Virtual Magic Kingdom, also known as VMK, was a massively multiplayer online game developed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Sulake Corporation and published by The Walt Disney Company. It was a virtual representation of the Disneyland style theme parks, containing areas and minigames which were based on real park scenery and attractions. It was launched as part of the Happiest Celebration on Earth promotional campaign to commemorate fifty years of Disney theme parks.
The beta version opened publicly on May 23, 2005, with three virtual lands to explore: Main Street USA, Fantasyland, and Adventureland. This “beta” designation was removed on June 27. The Tomorrowland game area was made available on October 5, and Frontierland opened on December 12. The rest of Tomorrowland opened on April 4, 2006, and New Orleans Square, the final land added, opened on January 8, 2007.
VMK initially launched as an attachment to the Disneyland 50th-anniversary celebration, without long-term intentions, but it gained popularity and eventually became a long-term venture on its own. The target audience of the game was children between the ages of 8 and 14, although VMK was designed to be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Due to the young age of the game’s target users, it was patrolled by paid staff who watched out for inappropriate behavior and language. Because of the need for human monitors, the time that the game was open had to be limited; it was open to the public daily between 7:00am–10:00pm PST (10:00am–1:00am EST, 3:00pm–6:00am UTC).
On May 21, 2008, the Virtual Magic Kingdom game was closed by Disney. Many fans asked Disney if VMK was going to reopen. This prompted Disney to post a message on the VMK homepage that the game was a promotion, and was closed, and that there were “no plans” to reopen VMK in any form. The VMK homepage now redirects to the main Disney games site.
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