Disney World & Disneyland Board & Video Games
Once you become a rabid Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park fan, you start finding different ways to extend the magic between trips to satiate you while you’re away from the parks. This post looks at one such way: board and video games that feature the parks.
This is just one of several ways we “bring home the magic.” Other ways include social media, podcasts, reading Disney books, editing photos, and more. All are fun ways to learn more about Walt Disney World or Disneyland, and to bridge the gap between trips.
Board and video games are especially good for a couple of reasons. First, they’re actually engaging and immersive–much like some theme park attractions themselves. Second, they are a way to connect and interact with family and friends, also much in the same way that theme parks offer…
I should preface this with a bit of a disclaimer. Despite boasting an impressive collection of systems (Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 with Kinect, and Nintendo Switch), we are far from hardcore gamers. Sarah uses the game systems to work out, I use them for the latest sports games and zombie-invasion preparedness. Oh, and we both use them for Disney gaming. In addition to the aforementioned high-tech game systems, we frequently go low-tech, and play Disney board games.
On that note, here’s a glimpse into our Disney theme parks game collection…
Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour (Playstation, 2000) – This is where it all started for us. I bought this game for the Dreamcast way back in 2001, and immediately loved it. The premise, that Chip & Dale broke a fireworks machine and now you need to collect its parts and reassemble it, of the story mode isn’t the greatest, but the game is reasonably challenging for adults. The detail in this game is incredible, especially when compared to other Disney games that have rested on the Disney license. It even got a surprisingly positive review from IGN!
We love the multiplayer mode, and have spent hours upon hours trying to best one another on various tracks. The game controls surprisingly well, too, and the music is great. Speaking of the music, we’ve been shocked to hear some of it (yes, I realize the music is essentially pulled from the attractions, but there are some differences) on the Disney buses. Why they used the game’s music instead of actual attraction music is beyond me, but it’s pretty cool!
Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour is by far the top game in our collection. I even prefer it to Epic Mickey, which is somewhat frustrating due to a poor camera and clunky controls. I linked to the Playstation version above since I imagine more of you have a PSX or PS2 than a Dreamcast, but you can find the (better) Dreamcast version here.
Disney Epic Mickey – I had really high expectations for this title, as did most of the rest of the gaming community, but I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed by it. To be sure, the details and concept are great. If you are a fan of Diseny in general (not just parks), it’s a fun title.
However, the controls and camera are frustrating, and redundant back-and-forth tasks drag down the revolutionary concept. It’s really fun to play, but I wish the creators spent a few more months tightening up the game engine rather than trying to make it’s holiday release. I still haven’t finished Epic Mickey, as I can only play in about half-hour increments before becoming frustrated. It’s still a must-own title, but it’s not the greatest Disney game ever, like some have proclaimed.
Toy Story Mania! – There is a difference of opinion on this game in our household. Sarah really, really enjoys it. It’s probably her favorite game on this list. I think the controls aren’t completely accurate, and it’s almost the Wii-equivalent of a button-masher.
One of my favorite aspects of Toy Story Mania in the parks is that by co-operating a bit, you can unlock high-point targets. Perhaps we just haven’t done things correctly, but that strategy doesn’t seem effective with this game. It’s still fun, and good practice for TSM in the parks, but it’s not perfect. Luckily it’s relatively cheap compared to some games, so it’s worth picking up.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures– What’s not to love about Disneyland Kinect?! Disneyland looks great. There is some painstaking attention to detail here, and it’s not a mere mash-up of Disneyland and Walt Disney World like some previous releases (I’m looking at you, Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour!). This IS Disneyland. Well, minus some attractions they, presumably, couldn’t license. I’ve never been too keen on taking virtual tours of the parks with Google Earth, but this is so different. Really, seriously cool.
As for actual (mini) games, they are entertaining and fun, but most have only the most tenuous of connections to the actual attractions. This was disappointing, but the games are fun and well-crafted, which is better than an authentic, yet crumby, game.
Clue: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Edition – We love the game, but don’t play much since it’s just the two of us. Most of our real-world friends who live near us think our obsession with Disney is just a “bit” odd, so they aren’t too keen on playing a Disney themed game.
Someday, maybe we’ll have become cool and acquire some Disney-friends, but until then, all we can do is stare at the box and think of how fun it would be to play again. It’s just your basic “re-skinning” of a classic game like all of the other Clue or Monopoly editions, but it’s really cool! A good alternative is *probably* Disney Haunted Mansion Clue, but we don’t own it yet (probably never will because of that darn 3 player requirement). It’s a bit cheaper!
Disney Magic Kingdom Game – This game is fairly fun, and we play it a decent amount, but I can’t help but think that it would be more fun with more people. The object here is to visit five attractions (no FASTPASS!) in the Magic Kingdom. There are obstacles along the way and a bit of strategy must be employed. The first player to visit each of their five attractions and return to the park’s entrance wins. I wish the strategical elements were emphasized a bit more, but that’s what I think would improve if you had more players than 2. This game is definitely worth picking up, especially while prices are as low as they are at present.
Disney Monopoly Game 3rd Edition – Similar to the Clue game reviewed above, this is Monopoly with a Disney theme parks skin. I love Monopoly and we own several editions of it (Seinfeld, Rudolph, etc.), but the price here ($50) just doesn’t seem worth it to me.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you own any Walt Disney World or Disneyland board or video games? Which ones are your favorites? Any that you dislike? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
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My boyfriend and I love playing Tower of Terror Clue. Since it’s just the two of us, so we constantly make up our own rules to get around the three person minimum. It makes the game different every time – and thinking up additional rules is part of the fun!
Hey Tom, when it comes to playing the Clue game. Don’t worry about the 3 person rule, just have fun and make up your own rules for a 2 person play. Imagination is the key!! Lol. My family also loves to play “Find It”, Disney edition. You search for all sorts of objects over a large playing area. We also have Disney Scene it. Great game. We are huge Disney freaks and you and Sarah can be our Disney friends . Thanks and have fun.
We LOVE the Kinect game. We borrowed it form Blockbuster before taking the kids on their first trip to Disneyland last fall (ages 5 and 3) and I really think it helped them get over their fears of the costumed characters. The first couple times my son (the 5 year old) actually grabbed my hand as I steered our on screen characters up to the costumed characters on the screen, but then he let go and did the interactions. He stopped doing the hand holding bit after a while and when it came time to meet the characters at actual Disneyland, both had NO issues whatsoever when BOTH had had fears of real costumed characters only a few weeks before.
We got the Disney Monopoly this past Christmas, and while the theming is cute, it’s a pain the play. The Castle in the center is majorly in the way. You can’t move your own game piece unless it’s on your side, and you can’t even see what is happening on the other side of the board. A major flaw, if you ask me. I think we had another complaint, but it’s been so long since we’ve played that I don’t even remember what it was…
Well that stinks. That was on my list of games to consider getting. Still might have to check it out!
I know this post is focusing on Disney Park games, but if you’re into classic Disney movies, Kingdom Hearts I & II for PS2 is a great game. It’s fun to go into all of the different Disney worlds!
We just got Haunted Mansion Life for my 11year old and my 3 year old got Walt Disney World Theme Park Candyland that we added to our collection from our last vacation.
Care to share quick reviews of either/both? We’ve considered getting them, but are wondering if they’re worth the money.
Candyland, is well Candyland, with some Disney theming thrown in. A definite must for the little ones though. My 3 year old loves it. The price point is a good souvenir as well. I picked it up in the Contemporary Resort gift shop for $15. Better than a bunch of plastic toys that always seem to make its way home from vacation instead!
Haunted Mansion Life keeps pretty true to the original game, but is filled with tons of HM theming. You have doom buggies instead of cars, you collect screams instead of money and you get to choose your final resting place of Liberty Square or New Orleans Square at the end. Lots of the ghost from the attraction are on the board or printed on the game cards and can I say that I LOVE that the pointer on the spinner is the raven. It fun to play and a must have for any HM fan. As a busy mom, I have to say I also like that with the clever design of the board and box makes it that you only have to place all of the buildings and bridges on the board one time, so after the first time, it is very easy to set up. Makes it super simple for me, so the kids can pull it out of the box and play when I’m busy and do not need any help from me.
Also, just a savings tip, they often have some of the same board games from the Disney Parks merch line at the Disney Store online. I waited to by the Life game for my daughter until after we got back from WDW. I was able to get several promos they had at the time including 25% off the game and free shipping. I also ordered serval other items that I wanted (we ALWAYS wait for a sale or discounted promotion) and I used a gift card to pay from my grocery store and got double fuel perks from the purchase of the gift card. Anything Disney that you buy us so much better when you save money!
We love the Pirates Life board game! The first game you mentioned- I have it for Playstation, and it’s still a great great game.
You ever play the Magic Kingdom NES game? I loved that game. still have it!
What about the Disney Trivial Pursuit (not the movie one). Have you ever played that? I want to get that one but the trick would be finding people who would want to play with me…
I just got Disney Apples to Apples and Monopoly for my birthday.
I’m married to a gamer, and even though I am not one, we always keep each other knowledgeable about upcoming games based on Disney. My favorite Disney game was Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for the NES, which someone mentioned earlier. I was only 4 when it came out, but I remember playing that game as much as possible at that stage in my life. The BTMRR level was always my favorite. Sadly, I think my parents gave it away when we upgraded to a Super Nintendo.
I agree with you on Epic Mickey. I only play in half an hour increments, and I get incredibly frustrated with it. My husband, on the other hand, can watch me play, instantly know what I am doing wrong, and grab the controls to get me forward despite the horrible controls and camera. I plan on actually beating the game this summer.
Epic Mickey 2 looks really good, and I am excited that it is co-op. If I am going to play a game, I would rather play co-op (Tom, I do enjoy the occasional zombie invasion game as well but only if it is co-op.). I saw an interview with the developers for the new Epic Mickey and they did state that the camera will be fixed. Plus, the game footage looked great.
Adventures in the Magic Kingdom was one of my favorite games as a kid too. I played it before I ever went to the Parks. I would love to find it and play it now that I have been on all these rides. I loved Big Thunder Mountain.
Not gonna lie….when I read the title, I thought this post would be about games to play while at Disneyland/World eg games provided by disney (SotMK, arcades…)or games you make up (how many people will run into you instead of moving if you don’t move? ok, my bf & i are too nice to actually do it, but still wonder: what if we didn’t dart around everyone who are heading straight at us with no intentions of veering left or right?!)
We just got the Disney edition of Hedbanz. This game is so much fun to play, even with just two players. You would actually be surprised at how hard it is to guess some of the characters.
Interesting. I see the age is 3+, is it any good for adults?
Yes!!! My husband and I played by ourselves (we are both 25) and with a group and we were stumped a few times. It is also pretty cool to wear the Mickey ears.
It’s the second time when i’ve seen your site. I can gather a lot of hard work has gone in to it. It’s actually good.
You should get the Haunted Mansion game for PS2. It’s a TON of fun and totally true to the actual attraction. Here’s one on ebay right now for 5.99 buy it now. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Haunted-Mansion-PlayStation-2-PS2-Game-Complete-/380252505945?pt=Video_Games_Games&hash=item5888d0c759 That’s how I got mine (ebay). It’s also available in old school Xbox which I am sure would play on your 360 as well (don’t know a thing about xbox).
Totally agree with you on Epic Mickey, had sucj high expectations for that game. Controls are really just to choppy to enjoy full movements throughout the levels and gameplay is to repetitive. BUT being the Disney fan i am i continue to play and get frustrated by it lol.
Over the rainy weekend we played Disney Trivial Pursuit and The Disney Magic Kingdom Game. The Magic Kingdom Game is interesting in that it seems to mix-and-match Disney World and Disneyland attractions.
By the way, my son won both games. He also beat me pretty good in Pentago, but that’s another (non-Disney) story.
You let your son win!?!? You’ve got to cheat!!! 😉
I have a small collection of Disney games too, I love them! I have Disney Scene It, and I love it. But me and my boyfriend have the same problem as you guys: a lack of Disney friends. No one wants to play with us because we, for lack of a better term, spank them. We need some competition!
I too was not impressed with Toy Story Mania. I rented it for a weekend and while it was good entertainment for a couple of hours, my husband and I have had no desire to play it again since.
I’m still waiting for my brother to finish Epic Mickey so I can borrow it. I think he too suffers from the can only play for short increments of time.
By far my favorite game was the old Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for NES. This may be total nostalgia, but I loved that game. My brother and I would play for hours on end.
You also have me seriously considering Xbox Kinect. I’m thinking I could get my husband on board for that one 🙂
We got our Kinect plus Xbox 360 for free through a promotion with the latest Internet Explorer a few months ago, otherwise I wouldn’t have considered buying it because we already have the Wii, but it’s truly NOTHING like the Wii. Your body IS the controller, and the system works incredibly well. We only have a few games (Kinect Adventures, Your Shape Fitness, Dance Central, and Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do) and we really enjoy them all. None of them are deep by any means, but they’re really enjoyable, and actually require involved movement rather than the Wii, which you can sort of fake your way through! Suffice to say, we’re counting down the days until Disneyland Kinect!
You had me hooked to read the article as soon as I saw the thumbnail for the Magic Racing Tour game! I think that just gave me plans for later this evening…
Fun write-up, but just reminds me how badly Disney needs something like the racing game on a new console. I think it’s an area they really have put enough thought into. They’re are plenty of Disney video games out there, but unfortunately most are just seem to be marketing gimmicks. Disneyland Adventures definitely looks promising though. Who knows, if its good enough, maybe another gaming system will be in order.
By the way, on the “low-tech” side of games, have you checked this one out? Maybe a little outdated now, but still a fun one!
Whoops, bad link on the first one (http://www.amazon.com/Wonderful-World-Disney-Trivia-Collectible/dp/B000059EIE).
Is that Disney theme park specific?
Valid point, not theme park specific. Some are in there, but definitely a minority.
I also love Magical Racing Tour because it’s one of the few places you can find Lagoona Gator! A new racing game would be awesome. Let’s just hope Kinect Adventures lives up to the hype (although I don’t think there’s much actual hype for it, there is in my head!)
My family has game nights (no kids, lol), and Disney Scene It, plus the Magic Kingdom game, are regularly in the lineup (I wish they had a “Disney Parks” Edition – the only time I’d be okay with “Disney Parks’ being used!).
I also used to love the Magical Racing Tour. I’ve never been too much into video games, and for a solid 2 years, this game was my only incentive to use my Playstation 2 :). Great post!
We also have both volumes of Disney Scene It, which we love (didn’t include it here because they aren’t theme park games).
Stephen Mitchell and Amy Brillhart Walt Disney World trip