Let’s Play Disneyland Adventures – Part 1

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Disneyland Adventures.

I miss Disneyland. It’s actually been well over a decade since I was last able to take a trip to any of Disney’s theme parks, and I miss the rides, the food… even the queues! If you’re like me and you’re missing spending time at Disney – especially with the current pandemic messing up holiday plans – I’ve got just the game for you: Disneyland Adventures!

This is actually the second time I’ve bought a copy of this game. I first played it in 2011 or 2012 when it was on the Xbox 360 as Kinect Disneyland Adventures. The Kinect was Microsoft’s foray into the motion-control space, and it was a peripheral for the Xbox 360 (a second version was later bundled with the Xbox One). The Kinect device consisted of a camera and a sensor, and the idea was that it would allow for controller-less play; players would use their arms, legs, and whole bodies to control games.

The Kinect sensor for Xbox 360.

We could spend hours delving into the history of Kinect and its hits and misses; suffice to say the concept was good, but the execution – especially in this first version on the Xbox 360 – wasn’t perfect. Though the Kinect peripheral and its bundled game (simply titled Kinect Adventures) actually ended up being the Xbox 360’s best-selling title, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t the success Microsoft hoped for. The Kinect concept has since been discontinued for gaming, though it is still used in some specialist applications.

Disneyland Adventures is the 2017 re-release of the original 2011 title, and came out for Xbox One and PC. Most importantly it doesn’t require Kinect, nor any other motion controls, and can be played with a normal gamepad. This is the version we’ll be looking at today – and in future updates to this series of posts. If you followed my last “Let’s Play” – where I played through 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – the format will be similar.

Let’s Play Disneyland Adventures.

So what is Disneyland Adventures? It’s a game for kids that features a digital recreation of Disneyland (the original in California) to explore. Fan-favourite characters can be found who’ll give the player little tasks and quests, and some of the park’s most famous rides are reimagined and stylised to form mini-games and levels away from the open space of the theme park.

Today we’ll take a look at the game’s introduction and check out one of those rides.

After a very brief opening cinematic, I had the opportunity to “customise” my character. I’m putting that in inverted commas because the customisation options for Disneyland Adventures are limited, even for a game from 2011. There is a choice of gender, and several of the characters I interacted with had gendered dialogue which I’m assuming does change depending on whether you choose to play as a boy or a girl. And yes, that’s what the game calls its gender choices – the player character is a kid, after all! Other than the gender option there were a handful of different preset faces and a few outfits, and that was all.

My newly-created character by Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

I’d wager that if you’re even vaguely familiar with Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, you’ll find that the digital recreation of the park in Disneyland Adventures will feel familiar; I certainly felt that way! The game opened with my (unnamed) character being given a task by Mickey Mouse – take an autograph book to Donald Duck and get his signature. However, after being set this task I was free to explore the park, though there was a quest marker constantly showing my route to Donald’s location.

The Disneyland Monorail makes a loop of the park.

After taking my time to make it to Donald, he signed the autograph book and sent me back to Mickey Mouse. The character voices are all exactly what you’d expect from classic Disney characters, and though the 3D anthropomorphic style used for the characters might take a little getting used to, especially if, like me, you’ve only seen these characters in older 2D animated features, they have a truly classic Disney feel. En route back to Mickey I ran into Captain Hook, and while I couldn’t get his autograph I could interact with him which was fun. Collecting autographs and high-fiving the various characters is going to be a big part of the game.

Dancing a jig with Captain Hook.

Mickey Mouse was still standing near the castle and I returned the autograph book to him. The next quest was to take the book to Goofy in another area of the park, but I took the opportunity to get Mickey’s autograph first. The autographs are one of the games collectables, and they’re divided up into groups of characters.

Getting Mickey’s autograph.

My next task, courtesy of the main mouse himself, was to head over to Goofy and deliver the book. But on the way I decided to have a little bit of a wander through the park – that’s really the main appeal of the game for me! In Tomorrowland, the sci-fi/futuristic area of the park, I met the aliens from Toy Story.

The little aliens.

After that encounter, I tried out one of the attractions – the classic Tomorrowland ride Space Mountain. I’m not wild about ultra-fast rollercoasters usually, but the ones at Disney are done very well and I’ve always enjoyed Space Mountain in particular. In fact, Tomorrowland as a whole is kind of a sci-fi geek’s paradise! The versions of the ride differ at the different theme parks, and I’m sure people who’ve visited all of them will have an opinion on which one is best! In Disneyland Adventures, the attraction stays true to the original theme of the ride – outer space – but kicks it up a gear or two!

Boarding Space Mountain.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the ride; it’s been a while since I played this game, and because even in those days my health wasn’t great, I struggled with the motion controls and didn’t play Disneyland Adventures – or any other Kinect title – very much. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a delightfully old-school on-rails spaceflight game.

An asteroid to avoid in the centre-right, and coins to collect on the right.

In the style of classic arcade games, the player’s vehicle – styled after the ride cars used on the real Space Mountain – moves forward on its own; control is limited to moving side-to-side to avoid obstacles, collect power-ups, and some sections involved shooting a laser-gun.

Targeting reticle to the upper-left and a “hyperspace gate”.

I wasn’t great at the Space Mountain game, I have to be honest. I kept flying into the asteroids and I missed a bunch of power-ups and coins! Luckily the game is very forgiving and every time I crashed I respawned in the same place, not losing any progress. There are more levels within Space Mountain – at least two more – but I didn’t carry on after completing the first stage. There was a “story” of sorts within the mini-game, following my character through several different space environments, including a battle!

Flying past other spaceships in a battlefield.

After exiting Space Mountain I decided to call it a day. I’ll pick up Disneyland Adventures again soon – unlike my last playthrough I’m in no rush to race through everything that the game has to offer. There may be another few parts in this series to come over the next few weeks though, so stay tuned!

I hope you had fun, and if you’re missing Disneyland or find yourself unable to go because of the pandemic, for £15 on Steam this could be a fun distraction. If you aren’t interested in mini-games and collectables perhaps you won’t enjoy it, but for a relatively low price it’s worth a punt in my opinion. If not, keep checking back and follow my playthrough!

Disneyland Adventures is available for PC and Xbox One. Disneyland Adventures is the copyright of the Walt Disney Company and Xbox Game Studios. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.