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I am seated in front of my computer typing. It is the evening after this years Minnie’s Moonlit Madness and I am contemplating one of Fab’s black martinis, which sounds like a dandy idea at this moment in time. My theory is that it would numb the discomfort I feel in my legs much better than aspirin could. Not that the pain would go away, mind you. My brain just wouldn’t recognize it anymore. You see, in the course of last evening, at the command of my team captain, I actually had to run. Can you imagine? I mean, can you imagine?
For those of you who don’t know me personally, let me tell you how unfathomable this is. I like nice clothes. I like to get dressed up and wear velvet and lace. Yes, even to Disneyland. The words blue jeans, tee-shirts, workout and sweat don’t occur in my vocabulary too much.
So Fab, would you be a dear and lend me Monkey Boy with a tray of those martinis so I might finish this report?
I knew that you would.
All that, do excuse the term, exercise, is rather taxing. I am relaxed now and feel ever so much better. Where were we? Oh yes...
Back when I was asked to be part of a team at this year’s Minnie’s Moonlit Madness, due to the superior amount of useless Disney trivia stored in my brain (you believe that right?), I took my task seriously and went straight into training. I had been warned that I might have to (it pains me to use this word again), run. So, I donned stunning workout togs and headed straight for the gym with a copy of Disney A to Z tucked under my arm for a little light reading on the treadmill. I worked for weeks, months, years, to achieve total fitness (you’re buying that too, I hope).
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to take this thing seriously. I arrived at the Pinocchio parking lot to find myself in the midst of dozens of folks in matching outfits equipped with flashlights, clipboards and other various survivalist-like accoutrements. "Okay," I thought to myself, "I really am going to have to run. I am going to die."
I met up with my teammates and we proceeded to the check-in spot at the new picnic area outside the front gate, where we were all given wristbands identifying us as part of the event, and a packet of various supplies for the evening. After that we entered the park through the backstage area in back of City Hall and proceeded over to the Fantasyland Theatre where the event would start.
After a short delay while they cleared the guests out of the park, the event finally got underway with the singing of the National Anthem (it was a sports theme). Then, referee Joe took center stage. Those of you who visit the park on a regular basis would recognize Joe as part of the Laughing Stock. This improv group performs in front of the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. Joe plays the characters of the Mayor and occasionally Sally Mae. He has a lightening quick wit, is darned funny and this night was up to his usual standards with one twist. The difference was that he was not performing for the usual crowd (read that as family entertainment-type folks), so he could take a little more liberty with his jokes. They were, shall we delicately say, a little racy, nothing blatant, no off color language, but lots of innuendo and terrifically funny.
After making us all laugh our derričres off, Joe introduced the star of the evening, Miss Minnie Mouse. Minnie came out, to much applause, in a stunning pink ensemble, complete with hat. Let me tell you, Minnie was not to be outdone by Joe in the racy department. Now I know how she has managed to keep Mickey interested all these years. I am convinced that she wears black leather undies under those sedate little outfits and has whips and fur lined handcuffs hidden in her closet (not that I would really know anything about that kind of stuff, mind you). She’s quite a saucy gal and made us all laugh our derričres off too.
Joe and Minnie brought a few people up on stage to go through the contents of the bags so we all could make sure we had everything we needed. If not, we were instructed to go to the Panic Table. I thought if there was a Panic Table there should have been a Pain Table, but alas, there was not.
The bags contained a ticket book (complete with E tickets), a rope with four clips (for, gasp, tying team members together), map of the park, scantron thingie, pencil, song sheet, envelopes for turning in clues and Disney Goals brochure. I may have forgotten something, but that is the gist of what was contained in the bag. Joe and Minnie thanked their helpers, Minnie bid the crowd adieu and we got down to business.
Let the games begin...
The first test of the evening was a group of trivia questions. Joe read the question while it flashed on a large screen overhead. They didn’t give you a lot of time to answer so you had to be quick. Each question was multiple choice. Some were impossible to answer...How many hotel rooms are on Disney property worldwide? Who knows this kind of thing? We guessed. Some questions were fairly easy and some had answers to choose from that were hysterical. My favorites were:
To the question, In Toy Story 2, what was the name of the sponsor of the Woody’s Roundup TV show?
Try and imagine what Joe did with that? Yeah, you’re right. He ran with it.
To the question, What was the working title of Fantasia 2000?
Yes, Joe worked that one for all it was worth too.
Midway through this triviafest, our regular program was interrupted. The Castmember who sang the National Anthem was brought back on stage to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame with new lyrics written especially for the evening. We were instructed to pull out our songsheets and sing along.
Singing over, we went back to the trivia. At long last, all questions were posed and we were instructed to: 1) hand in the trivia sheets, 2) tie ourselves together, 3) safety, safety, safety (which translates to don’t run!--I liked that!), and Ladies and Gentleman start your engines...
4) Grab your first clue and get going.
Our team consisted of an actor / singer, a dancer / tour guide, a character guy (who is sooo physically fit) and me, the artist / writer / antique dealer. The team captain, who is also my friend, warned me that he would be ruthless and extremely competitive. I already knew this. I have played miniature golf with him. Friendship be damned, he goes for the jugular. With that in mind, as he grabbed the bag of peanuts that was our first clue and dashed off toward the hub dragging us all with him, I was hoping I wouldn’t hate him by the end of the evening. My focus quickly shifted when I saw the first clue.
As I mentioned, it was a bag of peanuts. What the heck do you do with this? We turned it over. On the back, it said:
Sing A Song To Solve This Clue
Okay...Well, that helps, doesn’t it? To further confuse the issue, underneath that little tidbit was something that looked roughly like this:
35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 17-2 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 12-6 12-6 / 12-3 54-1 18-6 2-1 14-5 2-1 14-5 / 17-2 35-1 24-5 / 12-6 / 35-1 24-5 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 54-1 / 18-6 35-1 / 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 18-6 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 17-2 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 12-6 13-6 / 12-3 54-1 18-6 2-1 14-5 2-1 14-5 / 17-2 35-1 24-5 / 12-6 / 35-1 24-5 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 54-1 / 18-6 35-1 / 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 18-6 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 45-3 34-8 25-1 16-4 34-7 / 21-5 38-2 3 / 45-6 26-2 18-6 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 14-5 17-2 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 12-6 1-6 / 12-/ 17-2 35-1 24-5 / 12-6 / 35-1 24-5 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-3 54-1 / 18-6 2-1 3-1 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 23-1 54-1 / 18-6 35-1 / 5-3 / 45-6 26-2 18-6 2-1 / 35-1 24-5 12-
Let me clarify that. In order to get our real first clue, we had to figure out what Sing A Song To Solve This Clue and a bunch of random numbers meant. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Sure it does.
A thought suddenly occurred to me, "We’re doomed as doomed can be. How can we possibly figure this out." It just seemed insurmountable. My teammates were old hat at this event, having participated at least four times each. Me being the neophyte, posed the question, "So what do we do if we can’t solve this clue, is that it? Are we done?" I was thinking, "Great, my first year at Minnie’s Moonlit Madness and we’re finished before we even begin. So much for my "superior" amount of trivial knowledge. I won’t even get to use it."
My captain quickly informed me that any clue not solvable could be passed and then we could move on. Which means, you give up the points, but you’re not out of the game. You don’t really want to do this unless the clue is just hopelessly impossible though. Fortunately this clue wasn’t as hopeless as it first appeared. We hauled ourselves over to a trashcan to use it as a desk and began to brainstorm.
Okay, the clue’s on a peanut bag, the theme is sports, we sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame with new words for no apparent reason. Maybe this is the reason. Put it together and what have you got? Well ladies and gentlemen, not Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, no, think! Look at the song sheet. What’s the highest number of those cryptic number combinations? 54. How many words are there in the new lyrics? 54. The first number is the word, the second is the letter in that word, a slash signifies the end of a word.
Ding, ding, ding!!! Yes, ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner. It was kind of like cracking the Enigma code. It sent us to the Emporium where we learned the word we needed to know, Baseball, and earned us our next, and first real clue. My dear friend and captain made us run, not trot, not jog, run--a full out sprint, from the Hub to the Emporium and back again.
I hate that word.
Okay, I was wheezing and gasping for breath, thinking my heart was going to leap out of my chest and I would die right there. But then I got a little respite (little is the operative word here). This is where the ticket books came into play. In each ticket book given out there were ten tickets. Ours contained 4 E tickets, 3 D tickets, 1 C ticket, 1 B ticket, and 1 A ticket. Complete all ten and you’re done. To get each clue, you hand in a ticket from your book.
The next clue sent us to Space Mountain and my captain, oh captain, said the evil words once more, "Okay kids, we’re doing great! Let’s RUN!!!"
I’m not going to forgive him for that.
At the top of the Space Mountain queue, we found we would have to play football. This terrorized me. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am the least sporty person ever born. In gym class, I was always the last to be picked on any team and I managed to have a minimum of two periods a month to avoid class altogether. But, Ms. Jones, I have cramps! Okay you can go to the library.
So bend over and hike a football at a bunch of Arrowhead water bottles and knock them over? Egads! Luckily, my physically fit teammate (with big muscles), Mike, took over. He’d do it. I was sure he would do it and save the rest of us from having to try. Only, he didn’t. He knocked some of them over, but not all.
It didn’t look good.
We had to knock them all over.
More terror in my heart.
And then...teammate Patty took charge. Woo Hooo!!!!! Patty knocked them down, all of them. And off we went, back to the Hub to turn in our envelope with the word we (did I say we, I meant Patty) earned knocking down those bottles.
Then I heard those words again...
"Come on kids, let’s run"...
Enough with the run already.
And so the evening went. We had to solve puzzle after puzzle to learn where we had to go to find another little bit of information or solve some other kind of mind puzzle or draw a picture (this is where I came in handy and the athletic types were glad I was there), till we got to the last problem which sent us to Fantasyland. We had to go to each attraction and figure out the ride capacity per hour.
At the entrance to each attraction was a sign telling how many riders per vehicle and how many vehicles. A little math and it was solved, or so we thought (you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?) until... we hit King Arthur Carrousel. It gave us the amount of riders, but had a big question mark for how many horses. Sue’s useless trivia finally kicks in, 72. Ditto for Dumbo, 16, and Mad Tea Party, 18. During the evening it also came in handy that I know the price of churros, popcorn, and coke (not that I buy that stuff, mind you).
A voice came from the sky announcing the end of the game and instructed us all to return to the Hub to turn in our last questions. You also got bonus points for turning in your rope with the A ticket for the ticket book. Everyone then meandered toward Town Square to wait for the announcement of the winning team.
What do I think about Minnie’s Moonlit Madness, now that I have had a chance to be a part of it? Well, this game is not all physicality, it takes that, it really does add to the fun to run all around the park tied together like a bunch of crazy people. It also takes logic to decipher the mind games, copious amounts of useless knowledge, and maybe a little artistic ability. I think maybe a touch of insanity helps too.
A lot of teams dressed for the event. There was the Jack Daniel’s Team with matching Old No. 7 tee-shirts, for example. They looked like they were having a high old time. Which is ultimately what the evening is all about, earning money for charity and enjoying one’s self.
Despite the fun I have made about having to run, I had a grand time, my teammates were fabulous and no, I don’t hate my captain (even though he made me run my derričre off). It’s a mad, hectic evening and I’d jump at the chance to do it all again (running included). I don’t know if anyone manages to actually finish every clue. Some of them are pretty hard. Some are easy. You feel quite superior when you solve a hard clue. You race on to the next when you solve an easy one.
How did my team fare? Don’t know. We were all exhausted and hungry when time was up. Instead of staying to the end to hear Joe and Minnie announce the outcome on the steps of City Hall, we left for a very late supper. It’s not really all that important who won anyway. What’s important was to have fun and participate in the 12th year of a great tradition at Disneyland.
And that martini that Fab so graciously loaned to me at the start of this article, with it I raise my glass in a toast to everyone who participated in this year’s Minnie’s Moonlit Madness. Huzzah to you all!
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