There’s a brand new game coming to the Magic Kingdom, and if you’re a Disney fan who’s active online you’ve probably already heard at least a little about it. It’s called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and it’s a card game that you can play all over the park. Best of all, it’s completely free and included with your park admission. It’s currently in testing, but it’s about to open full time and out of beta. I had a chance to play it recently, which I was very excited to do. I’d like to share what I learned about it, along with a few thoughts and observations of my own.
Let’s begin with a quick rundown of how you get started. You’ll want to decide if you’re interested in playing the game upon entering the park, because you need to begin at the fire station on Main Street USA, very near the park entrance. (There is a second training center marked on the map in Liberty Square, but it doesn’t appear to be open yet.) The fire station, if you’ve never noticed it before, is on the left side of the park as you enter it, in the area just after you emerge from the tunnel that passes under the railroad track. Enter the fire station and the cast members there will assign you your pack of cards, a map, and then help you get started with the game. They will scan your ticket (either your Magic Your Way ticket, your Key to the World card, or your annual pass), so make sure you have it available when you want to get your cards. (I imagine this helps them keep guests from going back and getting multiple packs of cards on the same day, which would surely make the game cost too much for the company to run.)
There are currently 70 cards, and you receive five of them each day you choose to play. Here is a sample card:
Note that the card has a spell type, a title, a rarity marking, a #/70 marking, and attack, boost, and shield stats. The cards also feature some lovely Disney art and a variety of characters from many Disney movies.
You will also get a key card, which looks like this:
Do not lose this card! This card tracks your progress through the game as you finish your mission at each portal. If you lose it, you will have to go back to a training center to ask for a new one. This means you will lose all of your existing progress in the game. (Can you tell that we lost one of ours when we were testing the game? The cast members were very helpful in replacing it, though.)
You will also receive a map. The map shows the locations of the portals, and each one is marked by a unique symbol. You should definitely keep track of your map, as it would be very difficult to find the right portal without the map to guide you.
Once you receive your cards and map, you will go to another cast member who will run you through the tutorial. Here’s what you learn during that tutorial.
In the game, you will embark on a journey to help Merlin defeat a devious band of Disney villains. You must travel from portal to portal to chase the villains down and, as Merlin puts it, “Defend the realm!”
When you approach a portal, you need to hold your key card up to the keyhole nearby, which will look like this:
When you see the portal beginning to crackle to life, you should stand on the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom “Circle of Power”, which is a seal on the ground in front of the portal. They look like this:
Once the portal is activated and you are standing on the Circle of Power, you need to watch the animation appearing before you on the portal. You may receive some information, you may need to cast a spell, or you may need to show the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom crest (which appears on the back of each of your spell cards). To use a spell or a crest, you simply hold the card up in front of you, the correct side facing the portal. If you need to take action, take it and take it quickly! These villains are tough and they really mean business!
Once you manage to complete the task at your current portal, you will be given a new location to head to. When you see this screen on your portal (see below), make sure you pay attention not only to the photo and area information, but also to the symbol shown. The symbol will really help you find the correct portal for your next stop.
After that, simply continue your adventure through the different portals, following the instructions you’re given by your good guy Disney friends at each one. You can play as long as you like, taking a break at any time for some rides or a meal. When you’re ready to play again, just pick up where you left off. (Please note, however, that the Fantasyland portals have been closing a bit before Wishes is presented each evening, so at least some portions of the game close before the park closes.)
Now, for my observations.
First, it doesn’t seem that the attack, boost, or shield stats are being used at the moment. Any spell cast when the game prompts you to do so appears to be enough to defeat the villain or complete the task. (We tried cards with high and low attack/shield numbers on the same portal with the same result.) The game is still in testing, however, and I have to think those different stats will be coming in to play at some point in the near future.
Second, I’d heard that you can use two spell cards together to get different effects. We could not get this to work. Now, we only had ten cards at our disposal and it’s absolutely possible that we didn’t happen have a pair that works together. I tried cards that were related to each other, like our Pinocchio card with Monstro, or Rapunzel with Maximus. We also tried spells of the same type together, like two Princess spells or two Monster spells, but we still only got one effect. Perhaps that functionality was not available while we were testing, perhaps we didn’t try a pair that works together, or we may not have been holding them so that both of them were properly read. (We tried holding them next to each other, one on top of another, and we also tried standing on the seal together with each of us holding a spell up in front of us.)
Third, there is often a line at the portals that you must wait in before you can activate it. I have no problem with waiting my turn, but you do see a lot of the portal material passively as you’re waiting. At one particularly busy portal early in the Fantasyland part of our adventure, I actually saw the entire adventure that was still ahead of us as other guests did their thing. Once we got to the portal, we’d already watched the scene that played for us and it didn’t have the surprise impact it could have had otherwise. I wish there was some way to shield the portal from everyone but the person using it while still making them easy to find, but I can’t think of any way to do that and still fit them into the existing park areas. We did try to avert our eyes and focus on something else while we waited our turn at each portal, but that’s a little harder than it sounds.
All in all, the game is a very fun side activity to your day in the Magic Kingdom. I look forward to the tweaks we’ll see when the game goes live, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more cards. And if you want to see more photos of our first Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom adventure, take a look at them on Flickr.