It was bright, early, and hot at the Disneyland Resort on Sunday, September 26 as approximately 2,000 participants gathered for the D23′s inaugural Great Disney Scavenger Hunt. I had never done anything like this before, but am a huge Disney fan and love competitions. Here is my experience of D23′s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt.
7:15 – Meet team member, Don, at the big Mickey Sorcerer’s hat to make Team Omnimover complete.
7:16 – See a team walking by with matching shirts.
7:17 – See another team walking by with even better matching shirts.
7:18 – OK, now I am intimidated. My team’s chances are decreasing in relation to the numbers of cute matching shirts increasing.
7:35 – Find team Farkle (friends and competitors that I hoped to at least score close to) and immediately drop my score accordingly by 100 points based on their Tiggerific outfits.
8:00 - Omnimover team leader checks us in to obtain the registration goodies (manilla envelope), including D23 scavenger hunt patches.
8:05 – We consider ripping open the question book early to get a leg up, but at this point would it really matter? Considering our team consisted of my wife and I (teachers), my nine year old son, and the always ethical Don, there was no way we would break the rules.
8:30 – Steven Clark, the head of D23, welcomes everyone and explains the rules.
8:35 – We are given permission to officially open the question packet. All delusions of grandeur are gone now. There are 330 questions broken into four zones: Downtown Disney and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotels, Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland. The questions are centered around specific details of the Resort that require most participants to actually go and visit the exact locations and attractions in order to answer the questions. It wasn’t as if a super Disney fan could just answer everything without searching the resort. Of course, some super duper Disney fans probably came close. Most questions were 1 pointers, with a few Amazing Race style questions worth 5 and 10 points. Immediately, my uber-organized wife begins to circle locations in each question and label them according to attractions and lands. They did not make it easy. Questions were purposely not in any order. For example, Indiana Jones questions would be found on page 4 and then on page 7, but not in any sequence.
8:40 – We pick out the square of blue construction paper that signified which group we were in. The blue group is immediately escorted to our special Disneyland entrance gate.
8:50 – The participants are let in to the park and held at the curb by City Hall.
9:00 – Let the fun begin!
9:05 – We begin our plan of attack.
9:10 – We question our plan of attack.
9:15 - It is going to be hot today!
9:30 – It is realized that there is no way we are going to make a dent in this competition.
9:45 – We feel like we are making progress.
9:46 – Other teams are actually making progress, not just feeling like they are.
10:45 – We find Steven Clark and gain some bonus points. Of course we later found out that practically everyone else found him too. If we all get bonus points, they aren’t really a bonus are they?
11:00 – Major mistake. We decide to eat lunch and adjust our plan of attack. As much as I love competing and Disney, a Power Bar isn’t going to do it.
11:01 – Did I mention how hot it was?
11:45 – We left Disneyland and started answering questions in the Downtown Disney zone.
12:00 – A scavenger hunt official questions our team captain as to the whereabouts of the rest of his team. (look two steps to the right)
12:01 – An opposing team member walks ALONE right next to the same official with no questions…Hmmm?
12:02 – It’s hot…like Death Valley hot, but of course no humidity.
**To those of you questioning how hot it really was, the next day it was 112 degrees in Anaheim.**
12:03 – We decide to adjust said battle plan and move to a location that features air conditioning, the Paradise Pier Hotel. Yes this probably cost us many points, but judging by the looks of the people that came into the ballroom after us, I don’t regret our decision at all.
1:30 – We sat out in the hallway of the ballroom because once you entered you were required to turn in your official answer book.
1:32 – We write down as many guesses as possible.
1:35 – People across from us copy answers from one book to another. (This is illegal by the way)
1:55 – We get in line to turn in our answers. (There went nothing.)
2:00 – Official deadline. All participants lose one point per minute they are late.
2:05 – Debriefing with Team Farkle, whose orange shirts now match their orange sun drenched dehydrated faces.
4:20 – Winners are announced.
So all in all, my team and I had great fun. We came nowhere near winning or even being respectable, but that’s fine with us. It was loads of fun spending time with friends and experiencing Disneyland in a whole new way. Would it have helped if we had matching costumes? Probably not. But maybe next year we can all dress up as Sully from Monsters, Inc. Sure, it will be hot. Yes, we will be even slower than we already were. On second thought… Until next year.