Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 Minnie's Moonlit Madness - An After Hours Scavenger Hunt around Disneyland

Oh yes! It's back!
On January 6th the call went out.
Calling all Disney Sleuths: Minnie's Moonlit Madness returns to the Disneyland Park on Thursday, Feb 27. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to gather three of your most trusted allies. You will have 2 hours to tackle Disney trivia and chase clues across Disneyland Park... tied to each other! 
We're in! We've participated in 2010, 2011, and in 2013 we had our very best finish. 3rd place out of 350 teams! We're hoping to improve on that this year!

Registration opened on January 17th and Ruston was right on top of it. He was one of the first few teams to sign up, and good thing too! The event sold out in only 7 hours!

We're not going to be one of the top teams by doing what we've been doing. The week before, Jacob came over and we practiced our strategy for the trivia portion. We used a video I took during a previous year, assigned each person a role, and tested it out for 10 questions.

After the 10 questions, we talked about what worked, what didn't and what else we should change. We're even sitting on the ground together, just like we'd have to do during the event. Yep, we're taking it seriously this year.

Finally on February 27th it was time to head to the park! Our last visit was on October 13th, before Ian was born! It's been way too long since we've been here!

While everyone is headed out, we're headed in.

The forecast called for heavy rain and Ruston came prepared. He brought a big golf umbrella to keep us all dry. Right now though it's looking like clear skies. I wonder if he'll be carrying it around for nothing during the whole race.

At 8pm, Ruston jumped in the line with all the other team captains to grab our registration packet.

15 minutes later, he was at a window and ready to pick up our packet. Here we got two manilla envelopes. One is the regular packet with captain's instructions, a map, scantron sheet and lanyard. The second we've been told to wait to open until instructed.

We also are told to go pick up a third envelope that we'll also have to wait to open. It's a very odd shape which we try to guess at. We shake the envelope but it doesn't make noise like some other teams. Looks like we've all got different things inside. 

Time to make our way into the parks! Ruston said if you squint your eyes, it almost looks like you've got the park all to yourself.

This year we're back at the Big Thunder Mountain festival arena. Much better than the backstage parking lot we were at last year. It feels more organized this year too. Instead of wandering in and finding a seat (close to the exit and near a screen) like we'd usually do, they line us up along the pathway beside Big Thunder Ranch BBQ and bring us in groups. We get a chance to squeeze the packet we're not supposed to open and we think we have a pretty good idea what's inside it.

After about 10 minutes waiting outside, we're led in. They've taped up the name of the event at the entrance.

So if we were picking our seats, we'd have sat much closer to the entrance. Unfortunately we're led just about as far away as you can be from the entrance. Not ideal, but we'll make due.

We don't see as many teams dressed up this year, but there were a few that stood out. We see a team of Dapper Dans who have gone all out plus a few teams wearing a lot of black and trying to look like spies. My favorite costume I saw was a very theme appropriate group of Rescue Rangers made up of Chip, Dale, Monterey Jack, and Gadget. I only saw them in passing though and really wish I'd had taken a picture of them.

Secret Agent Dylan came out to warm up the crowd with a lot of bad secret agent jokes. We're too far away for video, but I was able to get decent audio from it.

Dylan then welcomed up the star of the evening, Minnie Mouse! Every year she's in her detective outfit and finally this year Dylan matches her.

To participate in Minnie's Moonlit Madness, each registered team pays $85. With 350 different teams, that's nearly $30,000! Portions of that registration fee are donated each year to a different charitable group. This year the charitable group is the Anaheim Marine Adoption Committee.

Disneyland Ambassadors Sachi White and Megan Navarette present the group with a huge oversize check for $5000 to help provide for the families of deployed Marines and sailors while they're away.

It's time to get to the trivia! We've all got our roles down, let's see how our system works!

In the end, I think we did pretty well. With our new system by my estimate we got 45 of the 50 questions right! For everyone to try at home, here's the first 10 trivia questions. You only get about as long as it takes for Dylan to read through the question. So maybe 20 seconds each. Not much time to look it up if you wanted. How would you have done?

1. What year did Disney Vacation Club open its first report, "Disney's Old Key West," in Walt Disney World?
A. 1991
B. 1995
C. 1992
D. 1994
E. 1993

2. What are the names of the four Disney Cruise Line Ships?
A. Dream, Wonder, Fantasy, Imagine
B. Dream, Wishes, Fantasy, Imagine
C. Dream, Wishes, Fantasy, Magic
D. Dream, Wonder, Fantasmic, Magic
E. Dream, Wonder, Fantasy, Magic

3. For the 2013 99th Rose Bowl game, which two teams visited the Disneyland Resort?
A. Texas Longhorns and Stanford Cardinals
B. Wisconsin Badgers and Stanford Cardinals
C. Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks
D. TCU Horned Frogs and Oregon Ducks
E. Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks

4. Which Summer Olympic year did Disneyland's Main Street USA host its first ever swim meet?
A. 2012
B. 2000
C. 2010
D. 2004
E. 2002

5. Which Disney Theme Park started hosting Fantasmic! in 2011?
A. Disneyland Paris
B. Magic Kingdom
C. Disneyland Resort
D. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
E. Tokyo DisneySea

6. Which airline teamed up with Disney to debut a Cars Land themed airplane?
A. United
B. Jet Blue
C. Southwest
D. Delta
E. Alaska

7. At which Beach House can kids play at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa?
A. Nana's Beach House
B. Lilo's Beach House
C. Uncle's Beach House
D. Miss Kay's Beach House
E. Aunty's Beach House

8. What year did the Walt Disney Company buy the California Angels?
A. 1992
B. 1998
C. 1995
D. 1996
E. 1997

9. All four Disney Cruise Line ships are themed after Mickey Mouse colors; what specialty color was created as a substitute for black?
A. Diane Blue
B. Jennifer Blue
C. Lillian Blue
D. Monica Blue
E. Emily Blue

10. In the ABC series Revenge, how is Emily Thorne related to Charlotte Grayson?
A. Charlotte is her cousin
B. Charlotte is dating Emily's brother
C. Charlotte is her step sister
D. Charlotte is her half sister
E. Charlotte is her co-worker

After trivia, it was time for the scatter clue. This one is always a little bit confusing and is meant to spread all the groups out through the park so people aren't overwhelming Clue Central at the hub all at once. We were allowed to open our both of our packets and try to figure out what to do next.

We were correct about what we thought was in the thick envelope. Our evidence envelope contained a martini glass, but inside the glass was a small baseball. In the second was a dossier with a lot of photos, some newspaper clippings, and a fact sheet.

It was a bombardment of information, and that martini glass was really throwing us off. The baseball clearly belongs to Bowler Hat Guy, but that martini glass doesn't really apply to anyone. We read through each of the newspaper clippings and each of the notes on each suspect. There was one that mentioned an adult beverage, but we couldn't relate the two.

After puzzling for a couple minutes on it, we looked around at all the other people who were similarly confused and saw that everyone had a martini glass but there were different things inside them. At that point we decided it was only the baseball that we were supposed to use as our clue.

Following the clue, we headed outside the festival arena, clipped together and headed to the bridge with the jumping fish.

We encountered a few teams shining flashlights down into the water by the bridge and looking generally confused. Just a little further down the path at the end of the bridge was a small sign that said "Yes it is I Mike Yagoobian!" Writing that on our first envelope, we made a beesline to Clue Central to meet our clue giver. And look at that, even though it seemed to take us a little while to solve it, it's pretty empty here.

Here we met our very cheery clue giver Erika! She handed us our first clue, we read it quickly and were off to the Frontierland Shooting Gallery to solve it. Reading the tombstones, we solved a puzzle that asked us what shooting advice John Smith gave Thomas in Pocahontas. The answer was of course to "Keep both eyes open. You'll shoot twice as well." We wrote that on our envelope and it was back to clue central to get our next one. Just about 8 minutes to solve our first clue! Good thing too! With 10 questions and only 2 hours to solve them, we can only average 12 minutes a question!

Our next clue took us to the Tiki Room where we solved a clue based on the shields pretty quickly as well. We're 2 clues in and we're making good time! The 3rd clue was a new one for us. It asked us to head to Rancho del Zocalo for more information.

Once there, we were told one of our team members needed to unclip and we'd be playing charades. I think we all thought Ruston would be the best person to do it. He got the phrase from the VoluntEAR and wasn't looking too thrilled.

Ruston did wonderfully though. He was able to act out "Don Nacho has gone to jail" in only a minute. We might have been a little excitable though and yelled out our answers. Only afterwards did I ask if everyone got the same phrase and they said yes. You're welcome to everyone we helped out.

Back at Clue Central, Erika punched our lanyard and gave us our next clue.

We're making really good time so far! Here's hoping for another early finish! The next clue however would take us a little longer. We huddled together and started solving the clue and it started sprinkling on us. Ruston pulled out the giant umbrella he's been carrying around and kept us all dry while we worked to solve it. It was a navigation question and while getting the numbers for the coordinates wasn't too difficult, every time we put them in the GPS we were ending up with someplace outside Disneyland.

After a few minutes of struggling, we met up with some of Minnie's agents at the Snow White wishing well. We were told we had the numbers right, but had to type them into our smart phone exactly like they showed. Doing so sent us to the outside of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. From there we were told to look straight ahead of us in the direction of sunset and see who needs protection. Well directly to the west of us is King Arthur's Carrousel, so we assumed the answer was King Arthur.

Not 100% confident though, we checked back at the wishing well to confirm our answer. They said we were in the right location, but that answer wasn't correct. He suggested to try prancing around a little. Reading the clue a little closer tipped us off. "Hopefully his name will ring a bell. You can bet on it." We wrote Jingles on the envelope, confirmed it was right, and headed back to Clue Central.

Remember we're all tied together. This is how we got from place to place quickly. Unfortunately the rain made the pathways a little slippery, so we had to slow our normal speed walk down a bit.

The next clue was the bane of our night. At first glance, it doesn't look that difficult. We're matching brick patterns along Main Street to the shop names. It doesn't take us very long to get fill out our sheet, but the letters we're left to unscramble don't make any sense. We are left with 10 letters and told to unscramble them to get a question. Our 10 letters were R M I O I T L D A E. We all try to unscramble the letters to find something meaningful, even resorting to an online anagram solver. I got as far as, I LIE MR TOAD, but that didn't make much of any sense to anyone. We've got to be missing something. We walked up and down Main Street again and once again confirmed our answers.

The only one we really had a question on was the Market House. Market House was the only one that really fit for the letters, but the bricks didn't seem to match the picture. After looking closer at the poor xerox, we confirmed there were tiny little bricks in this image and this was really the right answer.

Still though, we weren't getting anywhere with the clues we had. About 25 minutes after starting this clue, we found one of Minnie's agents and asked for help. She looked over what we had, but said we were missing some letters. I'm not sure what letters we're missing though. We've only got the one page with 10 total letters.

Asking for additional help, she suggested reading the title of the clue and the first sentence. Okay, so Untangled is the first clue, and follow your dream is the second. Kind of makes me think of of the words is DREAM.  I'm not sure what to make of the other letters though - I L I T O.

We spent another 15 minutes walking up and down Main Street in the rain all the way to City Hall and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, but don't really get anywhere. The Minnie Agent who helped us earlier disappeared, but after a while we found another one. She also said we were missing some letters, and now I'm wondering if there's a second sheet that maybe we're missing. It would have been really helpful if the sheets were numbered 1 of 2, etc.

From this second agent we were able to piece together that it was someone from Tangled who had a dream. We sang through the "I've Got a Dream" song and eventually we got to Vladamir. When we said that Vladamir collects ceramic unicorns, she said, "He certainly does, doesn't he." Without anything else to go on, we made that our answer. Well that was 45 minutes on this one clue. That took way too long... There goes our hope of finishing all our clues.

We got back to Clue Central and received our next clue. For this one, we followed a series of rules to cross out letters on a grid. We were supposed to be left with 6 letters that we'd unscramble to make a word that related to Deduce This.

Our first time through though, we had 5 letters left. Grr. Must have made a mistake in there somewhere. We continued again in purple highlighter but this time we confirmed with each other before we crossed something out. Once again we were left with too few letters. Hmm. Theresa had an "aha" moment once we read through the clue again. The clue said to cross off groups of letters if they were in alphabetical order. The clue really meant to say to cross them out if they were in consecutive alphabetical order. One more time with an orange highlighter and we figured out that the 6 remaining letters unscrambled to spell Sleuth. Again this one too way too long, mostly because of vague directions.

With 15 minutes to go, we still had 4 clues left. Our only hope was that we wouldn't have to leave the hub to complete them. Unfortunately the next one had us walking all the way back to Big Thunder Mountain. We were able to solve that one, guess on the next one, then solve one more. They called for everyone to turn in their ropes and we had one clue left. Aww, we didn't get to finish. That means there were 2 clues for the night we weren't able to complete. That one Main Street clue really threw off our night.

Still though, good times were had and even though we were rained on, a lot of teams were walking out with smiles.

We grabbed a team photo beside a sign as we were leaving.

Then covered up all the extra parts to show how we were really feeling. It's about 12:45am and it's time to go home.

Even though we had a couple of frustrating clues, we had a great time overall. We'll see what happens when the results come out next week. Next year we'll do better!


  1. What a great blog!... really enjoyed reading it. So... will you be there this Thursday night? ;)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it!
      Unfortunately for my team, Disney changed the rules this year for sign-ups. In past years, all you needed was one Disney cast member on your team. Because of the popularity of the event, this year they required a minimum of 2 Disney cast members per team. Since we didn't meet the qualifications and because we didn't want to split up our awesome team, we decided not to sign up this year.

  2. Sorry to hear that, but I understand. I know there was a lot of similar sentiment, but I understand and support the changes to enable more Cast Member the opportunity to participate. Maybe we'll see you again in the future... was looking forward to seeing another write up this year.


    P.S. I wrote #27 ;)

    1. I understand why they did it too. I know it always sells out really quickly. That's pretty awesome you get to participate behind the scenes.
      I'd love to get back there again in the future. Know anyone who needs a sub?

    2. Don't know of anyone who needs a player... but if you're interested in volunteering to help with one of the clues, let me know.


    3. I am interested in volunteering!
      How can I contact you? If you leave a comment with your information here, I won't publish it, but I will see it.

  3. It's my first year participating this year...any tips on what I should bring to help our team?

    1. Headlamps were a big thing for us, as well as clipboards. Depending on how serious you want to take it, I'd figure out how you're going to clip on to the rope ahead of time and put your fastest walker in the front.
      Make sure you bring scratch paper and your own pencils/pens/highlighters.
      You'll be moving around a lot, so bring a jacket you can take off that won't be too much of a hassle to carry. Maybe a small backpack would be best.
      I'm sure you'll have an awesome time!