Since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, one of the biggest problems fervent fans have faced is how to bring the “magic” created on their vacation home with them. Before the advent of the modern social media driven internet, podcasts, and of course, WDW Radio (share like and subscribe!) video games have tried to satisfy that desire. Here are few of my favorites along with some I still would like to check out.
Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour (2000: PlayStation, GameBoy Color)
A kart racing game in the vein of Mario Kart, Walt Disney World Quest Magical Racing Tour had the distinction of being the only racing game actually inside Walt Disney World. Racetracks were set going through rides, so a lap in Haunted Mansion was driving through the mansion in the same sequence of events at the attraction. Pirates of the Caribbean was a boat race through its many iconic scenes. My favorite way to play this game was single player “Time Trials,” so I could stop and look around at the rides in their blockiest form to date.
Virtual Magic Kingdom (2005: Web-Browser)
Any Disney fan who was a child in the early 2000s probably remembers Virtual Magic Kingdom, or VMK for short. VMK was a browser-based MMO (massively multiplayer online game) that was aimed at tweens. The game offered a digital Magic Kingdom Park that mixed elements of both Orlando and Anaheim. Players had their own home which they could customize with Disney props. At the height of it’s popularity VMK stations were set up in the parks where players could login to unlock exclusive virtual items. Unfortunately, VMK shut down in 2008. Walt Disney Internet Group’s Katie Gerber gave the following statement to Orlando’s Local 6 News:
“VMK was created as an online promotion…It exceeded our expectations…to the point that we left it open much longer than originally anticipated. All good promotions must come to an end…”
It most likely came to an end due to Disney’s acquisition of the popular (and profitable) Club Penguin web browser MMO. Of course, that was just shut down within the past month. Nothing lasts forever it seems.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007: DS)
The Nintendo DS version of the game adaptation of the movie adaptation of an attraction had a special bonus for Orlando visitors. By bringing the your DS and game copy to Adventureland you could unlock special in-game outfits and features. Kind of like a very early version of Spotpass.
Disney Magic Connection (2008: DS)
Tested for a short time at Magic Kingdom was an interactive guide used on the Nintendo DS only in the Magic Kingdom. This was in 2008 before smartphones were everywhere, as the iPhone had only been out for a year. In many ways this was a precursor to the My Disney Experience app today, offering up real-time wait times plus adding in more game elements to entertain guests while waiting in line.
Stitch’s Escape Game (2004: PC-Freeware)
Stitch’s Great Escape never took off quite like Disney had imagined. Instead, it has become known among park goers as one of the worst attractions. It did spawn a free game you could download off the Walt Disney World website. (Fun Fact: around the time this game was posted Value Resorts started at $55 a night.) The server it was stored on seems to be gone, unfortunately, so I can only enjoy a cute Stitch executable (emphasis on cute).
And One Final Thought…
I purposefully left Walt Disney World Explorer off this list because I believe it deserves its own spotlight. My personal WDW Radio wish is for an episode about it.
There are quite a few other games worth mentioning, let me know your favorites in the comments. If there is enough interest, maybe I can revisit this topic in the future.
(Game images ©Disney.)
To learn more about Zack and read his most recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking on his name at the top of this post!