Although not one of the better Capcom titles on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Adventures in the Magic Kingdom still holds a special place in my gaming heart for a couple of reasons.

The first is because of its stellar soundtrack. Composed by Yoko Shimomura, who went on to do the musical scores for Super Mario RPG and Kingdom Hearts, this game has some incredibly memorable and catchy songs, especially the energetic tune that plays during the Autopia level. Each track perfectly captures the distinct tone of the attraction, whether it's a spunky beat spurring the exploration of a pirate-infested burning seaside town in the Caribbean, or a haunting, repeating refrain echoing within a lonely, dilapidated mansion.

The second reason is more nostalgic: I used to play this game nonstop as a child during my many visits to my relatives' house. These family members didn't have a wide selection of cartridges to choose from—only Tetris, Dr. Mario, Wheel of Fortune, and Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. So instead of making small talk with stinky perfumed old ladies on plastic-wrapped couches, I usually stuck myself in front of the tube and played this game until it was time to say our goodbyes and rub my cheeks of saliva. This was before I had ever gone to any of the Disney theme parks, so it was also kind of a way of coping with friends bragging about how great Walt Disney World was when I had never experienced its majestic splendor firsthand.

It was only when I was older that I finally visited Disney in Orlando. I've returned several times since to make up for lost time. I can't quite explain it; there is a certain "charm" to the place, from the rides to the restaurants. I don't know what it is, but the park transforms you into a kid again, and that feeling never grows old.

In 2008, I jumped at the chance to purchase a prototype of Adentures in the Magic Kingdom from a Dutch video game collector named Niels Thomassen. I had always wondered if there were extra levels never used in the game. Just by strolling around the virtual park, you will notice a number of unused attractions that simply blend into the scenery. One is found at the very top of the map, it's a small world. If Capcom can make a level based on a roller coaster ride that mostly takes place in the dark, surely a colorful adaptation of it's a small world was possible. During the trivia game, one of the characters even refers to it's a small world by name and presupposes that you know where it's located. (Tom Sawyer Island is also mentioned by a character during the trivia. Could that have been another level at one time?)

You will also see around Space Mountain another inaccessible ride known as Astro-Jets.

The last unused ride on the map was always a mystery to me. Using the Anaheim Disneyland park layout as a guide, the placement of the brown-and-yellow building to the right of Pirates of Caribbean could mean that it's likely one of two attractions, either Swiss Family Treehouse or The Enchanted Tiki Room.

There are other strange things, too.

If you press Start without entering your name at the beginning, the game will refer to you as "Bamboo.7."

Search around the game code, and you'll come across this:


What the? Morning salad? Bamboo croutons?

But that's not all:


Now this is just great. The majority of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction centers around drunken pirates doing and saying crazy things. If you read between the lines, it almost sounds as if "help ya grow" is like a rough and tough way of saying take a swig of rum or something (kind of like the idiom "it'll put hair on your chest"). None of this text is seen anywhere in the game.

There's even a hidden music track: in the Magic Kingdom - Unused Track.mp3

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when I went to test the prototype; there are no new levels. There are, however, some other minor changes.

Allow me to break down the differences for you fellow sleuths.

Adventures in the XXX Kingdom: Garbled Title Screen
For some odd reason, in the prototype version, the top portion of the castle's graphics and the title's text are covered in X's. Am I sensing some anti-Disney sentiment here?


The Eisner-Would-Have-Had-Multiple-Heart-Attacks Version: Missing Main Street, U.S.A. Store Graphics
Disney wouldn't be Disney without shops at every corner, peddling everything from character autograph books to smoked turkey legs. Not so in the prototype, as the graphics on top of Main Street's roofs have not yet been implemented.


Lazy Eye Mickey: Modified Cutscene Graphics
Mickey Mouse appears to have lazy eye in the prototype version, as his eyes stare away from you during cutscenes.


Planet A From Outer Space: Letterless Stars
On Space Mountain, the letter of the current star is blacked out on the HUD in the prototype. This spot is actually transparent, meaning that the scrolling background can be seen through it.


Mickey Mouse's Missing Meteorite Missiles: Altered Graphics
Also on Space Mountain, when you go to press A to blast a meteor, the released version's missiles are replaced with more dreaded X's in the prototype, not unlike the ones that we saw earlier on the title screen, only they're now white.


Mr. Toad's Wild Toll Bridge: Different Bridge Graphic
Autopia's drawbridge looks ricketier in the prototype.


Count Your Blessings: Missing Station Numbers
The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad station numbers are missing in the prototype; in their place are green X's.


Starry Seal-Wrap: Not-Yet-Changed Star Icon
In the released version, you might have noticed that the stars littering the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have slightly different graphics than the ones you find in other levels. That's because the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad stars are worth 5 points. These special stars can be distinguished from normal stars by their white, squarish outline. The prototype does not have this 5-star icon drawn yet, so it shows the sprite of a regular star instead.


Big Thunder Drunken Train Derailment: Glitch and Secret Unused Track

This is a crazy one. In the prototype, there is a way to derail the train on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad so that you go straight down the course, unharmed, and right past the goal at the end. Eventually, the terrain will turn into scrolling zeroes that race alongside the traveling train for a good 10-15 seconds. There is an end to this madness; the scenery comes back, as does a new hidden track, then it dead ends. Still, wow, what a ride while it lasted. No more moonshine for this cowboy.