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February 7, 2017

Disney to shut down Club Penguin and replace it with Club Penguin Island app

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It’s with some wistfulness that I received the news last week that The Walt Disney Company is shutting down its Club Penguin website. Disney acquired the popular kids virtual world in 2007, and my children spent a couple years enthralled with it. Apparently, though, its popularity has been waning so Disney is closing the online game as of March 29. Don’t despair if your kids still love it because Disney is introducing Club Penguin Island to take its place.

Club Penguin is like many other virtual worlds in that users play games to earn a currency to feather their nests and dress their players. In this case, penguins earn coins that they can use to purchase clothing for themselves, hats for their puffles and decorations for their igloos. Physical coins with online codes are attached to plush puffles and penguins and play sets sold in stores, and these unlock bonus items, such as extra puffles or clothes.

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Club Penguin offered two types of accounts -- free and paid. Users who pay the monthly rate have more access and more options, of course. To hear my kids tell it at the height of their obsession, you HAVE to have a paid account to do the fun stuff.

Club Penguin is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), which means millions of users are playing at the same time. Penguins can friend each other, and if the requests are accepted, users gain access into each other's igloos and can interact in other ways, such as messaging.

In addition to entertainment, Club Penguin also delivered positive messages including one about charitable giving with its Coins for Change holiday program. Disney spent millions on its Club Penguin Internet safety campaign for kids. Most recently, the website gave elementary school students a place online to have their anti-Trump protest heard.

The new Club Penguin Island game will launch in March and be solely for mobile devices. (Club Penguin could be used on desktop and mobile devices.)

“The problem for Club Penguin, which was aimed at younger children and tweens primarily, is that there are now so many apps vying for kids’ attention,” according to TechCrunch.com. “The new site, Club Penguin Island, will look to recapture kids’ interest, with a modern-day take on the original virtual world, but one’s that focused on mobile.

“Though related, Club Penguin Island is its own, standalone app – players can’t bring items or coins from the old site to the new one. Their Club Penguin membership will also not transfer over to the new property. Club Penguin Island is currently offering pre-registration, so kids can reserve their new penguin’s name in advance of its March release.”

Club Penguin Island will be available for iOS and Android mobile devices.



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February 26, 2013

Don't miss Disney's Club Penguin Hollywood Party and new EP

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If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that my 10-year-old son loves Disney's Club Penguin web-based video game. He can't wait to log in to the virtual world each day and see what is new, and he's far from alone. Club Penguin is the most popular online game for children. This month, my son and his friends have gotten two happy surprises: Club Penguin has launched its Hollywood Party and the site's first EP has debuted.

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If you or your child haven't visited yet, today is the last day for the Hollywood Party, which is modeled after the Academy Awards show. Leading up to the party, penguins could act in three movies -- "Penguin High 3," "High Speed Getaway" and "Return of the Space Squid" -- and work toward becoming directors. Paid members also could try to attain Superstar status and live in a Hollywood-like version of the Club Penguin Island or even work as stunt penguins.

During the party, players can walk a red carpet and attend a star-studded award show, where penguins who were voted the best in various categories receive their statuettes. For a limited time, the Cool Emoticon, the Cheese Emoticon and a Clapboard slate Emoticon will appear at the party, as well as Aunt Arctic. Be sure to check out the new Hollywood Party catalog, which has award-winning outfits, such as a diamond gown, a space astro suit and a rugged jacket.

For kids who are interested in the glitz and glam of Hollywood award season, this is a way for them to take part in an age-appropriate way.

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Club Penguin is exploring another aspect of the entertainment industry with its first EP, "The Party Starts Now." The album from Walt Disney Records includes all of Club Penguin's hit singles from 2012, plus a new song and a bonus track. The songs are "Anchor's Aweigh," "The Party Starts Now," "Ghosts Just Wanna Dance," "Cool in the Cold," "Puffle Party (Gotta Have a Wingman)" and "Dubstep Puffle."

Players who purchase the "The Party Starts Now" EP receive an exclusive virtual item, the 'Bling-Bling Necklace,' to wear in the virtual world.

When released in fall of 2012, "The Party Starts Now" single held the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Children's music chart for multiple weeks in a row and the corresponding music video has more than 2 million views on YouTube.

The EP is now available wherever music is sold, as well as through digital retail outlets, including iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

To read more about Club Penguin, please see my previous blog posts about Internet safety and Club Penguin's charitable donations.

December 22, 2012

Disney's Club Penguin video game involves kids in charity donations

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Here's a reason to actually encourage your child to play on the computer. Disney's Club Penguin, one of the largest online virtual worlds for kids, is donating $1 million to charities during the holiday season, based on its players' actions.

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Club Penguin kicked off its annual "Coins for Change" program on Thursday, and it runs through Jan. 2. During that time, players can donate the virtual coins they earn on Club Penguin Island to three types of charities: providing medical aid, building safe places and protecting the earth. Those contributions will help The Walt Disney Co. determine how it will earmark its charitable giving.

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The site has added a new feature this year to entice giving. At the virtual bake sale, players can purchase racer cookies and paid members can buy Reindeer Puffle and Frost Bites cookies. The types of cookies designate which charity receives the coins they spend for the cookies. As a reward for giving, players and members can transform into the shapes of the cookies for 10 minutes. Only the Frost Bites come with the special powers to freeze virtual items temporarily.

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My 10-year-old son, who is an avid Club Penguin member, was so excited about the start of Coins for Change that he got up early on the first day to start his donations before school. For kids who are at the age where video games are a large part of their entertainment, programs such as Coins for Change send a positive message and help model behaviors that allow the kids to learn more about the world.

Since its inception in 2005, Club Penguin has given a total of $9 million to charities all over the world. The money has been spent in 42 countries on projects such as building new schools, libraries and playgrounds for kids, as well as ensuring clean water and educational programs for families.

"Over the past six years, Coins for Change has inspired our players to take action and make a difference in the lives of millions of kids and families all over the world," said Chris Heatherly, head of Club Penguin, in a written statement. "We hope this year's Coins for Change virtual bake sale empowers our players to start similar programs and make a positive difference in their local communities."

ClubPenguin.com offers suggestions and safety tips for hosting a real-life bake sale for charity. There even are recipes for Rockhopper Cookie Mix and Puffle Sugar Cookies.


October 14, 2012

Disney character costumes among kids' top picks for Halloween 2012

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Party City analyzes pop culture, the latest fashion trends and Hollywood blockbusters to prepare for the year's biggest costume crazes. This year, the Halloween retailer is sharing which characters you can expect to see when you open the door to trick-or-treaters. It's probably no surprise that Disney characters are perennial favorites.

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Classic Disney Princess costumes are always big sellers for little girls, the retailer says. This year, though, look for a new addition to the royalty -- Merida from Disney-Pixar's "Brave." Sellers, including the Disney Store, have reproduced her "Hero" (green) and "Games" (blue) dresses for the spooky season.

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Cinderella also is expected to be popular because the classic movie was released on Diamond Edition Blu-ray and Disney HD Digital for the first time on Oct. 2. Disney Store is anticipating the demand for Cinderella costumes by offering three versions: original Cinderella, Deluxe Wedding Cinderella and Limited Edition Cinderella. The store points out that all Disney Princess costumes feature story-telling trim on their skirts, with shimmering glitter accents and intricate details.

The Disney Fairies are big business this year, too, likely because of the popularity of PIxieHollow.com and the direct-to-DVD movies. "Secret of the Wings," which stars Tinker Bell and her long-lost sister Periwinkle, will be released on Oct. 23. (Periwinkle already is greeting guests at the Magic Kingdom.)

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For boys, it's all about the superheros, and this certainly is the year with Disney acquiring Marvel and "The Avengers" being released in theaters and on DVD. Disney Stores are selling Captain America, Thor, The Hulk and Iron Man costumes. Younger boys may identify more with Jake from "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," a popular television show on Disney Junior.

Can't find a costume modeled after your child's favorite Disney character? Try giving the Walt Disney World mail order department a call at 877-560-6477 because the Disney Parks carry different selections than the national retail chain. For example, Disney Store isn't selling any costumes from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise this year, but the gift shop outside the ride at Magic Kingdom offers two swashbuckling boys costumes and one for wenches. We also spotted a rare Perry the Platypus costume at Disney's Hollywood Studios last month. Also, many of the costumes in the parks come in sizes that are larger than what Disney Store carries.

If you're feeling creative, you may be able to piece together a costume to represent a beloved character. Perhaps your child is anticipating "Wreck-It Ralph" and would love to dress up as the title character. Or your child is obsessed with Club Penguin and wants to be a puffle. How about hard-to-find Phineas and Ferb costumes?

Several years ago when the "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock" movies were popular and costumes had yet to flood the store shelves, I had to come up with Troy and Shane costumes for my son and Mitchie and Gabriella outfits for my daughter. I'm not a seamstress, so I resorted to many shopping trips to find items that would mimic what they wore in the TV movies.

Have a tip or creative idea for a Disney character costume? Tell us in the comments, please.


July 12, 2012

Disney spends millions on Club Penguin Internet safety campaign for kids

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Although it doesn't feature the traditional Fab Five, Club Penguin is one of The Walt Disney Company's wildly popular products. In fact, since Disney acquired the online game in 2007, it has grown to be one of the largest virtual worlds for children, with 175 million accounts worldwide, according to some sources. Because of its reach, Club Penguin is taking a leadership role in promoting and ensuring online safety for kids, its co-founder recently said.

For those who don't have a child (or two) obsessed with Club Penguin like I do, allow me to introduce you to the puffles and their penguin owners who live on Club Penguin Island. First, Club Penguin offers two types of accounts -- free and paid. Users who pay the monthly rate of $7.95 have more access and more options, of course. (If you buy time in blocks, there is a discount: $39.95 for six months and $59.95 for a year.) To hear my kids tell it, you HAVE to have a paid account to do the fun stuff, so that's why they save their money to continue their memberships.

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Club Penguin is like many other virtual worlds in that users play games to earn a currency to feather their nests and dress their players. In this case, penguins earn coins that they can use to purchase clothing for themselves, hats for their puffles and decorations for their igloos. Physical coins with online codes are attached to plush puffles and penguins and play sets sold in stores, and these unlock bonus items, such as extra puffles or clothes. The big Walt Disney World theme park gift shops and Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney carry the plush puffles, backpack clips and books. You can also find merchandise, including gift cards, at retailers such as Target and Toys R Us.

Club Penguin is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), which means millions of users are playing at the same time. Penguins can friend each other, and if the requests are accepted, users gain access into each other's igloos and can interact in other ways, such as messaging. This makes the game more interesting, but it is easy to see how it can open the door for abuse if proper controls are not in place.

"From the very start, our vision for Club Penguin was to create a safe place for my kids and their friends to play online. The scale may now be bigger than I could ever have imagined but that philosophy has not changed," said Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield and now executive vice president of Disney Online Studios in his recent keynote speech at the Children's Media Conference, a U.K. industry meeting held earlier this month.

The urgency of ensuring a safe online playground has been brought to public attention again after moderators of a competing game, Habbo Hotel, have been accused in a British television report of allowing pedophiles to use the game to communicate with children. In response, Disney is spending $4.5 million on an Internet safety campaign with advertising on television, websites, magazines, and within Club Penguin and its other virtual worlds.

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Safety aside, the game is designed for fun. And Club Penguin continues to introduce new content and ties to other Disney characters. Beginning July 19, penguins dressed as the lead characters from Disney Channel's "Shake It Up" -- Cece and Rocky -- will host an Ultimate Jam music party on the virtual island. This parallels the current dance-off, Make Your Mark Ultimate Jam, being promoted on Disney Channel, in which the winner will appear on "Shake It Up."

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Merrifield also talked about the future of children's media, saying: "As the boundaries of platforms are disappearing, and new methods of storytelling are emerging" I believe that storytellers of the future will need to be able to think three-dimensionally about their characters and story arcs.

"If a child chooses to engage on a mobile device or through toys, their experience can be similar or different to a friend who chooses to use other platforms to engage with the story" It becomes the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure."

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About Club Penguin

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Club Penguin category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the previous category.

Contests is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.