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!”
-Yavn

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.

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