Disney Dreamlight Valley–out now on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC– is a new cozy life sim that combines the chill village vibes of Animal Crossing with the farming and mining of Stardew Valley, all while sprinkling on a heaping of Disney magic in the form of iconic characters and locations from popular films like Wall-E and Moana. The end result is a fantastic game that is much more than just an Animal Crossing clone.
But with the added complexity, also comes some headaches or frustrations that players might run into. For example, you currently can’t change your name after picking it. There are more little things to watch out for or mechanics the game doesn’t fully explain. So we have put together a list of tips and tricks to help you save Dreamlight Valley!
Currently, you can’t spend any real money in the game to buy new clothes or more moonstones. However, this will change in the future. Gameloft has confirmed that at a later date players will be able to buy moonstones and a cosmetic store will be added.
However, the devs make it clear that only cosmetic items will be sold, no timers, XP boosters, or anything like that is coming to the game in the future. Gameloft did confirm it has plans down the line to sell paid expansions to add more content to the game, but what that will mean isn’t yet known. Regardless, it seems that even when the game goes free-to-play in the future, it won’t become an annoying mobile game-like grindfest.
Welcome to early access: players have reported broken quests after getting certain things before the game expected them to. For example, someone at Kotaku has gotten stuck on the primary story quest “With Great Power” which is related to Ursula. The issue is that because she stopped to go and do something else after receiving a key item, rather than completing the task at hand, something broke.
The safest thing you can do at the start is to only follow the opening quests until you reach the point where the game syncs to your time, and to see things through when you’re on important missions.
After loading up the game and speaking to Merlin, you’ll need to find some royal tools. These are very important and you shouldn’t delay finding them as they unlock new areas of the map and help you progress.
If you need some help locating the tools, here’s where you can find them:
- The watering can is found behind some barrels next to your house.
- The shovel is stuck in the ground next to the central plaza near a large, old restaurant.
- The pickaxe is found in the southeastern section of the plaza and is stuck in a large rock.
- Finally, the fishing rod can be found in the meadows near a pond after you unlock that area using the pickaxe. After you find it, take it to Goofy who will provide you with the actual royal fishing rod.
Once you reach a certain point in the game, it will sync to the real-time of your console or PC. This means when you play at 12 am at night, it’s 12 am in the game, too. Now, shops like Goofy’s stall and Scrooge’s store stay open 24 hours a day. Some characters like Merlin appear to stay up all night as well. But different characters have different routines.
For example, Remy will eventually go to bed and if you try to talk to him at this house, the game will say he’s asleep. So don’t wait too long to talk to villagers for quests or daily conversations.
The game doesn’t really make this clear, but those blue clothing and red furniture bags you get can be opened. Doing so will provide you with some new stuff. Open them whenever you can so you can save inventory room.
You likely have goodies waiting for you, especially if you bought one of the more expensive founder packs which come with extra bonuses and items. Your mailbox is found right outside your home.
I get that you might want to spend your first hours in the game clearing everything, but instead focus on the early quests and sidequests as that will help you advance the story and unlock new abilities. It’s easy to get sidetracked!
When you open the pause menu, you’ll see a “Collection” tab. While you might just gloss over it, we recommend diving into this section as it contains a lot of good information about every item, recipe, and character in the game. Want to know how many coins a certain meal or vegetable is worth if you sell it? That info is here. Curious which plants grow the fastest? Yup, that information is here, too. In a lot of ways the Collection section of the menu feels like an in-game wiki and is worth poking around.
Once you get going, you’re going to start hitting your bag limit constantly. The first bag upgrade is pretty expensive at 5,000 coins, but you’ll make that back in no time now that you can carry extra high-value goodies, like rare gems. To upgrade, simply look at your bag and highlight the “+” sign at the bottom of your inventory.
Dreamlight Valley is filled with hundreds of challenges that can be completed to earn more dreamlight, a currency that lets you unlock new worlds that feature new Disney characters. You can quickly access all these challenges and turn in the ones you’ve completed by hitting down on the d-pad when playing with a controller. We recommend prioritizing the easier challenges, of which there are plenty, like stopping to take a picture.
Now that you know about the quick controller shortcut to see your dreamlight challenges, you should make a habit of checking them frequently. Nearly everything you do in the game will progress at least one or two of these challenges, meaning that you will likely always have some rewards waiting for you. And don’t forget to check out the rotating daily challenges which are included in this part of the menu, too.
A good place to start looking for a character is near or inside their house. But Mickey and others will wander around sometimes and if you need to speak to them to complete a quest it might be annoying to walk around, searching for them. So instead, use the in-game map which shows you where everyone is at all times. You can highlight anyone or any icon and press on them, and once you leave the menu the game will throw up a neon breadcrumb leading you to the thing in question. Just a heads up: You can only use this map outside.
You might get nervous seeing an energy meter and half flashbacks to horrible 2012-era mobile games that gated content behind waiting for meters to refill. Don’t worry about that here. You can easily refill your energy by eating some food or going back to your home. I recommend just carrying around some apples as they only take up one slot and provide some energy when needed. You can also just forage fruit around you as needed.
If you see ripples in lakes or in the ocean, that’s a good place to go fishing. But not all ripples are equal. White ripples are the most common ones you’ll see and only provide basic fish. Blue are rarer and will provide more valuable and uncommon sea critters. And finally, there are gold ripples which are the rarest and provide a chance at catching the best fish in the game. Just know, that the rarer the ripple, the harder it will be to catch whatever is lurking below it.
Using the shovel you get early on you can dig up a small garden outside your home (or anywhere else, really) and start planting all those carrot seeds you probably have. Do this! Having a load of food will help later as they are needed for quests or meals. Remember that you can also plant and water in bulk by holding down the button as well.
Early on in Dreamlight Valley, storage is going to be an annoying problem. One way to help alleviate this problem is by crafting a chest or two. These chests can be crafted at any crafting table and require 25 softwood and 25 rock. A nice bonus: If these chests are inside your house, you can craft and cook with the ingredients in your chests and don’t need to pull them out, saving you time and inventory space.
Once you get to the castle, you’ll have a choice between Moana, Wall-E, and Remy. While you can pick the character you like best, Remy will immediately teach you a bunch of new recipes that can net you good money as well as unlock a new facility on your island. Plus, his house is nice.
There are a few different ways to level up your friendships with the various Disney characters that live in your village. But one of the easiest ways doesn’t involve gifts or quests or anything like that. Simply take a moment out of your day to talk to them. Every day you get a new bit of dialogue with each villager and completing that conversation earns you a nice chunk of friendship XP.
Your various Disney residents are nice folk who will smile no matter what crap you give them. But if you want to level up your friendships faster, check out which items they want each day before giving them gifts. To see these items, simply talk to a character and ask to give them a gift. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see three items they desire that day. And some of these will be easy to get a hold of, like crackers or wheat. Just note that you can only give them one of each desired item each day.
Once you reach friendship level 2 with any Disney villager you can assign them a role, like fishing or mining. When you hang out with them, if you go fishing or mining, you’ll get extra resources. And as you hang out with villagers you level them up and as they level up they get better at granting you bonus items.
Things like Scrooge’s shop, Goofy’s stall, and Remy’s restaurant can all be upgraded to have wider stock and functionality, though they’ll cost you a pretty penny. We recommend starting with the stall and then Remy, because this allows you to grow a wider variety of crops, which you can then cook for your new clientele at the restaurant. Chez also sells stuff like milk and butter, which are essential for cooking.
While a few apples or carrots will refill your energy meter, it’s good to keep a meal or two on you if you have the inventory space. Meals not only refill your meter more, but they also provide a speed boost to your character. This is very useful as you open up new areas of the Dreamlight Valley as it will help you get around faster. However, there’s an ever faster way to get around the game…
As you complete quests and unlock the magic castle, you’ll also unlock the ability to fast travel. But this doesn’t really become useful until you start unlocking Wishing Wells. The first one is unlocked by following Merlin’s questline and reaching level five friendship with three villagers. After that, future wells can only be unlocked after paying Scrooge some coins.
Your house looks like shit when you start the game and is also very, very tiny. To upgrade it and make it look nicer and increase its size, you’ll need to talk to Scrooge McDuck and complete his various quests to eventually unlock the ability to improve your home. Thankfully, expanding the inside of your house is only $1,000. A bigger home will let you have more space for a crafting table, chests, and a nice oven.
After you finish the early quests and sidequests, you’ll likely want to expand your inventory, upgrade your house, and more. You may also want to buy cooler, fancier items from Scrooge. All of this costs lots of money. One easy way to make some extra cash is to simply go mining.
First, clear out your inventory, and then bring along a friend with the mining role to get bonus XP and items. Then make the rounds, looking for black rocky bits embedded in the cliffs around the map. Use your pick axe and mine all of these. Don’t worry, they regenerate fairly quickly. Doing this a few times will get you a ton of stone, some coal, and a few gems, too. I’ve been able to make $1,500 to $2,500 after a few runs and stop by Goofy to sell everything. It’s worth stopping even if the rocks don’t shine at first glance: Sometimes, the gem will only appear after you start mining it.
Cooking is one of the best ways to make money in the game, so take heed of your recipe box. Do note, however, that the prices listed in your menus are a starting point. Depending on the quality of your ingredients, or added herbs, your final product can and likely will be worth a lot more money.
Remy the rat appears to have one of the biggest houses in the game, for some reason. So just be prepared for that when you unlock him and have to find a spot to put his massive house.
See all those squirrels and rabbits running around? Well, you can feed them. And you should. Not only will this sometimes complete a daily challenge, but feeding critters their favorite foods will provide you with bonus items. What you actually get depends on the critter’s region, but it’s a quick and handy way to get some extra XP and materials.
While your pickaxe in Dreamlight Valley is very strong and seemingly able to break anything, it does have its limits. But, you can improve it by simply completing the Moana and Maui questline found in their respective Disney realm. This will allow you to break many of the rocks that contain chests around the island that may at first seem impossible to interact with.
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed when setting up a new house for a new Disney character, like Remy or Anna. You may feel pressure to put the home in just the right spot to make the best-looking village. You might even regret where you put something down. But don’t worry so much. In Dreamlight Valley, you are free to grab and move homes, benches, shops, or almost anything else whenever you want and with no penalties. If you place Wall-E’s large house down in a spot you end up hating a few hours later, it’s cool. Just go to the furniture menu and you can move it somewhere else. Same with any of the objects you place outside.
As you explore the game you’ll likely encounter a moment where you pick a plant or harvest some fruit and notice that the plant or tree begins to glow. Take advantage of this moment! As long as the object is glowing, you can continue to harvest resources from it. I’ve been able to grab a dozen carrots from a single seed when this happens.
Likewise, if you pop a night thorn root or mine a rock and suddenly hear frantic music, look around. You should notice glowing items that have spawned, like a large group of coins or gems. Quickly run around and collect all the shiny items before the music stops and they despawn to get extra resources and a bonus chest.
Dreamlight Valley is a big game filled with thousands of items. But odds are, you don’t want everything in the game. However, any time you see something new in the world you should definitely pick it up, even if you don’t want it! Why? Well, nearly every new object or ingredient teaches you a recipe when you first pick it up. So pick up everything at least once!
When you begin the Frozen realm, you’ll eventually hit a questline that involves iron. Don’t waste your time exploring the small realm to find some. Instead, you’ll need to leave and visit the swampy Glade of Trust biome. This is where you can easily mine iron ore which can be turned into iron ingots at any crafting table.
In Dreamlight Valley, the world you start out in is broken, messy, and covered in vines and weeds. Pretty quickly, you’ll clean most of this up. However, the broken pathways between shops and homes will need a bit of extra attention to fix. Luckily, crafting new brick path titles is easy. All you need is two pieces of stone to make one brick path chunk. After about 15 minutes of mining, you should have more than enough material to begin fixing up all the paths in your village.
While you run around your village, keep an eye out even if you think you’ve already farmed everything. Things like blue chests actually respawn. When you do find one, open it! You’ll get moonstones, the premium currency in the game that will (eventually) let you buy clothes and future event passes. But don’t expect to see them very often. In my experience, these chests have been pretty rare, only spawning once or twice every few days.
Update, 9/12/22, 1:25 p.m. ET: After playing more Dreamlight Valley, we’ve added more tips and tricks to this article.