Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gumball Rally at the Disneyland Resort - Part 1

Time for another adventure at Disneyland!  Today, we're participating in the Gumball Rally! What's a Gumball Rally?  It's a contest to see which team can ride the most number of unique rides in one day.  Teams can be either 2, 3, or 4, and after getting the four of us signed up back in February, Ruston, Jacob, Theresa and I were ready to go.  But as fate would have it, Theresa hurt her foot a month before the race.  Luckily Mike was quick to step in!

This year's event was taking place on Star Wars day, May the Fourth (be with you), so there was a Star Wars theme to the Gumball Rally.  Ruston happened to have a Darth Vader shirt and helmet, so the three of us decided to accompany him as Stormtroopers.  We found some great shirts on Amazon and were ready to go.

On May 4th the day was finally here and team World Explorers were ready to go.  Ugh, I don't like early morning wake-ups, but to get to the parking structure by 6:45am, we had to leave the house by 6am. 
Luckily traffic was light and the parking structure had no line.  Thankfully we didn't have any problems being let in like others did.  There was also an AIDS walk at Disneyland this morning, and we had heard of some teams being turned away and forced to park in the Downtown Disney lot. Yikes!

Jacob picked up our team packet and we hopped in the line to get in the ESPN zone to get our team photo taken.

By 7:10, we were inside.  Looks like we were a little too late to sit in the main room to see the stage, but they did play everything on the speakers for us.  Coffee and OJ were available, and a server brought us each a breakfast burrito and small fruit cup.  

Micechat Administrator Dusty Sage came to each table to greet each team.

This is what we're playing for.  The coveted 2013 Gumball Rally trophy.  I like how Darth Vader has mouse ears on his helmet.

At 8:30, all the captains were asked to gather around the stage to listen to the rules and ask any questions.  Once that was completed, all the game packets were handed out and we were released.

Before the race, I tried to research the types of questions that would be asked as well as the point values associated with the typical ride.  I didn't find anything in my searches, but here's the package we received today.  
Point values for each ride are based on the average wait time combined with the ride length.  You earn 1 point for the quick things like stopping by the Main Street Cinema, 2 points for shorter rides like Winnie the Pooh, 3 points for longer waits like Star Tours or Space Mountain, and 4 points for Radiator Springs Racers.  To prove you had been on a ride, a question was asked that was supposed to be simple to answer if you ride, but difficult to guess.  This year, to combat guessing (which is cheating anyway since the whole point is to ride rides) they deduct points for getting an answer wrong.

Both parks were in play today, but there was a total of 70 points possible in Disneyland and 30 points possible at California Adventure.  Our strategy going in was to start at Disneyland, so that was fine with us.

The park opened at 9am today, but there were extra magic hours and hotel guests were allowed to enter at 8am.

Our strategy was to rush into Adventureland and grab a fastpass for Indiana Jones, then ride Peter Pan before the lines got too long.  And it would have worked if not for those Extra Magic Hours.  By the time we got to Peter Pan, the people who were allowed in the park at 8am had made the line balloon up to 35 minutes long...

Well, let's just continue on.  Alice in Wonderland can get a long line. Though the wait time said 20 minutes, we waited less than 10 and were on the ride!  

Before we get too far into this trip report, know that picture taking was not the primary focus.  I only brought one wide angle lens for my camera and it doesn't do well in the dark.  The photos I took were for us to consult if we had questions on what was the correct answer.  As such, expect many to be dark and blurry.

Alice in Wonderland - 2 points
When you reach the Queen of Hearts playing croquet, you will go under an arch of 4 cards.  How many of these cards are red?
A) 1     B) 2     C) 3     D) 0                        

The answer was D) 0, and we had our first 2 points.  Approximate time, 9:30am.

The Matterhorn had a short line and an even shorter Single Rider line.  We waited at most 5 minutes before we got in a bobsled. 

The question on this ride was a little more difficult to get, and you had to be paying attention.  

Matterhorn Bobsleds - 2 points
Just after your first encounter with the Yeti (Red Eyes) you will come upon a snowy grotto of the Wells Expedition.  What item do you NOT SEE?
A) Wood Crate     B) Snow Shoes     C) Pick     D) Rope     E) All of the Above

It all passed really quickly.  You come around a curve and boom there it is.  Blink and you'll miss it.  I had my camera taking multiple photos a second and based on the time stamps, this is about as much time as we had to look for the items. 1-1.5 seconds.
The answer was C) Pick.  4 points total at 9:40am.

Hoping that Peter Pan was shorter, we headed back to Fantasyland.  It was still a 35 minute wait with the line reaching out into the extended queue that was setup.

With a 10 minute wait, we then went on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Mr. Toad's Wile Ride - 2 points
Just after seeing the sheep on the bridge, you will see a road sign.  What does the sign say?
Meadow View and _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _

The answer was LONDON LANE. 6 points by 9:55am.

All the other Fantasyland rides has short lines, so we practically walked onto Pinocchio.

Pinocchio's Daring Journey - 2 points
When you enter the large 8 Ball Pool Hall on Pleasure Island, how many pool balls are there on the pool table?
A) 1     B) 3     C) 4     D) 6

While it was obvious there were 3 balls on the right side of the table, there was a fourth cue ball on the left side almost in the corner pocket.  
That made the answer C) 4 and we have 8 points at 10:02am.

Right beside Pinocchio was Snow White and again we walked right on.

Snow White's Scary Adventures - 2 points
How many barrels of gems are there in the diamond mine scene?
A) 1     B) 3     C) 5     D) 7
There were a couple mine carts loaded with gems, but there were only 3 barrels.
Answer was B) 3 and we had 10 points at 10:09am.

Time to grab a quick 1 point.  Team Dead Men Blow No Bubbles was right behind us as we entered the Sleeping Beauty castle walkthrough.  They asked us what business 4 grown men could possibly have walking through a princess' castle.  Their team had a young girl with them, so they had a good excuse.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough - 1 point
Find the window scene with the banquet hall full of people falling asleep. How many tables are in the scene?
A) 0     B) 1     C) 3     D) 5

Two tables on the side and one on the back wall makes 3.
C) 3.  11 points by 10:12am.

Another quick point was available in Frontierland.

Frontierland Shootin Exposition - 1 point
How many bullet holes are there in the sign about that reads "Shooting Exposition"?
A) 13     B) 17     C) 19      D) 21

After moving around that lantern blocking the sign, we found D) 21.  12 points and it's 10:15am.

We continued into Adventureland.  The Jungle Cruise had a 30 minute wait and we thought that was a little long, so we continued on to Indy to use our fastpasses.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye - 3 points
Just before the dart room scene, there are two skeletons with gems in their crowns. What color are the gems?
A) Blue     B) Red     C) Yellow     D) White     E) There are no gems

It was difficult to get a photo, but they were B) Red.  15 points by 10:40.

Instead of getting another fastpass on the other side of the park, we continued further into Critter Country and jumped on Splash Mountain.  The sign showed a 15 minute wait, but we walked almost to loading zone.  We got a log all to ourselves, but thinking back on it, I think they should have spread us out more.  We were told to fill the first four seats, and when we went down any of the drops, we were front heavy and we dug into the water and got a bit wet.  Well at least those in the front did.  I escaped with dry shoes and just a few splashes.

Splash Mountain - 2 points
After the second drop you enter the Laughing Place. You will see a white bird with a feather boa who is balanced on a fountain of water. What color is the feather boa?
A) Pink     B) Green     C) Yellow     D) White

The boa was A) Pink.  17 points and it's 11:00am.  We've been going for 2 hours and are averaging 8.5 points per hour.  I have a feeling it's going to be harder to continue this pace though.

Not wanting to waste time coming back to it, we hopped on Winnie the Pooh.  It was a 10 minute wait.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - 1 point
How many SLICES of cake are there in the final scene with the birthday celebration?
A) 3     B) 5     C) 6     D) 8

With four on the table and one in Pooh's hand, we counted B) 5.  11:15am and we have 18 points.

While we're here, why not grab a 3 point question?  With a much shorter line, immediate loading, and only a ~10 minute paddle around the river, we hopped on the canoes.  People really enjoyed seeing Ruston in his Vader outfit and made jokes like "He'll just use the force and move us around the river."  We didn't think they really meant it though...  Guess we were wrong.  Even with a crew of 18 people, some folks just don't like to paddle.  I guess that wouldn't be so bad if they just kept their oars in the canoe, but some people just liked to drag their paddle in the water, resisting the rest of us who were trying to paddle...  Grrr.

Rivers of America - 3 points
Each one of the teepees in the Indian Village has red ribbons hanging from the top of their poles.
A) True   B) False

Unfortunately the canoes hug the right side of the river here next to Tom Sawyer Island and those teepees are really far away and some look to be hidden in the tree canopy.  All the ones we could see had red ribbons on them though.  

We answered A) True along with a note saying that we couldn't see everything, but the ones we did see had red ribbons.  11:40am and 21 points.

With a 10 minute line, and no switchbacks that we could see, we jumped on the Haunted Mansion.  Of course we positioned ourselves near where we knew the door to be in the stretching room and got on the ride quickly.

Haunted Mansion - 2 points
At the beginning of the ride you will see a hallway with a floating candelabra at the far end. How many overhead chandeliers are there in this floating hallway with the floating candelabra?
A) 3     B) 5     C) 7     D) 9

It passes quickly, and it's difficult to photograph even in the best of conditions.  We counted C) 7 chandeliers total.  12:00pm and we have 23 points.  The average hourly rate has dropped to 7 2/3 points per hour.  

Please don't ever do this.  It's even worse with a camera phone because the flash stays on for so long.

While the line for Pirates said 30 minutes, we knew it loads a ton of people quickly.  In just 15 minutes we were on a boat.  Ruston was hiding in the back row for some reason and allowed his Stormtroopers to lead the way.

Pirates of the Caribbean - 3 points
How many bales of hay are there in front of the singing donkey next to the three singing pirates?
A) 2     B) 3     C) 4     D) 5

With 2 on the bottom and one of the top, the answer was B) 3.  12:35pm and we've collected 26 points.

Our strategy was to take the easy points whenever they were convenient.  Tarzan's Treehouse was on our way back to the hub, and as long as the people in front of you don't dawdle, you can zip through it.

Tarzan's Tree House - 1 point
Just to the right after entering the sketch room, how many books are there on the nightstand to your right?
A) 3      B) 4      C) 5     D) 6

A) 3 books total and we were in and out quickly.  The Jungle Cruise had increased up to a 40 minute wait and we felt that was too much of an investment.  12:42pm and we're up to 28 points.

This is as good a place as any to wrap up the first post.  We'll continue with our adventure in Tomorrowland as soon as I finish writing it.  

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