Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) closing in May

Latest: Saving Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom – 4.15.08

May 21st, 2008 will mark the end of one very cool MMO game brought to you by Disney Online. Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom is wrapping up play and urging its players to join in on one of Disney’s other offerings. The only hitch, those games require pay-for-play to get full functionality.

Needless to say this is causing an uproar among the games fans who have invested time and effort in building their characters, rooms, and friends in VMK. VMKMagic.com has started a petition to save the game.

I’ve included the full notice of closure and faq from VMK’s newsletter below the cut

Speaking of things lasting forever, recently several of you have been asking about how much longer VMK will last. Well today I have some news about our future.

As many of you know, Virtual Magic Kingdom was created and launched back in 2005 as part of the Disneyland 50th Anniversary Celebration. VMK exceeded expectations in terms of performance, and as a result we extended the promotion (that is, VMK, the game) well beyond the 50th Celebration.

Eventually though, all promotions must come to an end, so I’m announcing today that on May 21, 2008, VMK will open our virtual gates for the last time. You read that right: VMK was never intended to last forever – we’ll close the game for good at the end of day on May 21st, 2008.

This is not an April Fool’s joke.

Now we understand this news may be upsetting to you but let me explain. Again, VMK was launched as part of Disneyland’s 50th Celebration in 2005 and the game has lived well beyond the originally intended time it was planned to run.

Over time you’ve seen our in-Park presence and other parts of VMK go away. You may remember our V.I.P Tours at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, or our in-Park Quest. We didn’t stop doing those things because we don’t love the game or our Guests, but because the time to run those promotions ended.

At Disney we’re still committed to building communities and online virtual worlds – and we’re looking forward to providing you the opportunity to enjoy other exciting new experiences.

Don’t look at VMK ending as a bad thing – think of it as a new beginning, a chance to explore something fresh and new! Think of it like school: You don’t want to leave your old friends, but still, the time has come to graduate and move onto another great adventure.

In the time since we’ve launched VMK, we’ve seen many players come and go, and we’re hoping you will graduate from VMK too – in particular, to games like Pirates of the Caribbean Online, Disney’s ToonTown Online, Club Penguin and the upcoming Fairies and Cars online virtual worlds. We think you’ll find you enjoy those just as much as VMK – if not more.

In the meantime, VMK will run like it always has, with great events and new items every week until we close – we might even fit in one or two more surprises along the way (of the virtual item kind).

So what’s going to happen to the VMK Staff when VMK closes? Well, we’re all moving onto other projects here at Disney and positively looking ahead to the future. Me and a few other team members have already moved to other projects (but are still making sure VMK is running smoothly until it closes).

I know that this is sad news for you, but we’re all thankful we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the game for as long as we did. Just know there are even cooler things on the horizon ahead, for you as players and for us as game creators. So as my good friend Captain Jack Sparrow would say…

“Bring me that horizon!”

Questions? We’ve prepared this Q&A:

Why is this happening? Why are you closing Virtual Magic Kingdom?

As Yavn mentioned in the Newsletter, VMK was created and launched as part of a promotion to celebrate Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary.

The game/promotion has ran well beyond the original time it was intended to.

When is the last time I can play?

The game will close at 10:00PM PST, Wednesday, May 21st, 2008.

Will I still be able to buy cards and pins in the Parks?

Yes, you can still buy VMK Cards and Pins at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Parks while supplies last but after May 21st, 2008 the codes will no longer work in the game.

What will happen to the game and the website?

The website will remain up for a few weeks to let people know what has happened, but you will not be able to log into the game after May 21th, 2008.

What will happen to all my virtual stuff in VMK?

Since the virtual items live only in VMK, you won’t be able to access your VMK items or take them with you to another Disney Online Virtual World.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

112 thoughts on “Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) closing in May

  1. Rich Koster

    Year of a Million Dreams? Making Dreams Come True? I bet many kids had nightmares last night because of this. VMK is a place that kids and adults have had fun together — much like Walt’s original plans for Disneyland — and I know because many’s the time I as an adult have had fun there, both with my tween-age son as well as by myself and by himself. When there were Virtual Magic Kingdom quests, cards and pins at Walt’s original Magic Kingdom as well as the version of it in Orlando — and even VMK tie-ins at the Disney Rewards website — it was a perfect example of what Bob Iger is now calling The Disney Difference and what used to be referred to as Disney Synergy. Instead of using your Disney Movie Rewards to have Disney real things shipped to you, your option was to also use those points you collected after buying Disney DVDs to “buy” virtual items which appeared in the VMK virtual world — things Disney fans “bought” which will magically disappear next month like an evil spell from a Disney villain. Not only was VMK free to join and free to play, but it was free advertising for the Disney resorts and the other Disney online game sites. But Iger’s business model has apparently changed and now Disney wants to have paid subscribers on its online virtual worlds. But why, if that is the case, does Disney feel the need to pull the plug on VMK.com instead of converting it into a virtual world with an entry fee? After all, we are all used to paying admission when going to the Disney parks… why not the virtual versions of them, too, if Disney felt it wasn’t getting enough long-term good will and free advertising for Disneyland and Walt Disney World? Instead, now they’ve made kids and adults unhappy, taking away the bit of Disney park fun one can experience a bit of at home while dreaming of one day going to or returning to Disney’s real theme parks. This is Bad Show in my opinion. My wife has suggested VMK fans all should hold one or more jazz funerals in VMK’s virtual New Orleans Square similar to how we do it in real life in the real New Orleans. VMK will be gone, but not forgotten. And lingering in the back of people’s minds who might switch to Disney’s pay-for-play online games will be the dark thought that no matter how much fun Disney fans have at these virtual worlds, at some time in the future Disney will unexpectedly close these places down, too.

    1. Frank

      I could not agree more. We have spent hundreds of dollars on Disney mercahndise to get the codes to enter for virtual rewards in VMK. My kids have made friends and built kingdoms of their own to have their virtual friends visit and ride. When we have gone to Orlando, we have spent hours shopping for pins with codes and talking with others about VMK. As a family we have promoted it to relatives and friends who subsequently bought pins and movies and got involved. It engendered us making plans together to go to WDW. My son asked me if he should have a will to give his avatar’s kingdom to an heir of his choosing. I told him that would be a long time away. Now he thought I lied. I have two hysterical children. I have cancelled our summer trip to Disneyworld and we have decided not to renew our annual passes. We have all been so let down by this process that we put a quarter in the cuss jar if anyone mentions Disney. We have been loyal, it is a great shame that we were scammed.

      1. brian

        Holy crap people! Grow up! I started using VMK when it first opened, but IIRC, I had always thought it was a temporary thing. And whether or not people love, it COSTS MONEY for the company to maintain and run! There are server costs, programming costs, bandwdth costs, firewall/security costs, etc…

        If you will miss VMK, that’s ok! But don’t blame the company becuase they have to turn a profit for their shareholders.

      2. John Frost Post author

        Hi Brian thanks for your comment.

        I think the solution is for Disney to at least offer a ‘pay for play’ version so the fans who have invested time and real life money (via the Disney Movie Club) at least have a chance to continue their community.

        I realize this is Disney’s decision. But it shows a little disrespect for the games players (people they want to be customers on their other MMORGS) to just end the game without even trying to save it somehow.

        This is true not just for Disney but for everyone out there who starts an online community. Eventually the community takes on a life of its own and you become the caretaker as well as the owner. That adds a level of responsibility.


      3. Alex

        I agree, we have spend so much money ond vmk stuff that now you guys are closing it. I have friends on their that i know for 3 years and i will never have a conversation with them again after they close vmk. How sad… will Walt disney want this??

      4. James

        Well said, this is a very very bad move by disney. what are they thinking? bill gates wants to pay billions for yahoo to have a better web presence, and VMK one of the best, is shutting down? What is iger drunk at the wheel?
        maybe someone should tell bill gates to buy and advertise there??? is this thing on? hello disney, lights on, no one home! hello?

    2. Jake

      Your so right i absoultly love this game even though im fourteen years old! my younger brother plays and my sister they both started to cry when they heard that VMK was closing forever they told me they would never forget the fun they have fun on this game and the friends they have met. I hugged them and told them we would sign a petition and they had a smile on there face ive been going on VMK reciently telling them that we need to save vmk or we would never see our good friends we have on here, the rare items we have, our rooms, and of course our magical world. A lot of people agreed with me and logged off to go right a letter or email VMK. Im spreading the word around hoping they won’t close VMK. There will be nothing like it ever again. And if they havent been to the park this is a great experince for them to see what its like.

    3. Charlie

      Absolutely 100 percent correct. I feel like somebody showed me a puppy dog, I fell in love with it, the owner let me play with it evry day and bond with it, but instead of growing old with it the owner tells me it is being put to sleep forever. Well I am a grown-up and it will still hurt. What hurts more is the children that have to go through this. If you are going to cut children’s hearts out how could you possibly encourage them to build up rooms, furnished according to their dreams, bust their butts to earn credits, take hours and even days for future planning just to squash it in an instant!?
      Are you sadists?? You should have laid out a closing date in stone from the start instead of sucking in more and more players with questions like how hard would they like a new “hidden mickey” quest to be. I have a very bad taste for Disney in my mouth right now. I feel really stupid to have purchased annual passes to both Florida and California parks. Betrayal is the word. I always stuck up for Disney. Like times change for them so does my attitude towards them.
      I wish Walt was here to see this. I would have payed plenty to keep playing VMK but that would not satisfy them. Crying children will…..

    4. Eileen

      Well, I purchased Virtual Items through Disney Movie Rewards for my children only to discover that I will magically have them removed from my possession/their possession in a few short weeks!?! What kind of a rip-off is this perpetrated by Disney and the Movie Rewards people??? Had I known (and I am sure they DID) I would certainly not have used my points in this manner! I want my points restored. How can you remove something that you say I purchased with my points??

    5. Phil

      I couldnt agree more, Year of a million kids destroyed, i spent money on disney stuff to get codes for my 2 children, and now you close it? what is wrong with that, i think its HORRIBLE, sure, a promotion, but were talking 3 YEARS, a whole 3 YEARS. People spent all there time on that game to make friends and make rooms that people enjoy, and if your gonna take that away from kids, thats disneys loss. I highly doubt tha Walt Disney would want this, he would keep it running, and if not even make it a pay to play so that people ACTUALLY STILL GET TO PLAY THE GAME. Thanks for Destroying.

    6. Jessica

      OMG! i totalyy agree! its been awhile since VMK has been closed but still im miss it soooooo mcuh. i had 120 friends on there that i had to leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve heard rumors of it reopening and i honestlyy hope it does!!!!!!!!!!! I miss it A TON!

    1. britney

      i guess Disney hates his fans because if he loved his fans he would keep virtual magic kingdom opened wouldn’t he am i right or what so please sign the petition

      1. Julia

        I totally agree. Disney has gone way downhill the past few years and though they say it’s the year of a million dreams, not one of my dreams have ever come true. I make wishes at 11:11, shooting stars, and other so called “lucky occurances and objects” but it’s only ONE wish every time and it’s not coming true. Thanks a lot Disney just another this for me to cry about when I go to sleep. I hate Disney for this. Also, who though of Hannah Montana..? I’m going to kill them.

      2. savannah

        Vmk was the best until it close.kiss my &@$$@$$@%$ i hate it now but to help go to savevmk.som or savevmknow.com Please Help Its Always Bad to Get Banned… but how about forever. lets hope that the will go back on Bigger And Better!! never giver up hope.. i am only doing this once my players : magentapuzzleddog, fushiaeasydanger,suferwillgirl,and many more Please Help Now TY

      3. Abigail

        I think everyone is right. I got banned from alot of games. But this one is perfect because no cussing is aloud…I wish VMK could come back.

  2. Wesna

    this was like the only game where your can do everything fo free on the disney sites, and now they’re taking it away. Now to play a game like VMK you have to pay.

  3. Christina

    Please don’t close down VMK becuase so many people have fun and love it. It was the only game that i had the most fun playing on and this means that some people will get sooooo….. upset and they will freak out. Please oh please don’t close vmk

  4. deachgo

    Corporate greed is the problem.
    Disney corporate decided that it was not getting enough of a return on its investment in VMK. So they decided to end it. Period!

  5. christina

    Well after endless hours playing and collecting and visiting the parks to complete quests, this is so not magical! I would not play any other online game from Disney for fear of them one day just up and closing it down. Too many hours were invested into VMK and they in no way made it appear as if it was going somewhere. Look at all the new stuff coming out, the new rooms, the last crazy quest with all those credits and for what, a joke. I am so unhappy with Disney, I will mostly likely never step foot in their parks again or buy another thing Disney again. I came there from Neopets and I will return to my dying Neopets. Their site is free and they NEVER delete your account just because you havent been there in awhile. Why did Disney bother to delete accounts if they were closing anyways! It is just wrong!!!!! Very unmagical!!!!! and so totally a year of Nightmares for anyone that invested money and time into their dream of only making more of the almightie dollar!!!! Guess park attendance was down back then!!!! Nice trick on their loyal fans!!!!! We were all fools!!!!

    1. Ishmeal Armageddon

      I laughed out loud at this comment. “I came there from Neopets and I will return to my dying Neopets. ” I used to play Neopets but it got too much into the advertising business. You can’t click anywhere without seeing an advertisement! Also, they have a weird thing called NeoCash or something… which is depressing because it used to be 100% free but all of a sudden… it became a money making game. Ah! Well I like VMK , it was a chance to make new friends and talk to my cousin. Now it’s closing, I’ll be SO bored. I know I should really get a hobby; however, when the work is all done I like to converse with friendly people on the virtual community that is VMK. Now it’s impossible and I have to return to Neopets as well with its infinite ads for things I will never use anyway. And as Christina mentioned “Very unmagical!!!!! and so totally a year of Nightmares” Amen to that, sister. Amen to that. R.I.P. VMK!

  6. Christina Post author

    Yo, VMK shouldn’t be closing. Sooo… many people want it to stay open. We get so many friends and it sometimes is like you know them becuase they’ve been your friends for like ever. Don’t Close VMK You should think about What WALT DISNEY would say. I think Walt would not let this happen because he wants to make kids happy and not make them sad. I only joined this Two years ago and in those two years i have gotten extremely far in it. Now if u close it now many people will be bored whenever they get home if they have nothing to do and not saying that We are just addicted to it just saying that it is really fun. So please don’t close VMK for good.

  7. atlanta

    People Yavn is going to close VMK weather we like it or not but remember about right in the middle Yavn said that this wasn’t an end it was the start of a new beggining. He said he is trying to make other disney worlds. He has worked so hard in VMK and so have the hosts. They have been there and back with parties clothing magic all sorts of things. Yavn let kids let their dreams come alive. If Yavn reads this then i want him to follow this idea. Yavn i think kids always wanted to go to work and be like adults. So i say we let them live there dream. I say you should build a site where kids can buy a normal priced house by getting a real job. It could be like an actual sims game but just for kids. It could be just like vmk but instead we shouldn’t haven’t to play games to get money i think you should create at least 100 jobs or more and then have those people work in that job to get paid and then they can raise up to stay in an apartment or any where i think we should also still have games and as i said i think we should let kids be adults in the game. I am not saying cursing like 75% of adults do but i mean we should be able to go around and be able chat and meet new people through our jobs playing games and enjoying our dreams without growing up.Yavn please let kids follow a dream of succes. Kids are the future. So let me hear it everybody i want everybody who sees this message to say YAVN YAVN YAVN YAVN YAVN YAVN YAVN. CHANT HIM ON HE IS THE BEST. CAN I GET A WOOT WOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Abbi

    Listen, VMK means ALOT to me, and it truly means ALOT to everyone who playas it. Those people that work in VMK and get to be staff, that is their job, they love having that job. Members are even crying over the situation, so listen up.VMK is a sucessful site and by closing it down, your making it nothing. Some members even spent real money on Disney stuff for VMK.

    -Peace out ‘yavn’

  9. VeryGraceful

    I am 18 yrs. old and I love this game! It’s true anyone who play VMK they either love it or it’s not their taste but most of the time people like it. Then we invest our time to making VMK an awesome program and it’s safe too, so parents would agree to kids or teens playing the game because it’s not like myspace, facebook, or any other web sites that bring problems into a person’s life. I want to keep it from closing down and I already try to contact people to maybe make a game a pay to play game and if most players don’t have the money then we could help then pay the offer if it does come true. All in all I and many other players of VMK would really appreciate. Help us by signing the petition go saveVMK.com or talk to anyone from the VMK staff to talk to them.
    – VeryGraceful

    1. ~hateful~

      You closed it! You blood-sucking evil people! WE spent so much money on my little sister and i! My sister is special needs, she has very little friends because she is ADD, And bi-polar, nobody wants to be around her because she’s “weird” But on Vmk, she could escape from reality and change her life to something brilliant! she was happy, and then you CLOSED it! How could you you dummies! ugh, Walt Disney is in shame beacause his “people” turned into money-loving, money-hoggin, dream-crushing fiends.

  10. Sierra -Zeha

    I am Zeha in the vmk but my name is Sierra.
    Now to start off, my little sisters love this game and burst out crying when they found out, by me, it is closing. They had just started getting rare and everything. It isn’t fair that they have that all taken away. Plus they have made friends and sence you are only allowed some words they don’t know how to be able to ever talk to their friends again. My sister’s hate Yavn because they think it is really a person. When it is just Disney hiding behind his name!

    1. Brooke

      I totally agree with you ally anyone that is reading this message should find a petition before vmk closes. Don’t do the next day or later or next month do it now people.

  11. lindamerie

    >=[ I’m terribley mad. I MEAN COME ON! What about the big quest that happens? We only have, what, about a month to enjoy prizes?! And what about the magic that would come out! Grrrr. Yes, VMKMagic, I’m part of the petition there. I was there before it started, it’s a fun site. But!? On VMK I made so many good friends, it was just the best online game I had ever did. They could AT LEAST try to make it pay to play. Yavn, I don’t think HE’S the one forced to close it. But what is gonna do?! Sit back and relax. He should try to do more! Yes, VMK has been going downhill, many players have been quitting. A ton of drama, but that’s just me. On the newsletter, of the VMK homepage, on it’s second birthday. Yavn said he had big plans for the third birthday. And there was no Valentines day pin, they had a “Big surprise!” And I guess, this was the big surprise? What’s going to happy with VMKStories?! ( I’m not exactly sure what it is, my friend Blurry was going around the vmk site and found it. The properties said it was from VMK.com, but in his thread he wouldn’t tell us. ) Luckly, VMKMagic will still be going, we are not knowing it for sure, though. Grrrr. Me and my friends are soo mad.


  12. Mikey

    okay im serious this is not helping vmk at all first off because i thought disney was to make dreams now these kids and fans are jsut crying over it al because there hurt of what has happened what so ever, in my opinion this is sad why even make a game if your gonna destory it to all of us im not trying to be mean but this game was like my second life you think we all want to loose it? no. we all tried as hard as we could to sucsefully get where we needed and that was destroyed.
    think about walt disney he wanted to make kids happy but that’s not going to happen now it’s just going to be destroyed because of not all of you but because of this idea, you cannot close down vmk i hope you understand this but so many children and adults are so upset because they spent there time for absoutley nothing at all.

  13. Pingback: News of Virtual Magic Kingdom’s (VMK) end brings protests and petitions | The Disney Blog

  14. Brooke

    I love vmk but why do they have to close it. It’s like your dreams come true then they get smashed all at once. People go on vmk just like me every day they get there chance and what do we get now? Huh nothing n o t h i n g nothing! People go to disney and buy codes and anything else for vmk. This was a new chance for me and the other kids all over the world to meet new friends,playing games,and more.Disney should of asked us kids first. This is not fair to any of the vmk fans. Disney probably is all about the money because they close vmk just to make a new one that you have to pay for things.Walt Disney wouldn’t be happy about this at all he would want the kids to be joyful and happy but since disney will close vmk for ever we are not.Besides who will pay for the new vmk when they closed the old one.sure we are not happy about this there are changes but seriously not many parents will let kids like me and you go on vmk and they have to pay for it.There won’t be as much people there I won’t go that’s for sure I am way to depressed to besides if you have to pay for the new vmk well that is a joke only if Walt Disney saw what is happening about vmk.

  15. Milan

    It’s simple… Hit them in the pocket book. Stop buying anything Disney and stop going to WDW AND Disneyland.

    I have spent big $$$ on Disney items since 1970 and have been to WDW and Disneyland over 50 times.

    This will all stop in May 2008 when VMK stops. No more Disney.

    My money will go towards Universal and Sea World.

  16. Jason

    May 21st is the day that the Disney Company destroys Walt’s Dream. They have lost the “Walt Way” by their concern for profits. My friend’s daughter (age 14) said, “If Walt was alive he would never have hurt us kids by doing this; I am so sad and it hurts”. This broke my heart. I started visiting WDW every year since 2005, because of VMK (sometimes even 2 times a year). WDW is no longer my destination of choice, and I will spend my $4,000 each year elsewhere.

    Thanks for the Year of A Million Heartaches!

  17. lexi

    year of a million dreams ya right i play vmk and when i heard the news i was devistated! i really love this game keep da dream alive peeps!

    1. Brieanne

      Why did they close VMK? There was no real point and it was so much fun. Even though it has been nearly a year scince closing i am still kinda pissed. This was my escape from my home life where i had to deal with bullies and having no friends. At least i had friends in vmk and now disney has taken them away too. Please reopen VMK!

  18. Snow

    I am so saddened. I am an adult that absolutely LOVES this game. I could play pirates every day and never ever get sick of it. I know for a lot of kids and adults this is their escape from the real world, if only for a little while. A place you can go, and not worry about being judged or discriminated against. A perfect world where you can love your friends and everyone is the same! I think I love this game more then my daughter that plays, since I have built so many awesome relationships. I know, when I get home from a bad fay at work I can go to vmk, shoot ships and relax. I will truely miss it. I guess its back to excercising! LOL Farewell Vmk, you really did it this time.

  19. Olivia

    Ok, so VMK is closing?!?!?!? What the heck! I’ve been comin here since my friends told me about it two years ago…it’s become a major part of my day.
    SO NOT FAIR!!!
    Why does Disney have to take away everyone’s happiness? OH, yeah…maybe they tried(lie) but they could’ve tried harder! I love this game for crying out loud!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*I’m 14 people*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


  20. QueeniePoo

    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY REDICULOUS! It sickens me thinking about them closing the game… Rumors are flying that the company wasn’t making enough money… THEN MAKE PEOPLE PAY TO PLAY! it isn’t hard and i am very dissappointed with the disney corporation. THE ENTIRE VMK FAMILY has worked day and night for these things and its like the company doesn’t care. And CNN won’t do anything about it because disney refused to give a statement… I just can’t believe it… We ALL need to join together and stop this.

  21. Allen G.

    Vmk, A beloved game is closing. We need to stop this, The power of 1 is a strong thing. Oh sorry i forgot to interduse myself, I am Allen Greenfield
    ( Princeallen in vmk ) And The power of 1, think about it, if all the vmkers ( guessing about 1 million or more,) think how many power of 1s that is! We Can Stop This, Kids Can DO Anything!

  22. Josh (FabulousKhakiFish)

    We should all just move on with life. Things come and go and vmk is one of those things. Besides, Disney will probably make a game better than vmk later on in time. We all had special times in vmk but its time for vmk to close. But, there is a small chance that they will make a game quite alike to vmk and we will have another chance to walk into the blue bayou or ride a peter pan ride without all the traveling. Vmk was great while it lasted and thank you disney so much for the good times and I understand. And maybe, in 47 more years vmk will open as a promotion but even better! Our grandkids will more than likely be playing it and you can tell them of your fond memories. You can tell them all your secrets of vmk and all that, maybe they will let you decorate their room. And to all the hosts for vmk out there ” Thank You for making VMK a safe place to be!!”

  23. Zadey

    I dont know about any of you, but I’m pissed off. They will get sued if they arent careful.
    Disney is sounding pretty selfish right now. They lost alot of costumers after VMK Central closed, they are for sure gonna loose alot over this.

  24. Tobias

    What on earth is the point of them making new items and giving them out if they’re about to close the service and delete everything anyway?

    You’d think that there would at least be someone working there that realizes that pulling a stunt like this will mean that Disney will never be able to run an MMO ever again.

  25. RoverDaddy

    Obviously the Disney Corporation can do whatever it wants, and this is completely in character with their usual way of doing things (for example, like limiting lots of Disney Channel series to 65 episodes no matter how popular they are). Disney creates scarcity of their products in order to keep interest high. I agree with everybody above who says it’s all about money. Of course it is, that’s what corporations do. Unfortunately, I think it also shows that Disney has no idea what virtual communities are all about, and they are just going to make similar mistakes in the future. Why should anybody bother with new Disney online worlds like the Pirates MMO, if they can expect the same thing to happen there?

  26. Quincy the Realist

    i say that this is wrong, i mean,wow ppl spent REAL CASH buying movies for movie credits just for them to be thrown away. DISNEY gonna get sued for that bc that is real money. I think we can all agree when i say that mickey mosue went from a humble little deck mate on a steamboat, to a huge corporate mongrol who only cares about money. If walt could see this is think he would be devastated. this is hurting so many people, oh, but disney dont care. they wanna charge us friggin money just to buy a special kind of ship on pirates online so be it. Disney is starting to fall. There have been almost no original animations in a while and other companies are catching up. BAck to vmk, we spent time we could have been doing something on YOU DISNEY. We fed your game the milk of life and you killed it. Excuse my dramatics, but they basically decided to have a baby, the baby did not make them happy enough so they throw in the yard and shoot it. Disney, go to hell.

  27. Pam

    Ending the original D-cards, Disney Adventures Magazine, and now VMK, makes us wonder what is going to happen next. My daughter was excited about going to Disneyland again mainly because she plays VMK and has learned a lot more about Disneyland through the game. She also enjoyed the D-cards and the magazine.

    I was also thinking about investing in Disney stock for her, but now I am having second thoughts. This trip to Disneyland is also probably our last trip to Disneyland, since we need to “move forward” (as Yavn has suggested to players). My daughter is not excited now about going to Disneyland. We will be spending our money elsewhere.

    Disney is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

  28. Pat

    I think the fact that when the quests and vmk central were closed people asked if vmk would be closing Yavn said we are still going strong. So yes we were very surprised that he would pull the rug out from under our feet. We did not see this coming at all! We saw a new magic shop open, we were getting really great items and a new room. We were still waiting for the new trading card game to start. Yes they let us think everything was ok and then the next thing we knew from out of the blue was it was closing. I am truly dissapointed in Disney right now. I always thought that was a name we could trust. We could of been given the choice to pay to play but they decided to take that out of our hands to. You had a question what we would like to see more of in vmk? How about VMK!

  29. Missy

    I cannot help myself but to comment at the ignorance of one of these posts:

    Comment by brian
    2008-04-09 10:08:28

    Although I am thoroughly convinced my comment will not phase you, I still feel the need to make several points very clear to you. When you told these parents to “grow up”, did you not for a moment consider that is the reason they are so eager to keep VMK alive? As a mother of 4, VMK is the only website my children can interact on and allow me to not be steadily checking over their shoulders to ensure they are not being tempted by false intentions. As a active advocate for adolescent internet protection, losing this site is disheartening and worrisome. You mention the cost of this website. I have worked in the high end IT sales industry for most of my adult life and specialize in cost analysis. The front end cost to implement a solution of this magnitude would run in the hundreds of thousands. You are correct in that assumption, however, the key word is “front-end”. The total cost of ownership in this situation merely a fraction of the dividends Disney must see from VMK. With the cost of the gooey interface, SAN, back-up units, software implentation, and even salary’s, the total would not exceed the incoming revenue this site would produce. Especially if advertised smartly. My professional analsys is this: Thinking on the deep end of the spectrum – let’s say that the total cost of this infrasture spans $5M in 5 yrs. The cost would then decrease over that 5 years. The first would be about 60% of the total and the subsequent years about 10% to maintain. It costs go down every year, not up. The software, system failures are all handles “human” free with recent technology advances. Therefore only upside in white space revenue could be found. Just like advertising through Disney Rewards. Brilliant. It is how I found VMK. Statistically speaking Disney is the only “household named product” in the internet using world. This makes Disney stand out as a staple in the iniatives of concerned parents and pro bono organizations world-wide via the success this website had. Estimating each family spent 40% of what I spent in the last year solely due to VMK and my respect for their “giving back to the community” so-to speak, multiplied by the 8,254 people who have been fighting to keep it alive that is $5,777,800.00. This equates to more revenue than the solution cost, not to mention the white space revenue they are generating exceeds more than $5,277,000 per year. You take the white space away because you cannot sell products in stores, which is the real reason if you spent the time to read the 2008 Toy Convention recap where the CEO of Disney Online stated that very fact, you inevitably will lose all of your age 10+ audience and the family of those children who have no other source of virtual occupation than to chat online in unprotected websites, you lose vacation revenues since parents realize Disney is “not what Walt created it for anymore” and in the end, all faith is lost in a company that was definietly seen as must more than making a fast buck.

    Good luck to you and yours. I have a definite feeling they will need it with your short sided opinion.

    1. Lisa

      Missy, I agree totally. It’s fantastic that you have the expertise and took the time to break this all down. I see it the same way but didn’t have the numbers to include in my posts. I hope you have the opportunity to go to SaveVMK.com or some of the other sites where you could help inform people. I believe it’s worth it. Anyway, just wanted to cheer you on ;-)

    2. Lisa

      I was just scanning the globe looking for a crumb of hope regarding the closing of vmk. There were none to be found. However, I ran across this insightful reply. I sat down and added up what my family spent on Disney since VMK began. These were exclusively inspired by the game: 3 trips to WDW for the quests; 5 new dvd releases (even though I had the tapes) for codes; 20 movie tickets (instead of renting later) for rewards codes. 6 mouse ears, countless candy purchases, A trip to Disneyland
      (just so the kids could see all of the original references to VMK). What’s that.. about..omg!

      Living the Disney lifestyle $11,000
      Learning a valuable lesson – priceless.

      Were we stupid, or what!? Glad the pixie dust has been removed from my eyes. Told the kids we will not renew ToonTown and DONT EVEN ASK to see Narnia until we can netflix it!

  30. TickledPinkRabbit

    As an adult who works in the public relations and marketing field, and as a VMK player who has enjoyed playing this game, I have to say this is a bad move on Disney’s part. They have been able to build loyalty to the Disney brand through this game – extending the Disney experience beyond the parks. Just by reading the comments listed here – you can see the brand equity they have built with this game. Not to mention the endless advertising opportunities within the game and opportunities for revenue outside of the game (i.e., Disney Movie Rewards, encouraging people to visit the parks after playing the game to collect codes, etc.) I think in the end, they have alienated more loyal Disney customers than are worth the bottom line. God job Iger.

  31. David

    At the end of the day, it makes me delighted that I acted like a parent and refused to let my kids get suckered into spending their allowance money and the sidebar “attractions” that were all part of this ludicrous scam. At the end of the day, Disney’s shuttering of VMK is just another business decision, coupled with the “opportunity” to visit pay-for-play sites.

    Please don’t think for a second that Disney’s beancounters only now realized that the resources required to host VMK cost actual money. Only when they thought they could make more money by directing those sources elsewhere did it “outlive its usefulness.”

    VMK was a source of fun for kids, and to that end it was successful. That the beancounters have hastened its closure to lure kids to pay-for-play sites would have Walt Disney himself rolling over in his grave. What an embarassment.

  32. kangapal

    VMK is a great way to pretend you are still part of the “Disney magic”. Once my family got hooked on VMK, we took more trips to Florida, we bought VMK pins, we bought Disney videos to get points for “virtual items” on VMK, and joined a board that was a VMK community. We spent the last couple of years getting to know the people on VMK and the people on the VMK board. We had some very good times. We have made friends from all over the United States because of this game. Some of these people we will still get to talk to once the game has ended, but many of the people that we have spent the last several years with, will vanish along with the game. There were so many promises made to us in VMK over the years that were never kept, but that didn’t stop us from playing our favorite game.

    Even though this was a game intended for children, I know of many adults and families that joined this magical place. It was a safe place to go and be part of the Disney experience. There aren’t very many websites out there that families can play together while keeping the kids safe. This game was also a great way to release your creativity. I was always amazed at the creative people on the game that built such amazing rooms out of things like wooden coffee tables, palm tree parts, candy pieces, etc. It was always a challenge to see if you could create something that would cause people to want to come visit your room.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my VMK experience. I will miss my time on VMK, but I will really miss all of the wonderful people I have shared the experience of VMK with. I do not believe that Disney realizes how “magical” VMK is.

  33. Dane

    since vmk is closing i think it should be the most hated website through out the world because walt would never stand for this and their dissapointing many fans and not many will go to the parks

  34. Kathy

    My kids are devastated and started to cry when they heard. They absolutely love vmk and have invested a lot of time and energy in the friendships they have made along the way. Don’t stop it completely. If you want to charge for the games than have a monthly fee to be invlolved but don’t pull the plug completely.

  35. Kyle

    This is completely rediculous. I’m 15 and I play that game when what i usually play is shooters. It’s an online community where alot of my friends and I have become friends and some are just like family. Disney is just another corporate bussiness now and I dont think they know just quite yet that this will decrease the number of disney fans. Nobody in that bussiness actually cares about the people they just care about the peoples money. Disney is becomeing less and less of a place to visit in USA as a place to just go and eat in fun restraunts and ride rides. The magic is going away. I would pay to play if they would offer it and yes i spent my life savings on vmk cards just to have it close down.

  36. Matt

    Time to get a life for a lot of folks it seems. Ok, VMK was fun. Life, however, goes on. Those who have this entitlement mentality that think they are owed something by Disney are crazy. You had years of a free or very nearly free, fun activity. You got way, way more than you paid for. The company is moving on. Deal with it. If you are so upset over the VMK closure that it is a life shattering event, this should be a sign to you that your life’s priorities are seriously out of whack. How about going outside once in a while, reading a book, playing a physical game with others and getting some exercise in, whatever? Sheesh!

    No one owes you anything. If you wasted 25% of your life on VMK, and are now without direction and totally in psychological crisis, well, you have bigger problems.

    1. Dis-heartened

      In response of Matt’s offensive post, not everyone has the choices you apparently have. I have twin daughters, one with AUTISM and the other 1 year into 2 1/2 years of treatment for LEUKEMIA. VMK was way more that a game to them. When we were totally isolated for 8 months because of immunity issues related to chemotherapy, VMK is where we went to keep in touch with friends and keep the magic alive. My other daughter has never been able to make friends due to autism (unlike Matt, whose problem seems to be judgemental-ness) and she has a full friends list on VMK. These are people who share her love of Disney, don’t bully her, and cut her slack, because it’s clear she’s doing the best she can (obviously you would not have fit in, Matt). We are annual passholders, we spend our vacation dollars at Disney. It will be harder for us to want to do so, after the utter disregard Disney has shown this community it created. This is a relatively new area, and Disney has missed its opportunity to take the lead in showing respect and responsibility toward its virtual world. We will not be migrating to any other Disney online game. Disney has tainted the magic and has shown it is no different from any profit-seeking conglomerate. That is fine, but they should not hold themselves out as the gold standard in caring about their customers.

  37. Karen

    A note to those who would criticize others for playing on the internet instead of playing outside etc, maybe you are not aware that there are people in the world who cannot get outside. Maybe they are in hospital receiving chemo or radiation, or have some other life threatening illness that prevents them from living a ‘normal’ life. VMK means so much to these kids, and brings a measure of happiness to their limited world. Think outside the box people, and for heaven’s sake have some compassion for other peoples needs!!!

  38. Justine

    Vmk Is closing What the heck!! I have been on Vmk for a good 2 years And now they are Closing It!!!! I am so terribly mad.. I say we still have vmk magic but it isn’t the same!!! And Alot of your friends on Vmk Are Your Best Friends and you dont even Know them. But all you no is their personality.! I just Hope Vmk Doesn’t close and Is still going to go on forever or else i wouldn’t be on the computer as much and there wouldn’t be anything else to do! And haven’t You Ppl See The online Petitions?? Theyhave over 7000 on each one! and there is like 3!!! That gives Proof that Alot of kids Love VMK So why go on and break some kids hearts? Keep Vmk Alive!!! Plz!

  39. Pingback: Saving VMK: Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom Community receives a death sentence | The Disney Blog

  40. cteddiesgirl

    Please visit savevmktoday.com and savevmk.com

    I am a single adult female with no children who has played VMK for the last 2.5 years. I believe that the Disney Company needs to take another look at this little place on the internet called Virtual Magic Kingdom. How can it not be the most magical and probably one of the most viable and lucrative “games” on the internet? VMK has only begun to really start in my eyes.
    There is still so much that can be done with it. I also believe at one point in time, Yavn (the lead producer) even stated that he would like to see Epcot (my own favorite park) be built into the game. And why stop there? There’s still Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and California Adventure.

    For me, Disney has always been a magical experience. Ever since my very first trip to Walt Disney World in 1972 while still in the womb (so, I didn’t have a very good view). Over the years, I’ve had many happy memories of going to WDW with my parents and my sister. The last time I went, it was just my niece and I. Since that time, I have been missing the park. Imagine my surprise when in September 2005 I found out about this “game” on a Disney fan site. I ignored it at first because I’m not really a gamer. Then I looked at the people posting in the forum about it and thought, what the heck? I instantly fell in love with VMK. Here was a place where I could experience the magic of my beloved park without actually having to be there. And not only that, it was not your ordinary game. I didn’t have to worry about doing tasks and getting to higher levels. I could just walk through the park exploring at my leisure. I could just sit on a bench and watch the people go by. Or meet new friends who share my love of Disney. I could just play mini games all the time. Or I could spend my time trading or decorating my rooms. There really is no pressure to do anything and there’s so much to do. It’s like a vacation inside the virtual world.

    VMK is the Happiest Place on the Internet. The people are generally so friendly and so kind. When I couldn’t afford to go to the parks to do park quest items, some people just gave me some of those items. When people are having a tough time in their real lives, they log in and are comforted by their friends. There are those players who will sit in the Esplanade for hours at a time and just give away things to new people coming in. There are those that will see that a player has been playing a game for a while and still can’t get it, so they help them out. During the last big quest, we had to reach a near impossible score on a certain mini-game. Many of us tried to help as many people through it as we could and we ended up with far more people finishing than was ever expected by the staff. And when the quest was suddenly ended 10 hours early, some people just gave away some of their prizes they worked so hard to get to others that couldn’t finish.

    Then there are those people that play to escape their lives. Many people that play have disabilities or illness. I know quite a few who have various forms of Autism, cancer or other debilitating problems. Some have used the “game” as a form of therapy or recovery. Some have formed friendships in VMK when they couldn’t form friendships elsewhere. There have been kids who have learned to spell better due to the dictionary within the “game”.

    There are also many families that play VMK. Entire families. I’ve known several where everyone in the household plays. Kids and parents alike. Also, I have seen where grandparents and aunts and uncles are playing. Even my Godchildren will log in at their home and play along with me. VMK really is an extension of the real parks. One quote from Walt Disney that really does fit VMK: “We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun – together.” No other game on the internet has this kind of appeal to all ages.

    This is why I believe that you have the best online promotional tool available in internet “games”. VMK is capable of advertising and promoting Anything the Disney Company does. It’s not tied to only one movie or one park. It’s everything Disney. It’s the parks, it’s the resorts, it’s the movies, it’s the TV shows, it’s the clothes, the dvd’s, the music, etc. The company needs to just puts a few ads for the “game” on sites such as Neopets or Yahoo, AOL, etc to increase the amount of players (and possible new consumers). Then use the “game” to promote anything that Disney wishes to promote. It can be ads included on the actual screen or it can be in “game” items to promote something. Also, I do believe that the Disney Movie Rewards was a brilliant idea. Or just sell card packs with various codes for things that can only be received through the packs. Or just make the “game” pay to play. This is just a couple of ways to make VMK profitable for Disney. Oh. And one very important thing, get better servers for the game. That is a must so that more players can be online at the same time.
    I believe that the company is just wasting its money on short term internet games to promote something. Want to promote a new attraction at the parks? Promote in VMK. Want to promote a new movie in the theaters? Promote it in VMK. Want to get word out about a new show on the Disney Channel? Promote it in VMK.

    Oh. And you have probably wondered why when referring to VMK as a “game” I used quotes. It’s because VMK is not just a game, nor is it just a promotion. It is a community.
    By shutting down VMK, you are losing a great promotional tool and destroying a community and children along with it. Walt would never have disappointed so many children.
    In short, build on what you already have instead of tearing it down and save the community of VMK


    1. CynAnne

      Brilliantly summed-up assessment of Disneys ‘jumping the shark (magic)’, cteddiesgirl. I’m also an adult female who has played VMK literally every day for almost three years, and I too have happily spent real money on VMKs virtual items. Not to mention the hours playing games and doing quests, or, as you said, just sitting back and soaking up the ‘Disney Magic’. Now with this HEARTLESS move by Disneys corporate honchos, I believe Disney will find a substantial reduction in profit for both their parks and merchandise sales following May 2008 (when they end VMK). As others have said, I’m sure Walt is spinning in his grave, feeling the heartbreak of THOUSANDS of ‘Disney Dreamers’ – the people he cherished MOST..!

  41. FreedomIsntFree

    In this give and take world, Google gives

    “Google WiFi is a free wireless Internet service we’re offering to the city of Mountain View as part of our ongoing efforts to reach out to our hometown.” – wifi.google.com

    and Disney takes away.

    “VMK will cease to operate and close its virtual gates on May 21st, 2008 at 10PM PST.”

  42. Someone

    I loved disney before i started playing VMK. When I found VMK I was over joyed. Walt Disney’s dream was to make a place where families could have fun together. VMK was like Disneyland. And families DID have fun together. Year of a Million Dreams promotion. Well disney let me tell you something. You just CRUSHED a million dreams. Yeah that’s right Disney crushed dreams. Totally against Walt’s dream. Well I dont know about everyone else but I DONT and probably NEVER EVER will trust disney again because of this.

Comments are closed.