Released in early access on the 6th of September, Disney Dreamlight Valley is everything that Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley fans have been waiting for in a new experience that is a hybrid between a life-sim and an adventure game. With quests, exploration, engaging activities and dialogue to complete with old and new characters (whether it be the iconic Disney characters or Pixar characters), you can find them in the idyllic land of Dreamlight Valley.
Starting in the magical place, your task is to save the hopeless inhabitants of Dreamlight Valley from the encroaching night thorns and the insidious grip of The Forgetting, which seems to be robbing our favourite Disney and Pixar friends of their wonderful memories. Together, with the help of our favourite characters and various tasks, we have to turn the world back into the perfect neighbourhood and restore it to its former glory.
Published by its developer Gameloft, Disney Dreamlight Valley is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Mac, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. It is currently free as part of the Xbox Game Pass, or you can purchase the founder’s pack to access it immediately on your desired platform.
10 Tips For Starting Out In Disney Dreamlight Valley
1. Be Efficient With Your Inventory
The first thing you will notice when you start up Disney Dreamlight Valley is that you can harvest and collect so much. And of course, this means that your inventory fills up quickly. Over and over and over again. So it’s very important to be efficient with your inventory.
Always open the clothing and decorative items packs (the little blue and pink bags), and recipes as each one take up a slot in your inventory. Also, you wouldn’t want to accidentally spend money on a cosmetic that you got for free but didn’t know you had because you didn’t open it.
While it’s expensive at the start, prioritize upgrading your backpack so that it takes longer to fill up your inventory. The first upgrade costs 5000 Star Coins and only gets more expensive from there, but having more inventory space makes a huge difference. Store any unwanted items in your chests in your house. Chests allow you easy access while you are cooking and crafting.
This one was a big one for me: Don’t pick up flowers you don’t need! They don’t sell for very much and end up taking up your inventory and chest space. Leaving them growing wild in the Valley is quite beautiful if you don’t need the space.
2. Complete Your Daily Dreamlight Duties
You will quickly find out that to progress in Disney Dreamlight Valley you will need to stock up on Dreamlight, an integral part of unlocking new areas such as the Dream Castle, and other biomes. There are a ton of ways to get Dreamlight, such as turning all of your Dream Shards into Dreamlight at a crafting table, but the easiest is to complete your tasks in the Dreamlight Tab. Most of these will be completed just by playing the game, but it’s relatively easy to farm the tasks that require fishing, foraging, and cooking.
A little-known trick is that you can easily access the Dreamlight Duties menu by hitting the down arrow if you are playing on a console. This is just a quick way to access it that makes checking it and farming Dreamlight a lot faster.
3. Earn Star Coins
It wouldn’t be a life-sim without some semblance of an economy. At least this one doesn’t plunge you into debt immediately (Thank you for the mortgage, Tom Nook). The in-game currency for Disney Dreamlight Valley is Star Coins, and you can gain these by selling almost everything, from minerals and fish to the culinary creation that you have made yourself. All the upgrades, to your house, other houses, building other houses, upgrading stalls and stores, and opening up the wishing wells, all require Star Coin, so the faster you can start earning it, the faster you will progress in the game.
4. Focus on Getting The Royal Tools
These tools are part of the beginning quests, but make farming for resources and completing all your other quests much easier, so right at the start, don’t dawdle on getting them. From there, some of your tools can be slightly upgraded for certain tasks. For example, Merlin teases a temporary upgrade to remove mushrooms from the Valley, while discovering Moana and Maui helps you upgrade your pickaxe, allowing you to break some of the rocks in their world, and some of the ones on the beach as well.
5. Hangout With Characters
As Disney will usually tell us, friendship is the magic of Disney. In Disney Dreamlight Valley, friendship and hanging out can do magical things for your wallet. All of the characters in the game will follow you around if you ask them to, and after reaching level 2 in friendship, you can assign them a role to do with either fishing, mining, gardening, foraging, or digging. If you do the task that they are assigned while they are hanging out with you, you will increase the amount of loot and rewards you get.
Having daily hangouts with them not only increases your rewards, but forges friendships with them, increases your level, and unlocks more unique challenges for each character.
If you don’t want them running around after you, at least talk to them each day. Having a daily conversation with your Disney Villagers builds up their friendship quickly. You can also invest in gifts for them. Friends will accept almost any gift you give them, but each one will have three specific items that will grant you extra XP if given to them. These three favoured items change daily. To make life easier, you can use the collections menu to check what they would want before even leaving your house for the day.
6. Learn to Cook
With the limitations on energy, knowing how to cook good quality meals can help you out a ton in Disney Dreamlight Valley. High-level meals can recharge a lot of your energy, as well as are worth selling. You can find recipes by exploring the Valley or completing questlines. Cooking not only increases the money you can make in a day but also makes you move around the Valley faster. If you eat a high-energy meal, you will notice a gold, sparkly bar that covers your usual blue energy bar. This means you have a temporary speed boost that helps you get around faster.
Remy is an untapped well of knowledge when it comes to cooking, and many players recommend getting him as one of your first Disney Villagers so that you can earn Star Coins quickly, and get recipes quickly. Remy is your only way to access ingredients like bread, eggs, and milk, which are really important ingredients for later recipes.
7. Learn to Craft
It can become expensive very quickly to furnish the whole valley, let alone build up your furniture collections for your home. Learning to craft not only uses some of the materials clogging up your inventory, but also saves you a pretty penny from time to time. Not only does it save you, but sometimes beloved characters will request that you craft things for them throughout the game, so it’s a worthwhile investment.
Each item is made from a specific recipe or blueprint that you learn as you collect the items that something is made of. For example, once you discover seaweed, you learn the recipe for fibre. Once you have made fibre, it unlocks the recipe for rope, and so forth.
Crafting chests in Disney Dreamlight Valley is an amazing way to get around an inventory space issue, and having them in your house means that you don’t have to individually access ingredients to cook or craft, the stove and the crafting table can access materials straight from the chests. Talk about efficiency and convenience!
8. Make Use of Fast Travel
While the Valley isn’t too huge, once you have more biomes unlocked, it can start to feel like you have to travel for a while to get to your desired destination. This is where fast travel comes in. By progressing through the Friendship is Everything quest with Merlin, and unlocking wishing wells around the Valley with some money and the help of Scrooge, you can quickly move through the Valley at the press of a button, which can significantly shave some time off of your travel time. If you are wanting to make a quick supply run, just skip the fast travel and walk back to your destination. I guarantee your inventory will fill up quickly.
9. The Collections Tab Is Your Friend
If you are anything like me, you hate seeing the little red icon that means there is something new in your collection that needs to be glossed over just to take away the notification. I wouldn’t recommend doing that in Disney Dreamlight Valley. I was shocked to find out that the collections tab is an almanack of information for the game, with info on what critters you can find where, what minerals you can find where, how much items are likely to cost, and even what kind of gift your friends are hoping for that day. It is worth a glance at least, and can even tell you the growth time to expect for plants.
10. Unlock Animal Companions
Cute little critters are running around in every biome of the Valley, and if you are diligent with feeding them their favourite foods, you can not only get bonus resources from them, but you can convince them to become your companion. Feeding critters in Disney Dreamlight Valley can also be part of your daily challenges and is a fun way to quickly earn Dreamlight. So far it doesn’t seem like they do too much other than run after you looking cute, but what Disney princess doesn’t have an animal companion?
5 Things You Might Have Missed In Disney Dreamlight Valley
1. Clothing Customizing
At the start of Disney Dreamlight Valley, you get a little overloaded in the tutorial phase. One of the first lessons we are taught is how to change our unique outfits, as looking cute and collecting clothes is a huge part of the game. While it’s easy to remember how to change clothes, it’s easy to miss the fact that you can customize your clothes and wear your own designs by simply selecting the customize option in the wardrobe. There are numerous clothing templates to choose from, and you can play around with colours and use character motifs (which you can unlock through friendship) to make your desired clothing.
2. Idle Animations
Although this is a minor detail, it’s amazing that they have this implemented in early access already. If characters are left alone, they have some animations that they go through like fishing or just wandering around. Some Disney Dreamlight Valley characters have really sweet idle animations, like WALL-E who will show you his sprout in a boot, Mickey Mouse who whistles the tune for the famous black and white animation on a tug boat, and Moana who will hum the tune to How Far I’ll Go while she is idle.
3. Mickey Mouse-Shaped Clouds
Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can angle your camera up into the sky and catch an adorable Mickey Mouse-shaped cloud in the sky. These can be spotted even while you are in the unique realms of well-loved Disney characters. Luckily, the clouds seem to be purposefully placed just low enough for us to catch them on our screens
4. Nothing Is Permanent, Almost Everything Is Movable
It is no secret that you have to upgrade buildings to improve your valley, unlock upgraded items and add more functionality, like Scrooge’s shop, Goofy’s stalls, and Remy’s Restaurant. Placing buildings can be quite nerve-wracking in Disney Dreamlight Valley, especially if you are trying your best to make a beautiful Valley. But fear not! nothing is permanently placed. All buildings, even wishing wells and stalls, can be moved by accessing the furniture section while out in the valley.
5. The Right Way to Farm Seaweed
While fishing, aiming for the different coloured ripples is so tempting! There are white, blue, and gold ripples to be found in the ponds, lakes, and oceans of the Valley, and the rarity of the fish that you get from that spot will depend on the colour of the ripple that you are fishing. White is for just better than basic, blue is for rarer, more valuable and uncommon fish, and gold gives you the rarest possible. Be warned though, the rarer the fish, the harder it is to catch what’s lurking under the surface.
But when it comes to farming seaweed in Disney Dreamlight Valley, we have to resist our instincts and aim for the spots without the ripples. Needing seaweed quickly makes you realize that waiting for it to spawn organically just isn’t worth it, and you will want to go looking for it. By fishing on non-ripple spots, close to the cost, you will have a ton in no time.
Some Quirks We Hope Get Fixed In Disney Dreamlight Valley
Of course, while Disney Dreamlight Valley is still in its early days (since the game was only released recently), we can’t complain about a few quirks. These will likely be fixed soon. Some of these quirks are like the fact that you can’t change your name after you have picked it, or that there are no microtransactions, or the need to use real money, in the game yet. Some people would be very happy about this and not want it to change (many gamers abhor a pay-to-win mentality) but microtransactions will likely be available at a later stage for cosmetic items and exclusive items and exclusive outfits.
If you jump too far ahead or leave a quest halfway through, some early access players have reported that it can break the quest for them. To avoid this, when you first start Disney Dreamlight Valley, only follow the opening quests, at least until your in-game time is synced with the real world, the game seems to freak out if you get too far before it expects you to.
All things considered, the list of issues is far outweighed by the amount of enjoyment that you can reap from this game, and as far as video games go, this nostalgic life-sim is extremely addictive, and you will find yourself wanting to do as much as possible each time you play. While this is tempting, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (or rather all the flowers in the Valley) and enjoy the nostalgia.
If you are a fan of the Animal Crossing games, I would recommend Disney Dreamlight Valley. Some people are calling it an Animal Crossing copy, but I would argue that it isn’t. It has all the cuteness of the classic Nintendo game, while also having the exploration and adventure that it is lacking. As a fan of Disney that has never had the chance to go to Disneyland (holding thumbs), this is an amazing way to experience the wonder of Disney without having to leave my couch.