Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game: Practical Tips to Maximize Your Fun

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SOTMK posterSorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, a free interactive game at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, is another example of the technology that has lately become pervasive in the parks. This time, though, the focus is squarely on having fun rather than the more pragmatic tasks of entering the park or making FastPass+ reservations. Still, my family has experienced a few bumps in the road related to both ticket media and game card collection, and this article offers some tips gleaned from our most recent experience.

Rather than tips on gameplay strategies, the focus here is on non-gameplay tips to ensure you maximize your time at play—but first some background on the game and how to get started playing.

Back Story

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, or SOTMK, challenges players to help Merlin the wizard defeat Disney villains by casting spells at “portals” found on Main Street, U.S.A. and in Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland. Players use a special card (their “key”) to open these portals, 5 of which are located in each of the aforementioned lands within innocuous looking windows or walls.© Sarah Graffam

When the portal opens, characters appear on a screen and tell part of the story, and players use trading cards that feature Disney characters to cast their spells. The action follows a storyline allowing players to progress to various game levels (there are currently easy, medium, and hard levels) by helping Merlin defeat villains attempting to take over the park.

Getting Started

Frontierland Sorcerers
A portal in Frontierland

Magic Kingdom has two SOTMK centers where players can go to start their game (or be “recruited” to help Merlin). Here, players can try out a training portal with the guidance of a Cast Member. They also get their first set of cards, including their “key,” and a map showing the location of game portals in the park.

The larger and more themed center is inside the Fire Station on Main Street, while a generally less busy kiosk is behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square.

What We Learned

SOTMK fire station► You can play the game individually, but you don’t need your own individual game to collect card packs. This means several people in your party (even those who usually observe rather than play) can be on the same game and all collect one set of cards per day. Let’s say a family of three starts playing: Mom, Dad, and child. You all can share the game and each collect one card pack per day (three total). This way, you can get a decent set of cards collected pretty quickly. Remember, though, that all players must be present at the SOMTK center and present their associated Magic Band  or RFID ticket to collect their individual card pack.

► Yes, your game’s key card is associated to your Magic Band or RFID card, which can make things a bit tricky. For one thing, if you have more than one Magic Band, your SOTMK key can only be associated with one of them at a time. Even once you have an associated Magic Band, it is important to always keep the game’s SOTMK key card with you in case there are any issues with your Magic Band or if you have multiple Magic Bands and forget to bring the one associated with the game.

© Sarah Graffam► If you do forget your associated Magic Band or have any other problems with ticket media, your key card will the backup way to open your portals. Plus a Cast Member can use it to move your game to another Magic Band if you want.

► Because of the Magic Band association, it is generally easiest to use the same Magic Band associated with your game whenever you intend to visit Magic Kingdom in case you decide to play.

► For returning players, if you don’t remember your next portal, open any portal with either your key card or associated Magic Band and it will tell you your current portal, or you can ask a Cast Member at one of the SOTMK centers.

► Returning players can get one set of game cards each day at either the Fire Station or the kiosk in Liberty Square. Not only are these cards used in game play but they are fun to collect. Be aware that before collecting cards you are required to first open the next portal in the progression of your game. Before we knew this, we wasted time in line trying to get cards only to be told to go open our next portal.

© Sarah Graffam► Okay, I know I said I would focus on non-gameplay tips, but I do have one gameplay tip to share, mostly because this strategy does not seem to be widely known among casual players or mentioned during trainings. After you open a portal, you hold a card up when instructed to cast a spell against the villain. According to a Cast Member I spoke with, you can use up to 5 cards at once by holding them up together. Many players in the know use a plastic card sheath to group cards so that they can be easily held up at once. Casting multiple spells is especially useful when you reach the medium and high levels of the game.

► And one last tip—it’s just plain fun to introduce other people to the game! Every time my family plays, we catch a few people off guard by opening a portal that they have been sitting or standing next to with no idea it was anything more than just a window or wall. I love the stunned looks on their faces as they see what we are doing, and I love answering their questions on how to start their own games. We’ve also had some veteran players help us out with tips, and one nice lady gave my son several cards to add to his collection.

I hope you get to try out SOTMK next time you are at Magic Kingdom. And if you have played before, please feel free to share any other tips or add to mine. Despite any time spent dealing with association of key cards and ticket media, figuring out our next portal, or card collection, my family has had many more fun hours playing SOTMK, organizing our cards, and interacting with other players.

Sarah Graffam

Sarah gets that giddy feeling when walking down Main Street, U.S.A. (and sometimes in her own living room just thinking about her next trip to Disney World). She is a Disney Vacation Club member and has been a professional writer and editor since 1990. Other favorite places she has traveled include Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, England, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Kenya, Tanzania, and Disneyland.

10 thoughts on “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game: Practical Tips to Maximize Your Fun

  • May 13, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    I was very excited to try this when we went last October, but we had no end of problems getting the portals to read our spell cards. We bounced around 3 or 4 portals in Adventureland, replaying the same battle, because we could never get a spell card to register.It was pretty frustrating, and we had to settle for just collecting the cards the days we were at Magic Kingdom.

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    • May 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm
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      We had the exact same problem last August! I wanted this to work so badly, and it was just such a struggle that after the second portal going through the rigamarole several times, we gave up. We’ll try again this September. I’m willing to admit it may have been user error, but I thought we were doing everything right. Going to have to do some research before this fall.

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      • May 14, 2015 at 9:44 am
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        We have also experienced occasional issues with either a portal being down or the system being down. But overall these have not been problematic for us as we tend to use the game as an extra opportunity during peak ride times and play wherever it fits into our plans. Like Sarah said (the “other” Sarah who responded below :), the portal may be up but cannot read the spell card. We have also found this may be due to lighting (too little OR too much) as well as distance to/from the portal and height. If it is not working, make sure your feet are on the crest and try adjusting the height/distance of where you are holding the spell cards, shade them from the sun, and/or be sure you are not covering them with your fingers. It sounds complex but it really is not–once you find the “sweet spot” you’ll be fine.

        If it is actually down, we come back later and/or see a Cast Member at one of the two SOTMK locations. Recently, we were on our way out of the park and could not open our portal due to it being down so we visited them and they gave us our cards anyway (we collect them also).

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  • May 13, 2015 at 10:19 pm
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    I haven’t experienced Sorcerers yet, but it sounds like an incredibly complex thing. Virtually none of this article dealt with the actual game itself. Given how little time a non-local visitor has at the Magic Kingdom for rides and shows, can anyone justify carving out the time for this?

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    • May 14, 2015 at 9:51 am
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      Hi Drew. The basics of the game are available via the first link in the article and more advanced game play strategies are widely available on the internet. The game play itself is actually not very complex. Rather, it is fun for kids and adults to play as well as to collect and trade the cards. As for carving out time for the game, as I noted in a response above, we tend to allow this to fit into our plan during peak ride times or when we just want a break. Sometimes we don’t even play beyond opening our next portal so we can collect cards. The tips in this article are geared to one of the key purposes of Touringplans.com — to help you save time so that you can make the most of your day in the parks.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 7:50 am
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    My sons and I played during our Easter visit and they became addicted. We ended up dropping into the MK each day to get our next pack of cards, luckily it was open until 1am each day.

    We also had problems on occasion in Adventureland, mostly in the evening. Some issues seemed to be if the portal areas weren’t well lit and we saw other players have success by using the lantern on their phone to better illuminate their card. We found that sometimes the cameras that read the card wasn’t detecting them if we stood on the SOMK paving stone, but was okay if we moved the card closer to the camera. There are normally two cameras, one of the left and one on the right of the portal, and they are mounted in some of the props around the portal. If you click o enlarge Sarah’s photo of the Frontierland portal you can see the cameras are in the bottom loops of the hanging ropes.I hope this helps.

    The game is a lot of fun and each mission takes 10-15 minutes to complete. We managed to finish all 9 during our 14 day vacation, sometimes just doing a portal a day and grabbing our cards. My boys are 11 and 15 and were so pleased to beat Hades and also liked on our last day giving their swaps to children who are just started out on SOTM. The cards make a free souvenir too.

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    • May 14, 2015 at 9:52 am
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      Thank you Sarah for sharing your issues and tips for the cameras. My boys are very close in age to yours and they also love playing the game, collecting the cards, and making deals to trade.

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  • May 14, 2015 at 10:52 am
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    My kids loved playing after spending two days in the magic kingdom. We only completed three rounds/missions, but I’m sure we’ll play again the next time we go. We managed to fit it in on a week long visit to the world. That said, we do skip other things to do like downtown disney. Besides, there’s only so many times I can tolerate country bear jamboree and other rides.

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  • May 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    My 9 year old son loved playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. One day my wife and daughter were having a princess day so my son and I dedicated our day to the game. We were able to complete the entire game on easy mode and defeat Hades. We also did quite a few rides and had meals and so on. We logged a huge amount of steps that day! It was cool to run into the different types of people playing the game throughout the day, seeing the same people repeatedly and visiting each time. Sarah, I was excited to hear you mention an older lady giving your son cards! I think we met her as well and she gave my son about 15 cards that he didn’t have. She was so nice and he still talks about her a year later.

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  • July 25, 2019 at 2:52 pm
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    Game play tip:

    If your goal is to play through the entire game (a total of 9 villains spread across 4 lands) when asked where you’d like to start, always start with Mainstreet.

    Typically your next round is randomly assigned but if you start with Mainstreet, you can knock it out before going deeper into the park AND since there is only 1 villain (Cruella) assigned to mainstreet, you wont have to come back this way until the end of the game (either to face the final villain or to return to the firehouse to have them reset your game for another play through). This is particularly nice since all 5 of the portals on mainstreet are fairly close together and are near the front of the park.

    If your goal is just to get a pack of cards each day, always start with Mainstreet.

    The portals are relatively close to the firehouse and with the exception of the one at the train station are always further into the park so it’s real easy to stop in, pick up your cards and go open your portal for the day before coming back the next day (especially with the train being closed until approx 2021 while Tron is being built, you only have to double back for the trainstation, a short walk from the firehouse and you cant use the train to take you to the back of the park, skipping mainstreet like many used to do).

    If your goal is to play a single round to try the game out, start with Fantasyland.

    There are 5 portals (I suspect 1 of the portals has been removed as I’ve never actually been assigned that portal despite multiple playthroughs now but its still on the map) in fantasyland and the portals in Fantasy land are by far the closest together of any of the portals in any of the lands.

    Added benefit to starting with Mainstreet: you can avoid much of the congestion associated with the fireworks, shows and mainstreet parades. With mainstreet completed, you also have a slightly greater than 50/50 (at least initially, this chance increases/decreases as you defeat the villains in the associated land) chance of being assigned a either fantasyland (2 of the 8 assigned villains) or adventureland (3 of the 8 assigned villains) which may allow you to avoid frontierland/liberty square (2 of the 8 assigned villains) during the parades which find their way down through frontierland.

    The parades in particular can be real show-stoppers for playing the game since it makes it difficult to get across the path and portals are on both sides of the street (both on mainstreet and in frontierland).

    Reply

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