Since Fall 2008, MouseAdventure has been largely confined to Disneyland park due to the massive Cars Land and Buena Vista Street construction projects in Disney California Adventure. Though we've briefly sent Advanced teams into DCA for a few quick quests and hosted a non-competitive game for new players, we knew there was no way to host a full-scale competitive game around all of the construction walls and attraction closures.
With the Resort Expansion project well in our rear view mirror and two gorgeous new lands to explore, we knew the time had finally come for a "road trip" back to Disney California Adventure for our Fall 2012 event.
Seven hundred players joined us on the last day of September for an event that can be described in one word: Hot. After two pleasantly mild events this spring, the MouseAdventure weather curse returned with a vengeance. Players from past events have endured scorching heat, pounding rain, and even ash fallout from Southern California wild fires, so it really should have come as no surprise when the forecast predicted both a high of 90 degrees and a 40 percent chance of rain for the day of the event. The rain never materialized, but Sunday's temperatures soared to100 degrees, adding an unexpected level of difficulty to what some of our early testers considered a relatively easy game.
MouseAdventure returned to Disney California Adventure for a Road Trip event that sent teams to all eight districts, including the new Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
MouseAdventure: Road Trip was based on our "Mad Scramble" game format, which meant teams had to solve (or skip) all of the quests in one area before moving on to the next area. There were a total of 16 quests to solve—two in each of DCA's eight official districts, with the districts paired up to form four quest packets. Trivia and Eye Spy rounded out the tasks. After our usual sign-in, team photo, and orientation session at the Paradise Pier Hotel ballroom Sunday morning, we sent teams into Disney California Adventure to pick up their first quest packet at one of eight "scatter" locations around the park.
This format gives us lots of opportunity to interact with the teams and because of the scorching heat, and we implemented a rule we jokingly call the "MouseAdventure Drinking Game," where at least one member of a team had to drink water every time they interacted with a MouseAdventure crew member for help or to exchange their packet for a new set of quests. This let us keep tabs on the teams and encouraged them to stay hydrated, but several teams found the heat too much to handle and decided to come back and solve the quests on a cooler day.
After the game ended at 4:00 p.m., MouseAdventure's crack "Team Red Pen" raced back to the Paradise Pier Hotel to grade and score nearly 1,000 answer sheets, and the hot and weary players went in search of shade, air conditioning, and/or cold beverages. For those players with enough stamina to stick around, we reconvened at the Paradise Pier Hotel Ballroom at 5:30 p.m. for a question-and-answer session with the event writers before the official announcement of the winners.
For those who didn't attend the post-game festivities, we've provided a full recap of the quests, along with the winners of each division and detailed scores for every team. We've also included a survey for players to help us gauge interest in various aspects of the event and gather feedback for future events. Your feedback is especially important this time around, and we invite every member of your team to complete the survey for a chance to win free registration to our Spring 2013 event.
And now, let's get this recap on the road!
Life is a Highway (50 points)
Teams were asked to identify a series of signs in Cars Land using only the number of words and letters on each. When they correctly located the string of Rust-eze signs that line the route between Pacific Wharf and Paradise Pier, they then had to determine the specified letter from each sign.
Read in the correct order (in this case, from bottom to top), the letters spelled "Population." Teams then needed to find another sign in Cars Land to answer the question.
The Scenic Route (100 points)
Teams had to answer 10 questions based on signs and props located in the Pacific Wharf area, then use the numbers painted on colorful fishing boats atop one of the shade structures near Cucina Cucamonga to decode a 10-digit number.
After we verified that teams had the correct number, we gave them 50 cents and told them to call the number from a nearby pay phone. Our helpful MouseAdventure Roadside Assistance operator then asked the teams their final question, which was: "In Time Travel Mater, what style of radiator cap did Lizzy select?" The answer was found in the Blue Sky Cellar, where teams could watch the short film and then reference Stanley's radiator cap display to find the correct name.
The Wheels on the Wall Go Round and Round (100 points)
We used the wheels displayed outside Luigi's Flying Tires to create an alphabet. Teams then used photos of the wheels to solve a cryptogram and reveal this final question: "The all-new cuscino d'aria is like what?"
While our testers could solve this quest with little difficulty, the heat and sun turned this puzzle into the most difficult quest of this event for many teams.
A team tries to decode the wheels on the wall behind Luigi's Flying Tires. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Lizzy's Souvenir Collection (50 points)
Teams had to examine the exterior walls of Radiator Springs Curios to find the one item from a provided list of 41 signs, painted words, and license plates that could not be found among Lizzy's collection.
The World's Largest Quest (50 points)
Playing on the idea of a bug's land as a roadside attraction, we created a word search with all of the World's Largest props to be found in Flik's Fun Fair, such as garden hoses, churro boxes, and drinking straws. The unused letters in the word search formed this final question: "Where is the grand prize winner going?"
A Quest in Bee Flat (100 points)
We sent teams into "It's Tough to Be a Bug" to check out the movie posters that line the lobby. When written in the correct order, the highlighted letters spelled the name of an insect group.
For the final answer, teams had to tell us, based on text found on the same posters, which insects were part of that group.
While teams appreciated the air conditioning, a few had to sit through the movie twice to get the right answer. MouseAdventure rules require teams to stay for the entire show whenever they enter a theater, and teams caught sneaking out the exit received a 50-point penalty.
Travel Games (50 points)
Don't you hate it when you discover you've lost a few cards from your deck? We asked teams to check out the House of Cards lounge and stage, then figure out which cards must have been missing from the deck used to build the Mad T Party structures.
Wish You Were Here (100 points)
This quest was rewritten after the Art of Frankenweenie exhibit took over the Animation Building, to incorporate some of the artwork in the display. We gave teams a series of photos, and asked them to identify the letter(s) or number(s) associated with each photo. Read in order, the data formed an address.
Stretch Your Legs (50 points)
Teams had to match Wilderness Explorer Badge symbols to the activities needed to earn them, then answer this final question "What is Kevin's favorite sweet treat?"
MouseAdventure quests are always answered based on data inside the parks, and sharp-eyed teams saw that Kevin was added to the list of creatures outside the Spirit Cave. Others relied on their memory of the movie Up for the answer, with mixed results.
I Saw the Signs (100 points)
Another puzzle that seemed much more difficult in 100-degree weather, this quest sent teams around Grizzly Peak in search of directional signs needed to navigate through a word puzzle. When teams followed the correct path, they spelled out this final question: "Usumati was turned into stone so he could never be?"
Spinning My Wheels (50 points)
Teams answered eight questions based on the posters beneath Silly Symphony Swings, then used the results to navigate around Paradise Pier to find their final location.
Off to the Races (100 points)
This classic "unreliable witness" quest was set in Paradise Pier, and teams had to answer a series of 12 true/false questions to help identify a specific race horse at the Bulls Eye Stallion Stampede midway game. We threw in lots of tricky text to trip up unsuspecting players, but many caught on to our strategy and avoided the obvious traps. In fact, some teams read every question so carefully that several caught a typo we'd overlooked, and decided that a missing punctuation mark on an otherwise true statement rendered the item false. After being alerted to the problem in the post-game discussion, we accepted both answers.
Found in Translation (50 points)
Teams transformed letters from signs in Condor Flats to form a new phrase, "Condor Gas." From there, we asked for the price of one unit of this item.
Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Libs (100 points)
Our take on the classic road trip game sent teams around Condor Flats to find nouns, verbs, and adjectives in signs around the area, then use those words to fill in a chart. The highlighted letters formed this question: "Brand of tires 'sold' in Fly n Buy."
Suitcase and a Dream (50 points)
It was difficult to write just two quests on the new Buena Vista Street, but we couldn't pass up the rich detail in the shop windows. We provided teams with a shopping list that a couple newly arrived to Hollywood might need to launch their careers as a Hollywood starlet and a screenwriter, and had them tally up the bill.
Are We There Yet? (100 points)
This quest was also based on a classic activity book puzzle. We gave teams two sheets of stickers and asked them to reassemble them to form two of the beautiful tile murals on Buena Vista Street.
When the images were completed, teams followed a series of arrows and letters on the stickers to decode a question asking for the exact date the DCA Time Capsule would be opened.
One member of the crew dubbed this quest "Occupy Carthay Circle" because of the number of players sitting in front of the murals while they tried to puzzle together the image. We even tried handing teams printed photos of the mural so they could go off and solve the quest somewhere else, but few teams were interested in this option.
Hidden Quest (20 points)
The Condor Flats/Buena Vista Street packet also contained the least hidden Hidden Quest ever, but surprisingly not one team correctly answered the question. If teams looked at the sticker sheets provided for Are We There Yet before they started that quest, they may have noticed that the letters across two rows spelled the words "Hidden Quest." We also told teams that there would be stickers left over after completing the two tile murals for that quest.
The remaining stickers were taken from other murals around Buena Vista Street. When reassembled to re-create those murals, the hidden quest asked for the numbers (plural) of the Red Car Trolleys. Some teams either guessed at the likely subject of the Hidden Quest, or only partially decoded the question, and provided one but not both Red Car Trolley numbers.
All team photos, plus a collection of candid (in-game) photos are hosted on PicasaWeb albums. Click any album cover below to open the album in a new browser tab. You can leave comments on photos, download your favorites and even order professional prints.
Results for MouseAdventure Road Trip were announced at the closing festivities on Sunday night, September 30. There were 1,400 possible points in this event, including Trivia, Eye-Spys, and the Hidden Quest. No team had a perfect score, and there were no ties that affected winning positions. We recognized the top three teams in the Returning Teams category, and the top two teams in each of the New Team and Family Team categories (Family teams include at least one player under 13). Winning teams received a prize package of Disney books, DVDs, and collectibles.
A team is eligible to compete in the New Team category if more than half (two players out of a two-player team; two out of a three-player team; three out of a four-player team) of their players are new to MouseAdventure. With some returning teams having as many as 20 events under their belts, we want to give new players a fighting chance to reach the winner's circle. There were 14 teams in the New Teams category for this event. The winners are:
A team is eligible to compete in the Family Teams category if they have one or more players age 13 or younger. There were 11 in this category for this event. The winners are:
MouseAdventure Masters are those teams who, after taking first-place honors in any competitive division three times, are honored with retirement from future competitions. MouseAdventure Masters teams can participate in future events at no charge, and help serve as a benchmark for up-and-coming teams to measure against. Simba's Pride was the only Masters Team to participate in this event, but again demonstrated why they deserve to be called Masters, earning the highest score in the event with an impressive score of 1,350 points out of a possible 1,400.
This event also crowned a new Masters team, the Heffatooies. After taking First Place in the Advanced Division of MouseAdventure: Luau in Spring 2011, the team went on to claim First Place at MouseAdventure World Explorers: Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World last fall, also cinching the Coast to Coast Challenge prize. With their impressive First Place victory at MouseAdventure: Road Trip, the Heffatooies have earned themselves the coveted title of MouseAdventure Masters, and free registration to future MouseAdventure events.
We love the creativity shown by our MouseAdventure teams in creating unique team shirts every event, and players really embraced the Road Trip concept in their designs. After several rounds of voting, the MouseAdventure Crew selected Trader Sam's Head Sales Team as the winner. You can view all of the team T-shirt designs on our MousePad discussion forum.
|MouseAdventure Road Trip Team T-Shirts|
(In alphabetical order and hopefully not omitting anyone)
We're always working to make MouseAdventure better and more fun for our teams. There are some big changes in the works for future events, and your feedback is especially important as we start planning for Spring 2013 and beyond. To thank you for your time, you have the chance to win free registration for the Spring 2013 event just for completing the survey. Be sure to point your teammates here so they can make their voices heard too, and increase your chances of winning!
After every MouseAdventure, we always have lots of people asking if they can buy a copy of the game so that they can play on their own. Some people want a chance to go back and do the things they missed. Others were unable to join us on the day of the event and want to see what they missed. For various reasons we can't offer copies of the event just played, but we have put together a Personal Edition comprising several fun quests from past events. Note, though, that Disney parks are ever-changing places and we can't guarantee how far into the future a particular quest will continue to work.
Each copy will come in a spiral bound format for easy use with an answer key in the back providing some explanation of the puzzles, the correct answers, and how you should have found those answers. The price is $25 per packet and you can purchase up to four, so that you can play with friends or compete as two two-player teams. Orders will be shipped once a week, so delivery may take up to 2 weeks; all orders will be shipped first class mail.
We post MouseAdventure updates in our weekly Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Updates, as well as on the front page of our site. We also strongly encourage you to sign up for our MouseAdventure mailing list to receive updates about future events as they are announced. Note: This is an opt-in only mailing list, which means that we have not already added the names of former MouseAdventure players to this list. If you would like to receive these updates, you will need to sign up for the list.
Please note that certain Internet Service Providers, namely Earthlink, Hotmail and Go.com, have been known to block MouseAdventure email even to subscribers who specifically request it. If you sign up for our newsletters using one of these providers, we can almost guarantee you won't receive it. The same goes for important registration information and confirmation for teams. We encourage you to consider using an alternate email address from well-behaved (and free) providers such as Gmail or Yahoo to receive MouseAdventure email.
MouseAdventure returns to Walt Disney World for World Explorers IV, this time at the Magic Kingdom park, Saturday, November 3. The World must be Explored!
Registration is still open for this event, and we're looking forward to a fantastic weekend. As this is one of the final weeks of the Food and Wine Festival and coincides with the Annual Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, and D23 previews of the new Fantasyland, there's even more reason to make the trek to Florida to experience an East Coast Adventure!
We have no information about our Spring 2013 event yet, so be sure to get on our mailing list (preferably with a non-Earthlink, Hotmail or Go.com address) so you don't miss out. We have teams who write us Every. Year. because they missed registration—don't let that be you!