It’s time again to take a journey down memory lane and have a look at one of the fallen greats of Disney’s massive multiplayer online (MMO) adventures. Previously on Dearly Beloved, I uncovered what happened to our old friend Toontown Online. Ever since then, I’ve had requests coming from both inside the Rainbow Caverns team and out to talk about Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow. Today, I think it would be fun to recapture some old memories of the beloved MMORPG based off of the Disney Fairies series of movies, beginning with Tinker Bell.
World overview of Pixie Hollow | © Disney Fairies Wiki
For those of you who don’t know, Pixie Hollow was on online server, originally launched in 2008, where members would create their own fairies (or sparrow man, but honestly that just wasn’t as much fun) and go on adventures around Pixie Hollow. You would start by picking a talent for your fairy, such as tinker, light, water, animal, or garden; and after picking hairstyles, clothes, and a name, you’d take your fairy out and receive quests from the famous Disney Fairies we all know and love. Users could create up to three different fairies at a time and decorate a house for them to live in.
Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow fairy creator | © Rock Cafe
Similar to the other MMO’s of the time period, Pixie Hollow could be played entirely for free if so desired. However, there was, of course, the option of the paid service which allowed access to more in depth chatting; such as being able to type in what you wanted to say instead of selecting from a list of options, and unlocked decorations and other customization options not available to those playing for free.
The original Pixie Hollow website officially closed on September 19, 2013, the exact same day Disney closed down ToonTown. In this case, however, there was no warning. Unlike the unlucky ToonTown customers who had about a month to say goodbye, PIxie Hollow users logged on to their favorite website on Sept. 19 to a message thanking them for playing, but denying them access to their accounts. But very much in the same vein as ToonTown, a few dedicated fans created a website with a rewritten code to keep the magic alive! You can check it out now at fairyabc.com.
The fall of the Disney MMOs is a tragic story, especially since we’ve seen in recent years the power that online gaming can have. The privilege of connecting to thousands of people all over the world to share interests and play games is a concept still in its infancy. It’s a shame to see something as amazing as Disney’s MMOs for kids die when predecessors such as World of Warcraft and Runescape already existed, but felt more like they belonged to an older generation.
Today, the same kids who fondly remember ToonTown, Pixie Hollow, Pirates, Club Penguin, etc. are the ones keeping the concept of online gaming alive. It comes to us in the form of MMOs such as Final Fantasy XIV and MapleStory, and battle royale games like worldwide phenomenon Fortnite and newcomer Apex Legends.
Whether we realize it or not, Disney made an impact on the gaming industry in a similar fashion to their impact on the animation and film industry, albeit not quite as large. As players, we remember begging our parents to let us sign up for an account, or falling in love with the advertisements on TV. And for so many of us members of Disney’s target demographic, we created a username, logged on, created our characters, and never once looked back into a world without online gaming.
A Halloween event in Pixie Hollow | © Tabitha Anctil
I’m going to be making some fairies of my own and posting them on twitter! If you check out the site, I’d love to see what you can make and we can fall in love with Pixie Hollow all over again together. Tweet your fairies at me at @mariahcoolbeans and let’s chat about the best Tinker Bell movies! (My personal favorite is Secret of the Wings.)