I've always wanted to go to the Disneyland in California, but have never gotten the chance. Thankfully, ImagineFun is the next best thing and it's also the closest I'll ever get to having a whole theme park to myself. No queues, no waiting, just endless rides until I puke.
ImagineFun is an online Minecraft server that has recreated the entire California Disneyland theme park inside Minecraft. Started in 2017 by "three lifelong Disney enthusiasts", ImagineFun has everything you would expect from the park including attractions, shops, and a handful of the park's roller coasters you can actually ride.
It's quite the feat, and the result is impressive, to say the least. All the park's main areas—Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, and Adventureland—have been created block by block including Disneyland's iconic castle.
It's a little overwhelming when you're first dropped in at the entrance, but the server thankfully gives you a map where you can see all the attractions. Like with other Minecraft servers, you can warp to any area using the chatbox, and so I decided to check out one of the park's biggest rides first: Big Thunder Mountain.
Rides work on a clever mechanism system. As you make your way through the queue (which I zoomed through since the park was almost empty) and stand patiently next to the track, you'll step on a pressure plate which starts a countdown. After ten seconds, the coaster will spawn on the track and the gates will open, allowing you to jump in.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the park's roller coasters, but apart from a few visual hiccups, Big Thunder Mountain ran like a dream. The Minecraft community has built plenty of eye-boggling coasters, but with the rides at ImagineFun, it's impressive seeing how the builders have imitated the real rides.
After exiting Big Thunder Mountain, I noticed that every ride has a floating leaderboard of some sort. It turns out that they track the number of times players have gone on that particular ride with the top rider, a position held by SuperAngieAngie, having ridden Big Thunder Mountain 6,558 times. That works out at around 13 days, 20 hours, and 29 minutes, according to the board. It seems that ImagineFun has some major fans.
An interesting aspect of ImagineFun is the audio work that has gone into the park. The server encourages you to keep a browser link open as you explore, allowing the website to track your movement in the server and play the applicable audio. This can be ambient sounds and music as you explore or audio tracks that have been timed perfectly with the rides—the Haunted Mansion being a great example.
If you're after more Minecraft servers to explore, I highly recommend Minecraft Middle-earth, a ten-year project that has built J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth inside Minecraft. It's an impressive build, and I should know because I spent 10 hours retracing the Fellowship's journey from start to end.
The Haunted Mansion takes you on a tour through a spooky house and relies on a mischievous narrator to guide you. It's very much in keeping with the actual ride and even has the same trick at the end where a mirror shows a spooky ghoul sitting in your carriage even though there's actually nothing there.
Another impressive feat in ImagineeringFun is the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction, a ride that doubles as a neon shooting gallery. With your blaster, you need to hit targets to earn points, a system that is pulled off pretty well in the ride's blocky equivalent.
When finishing rides you get an amount of in-game currency that you can spend on merch. ImagineFun gives you a small amount to start with but you need to be quite an avid rider to afford any of the good merch. I had to say a tearful adieu to a ridiculous Goofy hat that I had my eye on.
If you've had a fun-filled time on all the coasters and getting incredibly ill from riding the spinning teacups one too many times, you can end your day by watching the daily fireworks show, just like the real Disneyland Parks. But instead of one. ImagineFun has a routine fireworks display three times every day 7:00 AM, 7:00 PM, and 9:30 PM PST.
Running around the blocky park and riding countless coasters, I was thoroughly pooped. Even though the park is looking it top shape, the ImagineFun team are busy at work building even more coasters. If you want to check out the park yourself, head on over to the ImagineFun official website.