MouseAdventure Recap

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

Each MouseAdventure recap begins with a report that the most recent event was our Biggest Game Ever, and indeed MouseAdventure has grown from the 36 teams who attended our inaugural event in 2000, to nearly 170 teams last fall. With a move to the Paradise Pier Hotel for the Spring 2007 event, however, we had to end our growth streak so we could fit the crowd into the ballroom.

Though past events have really not been much larger than this one, something about announcing a limit to the number of players caused an early crush of registrations, and the event sold out in a record six days (trust me, we were as stunned as you). In the end, 153 teams came out for a day of fun and questing in the Disneyland Resort.

For your final quest, find your team in our biggest group photo ever. Photo by Kenji Luster.

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The Event

Our Spring 2007 event featured a (modified) return to our MouseAdventure Classic format, a game inspired by the Disneyland's cast member-exclusive Minnie's Moonlight Madness event. Teams were given a variety of tasks to complete and puzzles to solve, each assigned a difficulty level—from "A" for the easiest quests to "E" for the most difficult. Teams chose to register for either the Basic or Advanced division, with the Basic division teams receiving only quests "A" through "C," and the Advanced teams receiving the entire packet. Of course the Advanced teams still had just five hours to complete the event, making time management more important.

Master of Ceremonies Andrew Rich explains the new answer sheets to the teams before the event. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Although we returned to our roots with this classic format, the spring event introduced a number of new elements to the event. Based on feedback we received from an online survey we conducted after our Fall 2006 MouseAdventure, we created a brand new Family division that allowed players as young as 6 years old to participate as official team members for the first time. Ten teams registered for the Family division, but if their reaction is any indicator, we'll have a lot more families next time around.

Our headquarters for this event was the Paradise Pier Hotel, and by 9:30 a.m. on Sunday all 500-plus players had assembled on the third-floor pool deck for the largest group photo in MouseAdventure history. (This was also likely the last group photo we will subject teams to, as it has become nearly impossible to identify individuals or even teams in the crowd.) By 9:45 the teams were back downstairs in the hotel ballroom, and having to quickly decide if they wanted to stay for a new trivia challenge worth up to 100 points, or collect their quest packets a little early and earn more game time. In the end only two teams decided to abandon the trivia portion of the event, and the remaining teams answered questions projected on a giant screen at the front of the room. This was the first time we incorporated a visual presentation in the event, and it was very well received.

Teams exchange their trivia answer sheets for the rest of their quest packet. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

After teams completed the trivia section, they traded their trivia answer cards for their quest packets and headed off in search of their first quest... or so we expected. In reality, several dozen teams decided to camp out in and around the ballroom to plan their strategy, and a few teams were still in the ballroom when we had to lock up at 11:00. The quests sent teams through Downtown Disney and into both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure—some teams were quite anxious to show us their pedometers after the five-hour event.

With Disney's PhotoPass department offering to take the team photos this year, we sent teams into the park to find the PhotoPass photographers to get their team photo taken. Because PhotoPass is still aggregating all 150-plus team photos into one master account, this unfortunately means a delay in the publication of the team photos here; we hope to publish them soon.

Team "The Uncoordinated" is looking extremely organized as they sort their quest materials at the start of the event. Photo by Kenji Luster.

After the quest portion of the event was over, teams were invited to return to the Paradise Pier Hotel ballroom for our post-game trivia challenge while everyone waited for the results to be tabulated and the winners announced. The ballroom provided not only an air conditioned place to relax after the event, but a superior sound system and the use of a projection screen before and after the main event. Teams were thrilled to see a slideshow of candid photos taken during the event, and to be able to clearly hear everything that was happening. After several rounds of trivia—including a fun new "Impossible Trivia" element—and lots of raffle prizes, we announced the winners and bid farewell to another successful event.

Teams head towards Disney's California Adventure at the start of the event. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

Fall 2007 MouseAdventure

We originally planned to hold the next event on November 4. Unfortunately, a large convention has booked most of the ballroom space in the Disneyland Resort for that weekend, so we can definitively say that the event will not be anytime between October 20 and November 12. We are currently trying to work around the various weddings, vacations, cruises and 13K runs the MouseAdventure crew have committed to this fall, and will announce a date as soon as we can. It is entirely likely that we will only be able to give around 90 days notice, so keep watching the Disneyland Park Update for the announcement before registration opens.

Tell us what you think!

Feedback from our teams helps us to expand and improve the event. We made many changes to this event based on feedback we received after the fall event, but we know there's always room for improvement. We've created a quick survey, and encourage all players to complete the survey at this link:

Click here to take survey

The Quests

Teams frequently want to know where they went wrong on a specific quest. The following is a quick recap of each quest, the correct answer, and the most common mistakes teams made. Quest categories A, B, and C apply to all divisions, while categories D and E are for Advanced teams only.

Crew members Lisa and Emma Perkis show off the nifty new lanyards given to crew and players. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

A-1: Midway Mania

  • Description – Teams simply had to fill in the names of the Midway Mania games into provided blanks, and unscramble the highlighted letters to form another word.
  • Correct answer – Paradise Pier
  • Most common mistake(s): – This was the easiest quest. Only three teams that attempted this quest got the wrong answer.

Team 4102 leaves the Bountiful Valley Farm area, hopefully with the correct answer. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

A-2: Fruit Mixup

  • Description – 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.
  • Correct answer – Strawberries
  • Most common mistake(s): – This quest proved surprisingly tough for the Family division teams.

A-3: Goody Texting

  • Description – Using the numbers and letters from a phone dial pad, teams had to decipher a question that led them to find the attraction posters at Redd Rocket's Pizza Port in Tomorrowland, then provide the height requirement for the only attraction depicted in the posters that is still in operation at Disneyland today.
  • Correct answer – 52 inches or 132 centimeters
  • Most common mistake(s): – The most common error teams made was in writing down the name of the attraction (Autopia) and not the height requirement. This was the type of quest where failure to fully read the instructions cost many teams valuable points.

Teams search the Rainforest Café menu for the price of some BBQ ribs. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

B-1: Dinnertime in Downtown Disney

  • Description – In honor of the Food & Wine Weekends, we sent teams into Downtown Disney to calculate the cost of a dinner party for Mickey and one, two or three guests. Teams then needed to tell us how much money Mickey saved vs. the cost of tickets to the passholder-exclusive Taste event.
  • Correct answer – Since each division had a slightly different version of this quest, the answers are:
    • Family division: $141.04
    • Basic division: $99.30
    • Advanced division: $60.82
  • Most common mistake(s): – Teams that missed this quest were frequently off by just a dollar, which often meant they recorded the lunch price of the French Onion soup instead of the dinner price requested. The other common error was in providing the total spent, not the total saved.

Team The Acceptables shows their game face in Downtown Disney. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

B-2: Go and Have a Ball

  • Description – We provided teams with a giant word search puzzle, but they had to locate the list of words to be searched for on a sign around the Disneyland Hotel. When solved, the remaining letters directed the teams to find the Jungle Cruise boats near the Neverland Pool area, and give us the number of the boat that catches fire.
  • Correct answer – Boat 99
  • Most common mistake(s): – Looking at the answers that were submitted, most teams ran out of time and guessed at the answer.

B-3: It's time to get things started...

  • Description – The original version of this quest was only an "A" ticket, but a last-minute change in a window display outside Playhouse Disney forced us to replace one question with something that turned out to be considerably more difficult. For this quest teams had to identify and complete sets or sequences around the Hollywood Pictures Backlot of DCA, and then use the missing items to eliminate letters from a grid. The remaining letters formed one part of a final sequence
  • Correct answer – "Sweets, Pets" was the rest of that sequence
  • Most common mistake(s): – The most difficult grouping (Sixth, E. 24th, _____________) was a trio of street signs displayed inside Rizzo's Pawn Shop.

Team "Benny's Drince88e8" stops to sort through their event materials. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

C-1: A Celebration of Disneyland's 52nd Anniversary

  • Description – We thought teams would appreciate an air conditioning break at this point in the game, so we sent them to watch the anniversary film featuring Steve Martin at the Main Street Opera House. Teams then had to answer a set of questions about the film, and based on those results answer a final question: How many passengers does a Tower of Terror elevator car hold.
  • Correct answer – 21
  • Most common mistake(s): – Quite a number of teams answered 42

C-2: it's a small list, after all

  • Description – Teams were asked to identify which item from a list of 28 items could not be found inside the "it's a small world" attraction. (Family teams had a smaller list of items to eliminate)
  • Correct answer – Sydney Opera House
  • Most common mistake(s): – It would seem that many teams decided to trust their (faulty) memories to answer this quest, because though many teams reported that they could not find the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower or Monkey on a Gondola in the ride, fewer than half correctly identified the missing item.

C-3: Toontown Realty

  • Description – We tasked teams to appraise the value of the buildings in Downtown Toontown, using a set of criteria provided to them by the Big Bad Wolf.
  • Correct answer – When all was said and done, it turns out the Goofy's Gas Station has the lowest property value on the block.

Team Ishmael demonstrates effective delegation skills. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

D-1: Oh, So Evil

  • Description – The evil paragraph is a signature MouseAdventure puzzle, and no event would be complete without one. (Our teams would likely be thrilled if we could bring ourselves to perhaps skip just one event...) For this evil paragraph, we asked the teams to answer a series of 10 questions on Main Street, and then use the resulting answers to identify 10 letters from the Mickey Mouse Creed conveniently on display in a window of the Disney Showcase shop.
  • Correct answer – Matterhorn
  • Most common mistake(s): – Of course it wouldn't be MouseAdventure if something didn't change right before the event to throw off a quest. Just days before MouseAdventure, we discovered that the Disney Showcase had been covered with scaffolding and tarps in preparation for repainting, and Mickey Mouse Creed was suddenly visible only through the window if teams performed extreme acts of contortion. To prevent possible injuries, we provided teams with a copy of the creed: a copy that it turns out was just slightly different than the one on which the puzzle was based. In the end, teams wound up with the letters "Matterh_rn," and most teams who got that far were able to fill in the blank to provide the correct answer. (Although the cleverest wrong answer was "Matt Ouimet)

D-2: Show Time!

  • Description – We provided teams with a list of Disneyland Resort shows and show times, and asked them plan a schedule that would include watching every one of the shows listed in the same day.
  • Correct answer – 1890
  • Most common mistake(s): – Every event has a "love it or hate it" puzzle, and this was ours. It wasn't really a logic puzzle, though it certainly had some of the same elements to it. In testing, this puzzle seemed quite easy, with many of our testers completing it in around 15 minutes. As this was the type of quest that could be solved anywhere—standing in line for it's a small world, perhaps—we thought most teams would have enough time to work it out. Unfortunately it seems that our testers may like quasi-logic puzzles better than our teams do, and fewer than 22 teams correctly solved this puzzle. For the record, your group would have been watching Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at 12:45, and the final answer was 1890.

Team Zlick stops to plan their next move. Photo by Brad LaVerne.

E-1: Criss Crossin' Over California

  • Description – This quest was originally written for the inaugural Enchanted Race event in the spring of 2005, but was cut due to concerns about the length of that event. It was then supposed to be included in our second Enchanted Race, but cut for the same reason. (Remember when we sent you to Soarin' to get a FastPass last time? This was why).

    This quest 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?) A little geometry and teams should have found "Maliboomer" as their final answer. (For 20 bonus points, we made them send one person from their team to ride the Maliboomer)

  • Correct answer – Maliboomer
  • Most common mistake(s): – Teams that did not heed the warning given before the event, "examine your quests carefully, for there is somewhere you need to be," arrived at Soarin' late in the game, only to discover that the stand-by line was nearly an hour and the FastPass return times were well after the event ended. Some teams used the single rider line to advantage, while others relied on their collective memories of the attraction to try to list the cities visited. Many teams that correctly completed the quest chose to forgo the bonus points available by riding the Maliboomer.

Team "Properly Warned" ponders the final "E" quest. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

E-2: Two Parks, One Quest

  • Description – Teams were given a task to complete in Disneyland, and another in DCA. When they successfully completed one of the tasks they were given one of two clue sheets that contained half of the clue to their final task. By completing both the Disneyland and DCA tasks, teams would have both clue sheets and could solve their final task.
  • Correct answer – 62
  • Most common mistake(s): – This was a tough quest, both to understand and to solve.

    In DCA, we asked the teams to simply draw pictures of OO-SOO-MA-TE and AH-HA-LE. In Disneyland, we provided teams with the image from a pressed penny machine, and asked them to locate the machine and tell us what two other penny images were available from that machine.

    OO-SOO-MA-TE and AH-HA-LE are a bear and a coyote featured in a story etched into a rock near the exit from Grizzly River Run. The pressed penny machine in question is located in Adventureland, and features three different poses of Minnie Mouse.

    If the two clue sheets were correctly layered and held to light, a la the Da Vinci code, a final question was revealed, asking how many people were watching "The Moose Hunt" in the Main Street Cinema. The correct answer was 62 but the most common answer was 58—it all but a few very observant teams missed the four people watching from the balconies on each side of the "theater."

Things 1, 2 and 3 head into DCA to complete the number Eye Spy. Photo by Kenji Luster.

We always toss in a few side games, and this event included an Eye Spy quest, a "find the crew member" challenge, a bonus Eye Spy, and even pin trading for the family division teams. We also included a "hidden quest" for the teams, a simple encryption buried inside the ticket book graphics that decorated each page. Only one team successfully found and answered that quest, so teams are hereby warned that there are more hidden quests in your future.

The Results, and the mistake

Prizes were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams in both the Basic and Advanced divisions. Best New Team honors were awarded to the highest-ranking new team in each division that did not otherwise win an award; in the Basic division the best new team actually took 1st place so the award went to the next best new team. The Family division prizes went to the 1st and 2nd place teams While it was not a separate division, we have also listed below the results of the trivia section just for fun.

It is always painful to realize that we made a mistake in scoring, even more so when the error impacted the announced winners. It turns out that we made a major error in the scoring of two teams in the Advanced division, errors that somehow slipped past the double-check process. As luck would have it, these were not the 149th and 150th place teams, but the announced and the actual first place teams. (This issue impacted ONLY the first place team - second and third remained unchanged.) The correct results of the Advanced division are as follows:

Advanced (possible score of 1140 points)

Years of practice paid off, and the Dahl family (shown here in 2006), took 1st place in the Advanced division. MousePlanet file photo.

1st place with 848 points – Team 4016: Smoke Tree Ranchers. Since they were not able to bask in their glory after the event, a little more should be said about our winning Advanced team. The Dahls have been playing MouseAdventure since their children were considered "Future MouseAdventurers," and Laura, Steve and Adrian put their years of experience to good use during the event to earn a first place victory.

The Dahl family in their first MouseAdventure team photo, circa 2001. MousePlanet file photo.

The San Diego Mouse Catchers show off the big pencil they claim brings them luck. Photo by Kenji Luster.

2nd place with 829 points – Team 4057: San Diego Mouse Catchers / Team Big Pencil

3rd place honors go to Simba's Pride. Photo by Kenji Luster.

3rd place with 810 points – Team 3017: Simba's Pride

Best new team in the Advanced division – Team 4088: YM's Majesty

Basic (possible score of 780 points)

New team The Googlie Bears took home the first place award in the Basic category. Photo by Kenji Luster.

1st place with 697 points – Team 4049: The Googlie Bears

The Pillage People return for another excellent score. Photo by Kenji Luster.

2nd place with 688 points – Team 4135: The Pillage People

Team "The Acceptable" prove they are so much more by taking home 3rd place. Photo by Kenji Luster.

3rd place with 654 points – Team 4073: The Acceptables

The Best New Team in the Basic division assures us they will have a team name next time. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Best new team with Basic division – Team 3118

Family (possible score of 805 points)

Why is this team smiling? They've just won the first ever Family competition. Photo by Kenji Luster.

1st place with 688 points – Team 4130: The Metzger Family

Team Aurora and Stitch earned second place in our first Family competition. Photo by Kenji Luster.

2nd place with 608 points – Team 4129: Aurora & Stitch

Trivia (not a prize division)

1st place (tie) with 40/50 correct: Case of Hearts, The Denton Affair, The Metzger Family

2nd place (tie) with 39/50 correct: The Parrot Heads, The Trojan Mice

Master's Challenge (not a prize division)

The Masters teams learn how they scored in the event. Photo by Kenji Luster.

MouseAdventure Masters are those teams who, on the occasion of their third first-place victory, are honored with retirement from competition. The Masters teams are invited to participate in future events, but may only compete in the super-difficult Invitational events. There are currently four Masters teams, and three participated in the Advanced division. We present their scores and overall rank as a benchmark for other teams to compare themselves to:

1st place with 882 points – The Brother Bears (1st place overall)

2nd place with 773 points – The Happy Haunts (10th place overall)

3rd place with 715 points – The Denton Affair (13th place overall)

Note: The members of Masters team have joined the MouseAdventure crew, and are now helping to write and host the event.

Teams show off their winning result of the Word Mixup during the post-game event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Full Results

Scores are listed by team number, and are detailed as follows:

Trivia – Number shown is number of questions correct out of 50 questions. Each correct answer was worth 2 points.

Front – Aggregate score for all quests

Back – Aggregate scores for Eye Spy, PhotoPass, postcard, bonus quest

Penalties – 10 point deductions per infraction reported by a MouseAdventure crew member. The two most common infractions were for use of external lighting inside the Main Street Opera House and for splitting up during the event. (Both explicitly against the rules)

Spring 2007 Scores - By Division

Spring 2007 Scores - By Team Number

Crew acknowledgements

The MouseAdventure crew included new faces this year, and every one of them was appreciated. Much of the credit for this event goes to my partner in crime Joe Stevano, who not only had enough ideas for this event, but is also designing much of the Fall 2007 event. Joe is also entirely responsible for the graphic design of this event, and the event materials looked spectacular.

The cast and crew of the spring 2007 MouseAdventure. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Planning a MouseAdventure event can become somewhat all-consuming, and my husband Tony Phoenix has been amazingly patient through the whole process. This event was tested three times before it was presented to the teams, and almost every crew member was involved in some way. Shoshana Lewin and fiancé Adam, Adrienne Krock, Andrew and Jennifer Rich, Jeff Moxley, Sheila Hagen, Amanda Smith and David Perry all spent hours trying to solve quests from the rough drafts. Although staff members Mark Goldhaber, Stephanie Wien and Lani Teshima could not attend the event in person this year, all three tested the puzzle quests from their far-flung homes. Lani also made the event buttons for players and crew.

A moment of silence for the remains of the green feather boas worn by the Dis Divas. Photo by Kenji Luster.

Karin Hubbard-Luster and Kenji Luster, Lisa and Emma Perkis, Steven Ng and Kevin Krock all helped staff the event on Sunday. Former players Bev and Tracy Screeton were among those who were unable to register for this event when it unexpectedly sold out so quickly, and so volunteered to join us as crew. They had so much fun watching teams seek them out in Fantasyland that they've asked to return as crew next time. Kenji and Brad LaVerne took most of the great candid photos of the event. And though Alex Stroup could not help design or run this event, his stewardship of MouseAdventure since 2002 has laid a solid foundation for the event you enjoyed this last weekend.