The Disney Challenge: An Exciting, New Way to Enjoy Disneyland

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The Disney Challenge LogoNow that I have downed gallons of water, soaked my poor feet, and eased my sunburn with some aloe; I can now tell you about the quickly growing , yearly scavenger hunt hosted by The Disney Challenge.  If you were in Disney California Adventure, Sunday May 31, you might have seen teams walking quickly through out the park from 10 to 4pm. Every year sometime between Memorial Day and Father’s Day teams will gather to set forth on whatever adventure The Disney Challenge Crew has created that year. The scavenger hunt is 16 pages, totaling at 100 questions. Every answer is found somewhere in the park, you just have to know where to look.

Some questions are completely out of this world. For example: Where can you find Spiderman fighting Mr. Incredible? Sometimes questions are followed up by bonus questions, “Why is Mr. Incredible losing?” At first glances, you laugh and then scan your brain for everywhere it might be. Hell, you might even head to the right location, but still miss it because its on the ceiling, in a far away corner, or on a loop of some sort. Other questions, my favorite types of questions, offer the location. “What three items is Sebastian hiding behind in Ariel’s Grotto?”

And let’s not forget Dingo. It is basically a bingo board of things you would find at Disneyland: couple holding hands, cactus, giant pencil, people lining up for a show/parade, and a dog wearing roller-blades. Besides that, you have categories like Johanna’s Nasty Question and Tony’s Freakin Fire hydrants/ extinguishers; which are both being retired this year, only to be replaced with harder categories. We got a chance to see Johanna’s new style of questions and I have to say, I LOVE IT! Basically it’s a picture with something missing. But no matter what type of questions make up the packet, you can always expect one thing. To have a lot of fun!

The idea started in the late 90’s when Dave and Johanna, decided that a scavenger hunt for their youth group would be a fun idea. They came across the inspiration by a couple who stopped them randomly on Main Street, explaining they had never been to the park before and their friend had made them their own hunt to be able to see everything.  Mix the sweet couple, with the  movie Midnight Madness and the creative brains of youth group leaders; and you are rewarded with The Disney Challenge.

However, when they debuted in 2001, they were under a different name, The Old West Disney Challenge. Hosting the first event for their youth group, they started off with 5 teams participating. By 2002, 7 teams had joined but 6 had finished. They quickly learned that doing a challenge in September might not be the best idea, it was the hottest it had ever been. Taking a small break between, they jumped back in during 2009 with the rise of Myspace. Changing the name to The Disney Challenge and opening up to the public, they had 11 teams join. Ever since then they have been growing every year, with 2014 hitting 20 teams and this year jumping to a grand total of 27 teams registering.

One of the amazing things about The Disney Challenge, is that it isn’t just about competing, it really shines a light on team building. But, besides that, it is a great place to make new friends. An hour before check-in is available for teams, The Event Crew always meet for breakfast, inviting the teams to come join them and talk for a bit. Catching up with Dave, I asked if he ever thought it would grow to be this big and where he wanted to see it go from here?

Event-Crew2

The Disney Challenge Crew from 2014

“I had dreamed it might. I would love to see it get bigger, to the point of capping it.”

Tony added, “The great thing is every year we get to show lands in new lights, not only for the teams but for us as well.”

Before breakfast was over,  I had to get in one more question to the group. “What is your favorite part about doing The Disney Challenge?”

Tony didn’t skip a beat and answered, “Seeing new blood come in and connecting further with the returning teams.”

Dave mentioned, “Five minutes before 10 A.M., I get up to speak. It doesn’t really involve the speech, but more the sea of people in matching shirts, filled with anticipation. So thick you can cut it with a knife. It is flattering and humble to see so many people excited to see what we have created.”

And we love what you guys create every year! This was my fifth year participating and every year it just becomes even more amazing. Are you now intrigued? Well follow them on Facebook and pop over to their website so you can find out more. One of the things, I love telling people is to print out one of their past challenges and just do it for fun around the park. It is a great way to see what it is all about and get some practice in before the big game. Might want to try your hand at it on a smaller scale? Well this is the first year they are doing a mini challenge and it will be done in Downtown Disney, so you will not have to buy a ticket to the parks. The event will be held on November 8th, and keep checking out their Facebook for my information as it gets closer.

 

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