Disney Friends features adventure elements which offer players the opportunity to bond with the characters, while exploring film environments and moments. All activities and interactions are meant to teach players about responsibility, nurture, and the importance of helping others. Tinker Bell provides guidance as the player progresses through the game. The player is tasked to look after the featured Disney characters. This includes feeding them regularly. There is Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich and Space Chicken, Kelp Crunchy, Honey Cake, and Bug Crunchy for Stitch, Dory, Pooh, and Simba respectively. Various collectibles can be earned as the player completes tasks and achievements, such as readable pins and gold currency to buy food, clothes, and toys. 
Disney Friends allow players to experience special events are holidays by utilizing the Nintendo DS real-time clock function. The game contains a day/night cycle which affects the behavior of characters and gameplay.
The game features the option to connect wireless or online via Nintendo Wi-Fi in order to interrelate with the player friends’ worlds. As of May 20, 2014, the online feature is no longer available for this game.
Disney Friends received mostly mixed reviews. The game is seen as a "Nintendogs-like life sim with Disney characters."Parents appraised the game as a fun, learning experience for kids. On the other hand, older audiences claim this game is only for small children, ascertaining that it’s not an original game but still enjoyable. Ken McKown of ZTGD states the “recognizable characters will appeal to fans young and old”, nothing its usage of memorable Disney characters for fans.