Disney with Kids

Visiting Disney with kids is about as American as apple pie. Talk to any kid, and chances are Walt Disney World is one of the places they want to go most. As one of the top tourist destinations in the United States, the Disney Parks in Orlando, Florida, bring in millions of visitors each year.

As a parent, you want to try to visit when there are as few people as possible, but that does not always work out. Kids go to school. In my family, my wife is a teacher, so she goes to school too. That leaves us with two options. Either have the kids skip school (which we did this time), or go over a school break. Tons of people choose the second option, so if that’s when you can go, be sure to plan for a crowded day at the park. Even if you can take the kids out of school for a few days, you may find yourself in Orlando with a whole lot of other people.

Long Lines

Long wait times at Pandora, Disney Animal Kingdom

These are the wait times for the rides in Pandora – The World of Avatar, shortly after it opened to the public. Flight of Passage is just under 5 hours! We were lucky enough to preview the rides the previous week, but I can only imagine how hard is was to wait in lines that long with kids.

Lines at amusement parks are notoriously long. The parks want to attract as many people as they can each day, and most of those people are there for the same reason as you. They want to ride rides, see shows, and eat. The result? Lines, lines, and more lines. Everywhere you go, everything you do, you will be waiting in line. This can quickly take its toll on young kids. Let’s be honest, it can quickly take its toll on parents too.

Sure, the FastPass system helps you avoid some of the longer lines, but you can only reserve so many FastPasses each day. Eventually, you will have to stand in some lines. You just can’t avoid them completely. However, you can do something to make sure your day at Disney is a little more pleasant. When visiting Disney with kids, it is important to have a few ideas about what you can do if your kids (or you) just can’t wait in another line. Here’s one that we found on our most recent trip.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Wait, you’ve been to Disney how many times, and you didn’t know that you could be Merlin’s apprentice sorcerer at Magic Kingdom? Well, that’s not too surprising. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game that has been around since February of 2012, but for some reason, it doesn’t get mentioned much. This is a good thing. It’s a secret sitting in plain sight and that means little to no lines for you and your kids. The longest line we waited in to play was two kids deep. It was wonderful!

Adventureland map for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.

This map of Adventureland shows of the four areas of the Magic Kingdom where you can play the game. Each portal is marked with a different symbol. When you arrive at the portal, you will see an oversized padlock where you can scan your band, and a screen for the interactive video to play on.

To begin playing, you need to visit the Firehouse on Main Street, USA. This is located to the back left of the main square right after you enter the park. Inside the Firehouse, they explain a bit about the game, scan your MagicBand, and give you a map and a pack of spell cards. Each day you visit, you can get a new pack of 5 cards.

How it Works

I could try to explain to game, but really, why not let Disney do it? These are the instructions from the attraction page. They haven’t been updated since they started using your MagicBand instead of a separate Sorcerer Key Card, but the rest is accurate.

Use the clues on Merlin’s map to locate 20 Magic Portals situated throughout Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and along Main Street, U.S.A. Upon arriving at the first Magic Portal, hold up your Sorcerer Key Card to unlock and gain access—one of Hades’ henchmen will pop up prepared for battle!

Flower's Flowers Spell Card for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game

One of the Spell Cards for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. This was the spell that Cole used to defeat Ursula in the second round of the game. It was originally in my pack of cards, but we combined all of our cards for a big pile of spells to choose from.

Present a spell card to crush the creep; once victory is yours, move on to the next Magic Portal. Different Disney pals will also appear to guide you along your way. Your challenge is to eliminate each Portal’s outlaw by presenting the right spell card or combination of cards—some scoundrels are tough, so it may take several spells to triumph. After annihilating his minions, you’ll be spell-to-spell with Hades himself!

Play Again Next Time

Tiny princess watches Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom being played.

A small princess looks on as Cole casts a spell to defeat one of the villains in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

If you complete all 9 quests, Merlin will welcome you as a Master Sorcerer at the end of the game. Each quest takes around 20-30 minutes to complete, so you probably don’t want to do it all in one day. Luckily, the game is linked to your MagicBand, so you can continue playing each day of your trip.

Any time you need a break from lines, just pop over to a portal and cast some spells. Just make sure you stop in to the Firehouse to get your daily pack of Spell Cards. On your next trip to Disney, your new MagicBands and tickets can be linked to your previous game so you can just pick up where you left off.

Happy Kids, Happy Parents

Disney’s Magic Kingdom is often referred to as “The most magical place on Earth”. If you head to Disney with kids, you want to do your best to keep them happy and make sure this holds true. Cranky kids and cranky parents are the best way to ruin the magic. When your family starts to get out of sorts, shift the focus to something else. Grab something to eat, take in a show, or defeat a few villains playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. If you plan well, you can head home with a happy family, looking forward to your next Disney adventure. You might even find that your family has grown. In our case, we added an alien.

Cole and Stitch ready to fly with American Air.

Cole and Stitch buckled in and ready to fly, thanks to an empty middle seat on our way home.