Now that you know the story behind the Hidden Mickey Team of the 2011 Walt Disney World D23 Scavenger Hunt, you may be curious how another team that was slightly more successful approached the event. I had the great pleasure and honor to discuss with the leader of the winning team of this year’s Walt Disney World event about their win and the details of their team. Meet Brent Dodge who led his team to a 1st place victory in the 2011 Walt Disney World D23 Scavenger Hunt. This was no small feat considering there were over 800 teams in the event. Brent is the author of From Screen to Theme, the first of a series of books focusing on references to different Disney movies found throughout the Disney parks. Brent couldn’t be a nicer guy and I am so thrilled for his team’s success.
Mary Jo: Who were the members of your team?
Brent: My dad, Dean Dodge, and two guys I met at the first D23 Magic and Merriment, cousins Frank Studebaker and David Graber, and myself, Brent Dodge.
Mary Jo: Did any of you participate in the Disneyland Scavenger Hunt?
Brent: My dad, Dave, and I were in it. Frank was actually out here in WDW during the event. We didn’t really go into that one thinking we’d have a chance at winning. Dave knows Disneyland pretty well and I know it fairly well, but my dad had barely ever been there so we mainly went for the fun of it.
Mary Jo: It is rumored that you prepared for months by taking photos in the parks and studying the details. Any truth to this? Was there any method to your preparation?
Brent: There’s some truth to it, but not much. Disney has acknowledged that I’ve been in the parks for more consecutive days in a row than anyone else. My original record was 159 days in a row and I recently broke that with today being my 185th day in a row. I would take pictures and send them to the other three (they live in California and Wisconsin) and we’d call each other on an almost daily basis and quiz each other on details found throughout the parks. In addition to that, almost half of the 10 point questions were things I had either written about for my website (www.fromscreentotheme.com) or covered in my book (From Screen to Theme) so we either knew the answer instantly or knew exactly where we’d have to go to find the answer with no hesitation. We’re all big Disney fans and all four of us already brought a lot of knowledge about different attractions and areas to the team, but the daily pictures and questions to one another really helped solidify it.
Mary Jo: I know you don’t want to give away your trade secrets, but could you describe how your team in organizational terms went about answering the questions. Did you spend time at the beginning of each park just plotting out a scheme and organizing the questions?
Brent: We all played a very important role. Both Frank and my dad are very good at organizational skills and helped us get everything on paper with where we needed to go. Dave is a very observant person and could find clues within seconds of arriving at a location. My role was to lead the way and make sure we had each question associated with a specific area/attraction in the park.
Mary Jo: If you could give someone advice in doing a D23 Scavenger Hunt, what would you tell them?
Brent: I think the best advice I can give is to find a good team. Not one that you necessarily think you will win with, but a group of people you know you’ll have fun with. We had a blast during the entire scavenger hunt and I know if we’d have taken one member of our group out and replaced them with someone else it just wouldn’t be the same experience. Even if we hadn’t won I know we still would have had a great time because of who we were with!
Mary Jo: And lastly, since your team won a cruise, are you all going to go on the cruise together? Or how did you work that out?
Brent: Our theory from day one was if we were to win we’d all go on the cruise together. We went through the entire experience as a team and that’s how we plan on celebrating!
Congratulations on an outstanding job, Frank, David, Brent and Dean. What an honor to be the first place winners of the 2011 Walt Disney World D23 Scavenger Hunt!