Friday, February 17, 2017

2017 Minnie's Moonlit Madness - An After Hours Scavenger Hunt around Disneyland

It's February which means that Minnie's Moonlit Madness is back at the Disneyland Resort! Once again, teams composed of Disney Cast Members competed in an after-hours scramble around the park to answer trivia questions and solve clues in their quest to take home top honors.

While I have been able to participate on a team in the past, in more recent years, I've had a lot of fun as a volunteer working the clues. Once again, one of the Clue Crew writers Craig offered to let me come participate again this year!
For the past 10 years, the madness has been held inside Disneyland park, but this year it's back inside Disney California Adventure.
It's not called Moonlit madness for nothing. This event takes place after the park closes to guests for the day. The park closes at 9pm, and this event will have us going well past midnight. Before we get started, all of Craig's volunteers met up to go over their assignments. It was great seeing so many faces I recognized from past years volunteering.

Having clarified all our assignments, I took a stroll to the merchandise tent. Heavy rains were in the forecast, so along with the t-shirts and hoodies, these Minnie's Moonlit Madness umbrellas were being offered. Lines stretched all the way around the building as teams picked up merchandise and other useful items (like clipboards).

The Minnie's Moonlit Madness Clue Crew puts in so much volunteered time to prepare for this event.  Over 3000 working hours have been spent to put this whole thing together this year.
After finishing with Craig's crew, Craig then introduced me to William as he was explaining the scatter clue to his volunteers. With 400 teams competing, it's important to make sure everyone "scatters" around the park once they leave the trivia portion to make sure there's no major bottlenecks and so Clue Central isn't swarmed.

Cast member Ren going through another Buena Vista Street clue with a few "Shady Characters". We'll see them a little later.

Let's head over to trivia!

In years past, I've seen trivia held in the Festival Arena, the Fantasyland theater, and a back-stage open lot. Now that it's in DCA, the Hyperion Theater, with seating for 1984 people, is just enough to hold the over 1600 people participating tonight.

Teams have been coming in for the past hour, and coming in so late, I was worried about finding a decent seat. I was so appreciative when I learned from William that he reserved a seat for me up front ahead of time! Thank goodness too! This place is packed!

While teams waited, they were treated to Disney shorts. Finally at 9:10pm, the lights dimmed.

Who is that shadowy character appearing on stage?

It's Dylan White! In the months leading up to Minnie's Moonlit Madness, Craig and I had traded a few emails and one of the questions I'd asked was always "Is Dylan White returning?" Dylan performed as The Genie in the Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular here at DCA for over 10 years until it was replaced by Frozen - Live at the Hyperion. Dylan even performed as the Genie in the final performance back on January 11, 2016. Since it's been over a year, I was really hoping to see him again. And here he is, welcoming us to Minnie Moonlit Madness 2017!

One of the reasons we're here this evening is to donate money to a good cause.

Without further ado, Dylan welcomed one of the newest Disneyland Ambassadors Mikey Trujillo to the stage.

Mikey introduced the director of the Anaheim Ballet Larry Rosenberg. Larry gave us a brief overview of the Anaheim Ballet and the importance of their work.

Ambassador Mikey then welcomed a very special guest to the stage who was anxious to show off her own ballet moves.

Every team who registered for the madness paid an entry fee, and a portion of that fee was donated to the Anaheim Ballet. Dylan brought out a giant check for them.

Usually there's a couple official photographers up near the stage to take some pictures. I didn't see any this time, and neither did they. Well at least Dylan looked my way for the photo. Next time, I might plan to get out of my seat to take a few pictures.

Minnie stayed on stage with Dylan while he told her about his inspiration for becoming a detective and his very first case.

After Minnie left, Dylan told all of us about the strangest case he ever worked. He said he remembered it like it was yesterday. Yesterday he had this client come in who was covered in fur. The entire auditorium was cracking up to his 6 minute standup routine.

Next it was time to get started with the madness. First everyone checked their packet to make sure nothing was missing. Then Dylan walked us through the Do's and Don'ts of the evening.

And finally one big Thank You to all the people on the Clue Crew and VoluntEARS who helped make this whole event happen.

Everyone ready? Let's start trivia!
For the top teams, trivia is always what decides who takes top honors. Trivia has always been difficult in all the years I've participated, but once cell phones and laptops became more prevalent, I think the Clue Crew writers stepped up the difficulty even further.
The seating structure of the auditorium does make collaboration a little more difficult than before, and I know more than one team had issues getting a cell phone signal. Perhaps it's a little more shielded inside this auditorium compared to being outside.

Each of the questions appeared on the screen and teams had ~30 seconds while Dylan read through it to try to find the answer. Then it was on to the next question. Definitely not much time to research the answer.

Here's the first 10 of the 50 trivia questions. Not your typical "watch the movie, remember the answer" kind of questions, are they? These questions span a very wide breadth of Disney knowledge. So how would you have done?

1. "Mickey Mouse" was reportedly used as the entrance passkey for what significant location during WWII?
a) Churchill War Rooms
b) European Allied Supreme Headquarters
c) Bletchley Park
d) Musée de la Reddition
e) The Pentagon

2. Karl Kroyer's patent application for a method to raise sunken ships was denied because of what Donald Duck comic?
a) "The Sunken Yacht"
b) "The Floating Flotilla"
c) " The Sunken Ship"
d) "Raising the Ship"
e) "Sinking the Yacht"

3. When the Disney Wonder came out of dry dock in October 2016, it had a new restaurant themed after which movie?
a) Lady and the Tramp
b) Lilo and Stitch
c) Ratatouille
d) The Princess and the Frog
e) Beauty and the Beast

4. Which building on The Walt Disney Studios lot was the most recent to be renamed after an individual?
a) Team Disney - Michael D. Eisner Building
b) Frank G. Wells Building
c) Julie Andrews Stage
d) Roy E. Disney Animation Building
e) Annette Funicello Stage

6. What was the first Disney or Pixar movie to be nominated for both the Best Picture and Best Animated Feature Academy Awards?
a) Finding Nemo
c) Up
d) Toy Story 3
e) Inside Out

7. Which movie had a key scene changed while in production due to the tragedy of 9/11?
a) Monsters, Inc.
b) Lilo and Stitch
c) Treasure Planet
d) Holes
e) The Haunted Mansion

I was pretty sure this next question came from Craig. We both attended A Whole New World of Alan Menken back in September and I remember him telling me he was inspired to write some questions about it.

10. Amongst his accolades, Alan Menken has won 8 Academy Awards, 7 Golden Globe Awards, 1 Tony Award, 11 Grammy Awards...and 1 Golden Raspberry Award. For what movie did Menken receive a Razzie?
a) Newsies
b) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
c) Home on the Range
d) The Shaggy Dog
e) Hercules

Once we got to question 46, there was a brand new twist this year. Questions are usually worth 3 points each, but now, for the last 5 questions, teams can get double the points if they're willing to risk the points for those questions.

As much as I would love to type out all 50 trivia questions, it's so much easier to post my photos of the trivia instead. You can find all 50 questions here.

Pass in those scantron sheets and prepare for your next clue!

Dylan got everyone prepped for the scatter clue and then left the stage.

The lights went dim and again we see a shadowy character take the stage.

Remember that scatter clue from William earlier? Teams will head to a predetermined spot on their map and read the sign the volunteer is holding. They'll then head back to clue central to receive their first clue.

Just a quick aside. I'm mostly about taking photos and writing about everything later, but a lot of things are best captured on video. For the entire Hyperion Theater presentation, I had my GoPro on a gorillapod on my knee recording the whole thing. Low-light video on it leaves something to be desired, but I say it's always better than nothing.
Skip to 5:00 mark to see Dylan's interaction with Minnie about his first case and then his strangest case. Jump to the 24:30 mark to see the trivia.

The auditorium cleared out as teams headed outside.

But new this year, all the teams are being held so that everyone starts at the same time.

I ran into Jacob getting prepped to volunteer for his clue.

A few members of the Clue Crew watching in anticipation as the teams are released.

And they're off! Begin the madness!

I love seeing how creative some teams get with their costumes! Looks like a team of villains are on the loose.

Nice! Love the tribute to Who Framed Roger Rabbit!

A nod to Sleeping Beauty.

And Winnie the Pooh.

The Electric Parade that has returned to Disneyland.

I get it. Past attractions from the Hollywood Land section of DCA. There's Genie, someone from the Muppet Labs, a Tower of Terror Bellhop, and the White Rabbit from the Mad T Party. Very clever!

Waldos and Carmen Sandiego. Obviously come from out of hiding to participate tonight.

A very fun tribute to the Pirates of the Caribbean. I wonder how many times tonight they heard "We wants the redhead!"

Let's go check in with Craig!
After having so much fun with them last year, Craig brought back his team of Newsies. They fit in perfectly here on Buena Vista street. Plus there's a great music loop going on in the background with all the best songs from Newsies. Natalie and former ambassador Allie Kawamoto getting ready to receive teams.

And Isaac is ready to start shouting the headlines to teams as they pass by.

Before the teams arrived, Minnie Mouse and Mikey came by. Perfect opportunity to get a big group picture with all the Newsies.

Minnie was pretty into the camera. Giving a fashion show walk towards the camera as I snapped away.

I've got to be in a few of these pictures, right? Perfect chance for me to get a shot with Minnie.

The first teams are arriving!

Each of the teams received a sheet with 8 different dates on it. Teams would find a Newsie barking a headline and then have to match the date of that event to one on their sheet. When they're finished, they'd be left with 1 remaining date. Check out how great these Newsies were.

How any of them were still able to talk the next day, I don't know. This event lasts 2 hours!
Looking great Fabian.

You could hear Isaac all the way from Grizzly Peak Airfield (the old Condor Flats).

Kim helping a team figure out when Walt and George teamed up (the Disney purchase of the Star Wars franchise).

Hey, I recognize that guy! Henry and his team finished in 1st place a couple years ago. Wonder how they're doing tonight?

Craig and I then headed over to another one of his clues. This one was inspired by the newest Disney movie Moana (one of Craig's favorites) and gave some amusement to everyone watching the teams work out the clues.

Teams were asked to hold up their hand as Moana would to measure something in the distance, and answer a question. For example, hold your hand towards the sun (the loop on Screamin) and identify how many upper case letters you see on the right side (2, PieR).

Also in Paradise Park was a frustrating little logic puzzle for a few teams. Four blocks with various colors. Stack them in a column and make sure you don't repeat a color on one side.

When you can't unclip, sometimes you have to climb onto the table to see what's on the back.

Let's see what's going on at the Golden Zephyr.

Looks like a battle is taking place! Cannons are being fired between teams supporting the Golden Zephyr and Space Pirates.

Let's see a battle!

As with any event, there's always curveballs you run into. Clue Crews write questions ahead of time and then vote for their favorites. When some of the favorite clue locations go down for refurbishment (like the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail) you have to get creative. Giant posters stood in for totems.

And ranger call signs had to be brought outside the trail and posted on the walls.

Back at the front of Buena Vista Street we ran into those shady characters we'd met earlier.

The setup for this one must have been fun. The lockers at the entrance to the park were covered with papers, giving directions you had to follow.

And it wasn't just one row... Nope. All the lockers were involved.

Happy to have found what they were searching for.

Jacob is working a clue over at the front of Monsters, Inc.

Here there were maybe 30 volunteers who had a "door" on their lanyard. Teams would find the starting door from their clue...

And then have to figure out which door to find next, based on a question.

One of the best parts of this clue caught so many people by surprise. There was a Monsters Inc jazz track playing on the speakers nearby and every 2:20 (thanks Jacob) an alarm would go off and 2319! 2319! was announced. This was the cue for all 30 volunteers to immediately start running around screaming. Check out the video!

Let's go check out a couple other clues.

Over at Flo's teams had to listen to messages playing over the speakers. Only problem is that these messages were played backwards. Teams had to use their phones to record the message and reverse it again to make sense of the clue.

And inside Flo's another clue used the jukebox playlist to help solve a puzzle.

Let's go check out Clue Central. It's a madhouse no matter where you are. Inside Disneyland it's around the hub. Here at DCA it's by the Wine Country Trattoria. One unique difference though. In past years the entire team that is clipped together navigates to their clue table.

Because of the threat of rain, things have been changed up a little. Clue Central tables are under cover and tonight, the captain unclips from the rest of the team and heads in to Clue Central to get the next clue. If the rain hadn't been in the forecast, the Clue Central tables would have been down on the regular walkway and teams would have had to stay clipped together.

Thanks VoluntEARS!

And members of the Disney Cast Choir made sure teams had plenty of snacks and beverages to keep them energized and hydrated all night.

At 12:30am the 2 hours was up and the announcement came over the speakers that the event was over.
Craig, thank you so much for the opportunity to come be a part of this awesome event! It's something I look forward to every year!

Getting a quick picture with former Disneyland Ambassador Allie.

Hey, it's fellow Micechat friend Andrew! Tonight he got to participate in his very first Moonlit Madness! Hopefully he'll do a write-up about his experience!

Hope you had fun working your clue tonight Jacob.

Oh man. It's really late. Wiser people than I are taking tomorrow off.

I got back to the parking garage by 1am, helped someone jump-start their car on my way out, and finally got home by 2am. Work starts bright and early at 7am tomorrow. No regrets though! Minnie's is always a blast!

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