App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Disney Princess Royal Salon is a very nice universal application that allows young children to dress up Disney princesses as well as style their hair with a tap or drag of a finger.
Having only a son, we never got into the princess theme the way some children do, but I did spend a few years looking for a moderately-priced styling head that was not attached to Barbie as my boy showed interest in trying to style my hair and apply pretend makeup to my face, so I think he would have fun with this kind of pretend play toy.
It is these kinds of styling head toys that came to mind as I tested the Disney Princess Royal Salon app as after choosing among Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Ariel one gets to decide which of four invitations to select, and one has a chance to style a princess’s hair with the tap of a finger.
Do experiment to see what hair styles are available, moving sections of hair around the screen to create different looks. This app is not as flexible as, for example, Toca Hair Salon, but for the preschool set this app will suit their needs just fine as long as they do not have grand expectations about the ability to create their own styles past those offered as choices that one will uncover while exploring this app. I do enjoy how braided hair is included, which would not be possible if one were truly using finger movements to work with the hair digitally - a nice touch.
I also appreciate the magic wand one can use which will transform these characters' hair into complete styles with a single touch - a nice choice for the youngest app users who may have difficulty using their fingers. After the hair is done, the camera is pulled back to reveal the princess in need of a gown and nicely dressed in her modest undergarments that families will appreciate.
Options include a variety of classic princess dresses as well as the ability to scroll across a rainbow of color selections to choose a specific shade one fancies as well as a nice selection of patterns to choose from. One can also use the iPad’s back-facing camera to take a photo to be used for creating new clothing choices, complete with texture and colors.
Other accessories such as hats, necklaces, crowns, and purses are included. Children are also given a chance to add glitter to their finished look before their princess is transported to the event she is dressed for, complete with mild animation and fun background music. One can keep a record of the styles created in the Princess Scrapbook as well as the ability to email completed looks to family and friends.
This app is bright and colorful with fun, regal-sounding narration that I enjoy. I am happy to say that the princesses seem approachable and likable as one would expect from Disney, without a sense of entitlement that I pick up on with other princess-related characters that I am happy to have avoided. I also admire the vintage touches found within as the illustrations used for Cinderella, the earliest princess from the Disney titles, has a distinct period feel that parents may enjoy even more than their children will.
I am surprised, however, that the classic up hairdo for Cinderella seen in the menu while choosing these characters is actually not a styling option. It is also a disappointment that only the most Caucasian of princesses are included here - an odd choice as Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" each would have been a worthy inclusion, bringing some much needed diversity to this app. Even Merida from the movie Brave would have been a welcome option as her hair is curlier and more voluminous than the straight and flowing locks offered here as the choice and desired hair for children to style.
This app is colorful and fun, but I do wish that little girls of different ethnicities other than European descent could see themselves within these princesses.
This app is certainly of a high quality and enjoyable, and children will have a lot of fun styling and dressing the included characters, but I would love to see other non-Caucasian princesses be included - something to think about for updates and other apps looking towards the future.