MouseAdventure Open and
MouseAdventure Invitational: The Enchanted Race
The two goals of the tenth MouseAdventure event were: to create a game that would appeal to brand-new and veteran teams alike, and to try out an event concept that we had been musing about long before The Amazing Race became a reality-show hit.
It quickly became clear that the only way to accomplish both goals was to create two different games: An easy and fun, classic MouseAdventure game for new participants and families that we called MouseAdventure Open; and an extreme game that would pose a true challenge to our most competitive veterans that we called MouseAdventure Invitational: The Enchanted Race. With these concepts in place, we began the process of planning and hosting two entirely different events for game day, Sunday, March 13.
We are always pleased to announce during our awards ceremony that each event is our biggest game ever, and Sunday’s event was no exception—approximately 450 players turned out for the spring event, in Disneyland. We welcomed 90 returning teams, and introduced 57 brand new teams to the joys of MouseAdventure. We somehow managed to avoid both the recent rainstorms and the oppressive heat that has become the hallmark of MouseAdventure weekend, something the teams would become grateful for as the day wore on.
Teams participating in the Open division played a classic MouseAdventure game. Quests included a trip to Tom Sawyer Island to identify a missing tombstone, an exploration of the tribute windows in ToonTown, and an excursion into Innoventions to learn the difference between Hallmark and American Greetings. Teams also tried to identify 10 “Eye Spy” photos, and hoped to receive a bonus quest by trading postcards with teams participating in the Invitational division.
In case of a tie, we asked teams to try to predict their final score. It’s a good thing we asked, since we ended up needing the tie-breaker for the third-place winners.
We may have scared some of our veteran players out of taking us up on the Invitational challenge, since quite a few of them chose the Open event. And because roughly half of the Open teams were experienced MouseAdventure participants, we decided it best to honor the Open division winners based on whether their teams consisted entirely of new players or not, thus recognizing the top three finishing teams for both new teams, as well as returning teams in the Open division.
Several events ago we hit upon the strategy of giving teams their entire game packet at once. Some teams discovered that too much of a good thing could be overwhelming, and asked for more time to complete the packet of puzzles and quests. We were able to add an hour of playing time to this event, which meant that more teams had the opportunity to at least attempt every quest. This also meant that several teams were able to get perfect scores on the quests.
The Eye Spy and bonus opportunities became even more important, and in one case, the tiebreaker question made all the difference. Unfortunately, the close scores also meant that any slight error in grading would affect the final results, and we made a few. We very much regret the errors. The maximum score, with all bonuses, was 1110 points.
For our experienced veteran players, we introduced a new format—MouseAdventure Invitational: The Enchanted Race. Inspired by college road rallies and fueled by a popular reality television show, The Enchanted Race took our teams outside the normal boundaries of a MouseAdventure game. Teams started in Downtown Disney, rode the Monorail, traced a circle around Disneyland, eventually made their way back to the Disneyland hotel, searched the Mickey & Friends parking structure and discovered exactly how long it takes to walk to the Howard Johnson hotel before they crossed the finish line in Frontierland.
Along the way, the Invitational players found out that there is more than one City Hall inside Disneyland, learned how to read bar codes, solved new types of puzzles, and had the opportunity to face author David Koenig in a trivia challenge. The game lasted six hours, and we estimate that teams walked over 10 miles to complete the course. Although only 17 of the 26 teams that began the race made it to the finish line, many teams declared this new format the “best game ever,” and are clamoring to know when we are doing it again.
The Invitational division attracted some of our most competitive returning teams. Because of the difficulty of the event, we invited our Master teams, two teams previously retired from competition after they each earned three first-place finishes, to enter and compete in this new format. One Master team, the–mouse.com, took the challenge and was in fact the first to cross the finish line. Unfortunately, they had incurred a time penalty earlier in the event that knocked them out of the standings by just 38 seconds. The true heartbreaker, however, was that even with their time penalty, they would have placed second had they come in just 60 seconds sooner.
One member of the other Master team participated in the Open division with her son as team Kids of the Kingdom (team 2061), and the duo earned the eighth highest overall score in that event.
When the final results were in, the Happy Haunts earned not only the first-place title but also the honor of being named our third Master team. The second and third place teams crossed the finish line just six seconds apart, with another team hot on their heels just seconds later.
After last fall’s award ceremony was cut short by a visit from Disneyland security, we decided to take the next step and rent the Big Thunder Ranch for a post-game dinner and award ceremony. Those who joined us for dinner said they appreciated having a great meal and place to relax after the day’s exertions, and everyone seemed to enjoy the novelty of being able to hear the awards presentation over a PA system.
March 13, 2005
Winners – Open, New Team
- Tiki Twosome
- Single Rider Syndicate
- Admiral Boom
Winners – Open, Returning Team
- The Dream Team
- Team 90
- We Have Your Laughin’ Place
Winners – Invitational
- Happy Haunts
- Ralph Wiggum, FEJ, and The POP featuring Nirvanaman
- The Space Cadets