Playing Catch Up

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I just wanted to take the time to go through a few interesting posts that have been put up on the OC Register’s Around Disney blog in the past few days, as it really is a slow time for news. The first article deals with the interactive Muppet scavenger hunt at Disney’s California Adventure:

Disney recently launched an online and in park game, available exclusively to Disneyland Resort annual passholders.

The interactive game that involves text messages and cell phones, called The Muppet Experiment, opens with the back-story of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s lastest experiment, the Muppet Labs Time Rewinder.  The experiment goes awry and the Muppets get lost in time, so players join in the game by becoming test subjects.  They are asked to help bring the Muppets back to 2008 through a series of trivia questions, puzzles and more.

The first step of the Muppet Experiment is an online version, where players solve four puzzles that relate to the Muppets.

After completing the online portion, players go to Disney’s California Adventure, where they are sent on a quasi-scavenger hunt.  Questions require players to visit various locations throughout the park in search of details, including a stop at Muppet Vision 3D.  To answer each in park question, players send a text message with their guess.

After successfully answering all the questions, players will be sent to California Adventure’s newest attraction, the Blue Sky Cellar, to receive a commemorative prize.

The Muppet Experiment is reminiscent of the retired Virtual Magic Kingdom quests, which were part of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary promotion.

The game engaging for Disneyland fans and Muppet fans alike.   After many trips to California Adventure, the game is something new and unique for passholders, and points out many hidden details in the park. It is challenging enough for even the most devoted Disney fans, but still fun for the casual guest. 

Some questions are more difficult than others.  In particular, the online questions require either intense knowledge of Muppet trivia, or quite a bit of research on the Internet. The in-park questions, however, are easier.

The idea of using cellphones is interesting, but does have its drawbacks.  When I played the game, there were a few minor technical difficulties during game play with the texting, and those without the ability to text are not able to participate in the in park portion.  Through the concept of the Time Rewinder, the game tied in well with California Adventure’s future plans for expansion, and fit nicely in with the Blue Sky Cellar.

The game ends on December 16.  To join in The Muppet Experiment, click here.

The Muppet Experiment is free to play, but standard text message rates do apply.

Tips for playing The Muppet Experiment:

  • If you get stuck, many Disney fan sights post hints and sometimes spoilers to the answers.
  • Wikipedia is helpful for finding answers to the online questions.
  • Ask cast members for help with the in park questions.  If you are directed to a certain area or attraction, ask a cast member assigned to that area.  Otherwise, ask cast members at the Blue Sky Cellar.

The second article deals with a rather interesting rumor going around that says Disney “fired” actors playing Jack Sparrow due to women flashing a certain body part at the actors:

One of the reasons Disney laid off four actors playing fictional pirate Jack Sparrow in the park is because women tended to flash the character, asserted one former cast member.

Disneyland vehemently denies these rumors.

“They lost control when they saw Jack Sparrow,” former pirate Brandon Pinto told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “This is a sexy, rock-star pirate.”

The Jack Sparrows walked around the park and interacted with Disneyland’s guests. Pinto, according to the Tribune, left the park about a year ago, while the four recently employed pirate captains were laid off in November.

Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in e-mail to Around Disney that there’s no truth to that rumor.

“For the record, the rumor that this move has anything to do with female guests is absolutely false,” she said. “It is simply not true. Here is our official statement:

‘The Disneyland Resort consistently evaluates its entertainment programming so that we are offering our Guests what is most relevant and requested. While Jack Sparrow recently set sail for other high-seas adventures, we look forward to his grand return to Disneyland some day. Until then, Guests can see Jack Sparrow in our Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.’ ”

Brown said she couldn’t comment on the circumstances surrounding Pinto’s departure from the park, but said she figured he was the “source of the rumors” surrounding the reasons for the layoffs.

Read the the KTLA story here. The San Diego Union-Tribune also published an article on the issue here, asserting that the new Pixie Hollow attraction had something to do with the removal of the pirates in question.

Finally, I just wanted to point out that the guys at the Around Disney blog have put up a very cool interactive map showing all of the changes & additions coming to DCA through 2012. Be sure to check it out!