Herron has written in with eye-witness experience of the Disney sword in the stone experience as speculated upon in AMT253:
As of 2006, it was still being done. My wife & I took our 2 boys, ages 4 and 7 at the time, to Disneyland in California. Merlin (long white beard, purple robe & hat) gathered people around a rock with an anvil on it and a sword handle sticking out of the anvil. He had some burly man try to pull the sword out but (ha ha ha) no go. Then, Merlin called to my older son, Cole, to try. Shazam….he pulls the sword up (though it never came completely out … Merlin’s good, but Disney lawyers are more powerful). There were cheers; burly man looks sheepish; all are happy.
Contrary to what you said, there was no ruling over the Magic Kingdom for the day (just as well, not sure I want to live in a land ruled by a 7-year-old). He got to wear a crown for about 30 seconds. But he did get to take home a special medallion.
Kris has also written in with the inside scoop on this magical weapon-pulling. WARNING: If you don’t want THE MAGIC RUINED, do not continue reading this post. If your eyes are still following these words, we are NOT responsible for the destruction of your dreams. Ok? Kris says:
I’ve worked at Disneyland Paris now for ten years, in the show department, imagineering and I’m even one of the voices on the phone when you call Disney.
I felt I should settle the discussion about the sword in Fantasyland. I’m afraid it really isn’t that exciting and does spoil the magic slightly.
Quite simply there are two swords. The sword that is there during the day is only a partial sword that is bolted to the floor. It has a slit through the blade where the bolt attaches that allows it to move up and down slightly but will never come loose. (You can hear it clinking when you try.)
There is a tiny door themed into the side of the rock which a technician can access the bottom of the blade and release it. I’m afraid no mechanics, no tricker, no clever release.
In the past, when they have done show with merlin the sword is simply changed prior and after the show. Most times in the shows it isn’t even release and just comes further out of the rock.
(Disclaimer, this is only true at Disneyland Paris – the other parks could be very different.)
Sorry to spoil the magic.
I’m crushed, Kris. CRUSHED. But not so crushed that I can’t wonder what an ‘imagineer’ is and how I can become one.