How to Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

This page is to help you get up-to-speed quickly with playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, but will also share lots of tips and information about how the game works that might not be obvious to the casual or infrequent player.

Step 1: You need spell cards

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (hereafter, SotMK) game is played with Spell Cards.   You can obtain one pack (containing 5 cards) of spell cards each day in the Magic Kingdom.    Your admission ticked will be scanned to record that you’ve received your cards for the day.

Spell cards are distributed at two locations.   The main location is the Firehouse at the Town Square end of Main Street USA, between City Hall and the Emporium.   A secondary location is in Liberty Square behind the Christmas shop.   Each free pack of cards includes one rare card (“Star” card) and 4 common or uncommon cards (“Planet” or “Moon” cards).

You can also buy “Booster Packs” of 7 cards at various locations.   A booster pack contains one super rare (“Lightning Bolt”) card, plus 6 other cards (usually 1 star and 5 common or uncommon cards).

Super Rare, Rare, Common, and Uncommon only represent how rare the cards are, and therefore how valuable they are to traders — the rarer cards are not more powerful in the game and are simply more of interest to collectors.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice app provides a Card Checklist to help you keep track of what cards you have and which you still need.

Step 2:  You need a Keycard (or Magic Band) and Map

The first time you play the game, when you get your spell cards you will also be given a map (showing locations of the 20 game portals throughout the Magic Kingdom) and a Key Card that is used to initiate each step of the game.    If you’re a first time player, your game difficulty will be set to “Easy”.   Once you have completed the game, you can begin a new game, and either continue at Easy level or have the difficulty set to Medium.   If you beat the game at Medium difficulty, you can then play on the Hard level if you choose.

At some point in 2014 Magic Bands began to be used as alternatives to the key card, and at this point keycards are no longer being distributed.   If you already have a keycard you can continue to use it, but all new players will have their games linked to Magic Bands rather than keycards.

As of this update (October 2015), the game does NOT recognize Magic Bands as interchangeable, even if they are all linked to the same My Disney Experience account.  So if you change bands to match your outfit or mood, note that you’ll need to keep your ‘game play’ Magic Band with you anytime you play (or have the cast members reassign your game to your current Magic Band).

Game difficulty levels

  • Easy:  Card selection doesn’t matter; any card will defeat any villain in the game.  When cards are used in the game several times, they become stronger — so playing all of your cards a few times while on Easy difficulty will give you an advantage when you begin playing at the harder levels.
  • Medium:  Villains are stronger or weaker against particular spell types; playing the spell types that match the villain’s weakness gives you an advantage.   Frequently it will take more than one round of battle against a villain to defeat them, even when the optimal cards are used.   Combinations of cards (up to 3 at a time) can be played to strengthen your attack.
  • Hard:  Villains have the same strengths and weaknesses as on Medium level, but are overall harder to defeat.   Playing multiple cards that have had their strength leveled up is generally necessary to defeat the villains quickly.
    • As of October 2013, Hard difficulty has changed, and the villain weaknesses are no longer constant as they are on medium level.   Now, each time you play the game, the villain’s weaknesses change.  In order to determine the villain’s weakness, you must cast multiple spells of different types — the ‘correct’ spell (the one matching the villain’s weakness) will cast at strength level 3.   (Using the app’s animations descriptions for each card will help you determine what level each spell is casting at).

The Keycard/Magic Band is linked to the admission ticket that you present when you pick up your spell cards.   It identifies you to the system each time you play.   All game progress (what location you are supposed to play at next, what villains you have already defeated, the strength attributes of your spell cards) are linked to the keycard.    If you lose your keycard, you can be issued a new one, and in most cases (if you have the admission ticket associated with the lost keycard) your game progress can be transferred to the new keycard.

Note that if you enter the park with a different admission media than the one used when you start a game, you should ask to have you keycard associated with the new admission media.    For example, if you are an annual passholder and begin playing the game, and then your annual pass expires and you return to the park with a new pass, the keycard will still be associated with your old pass unless you ask to have it transferred.

Step 3: Organize your cards

There are a total of 77 cards currently available for the game, broken down as follows:

  • 22 Rare cards, #1 – #22.   These have a Star symbol above the card number.  These are available in the free packs that you can pick up each day, and also in the booster packs that you can purchase at the Emporium and other locations.   (Observant collectors have noted that the versions of the cards in the booster packs are cut slightly differently and may have slightly different colors than the same cards in the free packs.   As a result, if you are trading cards with other players some will care whether your card is Free or Booster; while players who aren’t serious collectors are unlikely to care or even notice a difference.   There are also some Beta cards still in circulation that were issued when the game was in testing stages; these cards are cut differently with rounder edges and are prized by collectors).
  • 18 Uncommon cards, #23 – 40.  These are represented by a Moon symbol and are also available in either free packs or booster packs.
  • 20 Common cards, #41 – 60.  These are represented by a Planet symbol and are also available in either free packs or booster packs.   Note than when trading cards with other players, they will generally want to only trade stars for other stars, or bolts for other bolts — but the planets and stars are considered interchangeable and of equal value by most traders.
  • 10 Super Rare cards, #61 – 70.   These cards are represented by a Lightning Bolt, and are found only in the Booster packs.   They are highly prized.
  • There are also Special Event / Party cards that were available only at special events.   #01/P, Chip & Dale’s Bag of Tricks, was available for free but only during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party event nights.   #02/P, Wayne and Lanny’s Ornament Barrage, was similarly free to attendees of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party events.  There have continued to be new cards issued at the Halloween and Christmas parties each year, currently up through 07/P for the 2015 Halloween party.

There is a lot of information on your card — Spell Type, Attack Type, various strength values, etc.   Some of this information is used in the home game (played on a game board included with the booster packs).    For the in-park game, the only attribute that matters is the Attack Type (e.g, Charming, Strong, Gross, Wishful, Quick, Energy, or Flying).    At Easy difficulty you can play any card against any villain, but at Medium and Hard you will defeat the villain more quickly if you play the attack type that matches the villain’s weakness.

If you’re using the Sorcerer’s Apprentice app, you can always view this information in the Card Detail screen even when your cards aren’t handy.

To allow you to do this, it is best to sort out your cards by attack type.   Many players use various sorts of albums or binders with pockets to organize their cards.

The most convenient way to arrange all of your cards is probably to have your main Playing cards arranged in a binder and sorted by attack type.    Any duplicate cards (that you will use to trade with other players to complete your set) are best kept separate (loosely or in another binder) and in numerical order.   (I’ve found that many players keep a list only by card number — so they may know that they need #6, #13, and #40, for example.   If your trader cards are organized by attack type or some other scheme it’s very difficult to match your extras up to their needs.

Of course the Trading Manager in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice app can put the list of your needed and extra cards right at your fingertips.

Step 4:  Visit the Portals and Play the Game

With your cards organized, you’re ready to play the game.    Proceed to the first portal where you were told to begin your game.    The portals are well disguised into their surroundings and the first few times you visit a particular portal you might have a little difficulty spotting it.    Also, the symbols that are used to represent the portals on the map are nowhere to be found at the actual portal — if you mis-identify a portal, when you touch your keycard to the lock you will see a brief video that reminds you of the portal you should be looking for.

As an alternative to the paper map, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice app provides a Portal Finder that shows portal locations as pins on a map, along with location descriptions and photos. Best of all it requires no refolding.

To begin playing at a portal, touch your keycard to the lock.   The video will begin.   If you are at Easy level, the first video seen will be an introduction to the storyline you are about to play — there is nothing you need to do but watch the video.   At Easy or Medium difficulty, the intro videos are omitted and you will be facing the first henchman of the story line.

There are a total of 9 different storylines, each with a different Disney villain, that you must play and win to complete the game.   Each storyline consists of several chapters — a few henchmen you must face, and then the main villain of the story.   So, for example, in the Aladdin storyline you will likely face Iago and Jafar’s snake before battling Jafar himself.    Some of the henchman battles are occasionally omitted — I suspect this is something Disney adjusts depending on crowd levels in the park to make the game play quicker when needed.

All of the encounters (other than the introductory chapters seen on Easy difficulty) require you to show one or more cards to defeat the villain.    In some cases, you show the back of your card — the Sorcerer’s Crest.   When this is required, you’ll be explicitly instructed by Merlin to show the Sorcerer’s Crest.   On other battles, you’ll need to show the front of the cards you want to play; whenever possible showing cards of the attack type that the villain is weakest to.     The proper time to show the cards will be when “Cast Your Spell” is shown on the video.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice app can guide you to the best cards in your deck (considering both attack type and card level) on the Cast Spells screen.

Your cards will then be read by cameras adjacent to the portal.    Sometimes the cards will mis-read and you will lose the battle.    If your cards are read, you will see animation on the video screen corresponding to the cards you’ve played — each card has 3 unique animations corresponding to the 3 different levels of strength that card can gain through play.     If you don’t see video for a card then the card wasn’t recognized.

To improve the chance you cards are read correctly, do the following:

  • Make sure you’re standing on the SotMK medallion embedded in the concrete in front of the portal.   Too close, or too far away, and the camera won’t see your cards.
  • Hold the cards in front of you at portal height.
  • The cards are recognized by the background pattern that surrounds the main picture, so hold the cards at the bottom (if they aren’t in a binder) so that the background pattern is unobscured.
  • Don’t move the cards too much while casting the spell so the camera can register them.

Card Combos

Using more than one spell card at a time can increase the power of your attack, as long as all cards are of the correct attack type.

Some players believe that some combos are more powerful — such as cards with characters from the same movie (i.e., Woody & Buzz,  Princess Aurora and Prince Philip).   I haven’t noticed this to be true but welcome feedback to the contrary.

Card Leveling

If you play your cards right, they become more powerful.   You can see this by observing the animation that is shown when you play the card.    To level up your cards:

  • Use the card multiple times against villains that are weak against the attack type.
  • HOWEVER, do not use the same card in multiple rounds of the same battle (fighting the same villain at the same portal).    This will weaken your card.   Use it once, then save it for the next fight and play a different card if the battle goes another round.
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice App will track card levels for you, and will recommend the highest-level cards that are available for play in each round of battle.

Master Sorcerer bonus

You can buy a Master Sorcerer T-Shirt, in several different designs, at various locations  (Emporium and Main Street Cinema).    When wearing the T-Shirt, you get a bonus — all the spells you cast will be treated as if your cards are at the strongest level (Level 3).   This will not actually cause your cards to be leveled up immediately, but does allow you to play all cards at full strength without having to play them many times to increase their power.

Step 5: Winning the Game

There are a total of 9 story lines to complete the game.   The first 8 can be somewhat randomized in order.    The final storyline will always be against Hades.    When you have defeated Hades, you will be directed to one final portal, where you will be awarded a virtual medal that could be Novice, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Master Sorcerer.   The higher level medals are awarded for more efficient play (defeating villains in fewer rounds) which means playing the right cards, of stronger levels.

Step 6:  Do it again!

When you’ve won the game, you can return to Sorcerer Training at the Fire Station or Liberty Square.   You’ll be awarded a bonus pack of cards for your accomplishment, and then the cast member will start a new game for you, either at the same difficulty level or one level greater than the level you just completed.

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5 Responses to How to Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

  1. Carol King says:

    How do u get the board game?how do you buy it?I live in Indianapolis Indiana!love the game my grandson has I think 48 cards !thank u

    • Mike says:

      I’ve never tried playing the board game, so everything in the ‘How to Play’ here is geared toward the version of the game that is only available inside the park. The board game is available from the Disney Store online … try this link

  2. Pay says:

    I played this game last week and loved it! But I think something was wrong with all the cameras/software at Disney. The first time you were called to use the Sorcerer’s Crest, the crest would not be read & you’d fail that portal session. It would then tell you to stay there & you’d re-engage at the same position you left it, but when you used the Sorcerer’s Crest this second time it would now work. This pattern happened every single time. And I asked other players and they all said they experienced the same thing.

  3. ailisa@hotmail.com says:

    Thank you for this! We’ve gone several times and played. but never really understood if there was a strategy behind the game (or how to employ it) So thank you!

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