Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Minnie's Moonlit Madness - An After Hours Scavenger Hunt around Disneyland

Minnie's Moonlit Madness is back! This after-hours event will have teams scrambling all over Disneyland in their quest to answer as many trivia questions and complete as many clues as possible.
The same rule as last year was still in place, requiring a minimum of 2 Disney employees per team. Gone are the days when Ruston, Jacob, Theresa, and I could compete, but we'll always look back on our third place finish with fond memories.
Luckily for me though, one of the Clue Crew writers contacted me last year and asked if I'd like to be a volunteer. And again this year Craig offered to let me volunteer. And Ruston and Jacob were invited too!

I can always tell when Minnie's Moonlit Madness is getting close because traffic picks up on a few of my past posts. Let's see why.
Sweet! My blog is the top two results that come up when you search for "Minnie's Moonlit Madness"!

This year, Disneyland is hosting their Diamond Celebration. A tribute to their 60 years of operation. Those dastardly Beagle Boys heard about a giant 60th anniversary diamond and made plans to steal it!

Ducktales is a huge favorite of mine! You might even remember that back in 2011, when we participated, we dressed up as the Beagle Boys!

But since we've already dressed as the Beagle Boys, and since there were only three of us, we paid tribute to Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Walking through the entrance turnstiles, after we went through the cast member called after us "Have fun tonight Huey Dewey and Louie!" Then walking down Main Street, two other groups mentioned us by name. I'd say these costumes are a hit!

The castle certainly is beautiful at night with a still pool of water in front of it.

We've got just a little bit of time before we have to meet everyone at 8:30, so the three of us all took a spin on the wildest ride in the wilderness!

Craig asked us to meet at The Golden Horseshoe to go over our clue assignments. It was great to see so many familiar faces from last year.

Ruston and Jacob listening in while Craig explains the clue we're working to our clue leader Richard.

At 8:40, everyone started to hear thundering booms coming from outside. Jacob, Ruston, and I all went outside to watch the fireworks above Big Thunder Mountain.

Finally we all went to Rancho Del Zocolo to receive our final instructions. Time to head to the Fantasyland Theater!

It was a much better idea put the merchandise into a regular store location, compared to the folding table it's been set up on in previous years. Because I'm such a fan of the Beagle Boys and the event itself, I couldn't help but purchase a pin. Clipboards sold out here early, so make sure you bring your own!

Wow! Look at all the people! There are 400 teams participating this year, meaning there's at least 1600 people in the audience here watching. To keep everyone entertained before the main presentation started a classic episode of Ducktales "Send in the Clones" was playing.

Detective Dylan White is on the case to help us catch those Beagle Boys.

Changing things up a little bit tonight, Dylan welcomed Minnie on the stage right away. I'm so used to seeing her in her Detective Outfit that it was a bit of a surprise to see her in her Diamond Celebration dress. Dylan was spot on though when he said that she looked just like a policeman's taser. Stunning.

Minnie is here to present a very special gift, along with the help of Disneyland Resort Ambassador Jessica Bernard.

Every year, proceeds from the registration fee teams pay goes to a local charity. This year, Kristie's Foundation, a charity who supports critically ill children and their families was chosen.

In all the years I've been coming, I've seen awards of $5000-$10000 presented, and the representatives from Kristie's Foundation were expecting just that. However, as part of the 60th anniversary of Disneyland, the Million Dollar Dazzle was created, and in that honor multiple charities have been chosen throughout the year and given gifts of $60,000 with the total donations by Disney reaching over $1 million dollars.
The representatives from Kristie's Foundation were very shocked and surprised to learn that they were chosen to be the next $60,000 award recipients!

I did record the whole event, but I'm disappointed in the quality. I was using my GoPro, which doesn't have a screen so you can see what you're capturing. I was pretty far away, so everyone is really tiny, and blown out. Lesson learned for next time though. All the seats up front were full and I can't get there any earlier because of volunteer orientation, but I'll try to squeeze onto the end of a row closer up next time. Okay, that being said, here's the video.

Detective Dylan told us that the Beagle Boys were planning to steal the Disneyland 60th anniversary diamond. Our job was to catch them red-handed, and he needed our help to do it! We needed to be sworn in as Detective Dylan's Disneyland Diamond Deputies.

Again, apologies for the video quality, but please enjoy the audio. Just pretend you're sitting in the very back row of the theater.

Let's get started with the trivia! But first, a sample trivia question. We've never had one of these before to my knowledge.
That's because it's really a surprise for Dylan! This is his 10th year hosting and all the members of the Clue Crew wanted to celebrate it!

Cast Activities Program Manager Rick (who is in charge of Minnie's Moonlit Madness) thanking Dylan for all his years of service.

While all the Clue Crew members joined him on stage.

Awesome! Congratulations Dylan! I certainly always look forward to hearing you each year.

Thanks Minnie.

Thank you Dylan!

Time for some Trivia!
The Clue Crew really stepped it up this year. Trivia has always been really really difficult. To adapt, teams had started bringing smart phones so they could look up answers online, even bringing in laptops. Well, in response, the Clue Crew also adapted, and made the clues even more difficult, such that they were hard to look up online.
On top of the difficultly, the questions are given really fast. Basically as fast as Dylan can read them, then it moves on to the next question. I timed how long it took for the first 10 questions. They averaged 28.5 seconds per question, which is not much time to even discuss it with your team, let alone look it up online.
Want to see what I mean? Take a look at the first 10 questions and tell me how you would have done.

1. According to the calendar in the queue by Indy's office, what day is it inside Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye?
a) Thursday, August 25
b) Wednesday, July 17
c) Monday, December 31
d) Monday, May 22
e) Wednesday, October 1

2. Which of the following locations has operated in the Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney since it opened in 2011?
a) Earl of Sandwich
b) Starbucks
c) Tortilla Joe's
d) Build-a-Bear Workshop
e) Marceline's Confectionary

3. Which never-opened Disney theme park is this concept artwork for?
a) Disney's America
b) WestCOT
c) DisneySea
d) Discovery Bay
e) Disney's Florida Adventure

4. What groundbreaking topic does the new Freeform show "Becoming Us" focus on?
a) A foster family
b) A foster family with two fathers
c) A family with a dad transitioning to a woman
d) Teen bullying
e) A family dealing with poverty and racial inequality

5. In 1998's "The Parent Trap", starring Lindsay Lohan, who is the first person to discover that twins Annie and Hallie have switched places?
a) Martin
b) Charles
c) Chelsie
d) Elizabeth
e) Meredith

6. The 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox features what two Disney songs on its soundtrack?
a) Best of Friends and Lavender Blue
b) The Ballad of Davy Crockett and Love
c) Lavender Blue and On the Front Porch
d) Whistle While You Work and Baby Mine
e) The Ballad of Davy Crockett and Best of Friends

7. What movie is the Disneyland Railroad station building at New Orleans Square based on?
a) The Happiest Millionaire
b) So Dear To My Heart
c) Bedknobs & Broomsticks
d) Mary Poppins
e) Frozen

8. What is Rocket's subject name in "Guardians of the Galaxy"?
a) R1364
b) 89P14
c) R2466
d) 71Z13
e) 9100RR

9. The music from the finale of Disneyland's Magical! fireworks was repurposed from which of the following shows at Epcot?
a) Skyleidoscope
b) Surprise in the Skies
c) Illuminations 25
d) Splashtacular
e) Elsa's Future World Frozen Celebration

10. Where was the Gift-Giver Extraordinaire located at Disneyland?
a) The Entrance Turnstiles
b) Frontierland
c) Toontown
d) Town Square
e) Paradise Pier

So... how'd you do?
I'm always a little sad that I don't get to participate, but when I see these trivia questions, I'm relieved I didn't have to figure them out.
Pass in your scan-tron sheets and get ready for the scatter clue!

It appears we're receiving a transmission.

The announcement was "The Beagle Boys are at it again. We have a better chance of catching them if we spread out. There are already units at the following locations..." followed by a series of numbers. I didn't have a packet, but I suspect it had something to do with the Disneyland map that was given and the numbers of the attractions.

As everyone one was clearing out, I made my way up to the stage to find Dylan and congratulate him.

Does Dylan look familiar? You might have seen him before here at the Disneyland Resort, but he might have been a little more... blue? That's right, Dylan performed as the Genie in Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular in DCA for 10 years! Here he is in the final performance of Aladdin on Jan 11th.

If you want to see more of Dylan, he's currently doing a stand-up comedy show aptly titled "Dylan White: Out of the Blue".  The next show is on March 12th 2016 and you can buy tickets here.

Time to make my way over to the clue I'm working. Even though the theater cleared out, there's quite a few teams in the area trying to figure out the clue just outside.

I really like seeing teams that are dressed up. Here's a tribute to Star Wars.

The hub is madness of course. Imagine 400 teams of 4 all trying to make their way though here. Oh and add in that each team is tied together. That makes it really difficult to weave through people, since you might encounter a rope holding people together.

Glad to see the panic table. You hope to never have to visit it, but you're always happy they're there.

Here's where I'm working tonight. The Fantasy Faire. Craig told me there will be a total of 132 teams coming through our location tonight. Good thing we've got 10 people here working.

I was also really happy to see that before each clue, they added a code-word. Being a Mouseketeers Clue, each team had to say the last line of "Who's the leader of the clue that's made for you and me?" And being of course, M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.
I remember last year we had a team come up and run through the clue, only to discover at the end they were supposed to be doing a different clue. Work that clue Ruston!

For our clue, we showed teams a laminated sheet of Mouseketeers from 1977's The All New Mickey Mouse Club. Teams had to memorize the faces as best they could, then one member would unclip and find matching pictures in the "tunnel". There's 12 faces here, but only 11 in the tunnel. Your job is to find the missing Mouseketeer. Sound easy?

It definitely was not! So what's your strategy? Trying to memorize background colors? The photos in the tunnel are in black and white. Trying to go by hair/hat color? Same problem. Remember how a certain person is posed? The picture in the tunnel is the same person, but posed slightly differently. Counting the number of boys vs. the number of girls to narrow it down? Some of those bowl cuts look an awful lot like bob cuts, and I had one team think there were only 3 boys on the sheet above.

It took teams multiple trips into the tunnel to come up with an answer, but of the 6 teams I worked with, only a couple got it wrong.

Nice work on the pirate costumes.

Awesome! A tribute to another one of my favorite Disney Afternoon shows, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers!

After about 45 minutes of being at the clue, and because everything was going really well, Craig came and grabbed me and let me tag along while he checked in on all his other clues.

On Main Street, Newsies were posted up and down the street hawking their papers to teams passing by, for a clue titled "Extra! Extra! Read All About It!"

Teams got a bag of pennies along with their clue. Their job was to find all 5 Newsies and buy a supplemental clue from each of them. With clues in hand, teams would solve a word grid, which ultimately asked "In which city did young Walt Disney sell newspapers for his father?"

Each of the Newsies tried hard to get into character, and really pushed that New Yorker accent, even though one of them was from Wisconsin.

And the Newsies all had a really fun time getting into their characters.

Another team working on decoding a puzzle based on the Main Street windows.

The next clue on Main Street ultimately had teams finding the light bulb at the Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner with one side painted red and the other half left white. Teams confirmed their answer on the porch of the former lingerie shop with the password "The Wizard of Bras sent me."

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Here in Disneyland! Those Beagle Boys must be pretty bad to have the world's most elusive female criminal out looking for them.

You'll definitely see this team coming with all their light-up rings.

Craig's last clue on Main Street was all the way down at City Hall, where Bill and Dominik helped teams work their way through a clue relating to the Disneyland Ambassadors.

On our way to Adventureland for the next clue, I'd find another set of triplets, and even Uncle Scrooge!

Dressed as characters from the Sugar Rush game in Wreck-It Ralph, here's Rancis Fluggerbutter, Taffyta Muttonfudge, Gloyd Orangeboar, and Candlehead.

At the Enchanted Tiki Room, teams walk amongst the tiki gods, and using letters in their descriptions, unscramble a puzzle.

Teams at Indy had to solve a clue based on the license plate on the truck that's in the queue. Enterprising teams hopped online and grabbed a picture of the license plate, however in the clue they were warned that "Indy is an old school explorer, historian, and archaeologist. He doesn't rely on these newfangled technological tool. You shouldn't either." Trying to solve it with that caused their clue to be gibberish. Only teams who made the trek to Indy saw the normal plate had been replaced with an alternate for the night.

Not one of Craig's clues, but I heard from many teams that this was one of their favorite activities of the night. Over at Fantasmic, the soundtrack from the show was playing. Teams performed and danced to the music as if they were in the show! Teams who completed it (or at least tried and had a good time) were given a sticker showing they passed. Teams that were grumps were given an alternate sticker and sent on their way. Attitude matters!

One of our last stops was the Shooting Gallery. Why so busy?

The guns are all turned on! Teams work through their clue based on what a target does after it gets hit! Cool idea!

Walking back toward the hub, we hear over the park speakers that the race is now over. It truly is a Moonlit Madness. It's nearly 1am.

Nice job volunteers working the tables. I'm sure you'd had a hectic night.

Sorting the answers from each team. Scoring this event has to be crazy. With 400 teams, ten questions, a scatter clue, turning in the rope, and 50 trivia questions to grade, they're going to be quite busy. Who will win? We'll just have to wait and see!

We're done!

Thank you again Craig for the opportunity to volunteer, and for letting me tag along with you to write up my experience.

One last group photo.

Whew. We can all sleep easy, knowing the Beagle Boys have been found.

I hope you enjoyed my write-up of the 2016 Minnie's Moonlit Madness. If you're a cast member, I definitely recommend you participate! I hope to be back again next year, either participating (if they change the rules back) or volunteering. Either way though, it's going to be a blast!


  1. Another awesome write-up! Thank you Joe!

  2. Oh that Fantasmic video.... we look so... Fantasmic! XD

    Looking forward to Thursday night!