Event Report: PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts – Final Mix –

Kingdom Hearts has been a franchise that’s captured hearts since 2002 but despite the hype from thousands of fans, Disney hasn’t given much attention to this hybrid of Square Enix and Disney characters. That’s why the infamous Cutsceneaddict (our own Casey Covel) started PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts. This event has drawn attention to these memorable video games and has even expanded to Disneyland in California. This year Donald and Goofy in Kingdom Hearts outfits were featured at the Oogie Boogie Bash and tickets sold out. The movement is working!

On September 20th, Cutsceneaddict returned after a four-year hiatus to bring new and old Kingdom Hearts fans to Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Orlando, Florida. Several special guests attended including XionIV owner of Sweets and Geeks, Mihari KB former manager of Disneyland of Departure, Sonja Taylor, Shutter Spade Snapshots, and Alexa Brightside creator of Kingdom Hearts: The Musical.

Upon entering the park, attendees of the event would be directed to get their wristbands, a sea salt ice cream lollipop, raffle tickets, and Gummi Phone Scavenger Hunt sheet, and to sign the frame that would hold the big photo of the night. Following everyone getting their goodies, Cutsceneaddict gave away various Kingdom Hearts figures to several guests in the raffle.

After that, guests moved in a group to the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel where Chris of Shutter Spade Photography took some snapshots. When everyone had a turn to ride, the group moved in front of Cinderella Castle to take the grand shot. Following that, attendees could enjoy the park on their own. Some decided to stick together, enjoying the rides and taking pictures in front of the Disney sites and characters. Some participated in the filming of the Kingdom Hearts music video by Sassy Sassers.

Over eighty guests attended, most in cosplay! A variety of Sora cosplayers attended, some in his typical garb and others in Halloween Town, Port Royal, and even one with a Mickey’s 90th Birthday Celebration-themed outfit. We also had several Aquas, Namines, Kairis, Larxenes, and even Demyx. Some of the more unusual cosplay were Marluxia, Xigbar, and Vanitas.

Winners have been announced for the Photo Contest and we have some beautiful ones to win the top prizes, including plushies, gift cards, and POP Figures!

Most Comedic
Most Creative
Best Reenactment
Judge’s Award
Photo of the Year

All and all this is was a wonderful gathering of people who’ve had their lives changed by Kingdom Hearts. Many of the cosplayers carried the true spirit of the characters they portrayed. Dozens of castmembers were overjoyed to see Kingdom Hearts cosplays in the park. So many attendees had the times of their lives spending time with others who love this franchise. Statuses flooded post the event of people saying it was one of the most joyful days they’d ever had.

“The Kingdom Hearts community is the closest to my heart (no pun intended) because of how sweet, caring, and genuine its members can be with each other. Connecting with some of the kindest of them all was the best part of PMKH 2019 for me. I hope that this sparks the ongoing revival of the East Coast movement!” — Mihari KB

“After the last Magic Kingdom Hearts, I started talking to a new friend over pictures I’d taken from the event. Five years later, we finally got to meet, explore the wonders of Disney and enjoy chilly treats together. If that isn’t a way to answer “Now who will I eat ice cream with?”, then I’m not sure how to do it.” — Chris

“It can be a lonelier experience to feel passionate alone than to feel sadness alone. PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts brought dozens of people together with a passion for stories and heroes, complete with the sparkle of childlike wonder by setting the event in Disney World. For one whole day, a fairy tale came alive and I could not think of a better way to celebrate in the spirit of Kingdom Hearts.” — Alexa

Cutsceneaddict, thank you for bringing the magic to so many fans! And to close, a word from this amazing founder:

“To say that PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts 2019 -Final Mix- was an unprecedented success would be an understatement. Fans flew to Orlando, Florida, from across North America–Texas, California, Alabama, Georgia, even Canada–because of this initiative and the series it represents means so much to them. Memories were made, friendships were formed, and there are already cries to host the event again next year in 2020. Over 80 Kingdom Hearts fans and cosplayers gathered in front of Cinderella’s Castle to set a new photographic record–and a Disney Cast Member even joined in! Numerous Disney characters (including Mickey Mouse!) recognized our cosplays and interacted with us in character. I believe that in uniting together, we demonstrated to both Disney World and its excellent team of Cast Members that this series so dear to our hearts deserves to call the Disney theme parks home.

“The mission of this project has always been connection. This year’s event not only connected fans from across North America and allowed longtime social media friends to meet for the first time in person, but it also united PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts with its California branch, The Keybearer’s Alliance (formerly Disneyland of Departure), as both project founders were present. But, of course, we are all most proud that in participating in this event, we have connected these two Kingdoms–Kingdom Hearts and the Magic Kingdom–together.

The year 2019 has been a climactic year for the Kingdom Hearts series, with the release of Kingdom Hearts III marking the peak of the franchise’s popularity. Many fans have anticipated this finale for over half of their lives. Disney is beginning to showcase more of the Kingdom Hearts series in response, with the most exciting development being the special Halloween meet-and-greet with Donald and Goofy in their Kingdom Hearts costumes at Disneyland California this same year. The revival of PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts in 2019 is a culmination of all these incredible developments–all this “heart”–which is why I called the 2019 event the -Final Mix-. I am so incredibly grateful for the lifelong memories I shared with so many Kingdom Hearts fans who believe in the magic of this event. Thank you, all, and may your hearts be your guiding key.”

Victoria Grace Howell

Victoria Grace Howell is an artist and aspiring speculative fiction writer. She received Teen Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Florida Christian Writers Conference , a conference she attended since 2010, and the Believers Trust Award in 2015. When she's not writing her books or articles, she enjoys drawing her characters, playing the piano and practicing Kung Fu.

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