walmart, and you start to get an idea of how complex buying this game and its accessories can be.
Now let's make it even more complex. The game is slightly different for the Nintendo Wii and Wii U, with a few areas missing, and there's even a few items that are different between the Wii version and the Wii U version. Plus, the Nintendo 3DS version is way different in that you can only put one character on the Base and is more of a party game for up to four players. But all of the versions have a Toy Box mode that lets you build a play set, with lots of different bits and pieces, kind of like how if you had several Lego sets you could mix those blocks together and come up with something new. The Nintendo 3DS version of the Starter Kit is just the Toy Box mode.
You see Jack Skellington over there? Well, through Monday, October 28th, he is only purchasable from GameStop for $14. The next day, that exclusion ends and you can buy him everywhere else for $13, with Best Buy coming in at $14. Those prices are consistent for all of the other individual characters currently available: Mike Wozowski, Randall Boggs, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, Violet, Syndrome, Captain Barbosa, Davy Jones (no, not our Davy), Mater and Francesco. Later this year, we'll see Woody, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Van Schweet, and sometime in 2014 will come Phineas, Perry and Rapunzel from Tangled.
There are other exclusive releases: You can get Jack Skellington in a customized display case from GameStop on October 15th for $18. Toys R Us has a Crystal version of Lightning McQueen for $15. And if you're a member of Disney's D23 club, you can get the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice figure. I don't know what the original cost is for members, but someone is selling one on Amazon for $290 that's a limited edition out of 5,000 made prior to the game's release in August. We'll have to wait until 2014 before it becomes available in the stores.
GameStop also had a special event this past Saturday where the first 50 customers in their stores who bought a Disney Infinity item got a poster of Jack Skellington riding on a red hover surfboard with the "i" logo from The Incredibles. They called that "Infinity Day". If you go in, they probably will still have some of the promo sheets that shows this and all of the other DI items they have for sale. I had also picked up a few weeks before a little "Game Mini Mag!" that was free, which showed what the game is like, provided checklists of the figures and power discs, and a couple of puzzles.
The Starter Kits give you Sully, Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible with game worlds for Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles. You can supplement the game with play sets for Cars and The Lone Ranger at $35 each. The two figures you can see in each box are not sold separately, and in between them is the crystal figure that adds new game worlds to play in. You remember that the Wii versions are different? Here's another difference: two sections in the Cars world are exclusive to the Wii and Wii U. You're not going to get them on the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360.
Disney is also making character packs available. Sidekicks on top and Villains below, both at $30. Buy this and you save $9 or $12 over the three characters individually. In general, prices at Best Buy and GameStop are slightly higher than the other stores for all of the items, but it's usually just a dollar for the small items or $5 for the bigger products. Again, these are rounded dollar values.
Future releases will include a Toy Story Play Set with Buzz, Jessie and a crystal version of Buzz's spaceship that adds a Toy Story game, and a "Toy Box" set for the upcoming movie Frozen that includes Anna, Elsa and two power discs. If that doesn't include snowball fights, I will be really disappointed.
For those who don't have one of the gaming consoles, there's a couple of other options for playing. You can get a free Toy Box program for the iPad, with a Windows version due out next month. This lets you build your own worlds and the description says you can "sync with [the] console" to unlock more items, but the picture for this shows a DI Base with two spots to put figures, so I'm not sure if "console" means just the Nintendo 3DS Starter Kit (which only has one spot to put a figure) or if they mean any of the other Starter Kits (which have three spots to put a figure).
For the iPad and iPhone, there's another free program called Disney Infinity: Action!. It lets you watch and make animations, and you can use them in your own movies.
The last downloadable program is InfiniList Free for Disney Infinity. It lets you keep track of what you bought on your iPhone. Hopefully an iPad version will be out soon, and it would help if someone came out with something similar for Windows.
One of the big aspects of this game is that you can buy Power Discs that will add new capabilities. These are sold in "blind bags" of 2 for $5 per bag. You don't know what you'll get. Hexagon discs give you objects to play with, round discs give you special abilities. There's 20 of them in Series 1, with Toys R Us having exclusive packs that have a total of 30 discs you can get.
You can use up to 4 discs per character and Disney has even made it so that if you use two of the same disc, you get extra capabilities. That's really helpful because you're likely going to get some repeats when you buy these, so it's not as much of a penalty and less you have to trade with friends to get the ones you want. Series 2 Power Discs will become available on November 26.
Most of us will need help figuring out the game, so the $20 Official Game Guide is a must. You can also buy it through the iTunes Store for $10. But if you get the exclusive version from GameStop with the black cover that has Jack Skellington on it, it's the same price but you get a better deal. Both paper versions include a code you can use on the Prima Games website to access an online version of the guide and you can see larger versions of the pictures in the book. I recommend you don't mark up your book, though. Once you register for the website, you can log in to check it from any computer.
What makes the GameStop version better is that it includes all of the Wii and Wii U information that the other book doesn't include. If you buy the other book, it directs you to go to the online guide to get that info. The tables that show all the collectable items are also a little easier to read in the GameStop version. Not quite so cramped and they include a spot where you can check off that you got each item. There's a couple of spots where it has some extra artwork that isn't in the regular book, but I noticed that page 201 does not include two "Alert Missions" that are on page 163 of the regular book. Yes, I bought both and I went through and compared them page by page.
Amongst the upcoming items is a book called Disney Infinity: Infinite Possibilities. It's a companion book that describes the characters and the six initial game sets, so that must include the upcoming play set for Toy Story. Amazon and Walmart have it listed for release next week for $4.
That covers what it takes to actually play the game. Now we'll get into storing your game pieces.
First, you can buy a pack of three display cases that will hold one figure each for $15. The other option is the Play 'N' Store cases which can fit 3, 4 or 5 characters per case. You get two of those for $20.
But if you want to take your game Base and figures with you, you can get the padded Play Zone storage case. When you unfold it, it has a place to set the game Base on and a few spots to set the figures so they will be ready to use in the game.
The Play Zone case trimmed in red is available at all stores, but the version trimmed in blue is exclusive to Toys R Us. Both are $40.
Power Disc capsules
You are going to be putting characters and power discs on the base and removing them quite frequently. Disney has a clear plastic Base Protector that fits over it for $10 that helps keep it from getting scratched. It includes three different cardboard inserts to spruce it up. I will guess that new inserts will be available as new Play Sets are released, or they'll do the same as with the other items, which is to release a "Series 2" version that includes the plastic cover with the new inserts.
Your power discs won't be left unprotected. There is a Power Disc Capsule that holds 22 power discs and includes some kind of rubber protective rings for the discs. This is also available in red at all stores and in blue exclusively at Toys R Us, and both are $10.
Power Disc albums
Target Series 2
If you want to display the power discs, there is an Album you can buy that has a picture of each of the power discs so you know where to snap each one in. The regular album holds all 20 discs that were released for Series 1 for $10. Toys R Us has one more exclusive item, an album that holds 30 discs (the 20 regular discs plus their 10 exclusive discs). As you can see, the covers are different between the two. The 30-disc album is $20.
Not to be outdone, Target already has a listing on their website for the album that they will begin selling on November 19th. It's a Series 2 album and they are including all 20 power discs from that series. It will cost $60, which will be at least a $10 savings: album at $10, plus ten 2-packs at $5 each, and assuming you got very lucky and had no repeats that would cause you to buy at least one other pack to get the one you were missing.
Whew! That's a lot of different options and this is quite an expense if you're going to try to get everything. But once you get past the initial cost of the Starter Kit, it's more manageable and you can buy the pieces as you need to at a speed and cost you can handle. In my case, there will be an extra expense of buying the game system to play it on since I don't have any of those yet (just a Nintendo DS, but not a 3DS). With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One due out in a few months, prices on the old systems will drop shortly.
Here's a few last notes:
You can buy a 6' USB extension cable for $10 or $15, depending on which store you get it from. It's a high quality cable stamped with the Disney Infinity logo. You can find similar high quality cables for less at stores like Office Depot, OfficeMax or Fry's.
Some pictures of the Starter Kits are showing the first album, but I can't confirm if they actually give you one when you buy the Kit.
There will be 15 power discs when Series 3 is released.
Walmart has some bundles on their website, but you can skip those. There is no cost savings in buying items as a bundle instead of just buying the individual items.
Costco has three bundles that will save you about $10 or $20 each. Costco is a warehouse store that requires a membership to buy there. Sam's Club is Walmart's version of this kind of store.
GameStop sells a magazine called GameInformer. Issue 245 from about August described the differences and similarities between Disney Infinity and Skylanders. They concluded that Skylanders has an advantage in having their product out for several years and the old game pieces are still usable with the new sets. But Disney Infinity has the advantage of built-in recognition because everyone knows who Lightning McQueen is and Disney seems to have a clearer plan for this game, stretching out through the next five years.
There is going to be much, much more available for the game in the next few years. In just the last two days, I found out that there will be more Crystal versions of different characters, which allows you to gain experience faster and have even better abilities. There will also be new sets like the "Race to Space" with Crystal versions of Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear and two power discs, and a "Wreck-It Ralph" set (Ralph, Vanellope, 2 discs).
If you're interested in even more details about Disney Infinity, check out these websites:
News section on the official website, with details about Toy Box challenges where you can design your own Toy Box and submit it. There's a new challenge each week, with the winners are downloadable for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Ninendo Wii U and iPad. The first Toy Boxes available were designed by members of the Disney Infinity team.
In another of the rare instances of being late with the newsletter worked to my advantage, I discovered that the Disney Infinity Endless Fun Sweepstakes began on Monday. From October 7, 2013 to Sunday, November 3rd, you can enter for a chance to win the following:
Grand prize for the winner and up to three guests
4-night stay at Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
5-day theme park tickets
Round trip airfare (depending on how far you live from the resort)
Disney PhotoPass Archive Disc
$500 Disney gift card
Disney Infinity Starter Kit (they call it a Starter Pack)
one random Power Disc
one Web code card
10 First Prizes
Disney Infinity Starter Kit
one random Power Disc
one Web code card
When you go to the website, watch the video. If you're real careful, at the 0:24 mark, you'll see a certain building in a stack of many buildings that seems to be reminiscent of a certain song.