Five video games that let you visit Disney Parks
Due to unfortunate current events, your upcoming trip to a Disney park may have been canceled. But even if it hasn’t, maybe you need a bit of that Disney magic you only get from visiting those amazing theme parks, even if it’s virtual. Here are five video games you can play on modern platforms (there are older ones I will probably write about in the future) that let you visit some of your favorite parks and rides featuring your favorite characters:
#5. Virtual Magic Kingdom (PC)
This is a bit of an odd duck as it both is and isn’t officially available anymore. Back in 2005, Disney put out this cool completely free online multi-player social game simply titled Virtual Magic Kingdom to commemorate 50 years of Disney theme parks, namely Disney Land as it covered all the Lands in that particular park. You could interact with people, play minigames, there were seasonal events. These things are pretty standard now but were novel for what was primarily a promotional tool 15 years ago.
Virtual Magic Kingdom was a huge hit and did go on for several years before Disney shuttered it in 2008. Disney, however, didn’t seem to think whatever they were investing in it was worth continuing beyond that (they did have to pay live staff to monitor the game to keep everything family-friendly and also limited the hours the game could be played.
However, in 2013 a fan-made completely free version, MyVMK, was launched and still runs to this day. The graphics are a little dated but it’s probably the best completely free way to enjoy Disney Land in a virtual manner.
#4. Disneyland Adventures (Xbox, PC)
Easily the best-looking recreation of Disneyland you can get right now, Disneyland Adventures started life as Kinect Disneyland Adventures. It required an Xbox Kinect to play it and was absolutely terrible. Virtually unplayable. And even if for some reason you wanted to play it like that now, Kinect is barely supported on Xbox anymore so it’s not really worth it.
The good news is the game was relaunched, given a 4K remaster and dropped the “Kinect” part of the title and now it’s a perfectly decent way to visit Disneyland from the comfort of your home. Ride some rides, interact with your buddies like Mickey, Peter Pan, the Mad Hatter etc. Play some minigames and so on. As a game, it’s not great but it’s perfectly ok and often on sale for $10 or less and that makes it a worthwhile purchase for any fan of the parks.
#3. Disney’s Magical World/Magical World 2 (Nintendo 3DS)
Not necessarily a direct representation of Disney parks, but still giving you that magic Disney feeling, both Disney’s Magical World and Disney’s Magical World 2 are a fun weird crossing of both a theme park-esque Disney game and games like Animal Crossing where what you mostly do is hang out with colorful friends, decorate a bunch of stuff, participate in various minigames, and so on.
You visit worlds instead of riding rides, but that’s exactly what a Disney theme park in its best moments is supposed to do for you. You feel like you are visiting Neverland when you go on Peter Pan’s Flight or Arendelle in Frozen Ever After and both Disney’s Magical World games do a pretty good job of recreating that feeling. On top of that, since it’s on 3DS, you can pull it out anywhere to get a little bit of that Disney magic if you need it. It would be kind of cool if they put out a bundle for Nintendo Switch, but that seems unlikely…
#2. Disney Magic Kingdoms (Mobile)
Currently, the best virtual way to experience the most up to date official version of a Disney theme park, Disney Magic Kingdoms is a freemium game you can play on your phone. It mixes in a bit of everything from multiple parks along with interacting with a bunch of your favorite characters.
It’s got some of the annoying trappings of free mobile games such as lots of premium currencies (or ones that don’t accumulate very fast if you aren’t willing to pay) or things don’t necessarily movie quickly (you build lots of things based on timers) at the free level but if you play casually and just check in once or twice a day at most and be patient about stuff it really can be like getting a little fix of Disney parks every day and that’s pretty cool especially with new stuff constantly being added all time.
Wut. Minecraft you say? That weird game where you have a pickax and fight bats and spiders and people create really weird elaborate things in it? Yeah, it’s that last part that really matters. There’s a pretty big crossover of obsessive Disney fans that are also obsessive Minecraft fans which leads to them making some pretty amazing recreations of Disney parks in various ways in the long-running sandbox game where if you put your mind to it, you really can make anything you think of.
And arguably what makes Minecraft the best way to virtually experience Disney Parks is that you can custom make your own experience if you aren’t satisfied with what you are finding out there. I’m not saying it doesn’t take a lot of hard work, but hey if for any reason you are staying at home for a while and especially have some time off coming up that you didn’t necessarily plan for and have a lot of sudden free time on your hands, seems like a perfect time to build your ideal Disney Parks experience at home and you can only do that in Minecraft.
And there are five games on modern platforms that let you experience at least a little of the magic of Disney parks at home if for whatever reason you can’t visit them any time soon and need a little bit of that fix. That’s all for this week, see ya real soon!