MouseAdventure Spring 2008 and MouseAdventure 101
With over 900 players forming over 260 teams to spend the day solving quests and puzzles under sweltering 102 degree temperatures, our Spring 2008 MouseAdventure event set new size and temperature records all around. The theme for this event was “Disney Aptitude Test,” and “students” (participants) registered their “study groups” (teams) for one of three divisions depending on the challenge they craved. Though we added capacity to the main event and created an entirely new division for new teams, our main event sold out in under 36 hours.
To allow new players to experience MouseAdventure without turning away returning teams, we introduced a new “MouseAdventure 101” event at Disney’s California Adventure, a basic game for first-time players. Students participating in the 201 and 301 events took their “exam” inside Disneyland during a 6-hour competition that sent them to every nook and cranny of the park. Both 201 and 301 divisions were based on our MouseAdventure Classic format. Regardless of division, teams received a packet of tasks, quests and puzzles of various difficulty levels to solve.
Sign-in for all divisions took place at the Paradise Pier ballroom, with the 201 and 301 division teams arriving at 8:00 a.m. to collect their sign-in packets, pose for team photos, and prepare for another day of fun and MouseAdventure. This pre-game mixer is a great time to check out team T-shirts, and we obliged by projecting the entries into the team T-shirt contest onto the big screen.
This is the third time we have begun the event at the Paradise Pier hotel, so we decided to throw teams a little curve by releasing the “Advanced Placement” (301) teams into the park before the traditional trivia challenge (which they later tackled in the form of a trivia “pop quiz” while riding the Mark Twain Riverboat). Once the 201 division teams completed their live trivia quiz and left to begin the in-park portion of their event, we had just a few minutes to reset the ballroom for the MouseAdventure 101 players to arrive to begin their own event.
MouseAdventure 101 was designed to give new players a taste of MouseAdventure before they commit to the day-long event. David Perry of MouseAdventure Masters team The-Mouse.com welcomed these new players and hosted a brief new-player orientation to introduce them to MouseAdventure and try to prepare them for the event to come. After completing their trivia quiz, MouseAdventure 101 teams were released into Disney’s California Adventure to try their hand at the quests and puzzles.
MouseAdventure has a reputation for being held on unseasonably warm days, and this event seemed to offer extreme confirmation of that theory. The projected high temperature of 95 degrees was bad enough, but as temperatures climbed towards and then exceeded 100 degrees, several teams decided they’d had enough and abandonded the event in search of shade and air conditioning. Other teams were determined to press on, but had to call it quits when one or more members of their team began to exhibit signs of heat exhaustion. MouseAdventure crew members were instructed to remind, encourage, and even nag teams to drink water to prevent heatstroke.
The combined 201 and 301 event ended at 3:30 p.m., and most teams were all too glad to trade in their answer sheets and seek the nearest source of air conditioning. While teams recovered from their efforts, the monumental task of grading and scoring a record number of answer sheets began back at the Paradise Pier Hotel. By 5:00 p.m. teams began to reassemble inside the hotel ballroom for an unhosted (but air-conditioned) mixer. The “graduation” ceremony began at 6:00 p.m. with the return of the popular team T-shirt and team mascot competitions.
The 101 event ended at 4:00 p.m. at DCA, but with no award ceremony included in that division, teams had to endure a few anxious days of waiting before learning the results of their event.
MouseAdventure 201 and 301 Quests
Time management is one of the most important aspects of MouseAdventure, and the most sucessful teams are the ones who avoid becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paper we hand them. To help keep them organized, we issued three-ring binders to the study groups in the 201 and 301 divisions. Their binders contained the following:
Business (Tomorrowland) – involved using the names of sponsors of Tomorrowland restaurants and attractions (past and present) to solve a criss-cross puzzle, then unscrambling selected letters to form the name of yet another Tomorrowland sponsor.
- Answer: M O N S A N T O
Many teams missed the display of attraction posters inside Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port, and so could not indentify the sponsors for some attractions we used. Other teams got the correct letters, but could not unscramble them into “Monsanto.” One team wrote “Stoneman” as their answer.
Foreign Language (Tomorrowland) – involved using a sign outside Star Tours to decode a paragraph written in the Aurebesh font, a character set used in Star Tours, then looking through Tomorrowland to find a specific display window to find the barcode written on a “shipping crate” inside.
- Answer: 07171955, or July 17, 1955
It seems like one quest in each event yields a completely unexpected result, and we were certainly surprised to find out that teams thought they had to ride Star Tours—or at least walk through the queue—to solve this quest. The display window is inside the Star Trader shop, near the entrance to the Starcade, and is readily accessible without a detour to Endor.
Science (Tomorrowland) – entailed a word search using all of the “Planets of the Galactic Alliance” and all of the Star Tours destinations listed on the Arrivals/Departures board. The letters remaining in the word search formed a question for students to answer.
- Answer: THIRSTY
Some teams had a really difficult time finding the Moonliner, and the sign hanging from it.
Spelling (Critter Country) – involved finding various sets of words in Critter Country, then used basic letter substitution to arrive at the question “How much is a suvinear?” (The mis-spelling was intentional, because this is how the word is spelled on the pressed penny machine outside Pooh Corner)
- Answer: Both 50 cents or 51 cents were acceptable
Teams that could not find the pressed penny machine gave us the price for assorted souvenirs that can be purchased in Critter Country, everything from Splash Mountain photos to stuffed Pooh bears.
Drama (Fantasyland) – involved each team sending one student to an “audition” to demonstrate a knowledge of Disney film scripts. Students had to correctly answer four questions before they could advance.
- Answer: Teams that sucessfully completed the task were told to write “Hannah Montana” on their answer sheet.
This was definitely the most popular quest of the event, and very few teams missed their “audition.”
Math (ToonTown) – involved counting lots of things in Toontown, then using the resulting numbers to solve a tricky math equation.
- Answer: Yellow
This was a hard quest, especially for teams that did not find the second window display of oil cans, or who forgot to convert the one-quart serving of chiller into the requested ounces. Several teams gave “brown” as their final answer, several more gave us the type of water or the number of the water instead of the requested color.
301 Teams Only: Foreign Language II (Adventureland) – involved using an intentionally incorrect translation of the stone tablet near the Indiana Jones attraction exit as a key to decode a question written in the Marabic font.
- Answer: Somewhere in the Congo
Several teams skimmed the quest instructions and tried to decode the puzzle using the normal Marabic letter substitutions, which yielded nothing more than several lines of gibberish.
Chemistry (Fantasyland) – involved answering a series of questions in Fantasyland, and using the resulting answers to identify specific elements on a “Goofy” periodic table of elements. Once teams identified the 8 requested element symbols, they unscrambled them to form a phrase found somewhere in Fantasyland.
- Answer: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
The symbols, in order of discovery, should have been T Ce Oa Ra Di Ac To Le, which unscrambles to “Toadi Accelerato” (sic). Despite a slight error in the phrase (the Latin actually reads Toadi Acceleratio), teams could then identify the correct attraction. This puzzle was also required students to read the questions very, very carefully, and many teams mis-read the pretzel question.
Critical Thinking (Frontierland) – involves completing a series of sets, using signs and such in Frontierland. Once teams completed each set, they used the letters of the missing words to solve a word puzzle. The remaining letters unscrambled to spell the word “Enchanted,” which is a word seen on a sign outside the Golden Horseshoe.
- Answer:”Spellbound” and “Enraptured”
Advanced teams had one additional set in their version of the quest, and the trio of botanical sketches of desert cactus proved difficult for teams to locate. We also discovered several errors in this quest midway through the event that made it more difficult to solve than intended.
Physical Education (Tom Sawyer Island) – involved setting off to determine which one item from a long list could not be found on Tom Sawyer Island, then using that answer to solve a word puzzle.
- Answer: Sunday, November 29, 1835
A little over two hours into the event, Disney closed Tom Sawyer Island so that divers could perform unscheduled repairs on the Sailing Ship Columbia. Unfortunately, this meant very few teams had the opportunity to attempt this quest, and partial credit was given to those teams who were unable to make it to the island.
301 Teams Only: Reading (Main Street) – entailed a short reading comprehension quest based on elements found on Main Street.
- Answer: Castle
The phone number for Pizza Enrico is found on a small Post-It note on the fridge in the Emporium Ratatouille window.
Senior Quests: 301 Teams Only
Literature (Park Wide) – was our traditional Evil Paragraph quest, and required teams to locate and use text from six different signs and plaques around Disneyland.
- Answer: May 28, 1966
The “American Humane Society” plaque is not found in Big Thunder Ranch, or even near the Disneyland Kennel Club. Instead, it’s located at the base of the flagpole in Frontierland.
Home Economics (New Orleans Square) – Students had to solve a logic puzzle to determine the seating chart for a dinner party inside the Haunted Mansion.
- Answer: Starting with the Ghost Host and proceeding to his left around the table, the guests were:
- Ghost Host
Only 18 teams that attempted this quest got it right, making it the most difficult quest of the event. Another seven teams seemed to have correctly solved the seating chart, but misread the instructions and listed the guests in reverse order, starting with the Ghost Host and proceeding to his right around the table. No credit was given for the latter answer, since the first rule of MouseAdventure is “Read everything.”
It was very clear which teams rode through the Haunted Mansion and which decided to rely on their memory—the teams that skipped the ride were more likely the ones who could not determine the first name for the husband Constance married in ’75, and also reversed the seating order of the duelists Etinenne and Antoine.
Industrial Arts (Find Bev & Tracy) – most MouseAdventure events have a “find the hidden staff member” task, and usually the teams receive a bonus quest as their reward for locating the staff. We decided this time to give the bonus quest to the teams with their packet, but offer to give them the answer if they found the correct staff member. To encourage them to seek help rather than trying to solve the quest on their own, we wrote a difficult math word puzzle—the type that begins with, “If a train leaves the Tomorrowland station at this time…” To make it worse, we wrote the questions using a combination of standard and metric measurements, and then threw in nautical miles for fun.
- Answer: Donald finished his ride at 12:28
Though we provided all of the necessary conversion formulas with the team binders, we really expected teams to take one look at the difficult question and head off to find Bev and Tracy. Instead, many teams solved it without any assistance at all.
ABCs – was one of two “Eye Spy” puzzles in this event. We presented students with photographs of letters A to Z and asked them to tell us what Disneyland sign the letters came from.
The highest score on this individual quest was 105 points, or 21 out of the 25 letters, earned by teams 125, 62, and 79
Photography – was the second “Eye Spy” puzzle. We presented students with photographs taken on Main Street, and asked them to determine whether or not the photo had been taken at Disneyland. (The other photos came from Walt Disney World’s Main Street)
A surprising number of teams said that photo A came from Disneyland, when in fact, the Mickey Mouse in the photo came from the Walt Disney World Partners statue—the Disneyland version is all one color, while the WDW version is two-tone. Almost everyone recognized that the Matterhorn in photo K meant that the picture was taken at Disneyland. Team 16 earned the highest score on this quest with 65 points.
MouseAdventure 101 Quests
A1: Animate It – Teams answered a series of questions in the Animation Building, then used the resulting values to complete the Disney Character generator in the Beast’s Library.
- Answer: Jiminy Cricket or Cogsworth
The same answers could yield either result, and we accepted either character.
A2: Fruit Mixup – Teams had to locate and count items in the Bountiful Valley Farm area, then use the resulting numbers to solve a simple math equation, and find a word that had the same number of letters as the solution.
- Answer: Strawberries.
There is only one Cattle Crossing sign.
B1: Mickey’s Spillane Mystery – involved using clues scattered throughout Hollywood to solve a mystery.
- Answer: Cruella deVil (we also accepted Ms. deVil); 3392; East Jordan (we also accepted USA); 1127 Sunset
New teams got a taste of what happens when Disney throws up a construction wall around something we used in a quest. Fortunately we found out about the wall before the event.
B2: License to Fill – used fictional license plates for the proprietors of San Francisco-area businesses served as the basis of a word puzzle. The final plate read “REELGAL”
- Answer: Presideo Video
This is where it became clear that some 101 teams had never stepped foot inside of Disney’s California Adventure, or at least had no idea that there was a section of the park (other than the Golden Gate Bridge) that referenced San Francisco.
C1: Rings Around the Redwood – used the giant redwood tree section in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail contained the answers to 19 questions about California history.
- Answer: Dragonfly
Some teams thought that the answers were included in the Golden Dreams film. They did not get the clues they needed, but none complained about the air conditioning break.
C1: Plates a Ooh Wow Wow – involved reading the license plates decorating the walls of Pizza Oom Mow Mow to solve a “word” search. The remaining letters formed a question.
- Answer: Sunday
The answer could be found in two places inside the restaurant : A 1963 calendar, and on a poster promoting an event that weekend.
D1: Mulholland Madness Insanity – involved searching the giant Mulholland Madness mural to find a list of items, and determining which one item was not on the mural.
- Answer: An Oscar-like statue
Several teams thought that the figure that looks like “The Thinker” was an Academy Award.
E1: Criss Crossin’ Over California – sent teams to ride Soarin’ Over California at DCA, and then use a provided transparent map of California to trace the route taken on the attraction, starting in San Francisco and ending at Disneyland. Once teams plotted the journey, we had them place the transparent map over the guide map of Disney’s California Adventure, and match the California cities to DCA attractions. (Had you ever noticed that DCA is roughly shaped like the state it’s named for?)
- Answer: Maliboomer
Teams that were able to complete this likely did so from memory, as the lines for Soarin’ were long by the time 101 teams entered the park, and the Fastpass return time was after the announced end of the event.
Goofy Postcards – involved teams picking up a set of 12 identical Disneyland post cards, and having to trade with other teams to collect a complete set of 12 different images.
Some teams enjoyed this activity so much that they spent the entire event just trading postcards.
Eye Spy Numbers – required teams to find 16 locations around DCA, and then determine which number(s) had been edited out of the provided photographs.
Family teams seem to do really, really well on Eye Spys, and this quest was no different.
(925 possible points)
MouseAdventure Masters are those teams who, on the occasion of their third first-place victory, are honored with retirement from competition. Three of our four Masters teams participated in this event, and their scores are presented her as a benchmark for other teams. Masters team The-Mouse.com (Joe Stevano, Amanda Smith and David Perry) are now MouseAdventure staff, and help to write and run the events.
- Brother Bears – 751 points
- Happy Haunts – 625 points
- The Denton Affair – 515 points
(Basic and Advanced)
Disney California Adventure (MA 101)
April 13, 2008
- Advanced (301)
Winners – Advanced
- Simba’s Pride
- Ckub 31
- Smoke Tree Ranchers
Winners – Basic
- SLeeping Zebras
- The Ringers
- Blew By You The Original
Winners – Family
- Bloomin’ Cockroaches
- The Metzger Family
Winners – MA 101
- Yen Sid’s (Yella-Belly) Piratears
- Dude, Chica
- Team 45