Friday, February 24, 2012

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

This week, the in park game, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom officially debuted in the MK.  This project has been talked about at length before it's opening with a lot of speculation, because it was really unclear exactly what was going to be done.  While testing has gone on recently, I've been holding off on this blog post until it was officially open, so I could get a well-rounded viewpoint.  

I of course, want it to be known, that I have not seen this game in person, so I will be basing my opinion of the new game simply on the countless videos that I have watched online.  (Thank you to those who shared their videos, making this blog post possible!) 

I have been waiting with baited breath about this new enhancement to the parks for a while, having known about the project for a while.  I've been trying very hard not judging a book by it's cover, without seeing the meat and potatoes of how the whole thing works.  I've felt lately I've been judging things a bit too early and I am trying very hard to remember to have a wait and see attitude.

If you haven't seen this attraction in it's glory, here is one of the various videos that I watched to prepare for this article.

The one thing I've noticed off the bat, is this seems to be extremely popular with people.  (At least right now.  Not sure if that's because of it's newness or if it is because of the game itself.)  Lines seem to be quite a few people deep and the playing cards seem to be quite popular as trading cards, with many people on places like Twitter asking if anyone has specific cards that they need that they are willing to trade with them.

Another thing I think is pretty neat is some of the technology used with this game.  Some of these video screens meld right in with their surroundings!  You can't even tell they are part of the game until you get right up on it.  And the props they have in some of the areas also help to make these game regions meld right in with their surroundings too.  I think that's a key to Disney building these "video game" attractions in their parks.  The elements really do need to be unnoticed by the naked eye, to the average park guest.  This attraction, much like it's predecessor, Kim Possible, do a great job of blending their show elements in with the rest of the scenery that surrounds. 

I also really enjoy that Disney has chosen to use some of the more obscure characters.  I mean, the whole game is centered around Merlin and Hades.  (Not particularly common characters used today in attractions.)  Plus you add characters like Yzma and Kronk from Emperor's New Groove, the Genie from Aladdin, and the 3 Fairies from Sleeping Beauty and you've definitely upped the geek quotient for Disney Fanbois.  I particularly think it's nice to see the lesser known characters get some love, when they are often forgotten about.  I'd love to see more of that, as the game continues through it's iterations in the future.  (Wouldn't it be cool to see something like Robin Hood in the Frontierland section one day?  Just please, for the love of Walt, do NOT add Stitch to the Tomorrowland section...)  

I don't think everything is perfect with this new attraction, though.  Something that I think that is a bit weak is the storyline.  It seems like it has a lot of potential, but then sort of fizzles out as the stories progress.  This, to me, is the most disappointing.  With how neat the technology is, it is brought down a few notches with how disjointed the storyline feels.  I get that this is a game geared towards kids, but given the fact that many of us in our 20s and 30s have grown up in the age of the gaming system, I would have hoped they would have made the storyline a bit more sophisticated.  (I do have to admit, when watching the Jafar segment, I did think the Genie's portion of the attraction was quite funny!)

One final concern I have is with the attraction is the number of crowds it seems to be drawing, coupled with the fact that they did seem to put the game play areas in some of the more quieter regions of the park.  I worry that those quieter areas are now, quickly going to morph away from those quiet havens we have all come to know and love into extremely loud, very crammed spaces.  

In all, I think this game is a good distraction for many.  It will help keep people occupied while waiting for a FASTPASS time to come around or it will help with a child (or adult) who may be getting a bit cranky to engross them for a bit. As for me, is this something I can see myself doing trip after trip?  Certainly not.  But, I will definitely be giving it a try on my next trip and who knows?  Maybe in person, it will be a lot more entertaining for me than by watching the videos online.

What is your take about the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom?  Is it something you're excited to try out?  Do you think it will be something you skip?  Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments section.

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