Tag Archives: magic kingdom

New Fantasyland: Dress Rehearsal

My son and I got to see parts of the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom as they are doing their dress rehearsal. This is their soft opening while they test and adjust the attractions, food and merchandise. Almost everything was up and running except the Be Our Guest restaurant, though they let us walk in to see how it looks. This new area of the Magic Kingdom opens officially December 6th.

We had Le Fou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern, which is apple juice slush with Monin Toasted Marshmallow syrup and topped with a passion fruit foam,  and a pork shank, which will probably be as popular as the ubiquitous turkey leg. It’s a pretty hearty meal, and well fit for Gaston’s.

The Enchanting Tales with Belle experience is what every character meet and greet should be. Ariel’s Grotto was done well so that there is plenty of individual time with everyone’s favorite mermaid. The Under the Sea ride is solid, with good audio animatronics, but the queue is awesome.

The attention to detail in the whole land is wonderful, with surprises to see everywhere you look. Along with the already-open Storybook Circus, the new additions to the Magic Kingdom really make you wish every part of the parks were as detailed and lush. The adjacent Tomorrowland could use a tender loving makeover with a fine bristled brush.

Here’s a slideshow of our New Fantasyland experience. The pictures are on Facebook, too, with captions. And, a few were posted on the very awesome Disney Food Blog.

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Sorcerer’s Of The Magic Kingdom

Today, Alexander and I got to participate in the soft opening of the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom (SMK). This is a new interactive scavenger hunt at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. If you’ve done the Kim Possible adventure at Epcot, it’s very similar, but also very different.

You check in at the Fire Station at Town Square adjacent to City Hall. For the soft opening, when hours are not guaranteed, they opened approximately at 10:30, and closed before 2:30. At the fire station, they give you a map and a set of cards. One card is a key that activates the “portals” throughout the park. The other five cards are “spells” that you use to fight villains. The spell cards are like pokemon or other card games with stats, but they feature characters from Disney films.

After you get your cards, you go to a training station where Merlin from the Sword and the Stone sets up the story line and shows you how to play the game. You’re then set loose in the park.

The portals are spread throughout Main Street, Adventureland, Liberty Square and Fantasyland. Today, the Main Street portals were not working, but that didn’t seem to impact the gameplay. When you get to your first portal as directed by Merlin, you activate it with the key card and a hidden screen activates with a storyline about Hades recruiting villains to get the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom, that he needs to take over.

Each adventure features one villain with five portals. To defeat them, you hold up a spell card, which causes some on screen magic. For example, if you have the Headless Horseman’s Exploding Jack-o-lantern  spell card, you’ll see jack-o-lanterns explode on screen to defeat the enemy.

When you’re done playing, you get to keep the cards. The next time you play, you’ll get new spell cards. Already there was some card trading going on. There were two girls who had duplicate cards and we traded one of our cards for one of theirs duplicates. There are 70 cards in all, so it will take a lot of replaying to collect them all. I think there’s opportunity to expand this online, maybe using your computer’s webcam to use the spell cards. While the key card seems to use a passive RFID chip, the spell cards are read by cameras around the portals.

At the end of the episode, you’ll have the chance to go to another set of portals to continue playing and defeat more villains. The storyline does have a definitive end, though. After you defeat all the villains, you face Hades and Chernabog and Merlin congratulates you. You don’t get the opportunity to continue, and The End is displayed on the screen.

Getting to all of the portals took a lot of walking and a lot of backtracking. It took us about 3 hours to complete all the adventures. There was a ton of interest in the game by passersby in Fantasyland, but we were mostly ignored as we played in Adventureland and Frontierland.

I can’t help but think this game started out as a game based on the Kingdom Keepers book series by Ridley Pearson, which takes place in Disney parks, and features kids fighting Disney villains. It probably works better with its own standalone theme and story, though, so Guests don’t need to know anything about Kingdom Keeprs.

The game was fun. I enjoyed the ones in Fantasyland the best. The theming fit better than some of the others, and the portals weren’t too spread out, so it limited the back and forthing. I like the variability with the spell cards, but the effects are kind of limited since it’s all on screen. With Kim Possible at Epcot, they have more mechanical actions with their clues, utilizing buildings and props, which makes it more kinetic and immersive. But since Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is all on screens, they should be able to easily add more adventures as time goes on with new villains and storylines which may increase the playability.

Next time you’re in the Magic Kingdom, stop by the Fire Station and give it a try!

Pirate Tutorial

Saturday, I got to take Alexander to the Magic Kingdom. While we were there, Alexander was selected for the Jack Sparrow Pirate Tutorial. As far as cool factor, it’s probably not as fun as the Jedi Training Academy he got to do the week before, but it was pretty fun.

Before we went to Adventureland, we stopped off in Fantasyland to take a spin on the Mad Tea Party. Alexander used to hate it when I spun the teacup fast. Now he loves it.

Here’s how the show goes: A pirate starts the show to warm up the audience before Jack Sparrow makes his appearance. The concept is that Jack is looking for new crew mates, so he teaches them how to sword fight, how to distract your opponent and how to run away. All the pirates take an oath to the pirate code, the kids all get certificates pledging their allegiance to the captain, and then Jack and his buddy Mac lead everyone in a not-quite-rousing singalong of Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirates Life For Me.

Is it bad parenting to allow your child to be escorted by a drunken pirate?

Alexander crosses blades with Captain Jack.

"Look! It's the governor's daughter!"

It all goes on for a rather long time. But Alexander had fun, and it was another feather in his combat training cap – Jedi, pirate… I hope Norway at Epcot gets a Viking training camp, and Japan gets a ninja dojo.