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Alex Stroup, event coordinator/editor

Mad Scramble
M A Y  1 9,  2 0 0 2
D I S N E Y' S   C A L I F O R N I A   A D V E N T U R E

Event coverage: ONE

The winners: TWO

Team photos:

Final Scores: THIRTEEN

Ask a triathlete whether it is all worth it (the pain, the leg cramps, the labored breathing, the adoring fans), and you might get the answer that competing in a triathlon is almost as taxing as MouseAdventure. Okay, that was a bit of a conceit. But if you think I am exaggerating too much, just ask one of our MadScramblers who participated on Sunday!

I would like to tell you the day burst forth under clear, blue, sunny skies, but that just did not happen. Some amalgam of rain, mist, and dew clung heavily to the air in the morning, as if Father Winter had decided he just could not give up this year without a fight after all. Like all of our events, this one was "rain or shine," so we had to tough it out. Later we would have gladly traded the hot, sticky weather for some cool dew (sorry soda fans, I mean the natural kind, no product placement here), but alas, Father Winter had already gone.

Three registration tables handled the record crowd

Teams began milling about the esplanade's picnic area around 11:00, dutifully early for the registration, for which we were profoundly grateful (nothing like a last-second scramble of our own to complete registration! Thankfully we avoided that). Teams were given colored numbers to affix to their shoulders this time around - we had spies throughout the park to ensure teams were not splitting up, and we were not afraid to use them!

Team photos came during the rest of the registration period, followed by an enormous group photo. We had close to 220 people registered to play - by a wide margin our largest event yet. Say, that means that we must have been something like 1% of the entire park attendance that day (not that I had access to official figures, mind you; I just like to indulge in fantasy. For proof, read the first paragraph again).

Down in front!

Everyone trooped back to the picnic area for rules and instructions, and I suppose now is a good time to explain why this event was different. In "MouseAdventure Classic," there are usually two categories of teams: competitive (various quests, various "EyeSpy" photos from somewhere in the Park that need labeling, and a trivia section) or recreational (quests and EyeSpy, but no trivia). Winning teams are decided on a simple criterion: whoever has the most points in each category wins.

The Mad Scramble is an entirely different affair. There is an EyeSpy section, but it is a game unto itself. Whoever gets the most correct answers for the EyeSpy wins that game. The quests are a second game, and this time, they are organized as a race. The first team who navigates all four "stations" (each with its own quests) wins. The kicker is that both games are timed events that occur simultaneously, and they are designed to be mutually distracting, so that strategy becomes important. Do you ignore one game and concentrate on winning the other? Or do some mixture of the two?

The teams head back to get their first clues

Each team received a sheet of event rules that doubled as a scorecard. At 12:30 they were told to look inside the folded sheet, where they discovered a clue that would lead them to their first station. Dispersed throughout the park, each of the stations (Burger Invasion, Redwood Creek, Farmer's Market, and Hollywood and Dine) held two quests. Quests usually involve some sort of puzzle (mathematic, linguistic, alphanumeric, word search, or jumble), which, when deciphered, told the teams to head somewhere specific and find out the answer to a question posed by the deciphered sentence. One such quest asked teams what color a certain button was on the S.S. rustworthy, while another demanded to know the number on the "ore cart closest to Paradise Pier." For my money, the most evil quest asked teams to determine the number of cinderblocks required to build the planter in front of the Hollywood restrooms.

Smiling, happy people - before they met the cinder blocks

Yes, I admit up front that I am evil. That is part of the point! I would not want to create a game that was too easy, now would I? We struggle to maintain a level playing field, so that first time players have an equal opportunity to win (theoretically, at least).

Teams turned in their final quests and EyeSpy packets at the same time, as soon as they declared themselves done. Those fortunate (and fast) enough to be finished before 3:30 received a packet of "just-for-fun" trivia and word search, as a way to kill time until the event ended for real and scores could by calculated. By 3:30, the game ended for the remaining teams, and tired but happy teams had an hour to collapse, re-hydrate, and re-group before the prize ceremony. At 4:30, the raffle prizewinners were announced (never say you don't have a chance to win something at MouseAdventure!), followed by the "spirit award" winners - a team impressively clad in matching pink tie-dyed shirts.

As always, MouseShoppe provided a great selection of prizes

Then came the big moment: the announcement of the first, second, and third place teams for the EyeSpy game and the Scramble itself. For the record, the EyeSpy winners were tough competitors from previous events, and the Scramble winners were enthusiastic Trojan boosters (who celebrated with a "USC chant" of some sort. Don't ask me. I partake in no tribal rituals).

The important part, of course, is that everyone have a good time, and I heard nothing but compliments - a typo here and there notwithstanding. We heartily encourage everyone to come out and play the next one. We actually sold out this one! (There is only so much we can do administratively, so there has to be a cap somewhere.)

The winning team looks over the prizes

Our next event will be MouseAdventure Classic, back over in Disneyland again. Look for it sometime in October or November, with an announcement sometime in late summer detailing the exact date. Come join us - you won't regret it! You can also learn more about the event, and get advice from returning teams, at our MousePad message boards.


Event coverage: ONE

The winners: TWO

Team photos:

Final Scores: THIRTEEN

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