MouseAdventure Fall 2001
The MouseAdventure puzzles for this event required careful attention to directions, hard thinking, unscrambling, and anagram ability. The “Eye-Spy” pictures were particularly difficult. Over all, it was a challenging series of tasks to complete, but maybe we have finally found the magic bullet, since everyone seemed to have a great deal of fun (and that’s the whole point).
To start things off nicely, the weather cooperated. Those who have played multiple events know that the event date has shifted around a bit, but has now settled into a comfortable April / October routine to avoid blistering sunburns and heatstroke. Despite the heat waves of the past few weeks, today peaked in the mid 70s (though it felt warmer than that at times).
Registration started off with verification of teams and teammates, and everyone involved got name tags, and MouseAdventure buttons. This part proceeded smoothly due to the management and organization of the event coordinators, Lani Teshima and Alex Stroup, who have a skill in anticipating the unexpected.
That skill was tested almost immediately, as the lines to get into Disneyland were extremely long. A nearby tourist indicated she had waited 30 minutes to enter, potentially throwing off the game schedule. All the entry gates were open at Disneyland, but each line was significantly slowed by having only one bag-checker per line. Alex kept his cool and insisted we wait it out. He was right; all the teams were at the meeting point either on time or at most a few minutes late.
During that time teams posed for their complimentary team photos. We were struck, as we are every time, how enthusiastic everyone was. Several teams had created T-shirts for the day, while others wore ones made for previous contests. For the first time, it seemed that those without a team uniform were in the minority, and most teams had come up with a team name. That’s the kind of enthusiasm we like to see.
Before long, it was time to explain the rules to the captains. While Alex took care of that, we distributed “Team Challenge” sheets to the rest of the teammates. Players listed five characters from a list of Disney movies: Fox and the Hound, The Great Mouse Detective, or Pocahontas (but Pocahontas herself and John Smith were off limits). Not so easy.
With the teams occupied, the captains moved on to the Captain’s Mixer: gathering as many pre-assigned easy questions from other captains as they could in five minutes. A sample question might have been: Name the llama from Emperor’s New Groove; or How many ghosts inhabit the Haunted Mansion? When the time had elapsed, captains rejoined their teams. They all worked together until each was ready to hand those in and get going with the actual quests that make up the meat of the competition.
Teams get a core packet they keep with them, which includes a small scavenger hunt, several dozen trivia questions if they registered for the Trivia / Combined category, and a series of closeups from somewhere in Disneyland (the Eye Spy game). This was handed out along with the first of any “Ticket Book” the team wanted.
There are five ticket books: A Tickets are easiest and E Tickets are hardest. Each ticket book holds three quests. Most of the time, it works out that each quest requires some form of word or letter unscrambling, and then the result instructs teams to go somewhere to look up an answer. To keep teams sane, we structure it so that all the quests in one ticket book are done in a single land.
When teams return the first ticket book, they can get any other book they want to work on next. At this first exchange, they also got KeyWord and KeyLetter quests. These are minor games designed to get groups interacting out in the park when they encounter each other by exchanging pre-assigned words and letters.
Another crisis broke out shortly after noon. Participants were told, after deciphering one particular puzzle, to find out how many books were used to tell the Sleeping Beauty story. All of a sudden, Disneyland closed the Sleeping Beauty Castle with no warning. Adjustments were made to accommodate teams who couldn’t reach the final answer after the closure.
By 3:00, the event was winding down, and teams rushed to turn in their final packets. 170 people or so moved through in about 8 minutes to turn in their papers (as a point of comparison, most of the high-volume Disneyland rides load about 250 people in 8 minutes on average, and they aren’t collecting sheets of paper and checking them off as received!) Can a MouseAdventure FastPass be far behind?
A belated group photo came next, with the assembled group posing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. While a chore to set up, the picture was worth it. It helped that everyone was patient and good-natured about it.
The work for the Crew began in earnest to grade over 2,000 sheets of paper in under two hours. Grading had been proceeding all along, as packets came back and exchanged for new ones, but this is always a large undertaking at the end of the day. Still, we were numerous this year, and this was one slick machine of grading. Kudos again to Alex.
One by one, Alex called up the top three winning teams in each category. After the requisite pictures, each team in order was allowed to choose prizes from the most impressive Prize Table. After that, all the teams were invited to pick up their packets, and view the actual results from the game.