Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game attraction for the Magic Kingdom that debuted on February 22, 2012. The game focuses on Merlin recruiting park guests as new apprentice sorcerers and sending them out to battle various Disney villains, recruited by Hades, throughout the park's themed lands (except Tomorrowland) using special spell cards.
Installation of show elements in Adventureland and Liberty Square took place over the course of Summer 2011 and Fall, with concept art for the game showing that Kaa, Maleficent, Jafar and Cruella De Vil would be among the game's antagonists.
The adventure begins when the Sorcerer recruit enters the Firehouse (or the outpost behind the Christmas Shop). The recruit hands his park ticket to the cast member, who then issues the recruit a Sorcerer Key Card. The Key Card contains an imbedded chip that links to the recruit's park pass. The Sorcerer Key card activates the game screens and tracks the guests progress. So long as the recruit has this card, he or she can pick up the game where he or she left off at the last visit to the park, even if a new park pass is used.
In addition to the Key Card, guests are given a stylized park map which points out the various portal locations for the game. Locations included on the map consist of every land except for Tomorrowland. The main play areas are Magic Portals, which Merlin opens up to allow you to interact with the characters and fight the villains. Each portal has a unique symbol to mark its identity.
The Sorcerer is also given a pack of five Spell Cards. The spell cards are used to cast spells in order to defeat the villains. There are seven different types of Spell Cards: (Charming, Energy, Flying, Gross, Quick, Strong, and Wishful). These different types matter at the medium and hard levels of the game. Each card is also numbered (from 1 to 70), and contains a symbol indicating its type. Symbols can be Stars (cards 1 - 22), Moons (cards 23 - 40), Planets (41 - 60) or Lightning Bolts (61 - 70). Cards 61 - 70 are only available in "bonus packs", which can be purchased at various locations in the park. The Sorcerer can obtain a new pack of cards each day he or she enters the park. An additional pack can be obtained when defeating the game. As of October 1, 2013, when a pack of cards is received, the Sorcerer must open a portal before another pack of cards is received.
To activate a Magic Portal, tap your Key Card at the keyhole. The Magic Portal will come to life, and the game is on. When your encounter is complete, you will be instructed as to which portal to go to next. As the screens are all functionally similar, a computer algorithm is used to point guests to whichever portal may be open at that time. This is a done to avoid crowding at any one Portal.
Starting off at the Main Street Firehouse, Merlin welcomes park guests to his special hideout, teaches them the basics of the game with Portal activation and spell card usage and begins to tell the story. Hades, bored with the nothingness of the Underworld, is looking for a new summer home with the Magic Kingdom park looking like an ideal spot, though Merlin stands in his way. He sends Pain and Panic to Merlin's home to steal the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom (a powerful artifact that keeps evil forces in check at the park), but they end up awakening Merlin in the process. In a brief scuffle, the crystal is shattered into several pieces, four of which are scattered to different locations throughout the park. Annoyed, Hades decides to call upon a team of villains to help retrieve the crystal shards for him, including Yzma, Jafar, Scar, Maleficent, Ursula, Ratcliffe, Dr. Facilier and Cruella de Vil.
Pongo serves as the guests' guide in this quest. Cruella has made a deal with Hades (disguised as Boss Teal: Underworld Crime Boss) to have all the Dalmatians in her possession in exchange for the crystal. Cruella sends Horace & Jasper to catch the dogs for her.
Meanwhile, Pongo called on the local dogs to help guard the crystal, but are threatened by Jasper & Horace, who start thinking that the dogs are in cahoots with Merlin while driving in their truck and plan on harming the dogs so they can get the crystal. The guests stop the duo by destroying their truck using the Sorcerer's Crest (the symbol on the back of the spell cards).
The guests then go to confront Jasper, who is setting up a trap for the Puppies. He, however, spots the guests and tries to subdue them using fireworks, only to have a barrel dumped on him. Merlin then informs the guests that some of the captured Puppies are in the local stables and Pongo has gone to help.
Cruella informs Hades that the Dalmatians are guarding the crystal piece and she goes off with Hades to start a fireworks display that will cause a distraction as they steal the crystal. Cruella orders Horace to get rid of the dogs. The guests then use the Sorcerer's Crest to stop Horace and save the Dalmatians.
Cruella, in order to get the crystal, breaks into Merlin's secret Main Street vault by crashing her car through the wall of said vault. The guests battle Cruella, but she still succeeds in getting into the vault. It is revealed that as the guests kept Cruella busy, Perdita and the Puppies had just enough time to replace the crystal piece with a pile of chew toys. The park guests, with the help of Pongo and Merlin, defeat Cruella, infuriating Hades once he finds out. Merlin then congratulates the guests and gives them a new assignment.
Kuzco serves as the guests' guide in this mission. He tells of how Yzma has been recruited into helping Hades (in the guise of an Inca Underworld God named Lazuli) to retrieve the crystal in exchange for becoming "Empress of Adventureland". Looking to their old transformation potions, she and Kronk (who is once again working for Yzma) plot to turn the residents into alpacas using tainted goodies made by Kronk...and make nice sweaters, too.
They first test the alpaca potions on a guard that battles the guests, who is sent flying back down the stairs into the laboratory when defeated.
At the next portal, Kronk and his shoulder angel are debating on whether or not the potions will mess with his kabob recipes, though Hades appears on his other shoulder to encourage him to stay the course. Using the Sorcerer's Crest, Kronk's stand is blown up by the guests and he retreats to his kitchen. There, the guests battle Kronk, knock him out and destroy his contaminated platters.
After stopping Kronk, the guests finally go to Yzma's lair to confront her, where she attacks with magic-draining potions. After becoming woozy from the battle, Yzma is finished off when she is hit with a potion that transforms her into a helpless turtleneck sweater, leaving Hades angry with the results when he stops by to check in. Merlin and Kuzco appear in the Enchanted Tiki Room when they congratulate the guests before sending them onto another mission.
Genie serves as the guests' guide in this mission while Merlin is at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, who eventually gets ambushed. Here, Hades (under the name of Prince Azure) has acquired Jafar's lamp and uses him to make 3 wishes: 1) Take over the land, 2) Find the missing crystal piece and 3) Capture Merlin. However, Jafar plans on trying to break free from Hades' control and trap him in the Cave of Wonders.
While Genie goes to look for Merlin, the guests go to deal with Iago, who has been ordered by Jafar to use the Sultan's powerful mystic blue diamond ring to uncover the whereabouts of the crystal. But before he can return to Jafar, the guests eavesdrop on Iago, learning the location of the crystal. Iago then proceeds to fight the guests using the magic of the Sultan's ring. After the guests defeat the parrot, Jafar fetches him and heads to the Cave of Wonders.
Hades is frustrated with Jafar's lack of progress in finding Merlin and tells him to assume his original form. Jafar spies the guests and sends in a copy of his giant snake form to fight them while he goes after Merlin.
After defeating the snake, Genie heads off to deal with the guards while the guests free Merlin from entrapment inside a lamp with the Sorcerer's Crest. But even after breaking out, Merlin and Genie have difficulties with Jafar inside the Cave and get captured, leaving the guests to battle Jafar. Iago flies in with Jafar's lamp during the chaos and Merlin manages to break free and fight Jafar, leaving the guests to retrieve the lamp from Iago's clutches and allowing Merlin to trap Jafar in his lamp again. Genie breaks free and leaves with Merlin before Hades arrives. Merlin and Genie then congratulate the guests and send them on another mission.
Rafiki serves as the guests' guide in this mission. Hades has revived Scar from the dead to retrieve a crystal piece in exchange for immortality. This is enough for Scar to rally the Hyenas under his thumb again and they are gifted with dark magic as well. He plots to create chaos and destroy Adventureland by starting a massive elephant stampede.
The guests battle Banzai and then manage to discredit Scar in front of the Hyenas using the Sorcerer's Crest.
Hades is frustrated with Scar's lack of progress and, after battling the guests, Hades transformed him into a massive red storm cloud that is ultimately dissipated by the guests, leading Hades to facepalm and question why Scar even wanted to be a giant cloud. Rafiki and Merlin congratulate the guests while riding in a Jungle Cruise boat and send them on their way to another mission.
Sebastian serves as the guests' guide in this mission. He tells of how Ursula has made a comeback when Hades pulls her from the River Styx to help him out on his conquest. But she plots to double cross him and plans to use the crystal piece she finds for her own plans and, with the aid of Flotsam and Jetsam, intends to break down a sea wall to flood Cinderella Castle and the rest of Fantasyland.
The guests, along with Sebastian and Ariel, manage to follow the sea witch to a shipwreck, only to run into Flotsam and Jetsam. After defeating the eels and moving to the next portal, Ursula sends Glut after the guests. After defeating the shark, the dark magic left behind allows the guests to track the sea witch, only to find Ariel trapped in the flooding castle. Merlin arrives to help, only for him and Sebastian to realize she's an imposter, calling on the guests to use the Sorcerer's Crest to expose the charade. Ursula is revealed and laughs at Merlin for falling for her trick. She then tries to attack the wizard, but he manages to disappear out of the way before she can hit him, forcing Ursula to head back out to finish her task, claiming that she's only getting warmed up.
While Merlin tries to handle the flood, the guests are left to confront Ursula. While searching for the crystal and ignoring Hades' calls in a crystal ball to drain the castle, Ursula battles the guests, disappearing upon her defeat and eliminating the flood. Merlin, Ariel and Sebastian then congratulate the guests from the castle moat before Merlin gives the guests their next assignment.
Flora, Fauna & Merryweather guide the guests in this quest. Hades gives Maleficent a "Get Out of the Underworld Free" card, allowing her to return from the dead. She then plots to take over Fantasyland using the crystal shard that she has found instead of giving it to Hades and plans to create a trap for him.
Upon finding out about Maleficent's revival, Flora, Fauna & Merryweather head over to the Forbidden Mountain to find out what Maleficent plans to do. Unfortunately, one of Maleficent's Goons captured Flora and Fauna, but Merryweather managed to escape. Merryweather and the guests travel into Maleficent's castle to free them. After defeating the pig-like Goon and breaking down a door with the Sorcerer's Crest, Flora and Fauna are freed.
Continuing onward, Maleficent leaves the crystal with a Goon to power a special device and tells the others to summon Hades from the Underworld so he could be lured into her trap. Maleficent then eavesdrops on the guests and battles them before retreating to continue her plans.
Hades is summoned, having suspicions of Maleficent's treachery, which she manages to diffuse. Upon leaving, Maleficent promptly casts a spell that engulfs a village in thorns. The Three Fairies manage to break up the thorns by combining their magic with the Sorcerer's Crest.
Finding Maleficent preparing another trap in her lair for the guests and the fairies, she transforms into her dragon form to battle the guests. Upon her defeat, the fairies grab the crystal and escape. Hades comes in to find the trap and Maleficent's remains, disappointed that he left her to her own devices. Merlin and the fairies congratulate the guests at the Mad Tea Party before sending them on their way to another mission.
Pocahontas serves as the guests' guide in this quest. Ratcliffe is freed from prison by Hades (in the guise of Lord Indigo of the East Underworld Trading Company), agreeing to a deal that will allow him to gain control over Frontierland in exchange for the crystal of the Magic Kingdom.
After the guests battle a drum-playing soldier (who is revealed to be Pain & Panic in disguise), Ratcliffe begins to panic as the crystal is nowhere in sight. While outside Ratcliffe's tent, Pocahontas and Merlin instruct the guests to destroy Ratcliffe's ammunition using the Sorcerer's Crest.
Knowing that Pocahontas knows the land, the evil governor kidnaps Meeko to try and force the Indian princess into helping him find the crystal. Fortunately, the guests defeat Ratcliffe on board his ship by blasting him with magic, causing him to fall overboard. Merlin, Pocahontas and Meeko congratulate the guests while sailing on a Tom Sawyer Island raft before Merlin assigns the guests their next mission.
Mama Odie is the guests' guide in this mission, with Louis assisting. Facilier has been brought back from "the other side" by Hades and is recruited to find the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. Facilier also plans to extract revenge on Tiana for causing his demise and take over Frontierland. He assigns his shadows to help find the crystal and frees Lawrence from jail to poison the food at Tiana's Palace and place the locals under his control.
After the guests defeat Lawrence and the shadows, Facilier kidnaps Tiana, but while he has a conversation with Hades, Tiana is freed by the guests using the Sorcerer's Crest.
Facilier retrieves the crystal and plans on going after Tiana again after he completes the delivery. Facilier battles the guests, only to ultimately get turned into a frog himself and then gets taken back to "the other side" as a result of his failure. Merlin, Mama Odie, Tiana and Louis congratulate the guests while sailing on the Liberty Square Riverboat before Merlin gives the guests their next assignment.
Once all the villains are defeated, Merlin decides that it's time to reassemble the crystal and foil Hades' plans once and for all. But no sooner does he try to look for the crystal when Pain and Panic (in their cute woodland animal forms) make off with the last piece of the crystal, leading Merlin to discover that Hades has managed to create his own series of portals around the park for his villain army to enter through. Using the Sorcerer's Crest, the guests help Merlin jump right through one of those portals and stop Pain & Panic from delivering the last crystal shard to Hades.
Hades soon gets wise to what's going on and decides to summon his "number one guy", Chernabog, to fight the guests. Fortunately, the guests defeat the giant demon and arrive at the main arena of the Underworld just in time to prevent Hades from leading his army of generic skeletons and Disney Villains into the Magic Kingdom. With Merlin's help, the guests manage to seal away all the villains, including Hades, within the now-reconstructed crystal by using the Sorcerer's Crest one last time. Merlin then returns to his home to relax and gives the guests a medal of honor, dubbing them as "Master Sorcerers", to reward them for helping him save the park, while Hades and the other villains are trapped inside a snowglobe.
With the game now over, the guests can return to either the Main Street Firehouse or the outpost behind Ye Olde Christmas Shop and pick up a new pack of cards. They may also play another round at either the level just completed or at a harder level.
There are three degrees of difficulty to the game: Easy, Medium and Hard. On the Medium and Hard levels, the "card type" (Charming, Energy, Flying, Gross, Quick, Strong and Wishful) is matched against the strength and weakness of each villain. On the Easy level, card types are not used.
The Easy level allows players to defeat the villains by casting spells with one card. Oftentimes, the guest is asked to use the "Sorcerer's Crest", which is the back side of each card. Villains are defeated easily and quickly at this level. This level is particularly enjoyable for children.
The Medium level requires skill and strategy in order to defeat the villains.
Villains at this level have "weaknesses" and "strengths" depending on which type of card is used. If a card type matching the weakness of a villain is used, the guest will defeat the villain. If a card type matching the strength of a villain is used, the strength of the card will be diminished. It is also possible (and recommended) to use multiple cards of the same type while casting a spell. Using several cards of the same type will often allow the guest to defeat the villain on the first try. In any event, no battle will last more than two portals.
The fewer portals visited, the higher the overall rating of the player's "Master Sorcerer" level at the end of the game.
The villains and their weaknesses and strengths are as follows:
Up until October 1, 2013, the Hard level played in the same way as the Medium level. Once the guest had determined the strengths and weaknesses of each villain, those same strengths and weaknesses applied on the Hard level.
On October 1, 2013, this all changed. Now, the weakness of each villain will change with each game. This changes the strategy significantly. The challenge on the Hard level now is to figure out which spell type is the correct one to use on the villain. In order to do so, the guests need to know the animations of the cards and which animations represent the highest power level.
At the first encounter, the guest should simultaneously cast several cards of differing Attack types and then watch the animations. The correct spell type will show at the highest power level. If none of the cards read are of the correct spell type, the battle at that portal will end. If one of the cards read was the correct card, the battle will continue. The guest must quickly deduce the correct spell type and then use just that Attack type for that encounter.
If the guest failed to cast the correct card at the first encounter, a different combination of cards should be used at the second encounter. Just as at the first encounter, if the correct card is cast, the most powerful animation will show for that card and the guest will be asked to cast another spell.
Using the same spell card for three casts in a row will cause the battle to be lost. No battle will last more than three portals. The objective is to win the battle at the first or second portal, as the fewer portals visited, the higher the overall rating of the player's "Master Sorcerer" level at the end of the game.
The Spell Cards in the game are divided into nine different spell classes: Toy, Machine, Animal, Fairy, Hero, Princess, Warrior, Monster and Mystic, along with seven different types of attacks: Charming, Energy, Gross, Quick, Strong, Flying and Wishful.
A card's rarity is classified by the symbol in the bottom left corner, right above the number out of 70—a Planet means that the card is common, a Crescent Moon means it is uncommon, a Star means it's rare and a Lightning Bolt means it's super rare.
Although Disney confirmed that there are only 70, there seem to be more because of these symbols, as told by other sources.
Cards 61-70 started to be re-distributed via booster packs beginning in August 2012. These booster packs feature seven cards, tokens and one of four gameboards for a home version of the game.
Also, beginning with the 2012 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween and Very Merry Christmas parties, special limited edition spell cards exclusive to those events started to be produced.
Note that there are two versions of Woody's Cowboy Lasso--one that has Slinky Dog accompanying Woody, the other without him. This card had to be altered to remove Slinky, since they did not have permission to use him.
Despite Kuzco, Yzma, and Kronk making appearances in the game itself, there were no spell cards based on any characters from The Emperor's New Groove for an unknown reason.
In the Main Street Mission, Merlin claims there are 101 Dalmatian Puppies, when really there are 99 (Pongo & Perdita count, among the 101, too).
Some scenes were later reanimated for this attraction. While the animation is improved, there are some notable differences, such as how, when Hades is with Cruella, he doesn't disguise himself, though he still refers to himself as Boss Teal.