Mickey and Minnie are having a relaxing ride in the country when they discover they are running out of gas. They stop at a retro-style gas station/diner, and end up spending a lazy afternoon there. Nobody is feeling pressure to do anything much and in the meantime, kids get the opportunity to explore the garage, out back, the diner, and more.
If players follow Minnie Mouse into the diner, Daisy Duck will serve them up some educational activities on their placemats. These include finding hidden letters of the alphabet, identifying matching objects, determining objects that don't belong, and more. Four printable workbooks are available, but be sure to turn this function off if you don't want your kids to inadvertently start printing (it would have been better to have this print button in a less prominent place in the activity).
In the garage, kids can design and paint cars with vivid colors and cool spray paint patterns. Entering the other door of the garage brings kids to an environment where everything is musical including the wrenches and the fan! Clicking on the radio will prompt the mechanic to change the channel to another catchy tune, and kids can "play" along, adding all kinds of interesting sounds from the garage items, and creating rather original mechanical symphonies.
Clicking on an old car (that is up on blocks a thoughtful and safe touch!) puts kids in the front seat of the vehicle, experimenting with the windshield wipers, the horn, and various knobs and sliders that help teach them concepts like on/off and other opposites. Kids can click and watch the seemingly endless numbers advance on the odometer, adjust the rearview mirror and learn about near and far, adjust the radio's volume, and more. Various Disney characters walk by and preschoolers get a real kick out of sounding the horn and startling them. Don't forget to honk Donald and watch as his laundry goes flying!
Donald's nephews take kids out back and into a mischievous but educational game in which they must spray the hose at cans and hanging laundry labeled with numbers, shapes, and more, according to instructions.
Goofy needs help pumping gas, and his customers let him know not only how much gas they want (from the numbers 1-20), but what color! Primary colors blue, red, and yellow are available, and when the customer wants green, orange, or purple, kids need to mix the colors to arrive at the correct shade.
Strengths & Weaknesses
What a relaxing day! The activities are, for the most part, just as pressure-free. Be aware that this lazy, free-play atmosphere will be perfect for many kids, but some kids who are used to high-energy games could end up yawning.
The placemat activities are some of the most academically-inclined of the bunch, yet the most disappointing. Though Daisy does rephrase her questions when a child makes a mistake, repeated mistakes don't prompt the program to eventually identify the answer. But the most serious flaw is that there just simply is not enough variation in the activities presented! Kids will end up repeating the same lessons over and over again, regardless of their performance.
The graphics are truly stunning and inviting. The activities range in difficulty from one to the next, though there are no distinct adjustable levels of difficulty. The program uses an "Active Learning" technology that automatically adjusts challenge levels according to a child's performance. The musical activity, while fun, ran out of steam relatively fast for kid testers. However, children who really enjoy exploring took to the game well.
Encourage your child to click around the main screen because all that the program has to offer is not immediately apparent.