Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, a new Walt Disney World attraction that is a role-playing scavenger hunt, officially opens today after getting a lot of buzz during the testing phase. On Saturday, my husband, 9-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and I took our turn at trying to defeat the Disney villains.
We went in blind, not knowing much about how the game works, to try to see what it might be like for an unprepared guest to walk into the Firehouse and get started. After checking in, we received our key card to unlock the magical portals, five spell cards and a map for the other secret sites throughout the Magic Kingdom. (See photos of spell cards, the map and additional portals on the official AllEars Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom page.)
Our game began on Main Street, U.S.A., during the afternoon parade -- not an ideal time or place to start for the first time, by the way! But as we stepped up to the first portal, my kids were excited to try something new. Because we were playing as a family, we gave each child a "job" so they both could be involved -- one held the map and directed us to the portals while the other unleashed the spell cards. To be fair, they traded roles after each mission.
We all enjoyed the animation at the portal screens, which are cleverly hidden in existing structures, and seeing the various Disney characters on the spell cards use their special powers. For example, Rapunzel whips out her hair to do battle and Sorcerer Mickey's brooms whisk away the evil.
As parents, my husband and I especially appreciated that even if there is a line to check in at a portal, those waiting will not have the surprise ruined because the experience depends on which cards the guest plays. Seeing what lies ahead if you arrive at a checkpoint with another party is a disappointing aspect of the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at Epcot. (Read what AllEars readers think about the Kim Possible Adventure.)
Another advantage to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is that you can start and stop playing the game whenever you want -- take a break for a meal, a FastPass reservation, etc. And if you save your key card, it's good for life, a cast member told me. That means you can continue playing the same game until you defeat all eight villains and take on Hades in the finale, if you choose. Or, you can swipe your admission ticket once each day you enter the Magic Kingdom, get a new key card, and start fresh.
Each mission is designed to take 20 to 30 minutes in one particular area of the Magic Kingdom. That seemed to work well for my kids' attention spans. They were happy to complete one mission and then go ride some rides before returning to the game.
Our Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom experience focused on getting used to the basics -- until we ran into a helpful cast member. Enrique explained more about the strategy of the game -- certain spell cards are more effective on some villains than others at certain points in each mission. (Check the card for its energy attack, energy boost and energy shield point values.) Plus, you can increase your playing power by holding up to seven spell cards at the screen. Then, the powers of all seven characters will be directed at the villain. In addition, if you have one of the four fairy cards, you can win the game by using her spell at any point. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom has been testing in its "easy" mode, but two more difficult levels will be available as well.
Today, another engaging aspect of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom begins -- expanded trading of the spell cards. Guests who have played the game during the testing phase have been exchanging cards among themselves, but cast members now can be another resource. Guests are issued five random cards each day they play the game, and there are 60 total cards available. (There were an additional 10 cards issued initially, but Disney has stopped making them. So, if you get your hands on original cards numbered 61-70, hang onto them!) Already have a full set of spell cards? Walt Disney World is set to begin selling mystery packs of additional cards.
I have a hard time picturing first-time visitors to the Magic Kingdom planning their days around Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom -- there are just too many things to see and do to try to incorporate this game into a busy schedule when you're unfamiliar with the theme park. But I can certainly see its appeal for repeat and even multi-day guests and passholders. Scavenger hunts through the parks have long been popular with fan groups, and this new, permanent game has improved the experience for all ages.
The previous post in this blog was Dining at Chefs de France.
The next post in this blog is Meet 'Kingdom Keepers' author Ridley Pearson at Walt Disney World.