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Gamer Tuesday

November 27, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Finding Fantasyland

Today, we are going to do something different here on Gamer Tuesday. Instead of talking about a Disney console game or video game experience, we will be taking a look at a Disney website game. Oh no, it isn't a simple flash game like you would expect out of a Flash-powered website. This game happens to be tied to one of the most highly anticipated Disney Parks projects of the year: New Fantasyland.

New Fantasyland Interactive Game

Before we dive into the game portion, let me elaborate on what New Fantasyland is all about. The project was originally announced in 2009 as the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom history by doubling the size of one of the Magic Kingdom's most popular lands: Fantasyland. In the original concept, it was to include three Disney Princess homes that housed special meet and greet experiences (one for Belle, one for Cinderella and one for Aurora), a Beauty and the Beast restaurant, Prince Eric's castle that featured a Little Mermaid ride, Pixie Hollow for Tinker Bell and friends and a brand new circus setting for Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

As promising as the new land sounded, though, people were concerned that it was too princess heavy and felt the new land needed more attractions that were gender neutral. The plans were revised and instead of three princess experiences and Pixie Hollow, the Dumbo area became Storybook Circus, while the area that would have been home to the princesses now became a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-themed rollercoaster. Construction began in 2010 with the removal of Mickey's ToonTown Fair, Pooh's Playful Spot and Snow White's Scary Adventures in Fantasyland. Despite these losses, the buzz has been phenomenal, and when they started hosting dress rehearsal a few weeks ago along with annual passholder previews the critical reception from fans was great.

The full opening occurs next week, December 6. You can read more about this new land and its attractions, shows, shops, and restaurants by checking out 'A Closer Look' by Brent Dodge here on the site. Now you might be wondering 'but what does any of this have to do with games?' Patience, my friends. All shall be explained... now.

New Fantasyland has been abuzz all over the internet. Disney knows that this is no mere side project but a very important land that many hope will revitalize the 41 year old theme park. So when it came time to advertise the opening Disney went all out. It all started with a teaser site that talked about how this new land always existed, but a curse was keeping it from our view, and that all of us had the power to free the land. No one knew what to expect out of it as the cryptic message didn't hint at what kind of story New Fantasyland would be telling.

Last week, though, the full website has been unveiled, and with it an interactive experience that goes beyond the standard official website experience. As you first enter the website, you are greeted by the opening page:

New Fantasyland Interactive Game

The page features an image of New Fantasyland, the one that Disney has been showing off in the last couple of years (sans a few revisions here and there. If you wish to have the regular page experience, each of the character banners take you to different pages that give you a brief explanation of the attractions and well as pictures and artwork. But we are not here for that. For the enchanting story, we are going to click 'reveal the story'...

As soon as we do that, a very familiar voice begins to narrate the story of New Fantasyland. Because many of us were too quick to grow up, we began to forget our beloved childhood stories. This gave the Disney Villains the chance to put a curse over the land so it would forever be hidden from us, meaning that we will never remember our childhood fantasies. There is a solution to this, though. If you find the items that symbolize the stories (an antler for Gaston, a rose for the Beast, a trident for Ariel, and a feather for Dumbo), the spell will be lifted from the land, and our memories of childhood will be restored in a stunning new world.

New Fantasyland Interactive Game

Once the story is done, we see the map, where the land has been completely covered in purple smoke (very reminiscent of ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' I might add). Much like in the simpler opening page, in order to explore the various segments of New Fantasyland you click on the different character banners. The game starts when you begin to travel through the thick purple fog. While traveling through it you see dots of light flying around. Using the cursor to grab it, letting you see a small clip of the movie this attraction was based on. To complete the challenge you grab three dots of light. Once you do, you are treated to a stunning CG flythrough of the land, and you have unlocked a symbol on the shield.

New Fantasyland Interactive Game 

Afterwards, you get to explore parts of the land, giving you details about what you can expect in the land. In order to fully complete the game, you must go through all the land and finding the symbols. When the task has been completed, a new scene shows that the curse has been destroyed, welcoming one and all to what is sure to be one of the most talked about lands at the Magic Kingdom: New Fantasyland!

New Fantasyland Interactive Game 

Interactivity and game wise, it is very simple and straight forward. Story wise, however, the site does an amazing job. One of the reasons Disney has been world renowned for so many years is because they take their stories seriously on all assets of the company. Whether it is an animated film or a theme park attraction, no stone is left unturned. New Fantasyland and its website are no exceptions to the rule. The beautifully animated scenes in between the game, the new music, the booming narration provided by David Odgen Stiers and the atmosphere of it elevate the New Fantasyland hype to a new level of both interactivity and Disney promotion. And if you stick with it till the end, you will receive a special token that captures your victory in saving this land!

New Fantasyland Interactive Game

If you want to fully see the site for yourself, visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/new-fantasyland/. To get the most out of the site, make sure that your browser has all its components like Flash up to date. The site can also be played on full screen mode so you can get a better view of the action. Oh and don't forget to turn the speakers up and enjoy the original music!

New Fantasyland Interactive Game

Oh yes, you may have noticed that the site forgets about the apple symbol. That represents the Snow White mine coaster... that won't open till 2014. Guess that part of the land will be under the wrath of the curse. Come back in 2014 when the Mine Coaster, and the next chapter of the story, will finally be revealed to the public!

And with that, this ends my 100th Gamer Tuesday article! I want to thank you dear readers for supporting both Gamer Tuesday and the entire Days of the Week concept along with its authors. My wish is to continue offering the best in terms of Disney gaming and more. Here's to 100 articles and to 100 more! - Pedro "Pap" Hernandez

 

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