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Spring 2005 MouseAdventure Event Recap

Two events in one day make for a milestone challenge for players and crew

Friday, March 18, 2005
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, Spring 2005 MouseAdventure event coordinator

Complete Results | Team Photos

When I volunteered to organize our tenth MouseAdventure event, I had two goals: I wanted to create a game that would appeal to brand-new and veteran teams alike, and I wanted to try out an event concept that I started musing about long before The Amazing Race became a reality-show hit.

The Invitational players in their last moment of serenity before the event begins. Photo by Lani Teshima.

It quickly became clear that the only way to accomplish both goals was to create two different games: An easy and fun, classic MouseAdventure game for new participants and families that we called MouseAdventure Open; and an extreme game that would pose a true challenge to our most competitive veterans that we called MouseAdventure Invitational: The Enchanted Race. With these concepts in place, we began the process of planning and hosting two entirely different events for game day, Sunday, March 13.

Sleeping Beauty Castle gets smaller with each event photo, as the crowd of players gets bigger and bigger—and this is only the Open division! Photo by Frank Anzalone.

We are always pleased to announce during our awards ceremony that each event is our biggest game ever, and Sunday's event was no exception—approximately 450 players turned out for the spring event, in Disneyland. We welcomed 90 returning teams, and introduced 57 brand new teams to the joys of MouseAdventure. We somehow managed to avoid both the recent rainstorms and the oppressive heat that has become the hallmark of MouseAdventure weekend, something the teams would become grateful for as the day wore on.

Properly Warned (team 4060), is smiling during the event—a good indication that they are participating in the Open division. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Teams participating Open division played a classic MouseAdventure game. Quests included a trip to Tom Sawyer Island to identify a missing tombstone, an exploration of the tribute windows in Toon Town, and an excursion into Innoventions to learn the difference between Hallmark and American Greetings. Teams also tried to identify 10 “Eye Spy” photos, and hoped to receive a bonus quest by trading postcards with teams participating in the Invitational division.

Members of the Single Rider Syndicate contemplate a puzzle during the Open event. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

In case of a tie, we asked teams to try to predict their final score. It's a good thing we asked, since we ended up needing the tie-breaker for the third-place winners.

Our spiffy sign in an official sign-in table just to the side of the Disneyland park turnstiles made Sunday morning check-in easier, and raised some eyebrows among those who never thought they would see a MousePlanet sign on Disney property. From left: Jeff Moxley, Sheila Hagen, Andrew Rich, Jennifer Rich, Adrienne Krock, Lisa Perkis, and Emma Perkis. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

We may have scared some of our veteran players out of taking us up on the Inviational challenge, since quite a few of them chose the Open event. And since roughly half of the Open teams were experienced MouseAdventure participants, we decided it best to honor the Open division winners based on whether their teams consisted entirely of new players or not, thus recognizing the top three finishing teams for both new teams, as well as returning teams in the Open division.

The Tinker Belles (team 4033), pore over their game packet. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Several events ago we hit upon the strategy of giving teams their entire game packet at once. Some teams discovered that too much of a good thing could be overwhelming, and asked for more time to complete the packet of puzzles and quests. We were able to add an hour of playing time to this event, which meant that more teams had the opportunity to at least attempt every quest. This also meant that several teams were able to get perfect scores on the quests. The Eye Spy and bonus opportunities became even more important, and in one case, the tiebreaker question made all the difference.

A member of Invitational team Ladies and the Tramp inspects some black-and-white photos in the Disneyland Hotel lobby to complete a Hollywood Squares–inspired puzzle. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Unfortunately, the close scores also meant that any slight error in grading would affect the final results, and we made a few. The corrected rankings are listed below, and we very much regret the errors. The maximum score, with all bonuses, was 1110 points.

For our experienced veteran players, we introduced a new format—MouseAdventure Invitational: The Enchanted Race. Inspired by the road rallies I enjoyed in college and fueled by a popular reality television show, The Enchanted Race took our teams outside the normal boundaries of a MouseAdventure game. Teams started in Downtown Disney, rode the Monorail, traced a circle around Disneyland, eventually made their way back to the Disneyland hotel, searched the Mickey & Friends parking structure and discovered exactly how long it takes to walk to the Howard Johnson's hotel before they crossed the finish line in Frontierland.

The members of The Mission: Kim Possible Dream Team (team 405) contemplates their next clue in the Invitational event. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Along the way, the Invitational players found out that there is more than one City Hall inside Disneyland, learned how to read bar codes, solved new types of puzzles, and had the opportunity to face author and MousePlanet columnist David Koenig in a trivia challenge. The game lasted six hours, and we estimate that teams walked over 10 miles to complete the course. Although only 17 of the 26 teams that began the race made it to the finish line, many teams declared this new format the “best game ever,” and are clamoring to know when we are doing it again.

In a nod to The Amazing Race, Darkbeer and the Garlic Fries (team 328), receive one Disney Dollar for the race, as well as fry cook hats that indicates to MouseAdventure crew that they could become legally separated from each other during one particular task. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

The Invitational division attracted some of our most competitive returning teams. Because of the difficulty of the event, we invited our Master teams, two teams previously retired from competition after they each earned three first-place finishes, to enter and compete in this new format. One Master team, the–mouse.com, took the challenge and was in fact the first to cross the finish line. Unfortunately, they had incurred a time penalty earlier in the event that knocked them out of the standings by just 38 seconds. The true heartbreaker, however, was that even with their time penalty, they would have placed second had they come in just 60 seconds sooner.

One member of the other Master team participated in the Open division with her son as team Kids of the Kingdom (team 2061), and the duo earned the eighth highest overall score in that event.

Invitational teams discover how difficult it can be to search a collage in a crowd during one of the legs, where they had to search for specific items in a display exhibit in the Disneyland Hotel. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

When the final results were in, the Happy Haunts earned not only the first-place title but also the honor of being named our third Master team. The second and third place teams crossed the finish line just six seconds apart, with another team hot on their heels just seconds later.

Two of the members of Open team 3079 enjoy some well-deserved food at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ after the event. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

After last fall's award ceremony was cut short by a visit from Disneyland security, we decided to take the next step and rent the Big Thunder Ranch for a post-game dinner and award ceremony. Those who joined us for dinner said they appreciated having a great meal and place to relax after the day's exertions, and everyone seemed to enjoy the novelty of being able to hear the awards presentation over a PA system.

Teams gather in the Big Thunder Ranch after the game to hear the results. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Crew acknowledgements

Unfortunately we had to vacate the venue by 6 p.m., so the presentation was a little more rushed than I would have liked. In my haste to conclude the event on time, I was not able to properly introduce and thank the staff and crew who made this event a success.

Some of the MouseAdventure crew who make this event a success. From left: Alex Stroup, Sheila Hagen, Karl Buiter, Andrew Rich, Jennifer Rich, Steve Kiskamp, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, Tony Phoenix, Adrienne Krock, Kevin Krock, Lani Teshima, Frank Anzalone, Shoshana Lewin, Emma Perkis, Lisa Perkis, Jeff Moxley. Photo by Karen Anzalone.

More players and more teams mean we need more help to keep everything organized, and the MouseAdventure crew perform an amazing feat every six months. This time around, I further complicated their jobs by planning what amounted to two different events on the same day.

Karin Luster, Kenji Luster and Tony Phoenix staff the Critter Country checkpoint for the Invitational event. Photo by Karen Anzalone

Steve Kiskamp, Jeff Moxley and my husband Tony helped write the Invitational event. Mox and Tony were also responsible for the online registration system. Shoshana Lewin helped write the Open game. Lani Teshima provided editing and desktop publishing services to produce the final handouts from the puzzles and challenges we created, which were then tested and tweaked by various individuals. She also makes all of the great MouseAdventure buttons.

Hundreds of MouseAdventure participants pose for a large group photo in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle as they take direction from MousePlanet staff photographer Frank Anzalone. Photo by Lani Teshima.

I also want to thank the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel on South Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim for allowing us to rent a room as our off-site location for the Invitational event. There are now numerous people who can tell you exactly how far that hotel is from Disneyland. Silent Salesmen Promotions, owned by a member of our MousePad discussion boards, made the nifty lanyards given the Invitational teams. Many MousePlanet staff joke (or complain) that they only see one another during MouseAdventure. This is because the majority of our staff drives and flies in from their far-flung homes to work as MouseAdventure crew for the weekend. It is their experience that allows this game to get larger each time we do it, yet still run pretty efficiently. In addition to those named above, I want to thank the rest of the event staff and crew: Alex Stroup, Adrienne & Kevin Krock, Andrew & Jennifer Rich, Sheila Hagen, Lisa & Emma Perkis, Karl Buiter, Frank & Karen Anzalone, Vicki Groff, Karin & Kenji Luster, David Koenig, and our anonymous spies and helpers.

Author David Koenig poses with the lucky winner from Open team 4004, the Fantastic Four, who took home a copy of his latest book. Photo by Frank Anzalone. Speaking of David Koenig, I am terribly embarrassed to realize that I failed to introduce him during the award ceremony. David was our “surprise” guest for the Invitational event. Teams could either try to beat David at a Disney trivia challenge or solve a difficult word puzzle before they could continue on. It was a wonderful treat for the teams to meet the author of Mouse Tales, Mouse Under Glass and More Mouse Tales in person.

I probably should mention Alex Stroup one more time. When I offered to organize this MouseAdventure event, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The amount of work, preparation and organization that goes into this event is staggering. Alex never said, “I told you so.” He was always willing to take my panicky phone calls, and really did a lot more to make this event a success than I think he intended to when he handed it off to me. To repay him for his kindness, I'm handing the event right back to him. He has some pretty ambitious plans for our fall event, so stay tuned for details.

Open Division New Teams

First Place — Open Division New Team
Tiki Twosome (team 2015), 1080 points

Photo by Lani Teshima.

Second Place — Open Division New Team
Single Rider Syndicate (team 4047), 1060 points

Photo by Lani Teshima.

Third Place — Open Division New Team
Admiral Boom (team 2101) 1060 points, decided by tie-breaker

Open Division Returning Teams

First place — Open Division Returning Team
The Dream Team (team 4002), 1080 points

Photo by Lani Teshima.

Second place — Open Division Returning Team
Team 2090, 1070 points

Photo by Lani Teshima.

Third Place — Open Division Returning Team
We Have Your Laughin' Place (team 4113), 1060 points, decided by tie-breaker

Photo by Lani Teshima.

Team Spirit Award — Open division
Lucky Charms

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Best Costume — Open division
Peripatetic Puzzles

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Invitational Division

First Place – Invitational
Happy Haunts (team 204), total elapsed time: 5:11:23

Photo by Frank Anzalone

Second Place – Invitational
Ralph Wiggum, FEJ, and The POP featuring Nirvanaman (team 401), total elapsed time: 5:31:16

Photo by Frank Anzalone

Third Place – Invitational
The Space Cadets (team 218), total elapsed time: 5:31:22

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Team Spirit – Invitational
Team N'Ohana

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Best Costume – Invitational
The Unintelligibles

Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Complete Results | Team Photos

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

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