The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge Review

November 5th, 2017. 13 Teams arrived to test their skills in answering questions, figuring out puzzles, and…Skeeball? That’s right…The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge took place in Downtown Disney this past Sunday, and our teams were treated to an action packed Challenge. Let’s break it down:

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A few minutes before noon, all teams were handed their packets. They were encouraged to start on the Finish Line Puzzle and Bonus Challenge first.

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At noon, most team captains (who read their Team Captain Email), ran to find Lindsey who had a second Bonus Challenge to give them.

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Teams spent the afternoon answering questions and capturing photos and videos of various items like a Live Bird, a Squirrel, an Uber or Lyft Sticker, and even a brick with an Event Crew Member’s name on it. Some even scored some extra points by doing the second “Bonus” Photo Challenge.

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At 2:00pm, those teams who figured out the first Bonus Challenge puzzle (which led teams to a password protected “Bonus” section of the website advertising our First Ever Skeeball Invitational), started showing up to the second floor of the ESPN Zone to challenge themselves to a one shot, winner takes all Skeeball competition. The Reluctant Dragons won the tournament with 29,000 points (and scored themselves an additional 20 Bonus Points to be counted toward the Challenge.)

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At 4:00pm, all teams made it (somewhat unscathed) to the Finish Line at White Water Snacks to turn in their completed packets and take a much deserved break.

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At 6:00pm, everyone met back at the Picnic Area, and we announced the winners, gave out bonus prizes for the Skeeball Invitational, and spoke of future challenges.

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We (The Event Crew) had such a blast, and we wanted to thank everyone who came out and played The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge.

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You can review the results, and see the Answer Key right here.

~Written by Dave Mancini – Event Crew Member

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Registration For The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge is Now Open!

It’s time to gather again for our annual Fall Challenge…The Mini Disney Challenge. This smaller, kinder, gentler Challenge is limited to Downtown Disney, The Hotels, and The Esplanade. (Which means no admission to the park is necessary!) Come join us for a day of fun and play our game on Sunday, November 5th.

Register your team right here

Registration will remain open until midnight, October 20th.

Good Luck and we’ll see you at The Mini Disney Challenge!

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The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge Coming Soon!

That first weekend in November…you know the one. We set our clocks back and get one extra hour of sleep. The Halloween decorations at Disneyland have just come down and the Christmas decorations have yet to go up. That’s the weekend we have played our all new game – “The Mini Disney Challenge” in Downtown Disney for the past two years. Well kids, get ready for a three-peat Disney Challenge style. The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge will be held on Sunday, November 5th in Downtown Disney.

As you can imagine, the Event Crew has been hard at work writing questions, rewriting questions every time they announce another store being closed, creating puzzles, beta-testing, editing, and doing everything we can to bring you the best Disney Challenge we possibly can. We are really excited to unveil our newest Challenge and even more excited to see all of our friends again this fall.

Registration for The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge will open on Friday, September 29th. Keep up to date with all the announcements and fun on our Facebook page. If you have yet to participate in a Disney Challenge, check out our How To Play section. (We’ve made a couple of small changes, so even if you have played before, it might be worth a look.)

We’ll see you there!

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What are these Event Crew members up to? Planning another Mini Disney Challenge…that’s what!

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The New “Fantasmic!” Premiers at Disneyland

I have to be careful here. Like many, many others, “Fantasmic!” has been my all time favorite Disney Park show since it made its debut along the Disneyland’s Rivers of America in 1992. It has, to me, always been the perfect combination of music, lighting, pyrotechnics, video projections, and of course, lovable Disney characters, mixed with a heaping helping of Disney Magic and a giant fire-breathing dragon! When The Rivers of America was drained to allow for the construction of the new Star Wars Land, I knew it would be some time before I would see my beloved show again. That all changed Saturday night when, because of D23 Expo and several thousand Fast Passes given to its attendees, brought us all to Disneyland that night to see the unveiling of the “New Fantasmic!”

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Now, change is a word Disney loves to say and most Disney Fundamentalists can’t stand to hear. I am usually weary, but for the most part happy, with the changes I see happening each and every year as Disney strives to make improvements to all aspects of their company. Changing a beloved show like “Fantasmic!” though made me a bit more apprehensive than usual. I was excited to see what new technologies they could add but scared they would change some of my favorite aspects of the show.

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As the lights around the river dimmed and the familiar opening notes of the narrator’s intro started, we could already make out new and spectacular laser displays moving across the main stage. Then, the familiar sounds of the trumpet fanfare opened the show as Mickey Mouse’s voice could be heard over the music for the first time. As he conducted like he used to, you could hear his excitement and wonder as if this was all new to him too. (A very cool and subtle change I really loved.) As the show continued, the changes made were at first minor, such as shortening some of the musical interludes and adding some new segments from The Lion King and Aladdin.

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Then the Big Change came when the Sailing Ship Columbia, formerly sailed by none other than Captain Hook appeared, and the music changed to the familiar theme from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Our beloved pirate ship was turned into a ghost ship, complete with Captain Jack Sparrow and other characters from the movie franchise.

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Other changes included the addition of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider to the river barges, digital mapping of the island and staging area, and new pyrotechnics that emit less smoke to enhance the viewing. Of course, new projectors, lights, and special effects were all used to their fullest capacity bringing the show up to date with some of the other stage productions Disney has been producing all over the world.

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The Grand Finale was still our beloved “Murphy” or Maleficent in dragon form breathing fire and setting the river ablaze, only to be defeated by Mickey and the power of his imagination. All in all, in this fan’s opinion, the “New Fantasmic!” brought out some of the best Disney Imagineering had to offer, while keeping the spirit and structure of this now classic production. I can’t wait to go back and see it again!

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~Written by Dave Mancini – Event Crew Member

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D23 Expo Recap

What do you get when you cross 20,000 Disney Fans and The Anaheim Convention Center? A whole lot of lines that’s what! In all seriousness though, The Bi-Annual D23 Expo took place July 14th-17th in Anaheim where it has been held every other year since 2009. Johanna and I have been in attendance every expo except 2015. From its (not so) humble beginnings, it has grown into almost Comic-Con proportions. (And rumor has it, they were trying to compete with this year’s San Diego Comic-Con by moving up the date from August to July…just one week before the Mecca of all cons.)

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This year’s D23 Expo began like most do. Check into the hotel as early as possible on Thursday, try to get a good night’s sleep, wake up before sunrise, and get into line before too many others attempt the same. While waiting to get in, we were delighted to run into some Disney Challenge family members, such as Marie and Donald Beckermann, Nikki Llido (who had been camping out the night before), Frank Pepito, and of course our long-lost Event Crew Member Jeremiah Good. The expo kicked off Friday morning with the ever popular and very inspiring Disney Legends Ceremony hosted by the Chairman and CEO of Disney, Bob Iger. This year’s inductees included such Disney notables as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. Seeing these stars, or the family members of those who are no longer with us, getting choked up over receiving such a distinguished recognition from their beloved Disney makes this particular seminar unlike any other. Not wanting to lose momentum, we exited that panel, took a very quick look at the epic showroom floor, made a mental note of what we HAD to come back and see later, and jumped back in line for the next Hall D23 Panel: Disney Animation and Pixar Studios. This panel, hosted by none other than John Lasseter himself, gave us an inside look at some of the most anticipated and even some yet to be named animated shorts and features coming down the Disney pipeline. Clips from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure and The Incredibles 2 were met with thunderous applause, especially when celebrities like Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, and Samuel Jackson showed up. But the real kicker was when a clip from the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet was shown. The unfinished clip featured Vanellope meeting all of the Disney Princesses, who it turns out were all voiced by the original actresses for this incredible reunion. Then, in true D23 Expo fashion, almost a dozen current and past Disney Princess Voice Actresses graced the stage, each one introducing the next to a standing ovation.

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Saturday, however, is the day the expo gets REALLY busy. Probably the most anticipated panel would be the Disney Studios Live Action Film seminar. The line for this event was completely filled by 4:30am. Johanna and I missed the cut-off by about an hour, and we were bummed we couldn’t get in to see it. Clips and trailers for upcoming movies such as A Wrinkle In Time, Mary Poppins Returns, The Lion King Live Action, Star Wars VIII, and of course The Avengers Infinity Wars Part I were shown. This unbelievable spectacle could only be topped by the gaggle of celebrities from the aforementioned movies coming out on stage. Later that afternoon, we were able to get some pretty good seats for the final Hall D23 panel of the day and the one Johanna and I most wanted to see: Disney Parks and Resorts. This hour and a half panel was a Disney Nerd’s glimpse of paradise, as they unveiled their plans for such amazing new experiences such as Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Pixar Pier, Avengers Land, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Ratatouille at Epcot, Tron Light Cycle Coaster at the Magic Kingdom, as well as some new vacation destinations like the new Disney Vacation Club property coming to Florida, three new Disney Cruise Line ships being constructed, and the ultimate rumor confirmation…An All Inclusive Star Wars Themed Resort. (Unlike ANYTHING Disney or anyone else has ever done!) As if that weren’t enough, they unveiled the opening of the new “Fantasmic!” debuting on Monday. The big surprise to most in attendance was that they were going to do four special sneak peak previews on Saturday and Sunday, and everyone who attended that panel was to receive a Fast Pass to go see the show. (Blog about that coming next!)

On Sunday, we decided to sleep in late (till 9am)! When we finally ventured down to the Convention Center, the line to get inside was wrapped around the entire building. Johanna and I decided this would be the best day to debut our newest cosplay…Hipster Mickey and Minnie! What we did not anticipate was the hour+ long line in the sun before we got to the much-needed air-conditioned showroom floor. (Hey, when you’re wearing a morph suit under several layers of clothes plus hats and gloves, it gets toasty real fast!) We wandered around the expo floor and even ran into Disney Challenge Family Members Don Todd, Kimberly Vuoso, along with Jeremiah Good and The Beckermann’s (again…but this time, with Ariel!) Our costumes lasted until about 2pm, when the need to use our phones again outweighed the compliments we were getting from those who “got the joke.” We took a short break, ate lunch, and wandered back into the expo (no line this time) to finish up some shopping, see a few exhibits that we had missed the past two days, and just take it all in one last time. It was an amazing, albeit exhausting, weekend. I’m sure in 2019, we’ll have forgotten all about the pain in our feet and buy tickets for another fanatic weekend of all things Disney.

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~Written by Dave Mancini – Event Crew Member

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (Bonus Challenge)

Hey Disney Fans,

If you’re itching for a little Disney Challenge type questions, and you’re spending this hot summer waiting in line for the coolest new ride in the galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, we have just the thing for you. As mentioned before, Event Crew Members Dave, Johanna, Tony, & Amber went to the Galactic Premier Party on May 26th. Our “credentials” for the evening included a Celestial to English translator key, and part of the SWAG was a pamphlet that included some questions that could be answered in the queue. Some answers require the translator, and others, just a sharp eye. So next time you make it to Disney California Adventure and decide to brave the line, download this little PDF and have some more fun while you’re there.

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~Written by Dave Mancini – Event Crew Member

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The 2017 Disney Challenge: “The Return Of The…” Mystery Revealed

Sunday, June 4th was a busy day at Disney California Adventure. Raver Day was happening, The new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout attraction was drawing record crowds, and 22 teams showed up to find out the burning question…”WHAT’S IN THE BOX???” The 2017 Disney Challenge kicked off in Cars Land outside of Flo’s V8 Cafe. With only a couple of interruptions from Lighting McQueen and Mater, the event crew got through the opening announcements and moved on to the big reveal. The mystery that plagued our players from the day we announced the subtitle of this year’s challenge: “The Return Of The…” As we opened the box containing the item that was making its triumphant return…the crowd hushed as it was revealed. The Monkey Wrench was pulled from the box to an overwhelmingly silent “huh?” from about 95% of the players. (Exactly the reaction I was going for!!!) Since The Monkey Wrench was last seen in 2011, most of the challengers had absolutely no idea what this plastic thing on a string was. However, once explained, the name became clear. This little guy was really going to throw a Monkey Wrench in their strategies for that year if they wanted to contend for the massive amount of bonus points it could be worth.

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At 10:00am, the teams were on their merry way. Most stuck around Cars Land to figure out Rick’s License Plate-inspired Finish Line Puzzle. Others just took a seat and planned out their day. At 10:30, The Monkey Wrench was released, and the game took a twist. Teams started lining up to steal it from one another, as their photos started appearing on Twitter. The Event Crew did not help the chaos by Facebook Living and Tweeting our location, as well as the last known location of the Wrench. At 2:30pm, The Event Crew tweeted their location, and one team found us. “Suitcase and a Dream…and a Stroller” (who made their own triumphant return after an absence) snagged the Monkey Wrench and proceeded to play Hide and Seek from the rest of the teams anxious to get the final 25 points. No one found them by the 3:00 cut off, and they ended the game with an amazing 35 bonus points, which rocketed them up to third place.

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Our former 2015 Minnie Disney Challenge Champions “Frank ’n WeenieS,” who were out in full force with all four players, took second place with the exact same score as our third place team. For the first time in the history of The Disney Challenge, our long ago implemented but never used “tie breaker” system was put into place. Scoring 17 Secret Bonus Points to Suitcase’s 15, The Weenies pulled ahead. However, what no one expected was a brand new team consisting of some very recognizable players snuck in and grabbed first place. “X-S Tech,” made up of some of the creators and writers of the famous Mouse Adventure Scavenger Hunt, was crowned The 2017 Disney Challenge Champions.

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It was an amazing year and an amazing Challenge. We look forward to seeing all of you (and some new faces) at the next one. Be on the lookout for the announcements regarding The 2017 Mini Disney Challenge taking place on November 5th.

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Click Here to see The 2017 Disney Challenge Answer Key, Rules, and Team Scores and Places

~Written by Dave Mancini, Event Crew Member

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Registration For The 2017 Disney Challenge: “The Return Of The…” Is Closed.

Another registration period has come and gone. We are gearing up for another outstanding Disney Challenge at Disney California Adventure on Sunday, June 4th 2017. Thank you once again to all the teams who have registered. We can’t wait to see you all there!

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~Written by Dave Mancini, Event Crew Member

 

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Registration for The 2017 Disney Challenge: “The Return Of The…” is now OPEN!

Welcome back to another edition of The Disney Challenge. 2017 brings us back to Disney California Adventure with its own special brand of warped humor, tricky trivia, and good times. (Not to mention a little bit of frustrating mystery.) In 2015, The Disney Challenge set a new record with 28 teams participating. Will we break the 30 team goal this year? Who knows. What we do know is 2017 is gearing up to be one VERY interesting Challenge! You won’t want to miss this one.

If you are brand new to The Disney Challenge, might I recommend heading over to www.TheDisneyChallenge.com/past-challenges to see just what you are in for. (Start with 2015 and 2013…those were the last two DCA Challenges.) Then, pop over to www.TheDisneyChallenge.com/how-to-play/ to learn all the do’s and dont’s of The Disney Challenge.

Once you are all set and you have your team assembled, go to www.TheDisneyChallenge.com/register-a-team and fill out the form, make the registration donation, and wait for the confirmation email. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Good Luck to all the teams and we’ll see you at The Disney Challenge!

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Wrapping Up The 2016 Mini Disney Challenge

The 2016 Mini Disney Challenge was played on Sunday, November 6th. This was our second year doing this smaller, less formal challenge in the Downtown Disney District. However, the competition and comradare were as epic as ever. The TinkerBelles, who have been playing every Disney Challenge since 2015, gained their first win, edging out last year’s newcomers and champions, Frank ‘n Weenies by only five points. And in third place, The Enchanted Tikis, who made their triumphant return after missing The 2016 Disney Challenge in June.

The scores were all close, but the friendships we have made over the years are so much closer. In fact, the whole reason we introduced The Mini Disney Challenge last year was just an excuse to see our friends and hang out with everyone more than once a year. While we love bringing you the best Disney Challenge possible, seeing all of your faces again and again, and adding new ones each year makes all the work we put into The Disney Challenge so worth it.

Thank you all once again for your continued love and support!

Just incase you haven’t explored the website, here are the links to all the info about The 2016 Mini Disney Challenge:

Past Challenges

Photos

Hall Of Fame

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~Written by Dave Mancini, Event Crew Member

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