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Disney's California Adventure Preview Event Scavenger Hunt

January 19, 2001

by Lani Teshima and Alex Stroup

All event logo art on this page Disney

We really had no idea what to expect for this scavenger hunt event. Our experience has been limited to scavenger hunts at birthday parties, and MousePlanet's own MouseAdventure. If you have participated in MouseAdventure, you know that it's a very challenging effort if you want to be competitive.

First of all, there was no competitive element to this at all. This was much more like a regular Disneyland special event, with limited edition merchandise and even a panel discussion. The purpose of the event was to get a sneak preview of the park, and for that they did a great job. The scavenger hunt was the hook to get you to explore the park, but there really was no "challenge" in the Challenge.

I realize I'm supposed to talk specifically about the scavenger hunt portion, but there is something I should mention about the way the registration check-in and merchandising was processed. If you read our MousePlanet coverage about last year's Pirates of the Caribbean event, you remember the concerns we had beforehand, as well as the merchandising fiasco that ensued.

The Disney event folks have completely altered their process based on feedback and experience from that and other events. I was thoroughly impressed with their organization and operation. Kudos to all of the Cast Members (CMs) for doing a stupendous job!! I hope Disney continues to use the same procedure for special events. I can't compliment them highly enough.

The Scavenger Hunt was scheduled from 6:30 pm to midnight, although with a $15.00 food credit provided to each attendee, many folks didn't get started until after 7pm.

The registration packet included our first clue to get us started on the Challenge. There were at least two different first clues distributed to everybody, directing them to a specific location within the park. This really helped to avoid discouraging clumping of guests. At the first clue location guests exchanged their "clue sheet" for a new piece of paper that had all ten challenges printed on it. Each challenge required that you either provide an answer or perform an activity at the appropriate location within the park.

Instead of forcing players to run around all through the park, each challenge led you along a clockwise route along the park, walking through various "lands." While it certainly helped to have read about the park beforehand (through sources like MousePlanet), the Souvenir Map And Guide To Disney's California Adventure (comparable to the Disneyland Today guide) provided guidance to this brand new park. Since the actual challenge locations were identified on the challenge sheet, you could stay on course fairly well.

Every time you figured out the answer to a challenge, you verified your answer with the nearby "Challenge Host/Hostess," who punched a hole by the appropriate solved challenge. Once you completed all 10 challenges, you turned the sheet in and received a boxed set of commemorative buttons. While not pins, the buttons correspond to the rides for which you answered challenges; each button was dated for the event, making them a more precious keepsake.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

The following are the actual challenges, answers, and the buttons that correspond to them. The photo you see above is the official challenge sheet listing each of the challenge questions. This sheet was 11" by 17".

The square buttons are roughly 1.5" squares, while the oval buttons are roughly 2" wide.

[Since we don't have anywhere else to share our opinions, we have also included some thoughts on things in general]

The Challenges

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: "It's tough to be a Bug"... find out who gets to leave the theatre first. Then visit the large yellow object named after an insect. It's not one, but it sure can work wonders for the bountiful soil of a farm.

Answer: Beetles. The answer is provided by Flik, the host of the "It's Tough To Be a Bug" 3-D show, who tells you to wait before getting up and leaving.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: The Mother Dough "kneads" you now. Visit her and tell her not to be so sour. Head toward the Pacific Wharf to find out the year she was first "kneaded."

Answer: 1849, according to the Boudin Bakery exhibit within DCA's Golden State, the "mother dough" is the sourdough starter used in every batch of sourdough bread dough, and which adds the sour flavor in sourdough bread. Believe it or not, this original starter fermented in 1849 is still used today.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: This sun that shines night and day can take you 150-feet closer to the real sun. Go there and count how many cars go to the very top (these cars don't slide in, out and around).

Answer: Eight. The challenge is referring to the Sun Wheel, one of the landmarks of DCA's Paradise Pier area. Unlike a traditional Ferris wheel, the Sun Wheel has a set of eight static gondolas, as well as a set of eight gondolas that "ride on interior rails so that they slide inward and outward, adding a unique gravity element" that leaves guest screaming loudly.

Interesting observation: As you near the Sun Wheel, it looks like the gondolas sink under the water line! It's only when you are up close that you see the gondolas ride into a dry "canal," its walls rising just above the water line.

[Alex: Despite misgivings about having a ferris wheel at Disneyland, I have to say that Sun Wheel is gorgeous. I'm not going to ride it - it is still just a ferris wheel - but it looks great]

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: There's Fun in the Sun for Everyone! Count the number of games found in the midway. We hate to be a "T's" but you'll need to take this number to the sideshow.

Answer: Eight. The "T's" reference in the challenge led you to the challenge station, located in front of a T-shirt shop. Well.... we at first told the CMs that we thought the answer was "seven," but were told this was wrong. We were finally given credit for saying "eight," but Disney's official Web presence for DCA only mentions seven games. Hrmmm...

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: What is the motto of the spot where you'll catch a slice, not a wave...

Answer: "In Crust We Trust," the official logo of the eatery, Pizza Oom Mow Mow in Paradise Pier. The logo appears above the entrance.

[Alex: I am not a big fan of puns; I get more than enough living with Lani. I ran around all evening pretty much chanting "I don't eat puns." Unfortunately, if this is your stance, you'll get pretty hungry.]

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: Follow your Golden Dreams and let Calafia tell you the name of the Scottish immigrant who helped to turn Yosemite into a National Park.

Answer: John Muir, who was also the founder of the Sierra Club.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: Prepare for a grizzly white water adventure and find out how long the drop is. Next, visit the place where you might get outfitted before braving the rushin' river.

Answer: 20 to 22 feet. The CMs didn't seem to be tremendously sure, so they were accepting answers within this range. Credit goes to the brave souls who experienced this attraction on the cool evening, knowing they might get drenched.

[Alex: I enjoyed this much more than I expected. The ride is well-themed and avoids any lengthy sections of calm water. I was told that they had many of the "drenching" sections turned off because of the temperature, but it was still fun. It was possible to stay dry, though, as I personally learned (to the envy of my fellow rafters).]

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: Glide over the beauty of the Golden State, then find out what sort of wings a "taste pilot" might order before you make a perfect landing at Fly 'n' Buy.

Answer: "Hot Shot Wings," spicy buffalo wings available at Taste Pilots' Grill in Condor Flats, near the California Soarin' attraction.

[Alex: This is the home-run for the park. For the next six months this is the going to be the hottest FastPass in all the land(s)! One small quibble and one large. The small is that they need to work on a way to keep dust off of the projector. On our ride over California we were accompanied by a giant dust speck that looked a bit like a world record-setting ski jumper. The large quibble is capacity. We FastPassed this and still spent and hour in line because they were down to one theater. I am told that the goal is a two-minute load time, but on this night the CMs were nowhere near that mark.]

[Lani: The poor folks who participated in the Challenge and stood in the stand-by line for this attraction were very frustrated at the extremely long wait they had to endure.]

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: Take a fabulous limo ride and smile for the cameras. Then it's time to get gone... and we don't mean "Gone With The Wind." Once there, you've certainly gone somewhere! So go there and give the little people your autograph!

Answer: This was a giveaway point, in that you didn't have to go on the Superstar Limo ride to get your answer. You were required only to sign yourself into an autograph book at a table set up near the attraction.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

Challenge: Explore the world of animation and discover your inner self. Let the candlestick tell you which Disney Character you are most like. Be sure you take your newfound knowledge off the page.

Answer: This challenge "required" entry into the Disney Animation, although like the previous challenge, you could probably make up an answer if you were running short on time. Within the Disney Animation, you were supposed to go into the Sorcerer's Workshop, a room that looks like the library from the castle belonging to Beast (from Beauty and the Beast). There, you were to sit down at one of the interactive stations where you were given a set of questions, after which Lumiere (from the same movie) told you what Disney animation character your personality most resembled.

[Alex: Beautiful! A wonderful celebration of animation. Unfortunately it was overcrowded while we were there, taking almost 20 minutes to get access to a station. Keep in mind that everything was functioning properly and the number of people in the park was small.]

[Lani notes: I was most like Belle! Yeah, right... I wish I'd had more time to spend in the main lobby. The multiple screens are an awesome sight that left me exhilarated and very emotional.]

Bonus: Now that you've completed the challenge, you're an official Adventurer. Your final task is to find the lovely restaurant named after California's famous wine country. You may need to venture outside the Adventure to where many Grand Californians stay.

Answer: Napa Rose, nestled within the Grand Californian Hotel.

DCA Sneak Preview Challenge  DCA Sneak Preview Challenge

The pins were presented to the DCA Sneak Preview Challenge players in a nice commemorative box. Players who also turned in their post-event survey received small acrylic paperweights with a photo of the DCA park entrance.

Other coverage on this event:

Sue Kruse covers the panel discussion in further depth

Panel Members photo page

Adrienne Vincent Phoenix writes about the merchandise available

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