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MouseAdventure Spring 2008 Recap

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.


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Seven hundred people barely fit into a ballroom, much less a group photo. Photo by Kenji Luster.

The Event


MouseAdventure Spring 2008 draws record numbers of players and teams to the Disneyland Resort. Photo by Kenji Luster.

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 dificulty levels to solve.


The number one rule of MouseAdventure: "Read everything." Photo by Kenji Luster.

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.


An Advanced Placement team prepares for trivia, having no idea they are about to be sent straight into Disneyland. Photo by Kenji Luster.

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 teams wait for the start of their very first event. MousePlanet photo.

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.


Team Haunted Mansion Holly-Daze prepares for trivia. Photo by Kenji Luster.

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.


Advanced team Simba's Pride perform pre-game stretches in the Paradise Pier Hotel ballroom. Their first-place finish may encourage other teams to join their warm-up next time. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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:

Freshman Quests

Business (Tomorrowland) – involved using  the names of sponsors of Tomorrowland restaurants and attractions (past and present) to solve a cris-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.


This team appears to be working on three quests at once. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


The Metzger Family manages to win Year of a Million Dreams Fastpasses during the event, and also goes on to earn second place in their division. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


Sophomore Quests


Teams wait in the shade before their assigned "Drama audition" time. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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."


A tote bag helps to keep this team organized. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


A child watches with curiosity as a team works on their quests. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


Even after losing two players to heat exhaustion, the show must go on for team Disney Dorks: The Musical. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


A two-time winning team, the Googlie Bears struggle with the chemistry exam in their effort to finish obtain another win, and the exclusive MouseAdventure Masters title (alas, they did not place this time). Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

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.


Junior Quests

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.


MouseAdventure Masters team the Happy Haunts search Main Street for Love Potion no.9. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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.


Steve Zlick from The Denton Affair demonstrates that even Masters teams could not escape the constant reminders to drink lots of water. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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
    • Reggie
    • Etinenne
    • Lillian
    • Antoine
    • Asa
    • Bride
    • Edward
    • Marquis
    • Mary
    • George
    • Horace

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.


Bonus Quests


The Industrial Arts quiz was designed to be tough, but teams who read the instructions and followed them literally discovered that all they needed to do was find Bev & Tracy to get the answer handed to them without further work. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

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 4125, 3062 and 4079

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 4016 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.


Bonus Quests

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.



Teams size up the prize table. Photo by Kenji Luster.

The Results

MouseAdventure 301 Advanced, with 925 possible points

First Place

Simba’s Pride (team #3015) with 768 points


Simba's Pride. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Second Place

Club 31 (team # 3150) with 751 points

 
Club 31. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Third Place

Smoke Tree Ranchers (team #4043) with 701 points

 
Smoke Tree Ranchers. One of the longest-playing MouseAdventure teams savors their victory in the Advanced division. Photo by Kenji Luster.

MouseAdventure 201 - Basic (685 possible points)

First Place

Sleeping Zebras (team #3062) with 570 points


The Sleeping Zebras. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Second Place

The Ringers (team #4079) with 532 points


The Ringers. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Third Place

Blew By You The Original (team #4141) with 531 points


Team Blew By You The Original. Photo by Kenji Luster.

 

MouseAdventure 201 Family, with 685 possible points

First Place

Bloomin’ Cockroaches (team #4108 ) with 432 points


The Bloomin’ Cockroaches. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Second Place

The Metzger Family (team #4053) with 431 points


The Metzger Family missed first place by one point, but won two Dreams during the competition. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Best Trivia Score, with 100 possible points

[Not a prize category]
Team Zlick (team #4139) with 86 points


Team Zlick. Photo by Kenji Luster.

MouseAdventure Masters (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.

  1. Brother Bears (team #4001) with 751 points
  2. Happy Haunts (team #2177) 625 points
  3. The Denton Affair (team #3133) 515 points

MouseAdventure 101 (630 possible points)

First Place

Yen Sid’s ( Yella-belly) Piratears (team #413) with 577 points

 
Yen Sid's. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Second Place

Dude, Chica (team #353) with 564 points


Dude, Chica. Photo by Kenji Luster.
 

Third Place

Team #345 with 550 points


Team #345. Photo by Alex Stroup.
 

MouseAdventure 101 - Family (630 possible points)

First Place

Little Green Wittmen (team #307) with 583 points

 
Little Green Wittmen. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Second Place

The Dream Suiters (team #454) with 542 points


The Dream Suiters. Photo by Kenji Luster.
 

Full results and team photos

Teams are ranked by total overall score within their division, and the results are detailed as follows:

  • Quests – Aggregate score for all quests
  • Trivia – Number shown is number of questions correct out of 50 questions. Each correct answer was worth 2 points.
  • Penalties – 10 point deductions per infraction reported by a MouseAdventure crew member. The most common infractions were for splitting up during the event.

MouseAdventure Spring 2008 Results

MouseAdventure 201/301 Team Photos

MouseAdventure 101 Team Photos


Steven Ng (right, kneeling) and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix interview Club 31, MouseAdventure winners, for the MouseStation Podcast. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Tell us what you think!

MouseAdventure continues to grow and improve with each event, but we know we can always do better. All players are encouraged to take a brief survey about the Spring 2008 event, and share your suggestions for improvement.

Click here to take the Spring 2008 MouseAdventure Survey

Crew acknowledgements

The crew for this event has grown to the point that I'm afraid I'm going to forget to thank someone for their contribution. I have to begin with my husband, Tony Phoenix, who has not only managed to find a way to grade 50% more teams in less time and with no more crew than we needed just two years ago, but also serves as a sounding board for some of the more outlandish ideas Joe and I come up with.

Event co-creator Joe Stevano is just an incredibly creative person, and I'm constantly amazed with the little details he adds to the event materials. Every piece of paper you touched went through Joe's hands first, and I quite honestly could not produce a game of this quality without him. Amanda Smith and David Perry volunteered to run the entire MouseAdventure 101 event with almost no staff assistance, a daunting task that they handled with considerable aplomb.


Emma Perkis holds an "audition" in Fantasyland. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

The beta testers for this event included Andrew and Jennifer Rich; Adrienne, Kevin, and Matthew Krock; Shoshana Lewin and Adam Fisher; Sheila Hagen; Amanda Smith and David Perry; Tony Phoenix; Bev and Tracy Screeton; plus MousePlanet readers Alan, Helga and Steven. Lisa Perkis and Stephanie Wien did some remote testing of the quests as well.

Event-day staff included Andrew and Jennifer Rich; Adrienne and Kevin Krock; Shoshana Lewin and Adam Fisher; Sheila Hagen; Amanda Smith and David Perry; Tony Phoenix; Joe Stevano; Jeff Moxley, Lani Teshima and Alex Stroup; Lisa and Emma Perkis; Karl Buiter; Steven Ng; plus returning crew volunteers Karin Hubbard-Luster and Kenji Luster; Bev and Tracy Screeton and new volunteers Alan, Helga, Liana and Steven.


David Perry and Buc-ee, the MouseAdventure staff mascot, guard the answer keys the night before the event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

A tremendous thanks also goes to the Disneyland Resort, especially Disneyland Resort Special Events and Disneyland Resort Catering & Convention Services. We would also like to thank MousePlanet sponsor Howard Johnson Anaheim for offering a great MouseAdventure rate to our players and staff.

Our next event

Our next MouseAdventure event—"MouseAdventure Mystery"—will be held in Fall 2008 at the Disneyland Resort. Event format, park and pricing have yet to be determined. We will post the event date and registration dates as soon as we confirm them, but that announcement may be as little as 90 days before the event. We generally open registration around 60 days before the event, so there will be at least a month between the time we announce the event date and the time we begin accepting registrations. Keep reading MousePlanet.com for more information—MouseAdventure updates are posted in the weekly Disneyland Resort Park Update.

For those who have asked about the possibility of a Walt Disney World event, we are pleased to announce that we are currently planning our inaugural Walt Disney World MouseAdventure to be held sometime in the Fall of 2009. No additional details are available at this time, so keep reading MousePlanet.com for more information.



Talk about this article and more, on the MousePad community forums.


(Send an email to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix)

Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix (@MousePlanetAVP) is an original MousePlanet staffer and manages to find time for all of this while running two retail stores, MouseShoppe and CharmingShoppe.