Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pixie Hollow: From Virtual Space to Real Space and Back Again

Yesterday, I received an email from "The Never Council" (a.k.a. the folks at Disney's Pixie Hollow), which read:
We hope you've enjoyed creating and customizing your Fairy on DisneyFairies.com. If you've visited your Fairy's page recently, you've probably noticed things have changed quite a bit. That's because we've launched Pixie Hollow, a brand-new Fairies online world!

While you can still visit your "Pixie Pages" on PixieHollow.com, here are some things that have changed:

FLY - Now you can flit around your Fairy home and explore beautiful meadows filled with lots of other Fairies just like you!

MAKE FRIENDS - The friends on your Pixie Page have disappeared. This is to allow room for all of the new Fairy friends you'll meet and chat with while flying around the Hollow.

DRESS UP - To change your outfit, you will need to enter Pixie Hollow and go to the "Wardrobe" tab in your Leaf Journal.

REDECORATE - The furniture in your home has been put away. To redecorate, just enter Pixie Hollow, fly to your home, and click on the Storage button.

PLAY GAMES - Customizing your Fairy is just the beginning! Now you can play fun games and earn rewards in the meadows.

This is just the beginning of all the fun, new stuff you can now find at PixieHollow.com. Next time you log in, click on the PLAY button to begin exploring Pixie Hollow.

So now you know what I'll be doing for the rest of the day. After tracking this project for many many months now, I'm so glad that this site has finally launched. More to come once I've had a chance to explore and see what all the fuss is about.

In highly related news, Disney has also announced the opening of its newest DisneyWorld feature (on October 24th) called...you guessed it...Pixie Hollow. According to this article on Fox Orlando, the feature consists of a Tinkerbell and her Fairy Friends themed "meet and greet experience" aimed at younger children (particularly girls, I have no doubt). From what I gather, this means costumed actors who will be available to meet and take pictures ("complete with pixie dust") with young fans of the new Disney product line, within the Toontown section of Disney World. It's pretty fitting that Pixie Hollow is aligned with Toontown, considering the development trajectory of their virtual equivalents. Disney's first MMOG for kids was Toontown, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and now Pixie Hollow.

Part of the Pixie Hollow strategy involves some sort of play with secret language (also very appropriate for targeting young girls). Here's the description from the Fox article:
"When you're in their world, you're able to understand what they speak, which is different, and you remember the movie Peter Pan? Well only Peter Pan could understand what they said, well when you're in Pixie Hollow, you're like Peter Pan, and you can understand when they talk," said Francois Leroux from Walt Disney World Entertainment.

I wish I could understand that quote!

And, of course, the Pixie Hollow tie-in movie, Tinker Bell hits DVD stores on the 28th. Should be a Pixtastic month for Disney - with the Fairies brand already raking in millions in merchandising, this added support of media and theme park tie-ins could finally make this the next "Disney Princesses".

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