Codenames: Disney Family Edition board game review

Codenames Disney board game

Codenames gets a Disney theme!

One of our most played games both last year and this year has been Codenames.

Well, I should clarify that last year it was the original Codenames and this year it’s been Codenames: Pictures.

But that’s not all because Czech Games and USAopoly also recently published Codenames: Disney Family Edition!

That’s right, The House of Mouse has jumped into the popular Codenames realm!

The big question then is, “is it a good game?”

Well, we’re ready to tell you our thoughts on Codenames: Disney.


How to play Codenames: Disney

Codenames Disney board game

Codenames: Disney includes plenty of familiar Disney movie references.

If you’re already familiar with Codenames, then you’ll already know how to play Codenames: Disney because the basic game play is the same.

If you’re not yet familiar, first take a look at our original Codenames review. Because here we’re just going to share about what’s different in the game play.


The Cards

The first noticeable difference between Codenames, Codenames: Pictures, and Codenames: Disney is the cards themselves.

In Codenames: Disney one side of the cards shows an image from a Disney movie and the other side is a word of that same image.

This means players can choose which side they’d like to use – pictures or words.

Codenames Disney board game

You can choose the picture side or the word side.

The nice thing about this is that the word isn’t always what you might expect. For example, one card shows Belle and the Beast dancing.

Looking at the picture side, most players will think of the characters. But the word side has the word “Dance” – without any indication of the characters.

Codenames Disney board game

It’s nice to have a choice to use the word side of the cards.


The Grid

In Codenames: Disney there are two options of how to layout the cards when playing.

One set of key cards shows a 5×5 grid and another set of cards shows a 4×4.

The 5×5 option has 9 squares of one color to find and 8 squares of another as well as 7 brown neutral squares and 1 black Game Over square.

Whereas the 4×4 grid only has 5 of one color and 4 of another. It also has 5 neutral squares and doesn’t include a black Game Over square.

So if you’re playing with younger kids, you may want to play with the simpler grid layout.

Codenames Disney board game

With little kids you may want to play with a 4 x 4 grid.


The Theme

The original Codenames games is themed around Secret Agents. Blue and Red teams are trying to locate their secret agents.

In Codenames: Disney there aren’t any secret agents to find. Instead Blue and Red teams are trying to find their Treasure Cards.

So the Key cards show the location of each team’s treasures.

That’s also why the black square isn’t referred to as an “assassin” like it is in the original. Here it’s just referred to as the “Game Over” card.

Because if one team touches that card, the game immediately ends and the other team wins.

Other than those differences, Codenames: Disney plays just like the original game with teams giving one-word clues and the first team to identify all their cards wins.

Codenames Disney board game

The Disney theme comes through strong on the treasure cards whereas the color cards just have silhouettes.


Can the whole family enjoy Codenames: Disney?

It’s obvious that Codenames: Disney is squarely targeted for families to play. And in that regard, Czech Games and USAopoly have hit their mark. Codenames: Disney is a solid game for players of all ages to enjoy.

Like most families around the world, we’ve seen most every Disney movie depicted on the cards. So it’s easy for us to recognize the characters and scenes shown.

However, after playing a few times we realized that familiarity made the game more challenging than we expected.

Because we know them so well, our thoughts have actually been more limiting when thinking of clues to tie multiple cards together.

The key to doing well in a game of Codenames is giving a clue that ties 2 or more cards together. But because the Disney pictures are so specific, we find it harder to make those connections. As such, our games of Codenames: Disney have lasted longer than others.

Codenames Disney board game

Whittling down the options.


How does Codenames Disney score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

Codenames Disney board gameSurprisingly, Codenames: Disney doesn’t score as high on our “let’s play again” game meter as we anticipated. That’s not to say we’re not calling out to play multiple times in a row (because we still do), but now that we have multiple versions of Codenames we have a choice in which to reach for when we go to our game closet.

And Codenames: Disney isn’t going to be picked as much as our favorite version – Codenames: Pictures. The reason we reach for Pictures is because of the abstract nature of the cards. They’re so wide open that we can find multiple connections a lot more quickly which keeps the pace of the game moving nicely (and we can play many more times in an evening).

At least that our experience.

However, if your family is mostly young kids and they love Disney and you don’t yet have Codenames, we’d recommend you dive into the Codenames fun game play with Codenames: Disney.

We’d like to thank USAopoly for a review copy of Codenames: Disney.



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