Disney Mobile Features
It seems these days that every kid you see has a mobile phone and you see it everywhere – the mall, restaurants, even in schools. There are commercials that are geared directly at family plans and advertisements on children going over their minutes. It seems Disney has now gotten in on the cell phone scene, creating Disney Mobile, geared specifically with younger children in mind.
Disney Mobile, however, has a few features that most other phones and mobile companies don’t have. The four big attractions that are included with Disney Mobile plans are: Family Monitor, Family Locater, Family Alert!, and Call Control.
The Family Monitor aspect is a way of controlling how much time your kids spend on their mobile phone by letting the parents set an allowance for how many minutes they may use and how many text and picture messages they can send. Parents can set spending limits on downloads so that children don’t buy 40 ringtones in two days. When a child has reached their usage limit on any of these things, an alert is sent to the parents’ mobile letting them know. The parent (or Family Manager) can then choose whether to up the usage on the phone, do nothing, or restrict the phone usage using the website.
The Family Locator is by far the most enticing Disney Mobile feature. Using GPS satellite technology, the Family Locator can tell you exactly where your child’s phone is. It provides a map of the location. Only adult family members can use this feature, as the application is password-protected. Disney Mobile claims that this is an “included feature”. However, you are only allowed five searches a month. This includes all adult family members – the five GPS tracking searches are shared on the plan, so it’s not “five searches per adult phone”. If you choose to do more than five searches in a month, it’s $.49 a pop. Alternatively, you can purchase the Unlimited package for $12.99 so that you can find your kids anytime, anywhere, without worrying about extra spending.
Family Alert! is simply text messages, but they are prioritized. The messages take over the phone’s main screen in order to make sure family members receive and are aware of important messages. This feature is unlimited with Disney Mobile service.
Finally, a parent’s dream come true: Call Control. This feature is exactly what it sounds like. Parents choose when their kid’s can use the phone. The Family Manager (which is determined when signing up for service; i.e. the parents) can log on to disneymobile.com and restrict or allow whatever hours of the day and day of the week that they want. Parents can choose the Always On option so that important numbers can still get through, such as the parents’ phone. And yes, parents also get free reign over what number their children cannot call and number that that phone can receive calls from. Any changes a parent might want to make can easily be done through the disneymobile.com website account.
Other than these four features, Disney Mobile is quite similar to many other big name mobile companies. Disney Mobile offers unlimited mobile to mobile calling, unlimited long distance, unlimited nights and weekends, call waiting, caller ID, etc. However, unlike other mobile companies, Disney Mobile charges more for minutes. For example, the Family Plan starts at $59.99 for only 450, and that’s with a minimum of two lines (required). The highest amount is $249.99 for 4,500 minutes. The Individual Plan isn’t much better on pricing and sort of defeats the purpose of a family plan with all these kid-inspired features. There are no rollover minutes and there is a 2-year contract to be signed. It seems like such a great deal, except for the prices. If one were to go with Disney Mobile, I would suggest being very careful with minutes and any ‘extras’.