MCParks is one of the oldest servers in the community. This year, 2021 the server is now 8 years old! I know we also can’t believe it. Darren and Ryan have been working on this project for almost a decade now and we want to congratulate them on it! MCParks is a server that was founded back in 2013 by Darren (TeamDarren) and has since been one of the main players in innovation with the theme park community. So today we would like to showcase their server, the upcoming plans, events to celebrate the 8th anniversary, and more! So join us for this awesome in-depth interview showcasing some backstory of MCParks and their plans for the future.
Jason : First Darren, When MCParks was founded back in 2013, what was your main inspiration for starting this type of project / server?
Darren : Well my ideas and inspiration for MCParks started well before 2013 when I and others in the community when we were all just massive fans of the Disney Parks. We saw the Minecraft was this great outlet to showcase our ideas and passion. Before MCParks I was involved in Theme Park recreations, while they were not 1:1 they were fun passion projects on games like Rollercoaster Tycoon. Eventually, I transitioned over into the Minecraft scene, and about that time only a few other projects existed. At that time I joined the MCDisney team well before it became MCMagic. Ryan (RyanHechet_) had already been building Magic Kingdom and WD2 has already been building his, so MCParks has a deep rich history of people building Theme Parks in this game and others going back well over a decade. MCParks became this natural progression after I left the MCDisney team to try and do my project at my own pace.
Jason : What was it like in the first few years of MCParks and what did you all go through to get to this point?
Darren : So at the time I was 15 years old, and did not know how to run a community. At the time our biggest competitor was MCMagic and they had 150+ people online at any given time. So I was trying to square off against this one massive project with people that had at the time no experience with having to run a community and no real direction of what we were doing. Then you had our biggest competitor beating us and staying miles ahead of us. So it always felt like in the really early days we tried to constantly play catch up to get some sort of foothold in the community, for people to see the angle we were coming from. Then for them to be like “wow this is really cool” and “I really like what there doing.” We finally found that footing and grounding to build off of. When we first unwhitelisted a few weeks before opening the server we had about 20-30 people online, we had no rides open. They were just watching my team build because we were a different option. Like the monopoly was no longer a monopoly. People wanted to see how this other side and competitor would square up against the massive server that was MCMagic. Eventually, the novelty of that wore off and we had our struggles. We couldn’t just be like “we are constantly catching up” you can’t just be looking forward always, you need to make sure there is still ground below you.
Jason : So MCParks is now 8 years old, tell me about the major things you have planned for now and beyond.
Darren : So for the 8th anniversary we are opening up 8 different expansions. We originally planned for 8 new attractions, but as we looked at our list of projects we noticed there was a lot more near completion than we originally thought. So a lot of that extends into actual land opening and a couple of one-offs. In the order of openings, this weekend we are opening up Disney Village and Disney Springs. While only the landing area of Springs will be done, the rest will be open for you to walk through. So then you can see the Imagineers working and finishing the rest.
Then later this weekend on April 4th we are opening up Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, in the first phase of those areas. While only two attractions will be opening up with that, the gondolas and the Omnibus. A few lands will be opening at those respective parks that will be sure to excite everyone, like American Waterfront to name one. Then we are also debuting the Light the Night firework show at Disneyland playing every hour on the hour.
After that, on April 10th we will be opening Disneyland in Anaheim’s Adventureland. This will include Indiana Jones and the Enchanted Tiki Room then on top of that on April 11th we are opening Inside Out over at California Adventure. A stupid amount of work went into the Tiki Room and the mouths move on the birds, they rotate. It is just incredible what they did with that. Then Indiana Jones is mind-blowing. The following weekend on April 17th we are opening Tricera Spin & Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama over at Animal Kingdom.
Then on April 18th Walt Disney Presents. The final weekend we have Tomorrowland over at Disneyland with Space Mountain, Autopia, the Monorail, and the Disneyland Railroad opening up. Then to follow that on the 25th, Little Mermaid over at Magic Kingdom will open. So a lot planned. It’s gonna be nuts.
Jason : What do you hope is one thing people take away from the 8th Anniversary and going forward with MCParks.
Darren : Well the biggest thing I want to showcase is that innovation still exists. So we exist on the version of Minecraft 1.12.2. That is our base version so the limitations of that are the limitations we have. It is the version we have been on for many years, the fact we are still able to innovate and create these outstanding attractions and shows… that leave people at several moments in some of these attractions and shows saying “how did they do that?” or “how did they pull that off?” it is an inspiring feeling and is a testament to the team that we have here, so my hope is other people outside my team see this. They say “wow I can do something like that.” So just elevating everyone is what I want the goal to be. In the end, I love seeing competition as in the end it is the guest that wins, the guest that goes on each server gets to see something where people are constantly raising the bar, and hopefully a better more advanced project every time.
Again I want to thank Darren for taking time out of his busy day to do an interview with me as well as show me around some of the attractions mentioned including some awesome sneak peaks! Look forward to seeing what the future holds!
Article written by Jason Pennypacker or LiveTheMagic.