While on my most recent excursion to the Magic Kingdom, Disney was currently introducing guests to their newest addition to the world of online computer gaming: The Virtual Magic Kingdom. Intrigued, I went online to the game’s site, registered, and began to explore the online gaming site geared toward both young pre-teens and teens (8-14) and young-at-heart adults alike. I’ve included a few screenshots of my time online playing the game.
I was curious to see how easy the game was to navigate and what type of atmosphere the game provided for younger players as the game is an online experience and you do come in contact with other players who can carry on dialogue with each other.
The premise of the game is fairly simple. Once you are registered, you can log in and design your own Disney guest. The automated creation system allows you to choose gender, skin color (even blue or pink!), hair color and a variety of clothing.
Once your virtual guest is created, you are allowed entry into the park. The park is situated much like the Magic Kingdom parks at any of the Disney Theme Parks. The area is divided into Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Once inside the virtual park, you can travel anywhere inside the Magic Kingdom.
Your virtual player will encounter a number of attractions (which are actually games in which you can win points) and shops which allow you to “buy” souvenirs or items such as cameras and film. You’ll also encounter various other players who are playing along. Players are allowed to talk to each other and “friend” each other so that they can tell where their friends are in the Magic Kingdom while playing VMK.
For fans of the park, the novelty of being able to “explore” a virtual companion to their favorite theme park is exciting at first, but may wear thin after awhile. Younger fans may enjoy the games such as The Jungle Cruise Photo Safari which requires you to aim and shoot your camera and take as many good photos of the animals as possible in order to win points.
The Jungle Cruise Photo Safari on The Virtual Magic Kingdom.
The VMK also features a virtual monorail system that takes you from land to land much like the train system at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Exploring the terrain within the park is easy, simply move your target/cursor to any particular point in the layout and the virtual character simply moves with the action of clicking your mouse. The one problem I had while playing this game was having other players leave their virtual characters idle and blocking your way in tight spots.
Virtual Magic Kingdom Players Board the Monorail.
The VMK offers a nice way for your kids to play online. The game filters out words that would be initiate any sort of contact or inappropriateness. The game is only “open” during the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. so that the game can be monitored and you’ll find “employees” that walk around the virtual park wearing green Mickey Mouse ears that can assist with any problems. VMK conversations are also kept on file and at anytime you need help, you can simply click on the help button on your screen. However, it is always best if you accompany your child on any online outings. You can find out more about how VMK helps keep the game safe for children by visiting their “For Parents” page.
Registration on VMK is free. All points earned within the game are free through game play and can only be redeemed for in-game products.