It’s been a very hot and awfully long summer since we posted our first look at Legends of Frontierland, so we thought we would go in and take a look at what’s happened with the experience since it first launched. The past few weeks have seen changes to the game revealing how deep the planning on this experience really goes. We’ll take a look at many of the changes that happened over the last weeks, dive into the ongoing story, and provide some tips and tricks if you still want to get into the game.

Gameplay Changes

What surprised us the most was how much the game has really changed over the almost 8-week experience. In addition to altering or removing basic game mechanics to make the game more fair, they also made it easier for people to get started and found creative uses of the land where the game is held. The managers of the game would take feedback, and fix issues that “citizens” were having.

New signage was added to make the experience more obvious to those passing through.
New signage was added to make the experience more obvious to those passing through.
Game bit amounts are constantly adjusted so the game feels fair. Also, Legends of Frontierland signage was added to all official stations.
Game bit amounts are constantly adjusted so the game feels fair. Also, Legends of Frontierland signage was added to all official stations.
An official "Welcome Center" was added inside the Golden Horseshoe - to create a defined launching point for new players.
An official “Welcome Center” was added inside the Golden Horseshoe – to create a defined launching point for new players.
Lots of changes were done to the Land Board - including lowering prices, and establishing rules for how often buildings can be 'flipped' (once per day).
Lots of changes were done to the Land Board – including lowering prices, and establishing rules for how often buildings can be ‘flipped’ (once per day).

Ongoing Stories

Exposed slowly over the entire experience, it started to become obvious that the characters that guests can interact with also have a deep back story. In addition to the characters having ‘daily reveals’ (such as relationships, love triangles, and family relationships), there is also a deeper back story going on – enabling more frequent players to go beyond the daily land game, and explore a deeper story.

Family drama is a deep part of the character experience. Here, Mac finds out that Billy is actually her father.
Family drama is a deep part of the character experience. Here, Mac finds out that Billy is actually her father.
Chance and Molly officially became a couple. Molly sports a player-created engagement ring.
Chance and Molly officially became a couple. Molly sports a player-created engagement ring.
One of Molly's goals was to sing on the stage of the Golden Horseshoe - so guests worked with cast and Miss Lilly to make that happen!
One of Molly’s goals was to sing on the stage of the Golden Horseshoe – so guests worked with cast and Miss Lilly to make that happen!
Guests arranged a marriage for Zane and Priscilla on the Mark Twain, including buying a ceremonial piece of land to mark the occasion.
Guests arranged a marriage for Zane and Priscilla on the Mark Twain, including buying a ceremonial piece of land to mark the occasion.

However, these stories aren’t obvious for players who don’t attend the game frequently, and it would be great for future experiences to make story elements like this more obvious. Making it clear there’s a deeper backstory could drive more people into the game, in the same way that the lore of Disneyland itself can be very engaging.

Guests Being Creative

In addition to the core game, the guests were creating experiences as well, which provided not only unique things to do, but started businesses, created shows, and added a unique element where players could “feel the map” and figure out how to expand the game in a creative way. You could be whatever character you wanted to be, and you could do just about anything (as long it was in the spirit of Disney and the game).

Zane calls attention to one of the first player created events, a Dance Off! Frontierlanders had the most nimble feet!
Zane calls attention to one of the first player created events, a Dance Off! Frontierlanders had the most nimble feet!
Guests can start businesses, including art. The Fanciful Mr. James with one of his pieces of art for Molly - he sold custom artwork to any guest for 15 bits.
Guests can start businesses, including art. The Fanciful Mr. James with one of his pieces of art for Molly – he sold custom artwork to any guest for 15 bits.
Yes, even a pineapple can be the mayor of the Western Territories. Guests are creating their own wild and wacky stories and events.
Yes, even a pineapple can be the mayor of the Western Territories. Guests are creating their own wild and wacky stories and events.
Hay Bale Hastin and Mesquite Matt were the first to work with cast members to proudly wave the flag of Frontierland on the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain.
Hay Bale Hastin and Mesquite Matt were the first to work with cast members to proudly wave the flag of Frontierland on the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain. If you can think of something fun to do, you can generally make it happen.
There's always some player-made shenanigans going on in front of the Golden Horseshoe. Here we have a massive game of Rock-Paper-Scissors going on.
There’s always some player-made shenanigans going on in front of the Golden Horseshoe. Here we have a massive square dance getting ready to start.
Noble Nick started his own hand-drawn caricatures business - get yourself drawn for just 15 bits. We also hired other guests to help us create signage, and spread the word, bringing other guests into our experience.
Noble Nick started his own hand-drawn caricatures business – get yourself drawn for just 15 bits. We also hired other guests to help us create signage, and spread the word, bringing other guests into our experience.
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Hay Bale Hastin and Noble Nick also came up with the Citizen Welcome Wagon to help get new players into the game – essentially creating a tutorial for the game.

What was amazing was that for us, it felt we were creating the Disneyland experience, rather than just consuming it. Such simple things, like explaining the game, creating things for people to do, getting citizens to meet at a rally or just sharing the character drama – it felt like we started the story for other guests.

We entertained people, and we got to be ‘on stage’ in a ‘role’ at Disney – something completely unheard of in the almost 60 years of Disneyland experiences. This game also ‘scratched that itch’ for wanting to be a Disney Cast Member and for a few this game became a ‘way of life’ to change experiences for the characters and the guests.

Non-Game Cast Members Creating Experiences

In addition to the core cast members getting into the game, it wasn’t uncommon to see other departments CMs also creating experiences and ways to earn bits for guests.

Willum works the Big Thunder line to hand out name badges, and encourage people to play after they get off the ride.
Willum works the Big Thunder line to hand out name badges, and encourage people to play after they get off the ride.

Leveling

Guests essentially became cast members, but the leveling system creates a system of trust – and game monitors could shut anything down at anytime that got questionable. The leveling system provided trust and friendship with characters and cast.

Hero and Legend ceremonies happen during the last Golden Horseshoe show of the day (5:40pm). The cast makes a big deal of the contributions of players during the day.
Hero and Legend ceremonies happen during the last Golden Horseshoe show of the day (5:40pm). The cast makes a big deal of the contributions of players during the day.
Priscilla and Molly are super excited to give Mesquite Matt his Legend award. Each Legend gets a custom bandana, and a certificate of achievement.
Priscilla and Molly are super excited to give Mesquite Matt his Legend award. Each Legend gets a custom bandana, and a certificate of achievement.
A group of Legends. Legends are encouraged to come back and guide new players, and to create more experiences for citizens.
A group of Legends. Legends are encouraged to come back and guide new players, and to create more experiences for citizens.

Becoming a hero and legend felt like a big deal, and the characters and cast did a fantastic job ensuring that feeling went beyond that day – and pulled you more into the experience.

Merchandising

Basic merchandising was also integrated into the game, having inexpensive props to add to the experience. Bandana’s are available for purchase for around $2.50, and various disguises exist for those looking to alter their character.

L.B.’s elixirs also popped up shortly after the game started. This are flavored teas that you can purchase, with the idea that they will alter the gameplay for the players while they consume them.

About 2 weeks into the game, L.B.'s cart appeared, selling elixirs for $3.
About 2 weeks into the game, L.B.’s cart appeared, selling elixirs for $3.
Each elixir has special 'powers'. Charm makes it easier to get what you want, Luck gets you more bits per transaction, and Knowledge allows you get more information out of characters and cast.
Each elixir has special ‘powers’. Charm makes it easier to get what you want, Luck gets you more bits per transaction, and Knowledge allows you get more information out of characters and cast.

However, this didn’t seem well thought out. There’s not really a description on what the elixirs do, and it can be hit-or-miss if the characters and cast even see you drinking one.

Final Thoughts

As we said in our first look, this game isn’t for every single Disney fan. But for those with an active imagination, and those willing to take part in this social experience – this “game” offered enjoyable storytelling and community building.

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Citizens band together for a cause, or just to throw someone in jail.
Citizens band together for a cause, or just to throw someone in jail.

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In the same way that MiceChat meets nearly 10 years ago brought Disney fans with a common interest together, we see the same thing with Legends; team building, public speaking skills, and new friendships formed.

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Careful . . . you might just end up in jail.

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Legends of Frontierland is an amazing and fun experience – and might just be the oddest and most un-Disney thing we have ever done at the parks – and you still have time to check out these fun experiences, so get to the park in its last few weeks!

Join Us!

If you haven’t experienced Legends of Frontierland yet, please feel free to join us in the park. The game has been extended for an undefined period of time (rumor has it until September 27th). There will be all kinds of fun and exciting things going on, and I think any Disneyland fan owes it to themselves to at least experience the uniqueness of this game while it is still in the park, even if it’s just long enough to figure out what it’s all about.

If you see Hay Bale Hastin, Mesquite Matt, Noble Nick, or any fellow citizen of Rainbow Ridge or Frontierland – be sure to say “Howdy!”. If you can’t make it out this weekend, follow our player-run news Twitter account (@DLFrontierTimes), and we’ll be live tweeting the next few days of the game.

Getting Started Tips

If you’re heading into Frontierland for the first time:

  • Stop by any station to pick up a name badge! Rainbow Ridge is popular with new players, but it depends who hands you a badge. Badges are now pre-printed, so don’t worry about thinking about a name (unless you want a custom name).
  • Check out the Telegraph station. We always recommend new players go straight to the Telegraph Station. Here, you can get you’re easiest first job, and know about any goings on in town.
  • Talk to other players! Everyone has a story, and you can get a better sense of what’s going on if you talk to them. Legends really know what’s going on, and they can be found with their special bandana.
  • Never say “No”! Have fun doing just about anything you can think of! Got a talent? Tell the characters, and they will work with you to feature it. Want to just earn bits? Start a business and ‘hire’ fellow players.
  • Think of it as a real town, and not just a game. Every town has it’s citizens, it’s jobs, and it’s roles – you can find your niche and have fun!