World is rich with delightful details -- it's one of the reasons why many of us like it so
much. It's fun to stumble across these details while touring, but it's even more fun to
discover them intentionally. How do you do this? Challenge yourself or your family with a
scavenger or treasure hunt!
For those of you new to hunts, let's
explain how they work. Traditionally, a scavenger hunt requires that you gather as many of
the listed items as possible. A treasure hunt, on the other hand, requires that you find
and solve clues that lead to the goal. Hunts can be done alone, or as a competition
between two or more people or teams. We've seen hunts last anywhere from half an hour to
an entire day!
At Walt Disney World, most hunts involve
finding answers to questions, rather than collecting objects. The first hunt we created at
Disney was for a group of 30. Their goal was to find answers to 20 questions about
Mickey's Toontown Fair. We split the group into teams of four, gave them each the list of
questions, and wished them luck. One hour later they were back at the starting point with
the list of answers in their hands!
You can also "scavenge" a bit
at Walt Disney World as well. In December 2000, we participated in the RADP Scavenger Hunt
hosted by our friends Jeff and Jenn Carter (contributing authors of PassPorter's Treasure Hunts at Walt Disney World). This all-day scavenger hunt required you
gather answers to questions, but also asked you to pick up various items, such as
guidemaps, pamphlets, FASTPASSes, certificates, etc.
So how do you participate in a hunt?
Your first challenge is to either find one that already exists, or create one yourself. We
discuss our tips for each of these tasks below:
Disney doesn't offer a year-around, freely
available scavenger or treasure hunt at its parks, alas. Likely, this is due to the
ever-changing nature of the parks. Keeping a hunt up-to-date on a regular basis would be a
challenge in itself! So we must look further afield for ready-made hunts.
100 Magic Kingdom Memories Challenge -
This was a free, seasonal hunt for annual passholders, available from the Town Square
Exposition Hall in the Magic Kingdom. If you were an annual passholder, you could show your
pass to a cast member at the Expo Hall to get a sheet of 100 questions. Alas, it disapeared at the
end of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration. But Disney does bring back hunts like this from time
to time -- most recently to promote Virtual Magic Kingdom.
Group Scavenger Hunts - Several Disney
fan groups -- notably our own PassPorter
community and Jeff and Jenn Carter (contributing authors of our Treasure Hunt book) -- host hunts for anyone who wants to participate. Our most recent
PassPorter hunt was last December -- we plan to host another hunt
at the next MouseFest. If you attend MouseFest, you can
participate in many of the other treasure and scavenger hunts offered by other communities, too!
Family Magic Tour - This is technically
a "guided tour" (see page 242 of PassPorter Walt Disney World guidebook) but it has elements of a
treasure hunt within it. The two-hour tour takes you on an interactive adventure through
the Magic Kingdom to solve a mystery in the company of a Disney villain (such as Captain
Hook or Maleficent). The tour, which is held at 10:00 am daily, is open to all ages for
$25/person. You can reserve spots by calling 407-WDW-TOUR or by stopping at City Hall at
the Magic Kingdom. We haven't had the opportunity to try this tour ourselves, but it
sounds like a fun and easy way to have a little treasure hunt on your vacation.
Older Scavenger Hunts - By this we mean
scavenger hunts done by others in the past. While some of the questions and answers may
have changed with the rise and fall of attractions, much of the hunt will still be
playable. Jeff and Jenn Carter have had their all-day hunt questions online in the past, though we haven't
been able to locate the last two year's hunt questions yet. We've put all the hunts that
we've designed online for you, however! You'll find them listed on the right. We also
found two great-looking hunts at DIS -- one is for "Walt Disney: One Man's
Dream" attraction and the other is a four-park combination scavenger/treasure hunt.
You'll find both at http://www.wdwinfo.com/games.htm
Personally, we like creating the hunts more
than just participating in them! We've come to see the parks in a whole new light. You can
create one for your partner, your child, your family, or your group -- the possibilities
are endless. Here are our tips:
Getting the Questions - It's hard to
create a hunt if you don't know what to put in it. Most of us don't have every bit of the
parks commited to memory, after all, and we want to find new things rather than well-known
trivia that someone can answer from memory. We created each of our hunts by visiting the
parks beforehand, usually on an earlier trip. We created our last hunt the day before the
hunt itself. If you don't have the luxury of visiting the parks before your hunt, try
using pre-existing questions (discussed earlier) or try some of our other tips.
The On-The-Fly Hunt - This is one of our
favorite ways to spend an afternoon at Disney. We go to a park with lots of details, such
as Epcot, and split up. Our task is to find three questions in each of six World Showcase
pavilions (18 questions in all) -- I take one half of World Showcase, Dave takes the
other. We meet in the middle, exchange our questions, and the hunt begins! I answer his
questions, he answers mine. They're comparable because we discussed what sorts of
questions we'd be looking for in advance. We then meet again in the middle at a pre-set
time to tally up our answers and see who won! This type of hunt would work for two or more
people or teams.
The Can-You-Find-It Hunt - If you don't
have the time to visit a park before you create your hunt, or even to make one up as you
go, try making of list of items you'd *expect* to find at Disney and see how many you can
find. We tried this during our 2001 Gathering last December -- we had a
"DecoTour" of the resort hotels and looked for common Christmas items, such as a
gingerbread house, candy cane, or rocking horse. It was easy to create and play -- all
ages felt comfortable with it!
The Photo Hunt - If you've got
Polaroid/digital cameras (or camcorders), try a hunt for specific places in a park or a
hotel. We created a photo hunt in 2000 where teams had to go around the Seven Seas Lagoon
(Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian), finding locations and
snapping group shots at each one. If you know the park well you could make a list of
places without too much effort. Otherwise, just combine this idea with the Can-You-Find-It
Hunt, and have folks get photos with things they're likely to find, such as with a cast
member, at a water fountain, on a train, or by a statue. You can add in a bit of fun by
requiring that the participants pose a certain way in each picture. This hunt makes for
great photo souvenirs, too!
The Traditional Hunt - Here's how we go
about making a hunts for a group of people. First, we plan when and where it will be, so
we can scout out questions beforehand. For example, for a December 2003 hunt we'd probably
work on the hunt in September 2003. We set aside an afternoon to scour the location we've
chosen for likely questions and answers. We split up and write down everything we can
think of, and even take pictures of some items we may find hard to recall later. When we
return from our trip, we look at all our notes and compile a list of questions from the
best ideas. Then we print out the questions to hand out at our hunt -- the answers we list
on another sheet so we can score the answers. We usually try to have a theme for our hunt,
and an appropriate prize or two.
What makes a good hunt? We believe a
good hunt presents a challenge without being frustrating, leaves time for fun and
companionship, and shows the participants things they may never have noticed before.
Everyone has to enjoy themselves, even if there can only be one "winner." We
don't like to make contestants stand online or ride an attraction, as that can take a lot
of time or force them to take a ride they'd rather not experience. And we always consider
how the hunt may effect other guests and Disney cast members--we don't want to cause a
disturbance. Time and walking distances are also a factor. For all but the most exhausting
hunts, we suggest you limit your hunt to one or two small areas of a park, rather than the
entire park. Not only is it easier on the contestants, but it's much easier for the
"huntmaster" to oversee the fun.
One final tip: Consider the complexity
of your hunt. It's difficult to judge in advance how easy or difficult to make your hunt.
Take a good look at your audience and determine what they'd be most comfortable with -- an
easy, fun diversion or a sadistic, difficult challenge. Most beginners prefer to just have
a good time, and may not want to be too competitive.
Our Own PassPorter Hunts:
Click the links to view the questions (and answers) for our hunts!
Walt's Legacy Hunt
A set of 35 questions relating to Walt
Creation Date: December 2001
Park: Disney-MGM Studios
Duration: Three hours
Photo Hunt on the Seven Seas
A list of places that team members had to
take group pictures
Creation Date: December 2000
Location: Magic Kingdom, Contemporary,
Polynesian, and Grand Floridian
Duration: Three hours
A set of 24 questions that can be found in
Adventureland and Frontierland
Creation Date: September 2000
Park: Magic Kingdom
Duration: Two hours
A set of 20 questions that can be found in
Mickey's Toontown Fair
Creation Date: January 1998
Park: Magic Kingdom
Duration: One hour
If you do organize a hunt and want to
share it with our readers, please e-mail us at email@example.com
and we'd be delighted to put it online (and try it out ourselves!).
Return to the Treasure Hunt Book Page