It’s 8pm on the last night in February and a gaggle of excitable individuals are traveling in a pack towards the backstage area of Disneyland. This unusual behavior can only mean one thing, these people are Cast Members and it’s finally time for Minnie’s Moonlit Madness. The annual (at times semi-annual) event is part trivia challenge, part scavenger hunt around Disneyland Park, part bonding experience for Cast Members and their friends. This year’s theme: music. And on with the show!
(Wristbands on, ready to go!)
The event begins backstage behind Toontown to allow time for Guests to empty out of the Park after a day at the Happiest Place on Earth. There’s a slight breeze in the air, but no one is feeling anything except mounting enthusiasm and anticipation. Then, out of nowhere, things start to happen and the emcee kicks off with the presentation of a $5,000 check to Orange County’s Pacific Symphony, this year’s charity. The Symphony provides a great introduction into the night, given its musical theme. The emcee then warms up the crowd with as many treble clef and scales puns as the human mind can comprehend.
And, all of a sudden, it’s trivia time. The 50-question trivia challenge covered the entire scope of the company; everything from the Sherman Brothers to The Muppets to resorts in Florida to the musical episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. The questions move quickly and are read out by the ultimate Master of Ceremonies. Believe it or not, this is just the warm-up.
The teams then move over into Toontown and clip together with rope and carabiners. Did we not mention that the scavenger hunt is completed while team members are attached… literally? Oops. Well, here’s the deal: you’re never more than two feet from your friends. This means that running is a no-no, but people are moving as fast as they can because they now have only two hours to finish ten challenges.
Once clasped together safely, the hunt begins and captains open up the sealed envelope they were given at registration to reveal… a kazoo! As VoluntEARS and Parks Cast Members walk around kazooing specific songs, the teams are left to figure out what the clue means so they can write down the answer and continue on their quests.
As always, this year’s Clue Crew (the wonderful Cast Members that put together this event) are outdoing themselves in coming up with puzzles and tasks of every skill level.
One of the easier challenges has teams running to Rancho Del Zocalo to answer trivia questions about Disney Channel stars and shows. Get the question right and you move on, get it wrong and you have to dance the Twist, the Mashed Potato or the Swim for 30 seconds.
One of the harder ones had teams unscramble letters to make nine songs written by the Sherman brothers (can you figure out CIHCIEMECHMRHE?). Then using a code, find letters from each song title to spell yet another classic song.
At the end of the night, teams turn in their ropes and their final clue envelopes and await the results in the coming weeks. The top three teams will receive medals, but everyone has fun just playing along.
The overall scores for the night won’t be announced until everything is tallied and that usually takes a few days. In the meantime, the weary (yet wired) Cast Members head home to sleep and get ready for another day of work for the Mouse House.
All in all, the night is a success. Not every team will emerge victorious, but hakuna matata. The real fun is in the experience!