Disney Classics Storybook Apps to the Rescue

Flight delays.

When we booked our return flight from Paris, we saved an exorbitant amount of money by not going direct.  We chose a flight from Charles DeGaulle to Philly.  And then a short jaunt from Philly to NYC. When we made our reservation I said, “If this all goes smoothly we’ll be happy we did this.  But if it goes bad, it could be a freaking nightmare.”

Cut to the impossibly elegant yet impossibly slow Air France agent saying (insert accent here) “You do know your flight is three hours delayed…?”  When I told her that we would miss our connecting flight, she shrugged her shoulders.

Once we made it to the gate we discovered our flight had been bumped back five hours.  I got in a really long line hoping to receive not just the free airport meal ticket but maybe seats on a direct flight to JFK. While I waited our flight was moved back another two hours.  I reached the desk at the gate the moment our flight was cancelled.

I stood there at the desk while the agents started making phone calls and people began scrambling and thought “In a minute, lines are going to be very important. Right now I am at the front of one.  I’m just going to stay right here.”  I smiled a lot.  I sympathized with the now harried employees.  I stayed at the front of the line and asked if there was any way we could get on a direct flight to New York.  I smiled some more. I enlisted my cute kid and told her if she behaved well it would help us get home sooner. We were switched to a flight direct to JFK that had itself been delayed six hours.  Putting us at JFK only two hours later than originally scheduled.  Begin many more lines and much more smiling resulting in three seats together in row 10 of a huge aircraft.

And then there was the six hour delay.

Can I say, when you are faced with a six hour delay and a preschooler, your iPad is a really good friend.  And apps that cost you a couple of dollars at home before you left, increase in value astronomically.

Before leaving for France, we installed a couple new Disney Classics apps we had been given to review.  How delighted was I to discover that not only did these apps pass the time, they were actually wonderful! There are several Disney Classics storybook apps available, designed for children ages 3- 6, and I love the two we played.  We explored the Peter Pan and Bambi apps for iPad (they are also available for your iPhone and iPod Touch) and let me say, they are gorgeous.  The art is whimsical and lovely.  The apps are interactive, but they don’t make my head hurt.  The storytelling is slow and gentle. To me they seem like pop-up books come to life.  The interactivity is limited.  The emphasis is on the storytelling. And Cate loves them.

On the opening page, your child can insert her picture and type her name to create a Golden Book-like nameplate.  The books are read by a single narrator, and tapping around on a page reveals little hidden sound and visual effects–horses hooves clop outside the Darling house, lights go on and off in the children’s nursery. Your child can choose to exit the book to do little coloring pages or puzzles or other simple activities in both apps.  They are just very very sweet.


And they will keep your child entertained while you wait six hours at an airport.  Or at least fill in the time between the free lunch and playing pretend restaurant with other kids in the little airport kids play area (hear that LaGuardia? An airport kids play area!).

And that’s something that Mama’s definitely gotta have.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jena said,

    September 7, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

    Did you fly Delta or is that a stock photo? Delta is the only airline I’ve ever had cancel and delay flights on me. They canceled the flight I initially booked, which really ticked me off, as it meant extra expenses for me–I live in a remote community with limited routes out (ferry and a little commuter airline), so when they canceled my mid-afternoon flight and put me on a flight leaving 8 hours earlier, not only did they put me in a situation that required me to leave a day early and take a hotel, they also put me on a flight with a one-hour layover (I had booked a direct flight), which turned into a 6 hour delay. The good news is that I was only 20 weeks pregnant, and so not dreadfully uncomfortable. Except that I was really hungry all the time, and their little $6 meal voucher didn’t even cover a bottle of water and bagel.

    The crew, tired and doubtless cranky after dealing with all of their harried passengers (and we weren’t the only Delta flight delayed at that gate), still managed, for the most part, service with a smile by the time we did board. Except for the flight attendant who refused to contact a connecting Delta flight one of the passengers on our plane still had a few minutes to make, just as we were waiting, waiting, waiting on the runway to get to the gate & disembark. This fellow passenger, a new mom, had done her company a favor by agreeing to attend an overnight professional thing even though she was on mat leave. She was quietly crying–she just wanted to make her connection and get home to her baby. (She figured that the baby had just enough breastmilk pumped to last till she got home–if she made the next flight.) And she was in the back of the plane, so we, her sympathetic fellows, bellowed to clear the way for her as soon as we got to the gate, and other passengers took up the call. She was the first one off the plane. I have no idea if she made it, but I’ve often wondered. She had to run to another area of DTW.

    I’m never flying Delta again if I can help it. I talked to the people at the gate before I took off on the first leg of that flight, and they said they regularly canceled the direct mid-afternoon flight I wanted and re-booked everyone onto the early flight–and had, in fact, done so all that week.

    Sorry. That turned into a much longer rant than I expected. I’m very glad you were able to keep your pre-schooler entertained during your delay, and I hope your vouchers actually covered the cost of food for you.

  2. 2

    Wendy said,

    September 10, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    oh how awful. but i do love the story about how the whole airplane got that mother off the plane. i wonder if she did make that flight. it’s always amazing to me how travel nightmares bring all the strangers in an airport or on a plane, together. when if everything goes smoothly you barely notice each other. i was flying delta and air france. the cancellation on my first flight was a mechanical issue. no idea about the subsequent delay that did, in the end, mean we made it home the day we hoped. they took good care of us ultimately so i don’t have a bone to pick with them. flying these days…just not the dream experience you’d hope for.

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