On 'Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom'

Kristina PinoComment

While I was at the Magic Kingdom this past Monday, I was hoping I'd have the opportunity to snag some cards for the new Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom game, but I didn't see anyone playing this anywhere (or any advertisements for it). It wasn't until I was getting ready to leave the park and hanging out at Main Street U.S.A. that I saw a girl standing in front of a store window and watching some animated scenes play behind the decorations, holding some cards in her hand and standing on a small round emblem.

As we walk by, I tell my boyfriend about what she's doing, wistfully since I assumed she was just beta testing and it wasn't open to everyone. (I also noticed a discreet Cast Member pacing nearby and observing her game.)

Then, I look to the side of the information center and -- surprise! The place is open and accepting recruits! You can only guess how quickly I bounded in, handed over my park entrance pass and claimed my map along with five cards to play my first game. My boyfriend also went ahead and swiped for cards, so between the two of us we have 10 unique cards (out of 70) to use in the games, as well as key cards which keep track of our games or activate new ones.

You read that right. Key cards. There's a card that's slightly smaller than the playing cards, which has a key on it and you use it to open "portals" all around the park (except Tomorrowland) and play the game. When you go to the recruitment center, you also get a map which marks where in the park all the portals could be found, and when you see them you'll notice a little keyhole somewhere on a wall that doesn't look like anything but a regular display. Wave your key in front of the keyhole, and the display in front of you turns into a portal and you get your animation. It's really ingenious!

Once you're in the story, Merlin guides you along and you encounter several helpful denizens as well as villains you'll get to attack with the regular cards. Sometimes, just one card won't do the trick and you'll have to use various attacks. How do they work? Just hold the card up in front of you, with the face (or back, if Merlin instructs you to do so) toward the portal, and you'll see an animation based on the attack you've used. For example, if I use King Triton's attack, I see an animation with his Trident coming up in front of the villain. If I use Grumpy's, a bunch of pickaxes that he throws get stacked up on the screen.

The only real drawback is if you have to wait for Merlin's cue to show a character, you'll notice a slight delay as the portal registers your card. In general, you could tell when you're about to be told to cast a spell, so if you have the card ready beforehand, there's close to no delay at all, making for a more fluid and fun experience.

Once you finish one section of the story, the portals tell you where to go next. You could finish an entire chapter (the portal will tell you you've won), and still continue adventuring by going to another spot your portal suggests. In my case, I played a game in Main Street U.S.A., and when I got the "You Won!" animation, it told me I could hit up Fantasyland for another adventure.

If you're ever at the wrong portal or starting another game on another day, the portals will always be able to show you where you're supposed to be if you aren't in the wrong place. You could also request a villain at the recruitment center for your storyline, since they are the ones who activate your portal key for the first time. For my game, I got Cruella DeVil (who was employed by Hades to steal a shard of Merlin's crystal ball), and my boyfriend asked for Jafar.

The game is a nice diversion and a good way to get folks poking around the park. Bonus: it doesn't take much time to get through one leg of the story.

Even though you've got a map telling you where to find the portals, there's still a fun exploration aspect to it the first time you look for certain ones. I personally will keep playing the game, at least until I manage to collect all the cards. Who knows - maybe by the time folks are capped on all 70, Disney will be adding new parts to the story, or even extending it to other parks. For now, though, it's our job to save the Magic Kingdom.

[not so amazing images are my own, taken with my handy dandy phone]