Exploring the Origins of Club Penguin, Disney Mix and Club Penguin Island

Hi Penguins,

Club Penguin is one of the safest places for any child, (or anyone, quite frankly) to be social online. With over 20 mini games, a filtered chat, live moderators, Disney has left a mark on the internet with its #1 Virtual World. Created 11 years ago for anyone who had an imagination, Club Penguin has always been updating; It is always trying to keep modern and up to date with it's competition. Unfortunately, you can't please everyone: Kids nowadays have moved on from the once trendy virtual worlds to mobile apps;  Many of which aren't exactly the child friendly type. Disney Spark and Disney Social both tried to change this.

Disney Spark and Disney Social were scrapped social hubs for mobile (and desktop, for the latter) prototypes which have ideas and concepts with are apart of Club Penguin, Disney Mix, and quite possibly, Club Penguin Island. Although these two apps were scrapped, they are quite cool to imagine, and they have relived in various forms in new Disney interactive app and games.

Let's start with Disney Social. Disney Social was, as the name suggested, a scrapped mobile app which would have enabled kids from across the world to communicate safely. In the app, you would have been able to create and customize a Disney avatar, chat, interact and receive updates from friends. On top of that, pins could be purchased and used in chats, so you would have physical and digital copies. The app had ideas of buying physical pins bought from the Disney store, and using a QR code scanner to redeem a digital version of it. Disney Character themes for the app were also discussed which would affect the UI of the user.

Image credits go to Steven Ligatsa

There were also plans for an online hub for Disney Social. It were to be an online version of it's mobile counterpart. With a friends list, news, and a private chat option, I'm sure it would have been a great success, due to its accessibility across two very popular platforms.  Like its app, it enabled users to create your own Disney inspired avatar. The hub would be extremely connected to the official Disney site, as there are images which show the interface being accessed whilst on the site.

Image credits go to Steven Ligatsa

Spike Hike had previously been talking about a private chat feature on Club Penguin. This would surely have been related to Social, with the friends list almost identical to that in the game.

Image credits go to Steven Ligatsa

For those who are thinking "Hey, that phrase complete system is similar to Club Penguin's!", or now agreeing to that statement, you're on to something! The same phrase complete system that is now in place on Club Penguin would have been used for this app. Need a further refresher? Here it is!

Image credits go to Steven Ligatsa

The online hub of Disney Social would have had close ties with Club Penguin. The friends list, apart from minor colour and UI differences, are identical. You have the option to search, invite, and favourite friends, which would appear at the top of the screen. Sound familiar? It should be! Club Penguin's friends list has all of those elements. This suggests that Club Penguin and Disney Social would have somehow been integrated.

Disney Spark! was another Disney prototype, giving kids the freedom to chat in a safe, moderated environment that their carers would be happy to let them be in. In the process of finalising the prototype, many interface designs were considered, including the inclusion of Vinylmations, which are a collection of vinyl Disney collectibles. There had been digitalised versions created, which would cost cuts as there would be no need to remake these avatars again. In the end, the final design included both Disney Infinity characters, along side Vinylmations.

Image credits go to William Hall

In the process, personas/ user profiles were created to help design the best user experience possible, which helped build the structure for the targeted audience of the app: Families. Also created was a trusted friends feature. Basically, trusted friends were to be shown in a different language, allwojg children to know which people were "friends" and others which were "trusted friends" such as family members. A sizzle wheel trailer was created in order to do a pitch of the Disney Spark prototype to Bob Iger, chairman and executive offices of the Walt Disney Company. He gave the green light to start geo alpha/ beta testing of the app.

Video credits go to William Hall

Disney Spark eventually changed to Disney Mix. The Disney Mix we see today looks more like a mix of Disney Spark! and Disney Social. There were even plans for a Club Penguin mini game. Why? Project: Super Secret was Disney Mix. Club Penguin Island only began production in mid 2015 as a stand alone game. If Club Penguin was integrated into Disney Mix, the future of the game would be different in so many ways. Disney Mix was released as a final app last year.

Image credits go to Criag Voigt.
Before I conclude this post, I'd like to thank Pen50gi and Dj Stores for all the information covered on this exclusive. Without them this post wouldn't have existed, and you probably would've been playing Club Penguin Island OR Club Penguin... Or both... I HOPE!

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments below!



Tomisino1 is a passionate blogger of Club Penguin and Club Penguin Island since 2015 with over five years worth of experience throughout the game. Make sure to wave a flipper if you see him on our snowy island!

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