While I haven’t been to the parks in many years, I would consider myself to be a pretty big fan of Disney and Disney World in particular. Despite a theme park not being the best theme for a board game, there have been a number of different Disneyland/Disney World board games released over the years. Today I am looking at Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game which was originally released back in 1956. Despite being a fan of the parks, I can’t say that I had high hopes for the board game due to its age and the fact that it was built with younger children in mind. Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game’s gameplay is quite basic relying almost entirely on luck, but the game has enough Disney and retro charm that it may overcome these faults for some people.
How to Play Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game
Note: This review is based on the reprint of the game made in the 2000s/2010s. The rules should be the same for the older versions of the game.
- Shuffle the two different colored sets of cards.
- Deal three pink cards to each player. These cards show each player what they need to take pictures of during the game. If there are any leftover cards they are returned to the box.
- The white cards are placed face down on the indicated space on the game board.
- Each player chooses a boat and places it on the starting dock space.
- The game doesn’t specify how to determine the first player.
Playing the Game
Each turn begins with you spinning the spinner. The number you spin indicates the number of spaces that you will move your boat around the board. You will move your boat in the direction of the arrows printed on the board.
If your boat lands on a normal space your turn ends and play moves to the next player clockwise.
When your boat lands on a space already occupied by another boat, your boat will be moved to the next unoccupied space.
If your boat lands on a Camera Space, you will draw the top card from the face down deck of white cards.
You will compare the picture/animal name on the card you drew to the cards in your hand. If they match you will keep the white card. If it does not match, it is returned to the bottom of the white deck of cards.
End of Game
Players will take turns spinning and moving their boats around the board. Once a player acquires a white card that matches all of their pink cards, they will get to spin the spinner an extra time to get them closer to the finish. They will keep spinning to move their boat on their turn, but they will no longer draw cards when they land on a Camera Space.
The first player to reach the Dock Space after having acquired all of their pictures wins the game.
My Thoughts on Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game
Honestly there isn’t a whole lot to say about the gameplay of Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game. The game was meant to be a children’s/family game so that isn’t all that surprising. Basically you spin the spinner and move your ship around the board the corresponding number of spaces. The ultimate goal is to draw animal cards that match those that you were given at the beginning of the game.
On the positive side the game’s simple gameplay makes the game really easy to learn and play. Outside of really young children the game could probably be taught within a minute or two. There aren’t any rules that are hard to understand. Basically if you can count up to six and compare animals visually or through their names, you should have absolutely no problems playing the game. I even think really young children would have no problem playing the game, but may need a little help with counting or comparing cards.
The problem with the simplicity is the fact that there is basically no actual gameplay to the game. There really are no decisions to make in the game as there are no alternative paths to choose from or any other decisions that have an impact on what happens. The winner of the game will depend on what the players spin and if they are lucky enough to draw the cards that match the cards in their hand. Unless you are really good at applying the right amount of force to a spinner to get the number you want, your input is not going to have any impact on what ultimately happens. There is no strategy in the game, and skill would only come into play if you have a good strategy for spinning the spinner.
Because the game has no strategy and very little skill involved, the outcome relies pretty much entirely on luck. The player that is best at landing on Camera Spots and drawing the cards that match their cards will win the game. If you spin well you will get more chances at drawing the right cards and thus increasing your chances of getting the cards you need. After you get all of your cards it then becomes a race of who can spin higher numbers as you race to the dock. If luck is not on your side, you are not going to win the game.
With the reliance on luck the length of the game can actually vary significantly. Even at its longest the game has a limited length as I can’t see even the longest game imaginable taking more than like 20-30 minutes. If a player is lucky and gets all of their cards before reaching the dock the first time, a game could end in 5-10 minutes. In most cases though I bet you will have to take a second trip around. At least in the game I played players would regularly get each other’s cards which extended the game. Ultimately this did lead to a close game though as all of the players were eventually racing to the finish at the same time where everyone finished within a couple turns of each other.
Ultimately the gameplay of Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game left a lot to be desired. If you have young children I could see them getting enough enjoyment out of it to make it worth playing. As for adults and older children though, there isn’t enough to the actual gameplay to keep players interested.
The thing is most people that would be interested in Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game are probably not interested in the gameplay itself but rather the theme. I knew there was a very good chance that I wasn’t going to like the gameplay. The reason I ultimately chose to pick up and play the game though was because I am a fan of Disney in general and kind of have a soft spot for old board games as they have a sort of charm to them.
This was honestly the game’s greatest strength in my opinion. While the game is billed as the Adventureland Game, I personally would say that it would be better classified as the Jungle Cruise game. The game is basically built around the boat ride that you take on the ride with your goal being to take pictures of various animals. In some ways I think the game does a good job with the theme. I love the nostalgic style of the artwork. While I ended up playing the 2000s/2010s version of the game, it appears to be an almost perfect recreation of the original board. If it wasn’t the fact that it was in such great condition, I probably wouldn’t have even known it was the newer reprinted version. The board has that nostalgic feel to it even though I had never played the game before. The metal boats are also pretty cool even though I wish they were a little taller as they were sometimes a little hard to pick up. Fans of old board games or Disney fans should appreciate this aspect of the game.
The one issue I had with the game is that outside of the text saying that it is the Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game, it could have been pretty much any other boat adventure. The game could have done a better job tying itself to the actual park. In a way it kind of feels like the theme was just pasted onto another game. I give the game some leniency as not nearly as much thought went into the design of board games released in 1956. If you are expecting the game to be loaded with references to the park though you likely will be disappointed.
Should You Buy Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game?
Honestly it is kind of hard to judge a game like Walt Disney’s Adventureland Game. The game was originally made back in 1956 which was many years before I was even born. The game was also clearly made to be a children’s/family game. I think it could be a good game for younger children as it is quite easy to play and the various animals should keep children entertained. As for the actual gameplay though, the game is lacking. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the game where it is broken. There is basically no strategy or skill to the game though. Whoever spins the best and draws the right cards from the deck will win the game. Unless you have young children or have nostalgia for the game, it is not the type of game that you play for the actual gameplay. Instead it is a game that you would play due to it being based on Disneyland/Disney World and the fact that it does a good job keeping that nostalgic feel. While I think the game could have done more to connect the game to the parks, I think it does a good job in this area as the artwork is colorful and it has that charm that is present in a lot of older board games.
Because of this I am not entirely sure about recommendations. If you have younger children they may enjoy it enough to make it worth picking up and playing. If you don’t have young children and don’t have nostalgia for the game, I don’t know if I really see a big reason to actually play the game unless the theme really appeals to you. For this reason, I would probably only recommend the game if you are a big fan of the Disney Parks and older board games in general.