Rain threatened to cause another “Rain Gear Games” at MouseAdventure on Sunday, April 10, but blue skies prevailed in the end. Over 500 players came out to participate in MouseAdventure in Wonderland, the spring game at the Disneyland Resort, sponsored by MousePlanet.
The day began with check-in and rules presentation at the AMC Theatre in Downtown Disney, a new starting venue for the event. Teams report that the theater made for a great location, a little closer to the entry gates, but also much easier to hear everything that was said in the pre-game briefing.
A new rule was announced, quickly adopted as the “Packets like to shop” rule; if a quest required the team to enter a store, only two members of the team would be allowed inside, the remaining members would have to wait outside. This new rule also stipulates that the two team members inside the store must take the game packet with them. After the briefing at the AMC concluded, teams were then scattered to one of five locations in Downtown Disney to receive their game materials at 10:00am before heading into Disneyland Park to begin their quests. Hopefully everyone used the twenty-five minutes between the briefing and the start of the game to grab a bite to eat, a bathroom break, or perhaps a delicious caffeinated beverage of choice.
The weather forecast for the day had initially been encouraging (in that rain was supposed to fall around 6:00am), but in actual fact, the rain waited until about 10:30am and then poured down, sending some teams scurrying for cover, while others already equipped with rain ponchos just kept calm and carried on. Many teams appear to have learned the magic of the clear plastic pocket: each quest page is carefully inserted into a protective layer of clear plastic, enabling players to mark with a grease pen, or dry-erase marker, instead of ruining the carefully prepared pages. The protectors also had the advantage of being waterproof.
A scaled-back, introductory version of MouseAdventure in Wonderland was presented at the Day at the Park event on April 17. Teams were given fewer quests than the Basic division for the regular event, and some of the Basic quests were simplified to help new players learn the MouseAdventure ropes.
Basic teams were tasked with completing eight quests, a set of eye spy photos, and a set of trivia questions themed to Alice in Wonderland; Advanced division teams received an additional three quests to complete in the same six hours of game time. Quests were scattered in every land of the park, with two of the quests only available after the start of the game.
The first of these, “Thru the Looking Glass” was carefully folded and presented in a custom tea bag distributed from “MouseAdventure Central” (located at the Jolly Holiday Bakery) for mid-morning tea at 11:30 a.m. The quest sent teams onto Main Street to search for answers in store windows, inside The Emporium and even into the Fire Station. The final question was written backwards, using an ingenious method of connecting lines between points next to letters that then formed words. These words then required teams to use an event-provided mirror to read the text, which read “The 3 of Hearts.”
Advanced teams were additionally challenged with the entire quest written backwards, because no-one wanted it to be too easy for the Advanced teams. Unbeknownst to the quest writers, there are actually three locations on Main Street where the three of Hearts can be found: on the front of the Esmeralda machine in the Penny Arcade, in the Houdini window on Main Street, and the ceiling of the Magic Shop (the one we verified while grading).
The second delayed-release quest, “The Caucus Race and a Long Tale,” sent teams to find the Cheshire Cat, a crew member wandering Tomorrowland with a bright pink Cheshire Cat boa to receive the full puzzle sheet. Teams then collected a variety of information related to trains from a combination of lands including Main Street, Toontown, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square.
Some of the information was obvious, some of the information was easy, and some of the information turned out to be so hard to see that a couple of players borrowed chairs to stand on in order to reach a map about eight feet off the ground. These players were promptly chastised by both MouseAdventure staff and Disneyland Railroad staff; the on-duty MouseAdventure crew member solved this problem when she sat in the offending chair and worked on a jigsaw.
Once teams had answered all of the questions, they ended up with something that looked a little like Morse code, but being MouseAdventure, it actually turned out to be telegraph code. Players found a sign to decode the not-Morse at the train station in New Orleans Square, which gave them the number 13. The instructions directed teams to “seek the Inner Workings of Steam Boilers,” located at a nearby model of a steam train engine currently located at the train station. Item number 13 on the sign is the Fire Box.
“Pig and Pepper” sent teams through Tomorrowland searching for sets of words connected by “and” or an ampersand (&), some of which were tricky to find. One data point was lost during the Super Hero HQ removal, so a last minute substitution of an item off the Tomorrowland Terrace menu threw many for a loop. Just to make things extra difficult, some of the answers were also written upside down.
Teams eliminated letters from a given set based on the answers they found, and the remaining letters unscrambled to spell, “characters.” The associated pair to this word is “exploring,” found on a sign by the entrance to Star Wars Launch Bay.
As ever, teams stopping by MouseAdventure Central would ask for clarification about certain sets of pairs, and the staff working would have to carefully dance around neither confirming nor denying the teams were correct or incorrect. The art of a clarification is not as straightforward as it would appear, the game would be no fun if all the answers were given away.
Toontown quest “Eat Me, Drink Me” was easy for teams with a sharp eye for detail. It presented zoomed-in photos of items around the land paired with an option of two words. The correct word moved teams up or down on a scale based on the Goofy Water chart located near the fruit cart. The final drop of water on the quest page corresponded to the color next to “Zippy” on the water sign.
Critter Country hosted two quests, including one (“The Walrus and the Carpenter”) that utilized the construction walls currently surrounding that end of the Rivers of America. The old attraction posters adorning the construction walls presented an opportunity for the MouseAdventure staff to devise a quest that connected images taken from the posters to words on that same poster. The lines drawn between the image and word intersected a set of other words that combined to form the final question, “Where has the crew of the Davy Crockett Canoes gone on their extended adventure.” The answer on a nearby sign is, “Far, far away.”
At one point early in the game, large concentrations of teams all trying to see the same posters from one location caused teams to create a bottleneck in a major thoroughfare. Staff worked to maintain a balance of herding and shooing players back and forth throughout the day.
The second quest in Critter Country, “The Queen’s Croquet Ground,” seemed easy at first—but the final answer proved elusive for many teams. Multiple choice questions throughout the land led teams on a different colored path around the “croquet ground” to form the final question, “Who runs the family den?”
Many teams came begging to be put out of their Family Den misery, only to be greeted by an enigmatic Staff Member smile, and advice to go somewhere really dark. One team immediately set off looking for a photographic dark room; we hope that they’re not still out there somewhere… The final answer, “The Sun Bonnets,” is located in the dark construction-walled underside of The Hungry Bear restaurant on the companion restroom. Sometimes you have to explore farther than you think to find MouseAdventure answers.
The pre-game briefing mentioned that some locations might not be open all day, and one such location was the Briar Patch shop in Critter Country. Teams tried to glue themselves to the front windows of the store as the eager staff inside setup to proceed with their retail day. Unfortunately for the earliest teams in Critter Country, the Briar Patch didn’t open their doors until just after 11:00am, right after the worst of the rain had died down.
Frontierland was the setting for “Tweedledee,” a quest that led to more than a few frustrated sighs from players. Photos of sections of words containing the letters “DE” were presented to teams, who searched high and low to find them. Some teams needed to be reminded of just how far Frontierland extends according to the guide map; the Harbor Galley restaurant really is still in Frontierland, not New Orleans Square. Teams who made it that far quickly discovered that we had kindly placed two clues quite close to each other, in order to reward them for their travels.
Other text was found on gravestones in the shooting gallery, inside the Mark Twain’s waiting area, and all over the inside and outside of Frontierland’s finest mercantile establishments. This quest also contained one errata point, after Disneyland cast members finally removed a sign announcing the next departure to Tom Sawyer Island, which is currently closed for Star Wars Land construction. Counting left or right from the “DE” on the sign as indicated on the quest gave teams a set of letters that formed the question, “Who apologizes for inconvenience to yer horses?” This phrase is on a sign at the construction wall blocking the former walkway between Frontierland and Fantasyland. The final answer is, “The Trailmaster.”
“Why does the Cheshire Cat Grin?” presented eleven fill-in-the-blank questions around Fantasyland. Teams placed the numbered letters in their appropriate boxes on the quest sheet, but this quest had a twist. Instead of reading sequentially, teams stared with the seventh letter and then counted by sevens to use all the letters provided to form a final question, “The diamond gala will be held at the chateau in Main Street USA at what address?” Instructed to find the answer on Main Street, many teams still need a hint to point them in the right direction toward the window of the Disney Showcase shop that contained the answer: “60 Celebration Ave.”
Advanced teams were sent up Tarzan’s Treehouse to find the missing words from book pages for the “Advice from a Caterpillar” quest; some teams failed to note the instruction to place the pages in order, requiring another trip up and down the stairs. It’s always best to carefully read the instructions before embarking at full speed ahead during MouseAdventure. Day at the Park teams were also given this quest, but with the book pages in their proper order already.
Using only the vowels from the missing words, players selected letters from the appropriate column to spell the final question, “The World Famous Jungle Cruise is out of service. When does daily river service resume?” The answer, “this spring,” is once again found on a poster placed on a construction wall; this particular poster is near the entrance to the Jungle Cruise.
During testing, one MouseAdventure staff member was heard to remark that he had forgotten just how high off the ground the treehouse was, and then had to go back up through the attraction to put the pages in order. This quest was a great test of team members’ abilities to make it across the great swinging bridge of doom while keeping an eye on the finer data points that make a MouseAdventure truly challenging.
“Painting the Roses Red” tasked Advanced teams with finding provided floral motif images in New Orleans Square, and then identifying the letters from signage closest to the particular motif. A question about each data point identified what particular letter to use from each group to form the word “majestic.” Teams had to identify what that word described in New Orleans Square, and the final answer was “steam trains.”
At first glance, the motifs seemed to be obvious and easy to find, but after findings obvious items (for example, the orchid on the Exit sign at the Haunted Mansion’s fast pass distribution area), others became quite difficult. Another gem was found inside the Pirates of the Caribbean store’s courtyard. This quest was made a little more difficult through the use of both three-dimensional objects (roses cast in wrought iron) as well as flat, painted items (signage) interchangeably.
The final Advanced quest, “A Mad Tea Party,” was one that required teams to carefully observe the Mad Tea Party ride vehicles and note the color order of the tea cups on each disk. Each team received a series of paper disks that were then encoded based on Fantasyland questions, and these disks became the key to decoding a series of colored dots leading to the final answer. The key to solving this was working out the quest mechanic and working similar encoding points at the same time instead of in order on the page. Having a sharp eye for color also helped.
After entering letters into the grid, when read from top to bottom, left to right, the final question was, “Approx how long did it take the White Rabbit to get from the Alice restroom s to the hub?” The two White Rabbit statues at each of these locations has a watch, and each watch reads a slightly different time. Answers in the range of 5-7 minutes were accepted.
One popular item at every MouseAdventure is the search for the hidden quest, which may or may not be located somewhere within the quest materials. For this game, the quest was hidden inside the tea packet that players picked up for the “Thru the Looking Glass” quest.
Mixed in with the text from Alice in Wonderland was backwards text, which read, “Feel like futterwacking? You have found the hidden quest. Number of teacup ride vehicles in Fantasyland.” There are 18 vehicles on the ride, as well as one outside for photo opportunities, bringing the total to 19.
The best new team (not otherwise placing) was Bee at the Beach with 330 points. Although there were not enough teams to make a full family division, our highest scoring team in that category was team Frog Car with 145 points.
In the Basic division, the top three teams are:
- Awesom-O – 405 points
- The Cartridge Blowers – 377 points
- Smoke Tree Ranchers – 375 points
In the Advanced division, the top three teams are:
- Naboombu All-Stars – 511 points
- The No Name Gang – 426 points
- Scrooge’s Shadows – 389 points
With this win, Naboombu All-Stars become the latest team to join the ranks of MouseAdventure Masters—teams who have won first place in any division three times.
Although not eligible for any prizes during non-Invitational MouseAdventure games, many master teams return to compete against one another, mainly for bragging rights and the thrill of the puzzle hunt. Four master teams competed in MouseAdventure in Wonderland, including the newly formed Big Hero 4 (a subset of Simba’s Pride, now a family team with their two young children). The teams received the following scores:
- Goof! There it is – 534 points
- New Orleans Squares – 438 points
- The Heffatooies – 437 points
- Big Hero 4 – 321 points
Photo Contest Winners
Congratulations to the four winners of our #MAinWonderland photo contest. Players uploaded photos showing their MouseAdventure spirit to twitter and Instagram after turning in their answer sheets for a chance at a prize.
The Third Gate Games staff (Chris Metzger, David Perry, Joe Stevano, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and Stephanie Wien) would like to thank all of the people who helped make this game possible Shoshana Lewin wrote up the Alice-related trivia questions. Tony Phoenix assisted with team changes and grading. Adrienne Krock, Katie McQueen, Teresa Whitmore, Ken Whitmore, Janis Maggs, Nathaniel Maggs, Tommy Metzger, and Katie Metzger helped crew the game, and Lora Parral and Aaron Maggs acted as our event photographers. We also would like to thank those among the above who helped test out the game prior to our event.
The next MouseAdventure event will be Silly Symphonies at Epcot and the Epcot Resorts in Walt Disney World on May 14. Registration is still open for this Florida event. The next Disneyland Resort-based game will happen this fall, although no date has been set at this time. See MouseAdventure.com for more information on these upcoming events.