Early Saturday morning on November 4, 43 "troops" (teams) of World Explorers arrived at the Transportation & Ticket Center at Walt Disney World to participate in MousePlanet's fourth MouseAdventure: World Explorers event. Held at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, this year's event had our biggest turnout for a Florida MouseAdventure to date!
We skipped a pre-event breakst this time around (due to logistics at the Magic Kingdom), so teams assembled in the area near the ferry boat dock for the 9:00 a.m. sign-in. The event was originally scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m., but teams got an extra half hour with a 9:30 start time due to the Magic Kingdom's early opening on game day.
Troops were briefed in groups as they arrived, then assembled nearby until they were told where to scatter. Just before 10 a.m., troops recited the World Explorers pledge ("I promise to do my best, to be observant and attentive, to follow all the rules and play well with others, to be polite and assist those not of my team, to assume nothing, and to question everything, for the World must be explored!") and then were shown signs telling them to head to the central plaza central hub (at the far end of Main Street, U.S.A.) to receive their game materials.
Teams were allowed to use any form of Disney transportation; most chose either the express monorail to the Magic Kingdom or the ferry boat. This time around, it seems the monorail was the faster choice, as those teams arrived with a few minutes' lead on their rivals.
Once they arrived in the park and received their packets, most teams took a few moments before dispersing, to look through the quests and strategize. For example, some of the quests at staffed locations were not available until 11 a.m., while others—including a new progressive scavenger hunt quest ("Collecting")—were scheduled to shut down before the final game end of 6:00 p.m. This meant that some teams that hadn't read through all materials showed up at MouseAdventure Central too late in the day, and were disappointed that they didn't receive credit for their scavenger hunt items.
The following is a recap of each quest and challenge, including the solution and correct answer.
Magic (30 points)
To earn their Magic badge, teams had to locate the missing item from a series of text found in the Town Square area of Main Street, U.S.A. Teams had to look high and low, and some were tripped up by looking at actual buildings rather than text on signs and other objects. Once teams found all of the missing text, they eliminated letters from a supplied list and unscrambled the remaining letters to come up with a single word.
The final answer was the other two words that completed the set with the unscrambled word found inside Curtain Call Collectibles, next to the Town Square Theater.
Careers (30 points)
The windows and other signage on Main Street are full of information, and a popular resource for Disneyland's MouseAdventure quests, but this is the first time a quest involved Walt Disney World's windows.
Teams were given a list of professions from Main Street and asked to write the names of those to whom the jobs referred to. Once teams located all of the names, a final profession was listed, and the teams were asked to provide the name of the person who held that job.
Taxidermy (40 points)
While developing the game, we wanted to highlight elements of the Magic Kingdom that differ from Disneyland, so naturally the Country Bears attraction came to mind. Shortly after our planning visit, imagine our dismay when the attraction went down for an extensive refurbishment! Thankfully, we were able to tailor the quest after the attraction reopened—looking prettier, but much shorter than when we had started off.
Teams were told to find the name of the founder of the Country Bear Playhouse, then given a series of multiple choice questions that would direct them to add, remove, or rearrange those letters to reach the final answer.
Theater (40 points)
If you guessed that we would send teams on the Carousel of Progress attraction, you chose wisely. To earn the Theater badge, teams had to look and listen closely during the show to determine what occurred during the different acts of the show. Connecting the clues from outer rows to the proper acts at the center intersected words in the "cloud" in between, spelling out a question.
Did you know that there is allegedly a cat in every scene of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress? Neither did we until we tested the game and one of our team pointed out a cat in the first act, resulting in an addition to our errata sheet. Tip: When you play MouseAdventure, make sure you always check your errata sheet before you start to avoid unnecessary frustration.
Vexillology (50 points)
Vexillology is the study of flags; teams who were with us for the first World Explorers event at Epcot had a chance to earn a similar badge using the flags of the World Showcase countries.
This time around, teams were sent Liberty Square, to the flags of the first 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution. Teams were instructed to place the colonies in order of ratification; the names and dates of ratification are located on plaques on the flag poles. Then using the letter associated with the colony's order (first letter of first ratifier, second letter of second ratifier, and so on), teams decoded a letter sequence they then used to decode a drop-down puzzle. The answer is found on the Liberty Tree's plaque nearby.
Some teams encountered a bit of difficulty later in the day when the area in front of the plaque became a seating area for a parade. Thankfully, the people seated there were helpful in allowing teams to take a peek at the plaque, even enthusiastically pointing it out to some as more teams came by peering in their direction.
Tree Climbing (50 points)
Explorers headed off to Adventureland to solve this quest, searching for text that had gone missing from a variety of signs. Using specific numbered letters from each group of text, teams filled in a grid at the base of a "tree." Then proceeding in numerical order, teams "climbed the tree," placing letters in the spaces on the branches according to specific rules spelled out in the instructions. The answer is located on a sign near the serving windows at Tortuga Tavern.
We attempted to provide more clarity in the instructions for this quest since it was a new type of puzzle, as the original wording proved to be a little too ambiguous for some of our testers who interpreted "first letter" to mean "the first in order from left to right" (as opposed to the number 1 letter, and so on). Additional clarification was added to the errata to specify that the letters should be filled in according to numeric order. After the game, several teams indicated that this puzzle was one of their favorites.
History (60 points)
Using another unique feature of the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Square, teams were directed to the Liberty Bell replica located in the main square. Teams wrote down the second line of text inscribed on the bell, then used a decoder button to translate the inscription into the final question.
Some teams were tripped up by the spelling of Pennsylvania on the Liberty Bell's inscription, which was spelled with only one "n" (Pensylania) at the time the original bell was cast.
Language (60 points)
Teams were sent to the new interactive queue at the Haunted Mansion attraction to decode an encrypted message using glyphs on the library books in the queue. Of course, the MouseAdventure key didn't match the key developed by the Imagineers, making it a little more challenging. The translated question refers to a tomb in the exit area of the attraction.
Heraldry (60 points)
In order to earn their Heraldry badge, teams searched Fantasyland to locate missing text from the images provided. The missing text contained double letters, which were transformed using a formula to move back and forth along the alphabet to determine the letter associated with a specific shield design. The key was used to translate a question using the shield code.
The recent expansion of Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland increased the ground that teams had to cover for this quest. One of the images proved challenging for some teams, as it was hidden back near the exit of the Fantasyland train station on a set of luggage.
Observation (5 points each)
In this variation on eye spy photos, teams had to locate the image in the park, then answer the associated questions to prove they had found it. Images were located throughout the park, requiring teams to multitask and search for the images while completing other quests. As is often the case with MouseAdventure, Disney decided to put up a scrim obscuring one of the images originally selected for this quest, reducing the number of images from 10 to nine.
Knots (30 points)
Knot-tying is an important skill for any explorer, and this quest challenged our World Explorers to replicate a knot pictured in the sign on the Columbia Harbour House restaurant. Teams had to select the correct knot from a selection of photographs. When they had correctly identified it, they were then given illustrated instructions, a small rope, and a demonstration on how to tie it. Once they had successfully replicated the knot, they were given credit for the quest.
Identifying the knot proved more challenging for some teams than we expected. Some teams worked to decipher the drawing on the sign, taking the illustration too literally, as the image was an artist's interpretation of the knot in question. Teams were not penalized for guessing incorrectly, but may have lost time with multiple guesses.
Cooking (5 points each)
Teams may have wondered how exactly they'd be doing any cooking inside the Magic Kingdom on their way to complete this quest. Teams were instructed to meet a staff member at the old swan boat dock, located in the Plaza Rose Garden on the Tomorrowland side of the central plaza hub. Once there, teams selected one member to complete this challenge. That person was given a sheet of paper with eight Jelly Belly jelly beans pictured on it, and a choice of three flavors for each, along with a cup containing those same eight beans. Each correct identification of a bean's flavor earned a team five points.
This quest was a popular one with teams; tasters utilized a variety of methods to identify the beans, setting a scene more akin to a wine tasting than a jelly bean tasting as the sniffed, nibbled, and cleansed their palates between flavors.
Graphic Arts (5 points each)
In another spin on the eye spy quest, teams were provided with images of rubbings made of various raised objects throughout the park, such as the plaques located on many of the lands' trash cans. Teams were provided with a Field Notes booklet and a crayon, and instructed to replicate the pictured rubbing in their notebook to receive credit. Partway through the game, we received questions from a team asking for clarification on the tree rubbing that caused some concern. On further inspection, we discovered that all of the trash cans in Liberty Square had been replaced—seemingly overnight—with a version that lacked the plaque pictured in the quest. Murphy's Law might as well be renamed MouseAdventure's Law; it's always something!
Collecting (Starting at half a point, doubling up to a maximum of 64 total)
To earn their Collecting merit badge, teams had to complete a progressive scavenger hunt, reporting to MouseAdventure Central to receive the card that would tell them what item to collect next. Items on the list were designed to become progressively more difficult to obtain, starting at a Fastpass from a different attraction for each team member and ending with collection of a character autograph. Other items included a foreign language map, a Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card, a pressed penny, and a packet of crushed red pepper flakes.
One of the items that proved most challenging was a packet of Red Devil hot sauce found at Tortuga Tavern; other food locations have a different brand of sauce. One clever participant attempted to anticipate our choices by collecting a bag full of free items from various locations along Main Street, but was disappointed to discover he didn't have the specific items we wanted.
Hidden Quest (20 points)
The World Explorers pledge was printed on the inside cover of the Field Notes booklet provided to teams, and a series of seemingly nonsense letters with the same sentence structure was printed on the back cover. Teams who discovered this similarity and determined that it might be associated with the decoder button for the history quest were on the right track. Unfortunately, an error in the encoding of the second letter threw off many teams, who stopped translating after the first few letters, thinking there was no actual hidden quest there. Teams who carried on were able to decipher the question that directed them to calculate the cost of buying a souvenir Orange Bird cup for each member of their team. The souvenir cup is sold at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.
this link. Teams can download, tag, and share them. Thanks to Mark Goldhaber for taking the troop photos.
Our candid (in-game) photos are also hosted on our Google+ page at this link. You can leave comments on photos, tag yourself or your teammates, share with your friends and download your favorites. There are some especially fun photos taken as teams tasted jelly beans during the cooking quest.
Eight and a half hours after the start of the game, troops returned their answer sheets and went in search of refreshments as they waited for the MouseAdventure staff to grade answers and tally the scores. Results were announced at an informal post-event gathering at the wedding gazebo on the Boardwalk, and all troops present received their merit buttons for quests correctly completed. Unfortunately despite our best attempts to avoid such an occurence, an error in the tallying of scores was discovered after the places were announced that affected the second, third, and best new team results. We sincerely apologize to all teams affected by our error. The correct results are shown here.
Winning troops will receive a prize package to their homes in two to three weeks. Unclaimed merit buttons will be sent to troops who could not attend the post-event gathering.
The total possible score for this event was 674 points, including the hidden quest.
New Orleans Squares
Final score – 644 points
With this win, the New Orleans Squares join the ranks of our MouseAdventure Masters teams.
Final score – 624 points; placed second based on earlier turn-in time
TO INFINITY... and a little past that
Final score – 624 points
Final score – 604 points
For the second year, we offered teams that registered for both the spring event at Disneyland and the fall event at Walt Disney World the opportunity to compete for Coast to Coast honors. Nine teams qualified for Coast to Coast honors, and the team with the highest combined score from the two events was crowned Coast to Coast champions. Like the Heffatooies before them in 2011, a win at the Spring Card Games event at Disneyland combined with a first-place victory in the World Explorers game propelled the New Orleans Squares to their Coast to Coast crown.
New Orleans Squares
Total 2,019 combined points
We are always impressed with the creativity of our teams and the effort they put into t-shirts and outfits for our events. Our staff voted on those teams who submitted their t-shirt designs to us for consideration in the competition, and after a close vote we declared team Tasty Abbott the winners. Their design included a variety of essential items for a World Explorers team. Thank you to all of the teams who participated, we really appreciate your efforts!
|Team #||Team Name||New Team?||Total Score|
|2||New Orleans Squares||No||644|
|5||WedWay PeopleMover Posse||No||547|
|9||Disney Detective Agency||No||460|
|11||Lost Falls Expedition||No||584|
|12||Slow down... wheres the fire??||Yes||407|
|13||Two and the Ragged Tigger||No||445|
|15||The Tank Gang||No||435|
|17||The Clue Runners||Yes||455|
|23||Mick and Min||Yes||324|
|25||We're Celebrating - Again!||No||335|
|27||Rainy Day Cavalcade||No||443|
|29||San Diego Mouse Catchers||No||597|
|31||Technical Difficulties Bears||No||619|
|33||Raiders of the Mouse Parks||No||571|
|34||The Electric Mayhem||No||510|
|39||Tigger & Tiger & Crush & Squirt||No||549|
|40||The PIT Crew||No||489|
|41||Illegal by Disney||Yes||541|
|43||TO INFINITY... and a little past that||No||624|
|45||Jussst a Dinosaur!||No||592|
Writing a MouseAdventure game involves a lot of time and effort on the part of many people, most importantly Joe Stevano and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix. Writing the World Explorers game usually involves a weekend trip in the summer when most people are avoiding the hot, humid, and crowded season at Walt Disney World. This time around, Joe and Adrienne were joined by yours truly in the creative effort to learn just how tough it is to write quests. After a long weekend of writing and researching, we were satisfied that we had more than enough material to fill out a game.
All of the MouseAdventure staff and crew flew to Orlando from California and New York just to help with this event. Joe, Jeff Moxley, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, Tony Phoenix, Mark Goldhaber, Jennifer Rich, Andrew Rich, Lani Teshima, Christine Metzger, and Helga Bergthold joined me in Orlando in the days before the game for a full beta test and game walk-through. This time around, there weren't as many changes needed, but the usual spate of construction walls and last-minute park changes necessitated an errata sheet and reprinting of some materials. If you ever need to know where the Kinkos is near Walt Disney World, just ask Adrienne or Joe.
We would also like to thank all of those who provided copy editing support ahead during the development process. As always, credit goes to Jeff for the amazingly robust registration system, and to Joe for the layout and design of the quest materials, plus the production of all of the merit buttons.
MouseAdventure is currently planning three events in 2012, though dates and details are still being worked out among the crew and with Disney. We will post event and registration dates as soon as we confirm them, but those announcements may be as little as 90 days before the event. We do hope to return to Walt Disney World next fall for our fifth MouseAdventure World Explorers event (perhaps a two-day, four parks event?), and we can definitely use your help to spread the word to prospective new Walt Disney World players. We absolutely love writing games for Walt Disney World, but we need to grow the Florida event to make it more affordable for our troops. If you have friends, family, or co-workers who are Disney fans, tell them about MouseAdventure and encourage them to come out for an event!
We also plan to continue our Coast to Coast challenge for 2013. Eligibility requirements will be provided prior to the start of registration for the Spring 2013 Disneyland event, but interested teams should plan to register for both the Spring Disneyland event and the Fall Walt Disney World Event.
Keep reading MousePlanet for more information about our upcoming events—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.
(Send an email to Stephanie Wien)
Growing up in Upstate New York, Stephanie (@MPStephanie) made frequent family trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, which instilled an early love for Disney theme parks. When her work took her to Orange County in California, she naturally became a frequent visitor to Disneyland, and developed a love for the park that started it all. Stephanie is now back in Upstate New York and working as an engineer. She has also completed several runDisney races, including the Walt Disney World marathon in 2007 and 2008 as a part of Team in Training, and is currently training for the Goofy Challenge in 2013. She makes as many trips as she can to experience the Disney magic, especially as part of the MouseAdventure staff team.