Gumball Rally 2018: Did I ride all the rides at Disneyland in one day?

On Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, my college roomie Andrew Quan and I competed in Gumball Rally, a competition to ride all the rides in Disneyland in one day. As "Mushu's Merciless Mercenaries," we wanted to prove that our previous 4th place finish in 2010 was not a fluke. (See previous blog post: Can you ride all the rides in Disneyland in one day?) We got down to business, making custom shirts this year (thanks for designing AQuan! Displayed below is the backside:)


We also packed the night before, prepping all our food and water (since we wouldn't have time to eat at a restaurant and would eat in line to save time). I got some bougie snacks from Grocery Outlet [Bargain market] pictured below, and Andrew made 4 PBJs and also packed a dozen electrolyte water bottles in his backpack.

Mangoes! Pork! Omega-3 Cookies! Mmmmmm

We were up at 5:45 AM to get primped and polished, leave Santa Ana, and get to registration at the Anaheim hotel. We got to the hotel for opening ceremony at 6:30 - where we learned the twists this year: two game packets (dividing the park in half, and basically ruining our strategy), one ride would be featured twice, and not all rides would be featured. As we walked to get our question packets at La Brea Bakery next to Downtown Disney, we realized this would be more of a strategic scavenger hunt than the previous competitions.

I picked up our Gamebook, and a little bit past 8 AM the race began! As soon as we opened the book, our original strategy came crashing down like the avalanche over the Huns, but we were still determined to do our best, get as many Fastpasses as possible, and sped walk from attraction to attraction.

I hadn't been in the park since 2016, and Andrew hadn't been since 2012, so we weren't used to the new Fastpass-attached-to-ticket mechanic. Other obstacles included getting a leg cramp when I sprinted to turn in our first packet- so I'm definitely not as athletic as I used to be. Overall, we felt pretty good about the day and gained some advantage when wait times were incorrectly listed, despite not going on 4 of the 40 attractions listed.

Ultimately, we did not place in top 10 at the closing ceremony, but even if this was our swan song competition, I found out that we placed 13th out of over 100 teams, so I'm pretty damn proud of our performance. (you can also check out the results to see some interesting team names).

Even though we weren't able to ride all the rides in 11 hours, I still learned a few things:
  • I'm fairly positive the top 10 teams all had the other packet, so sometimes luck determines our fate and how far we can go. 
  • I also could not use my cellphone for 11 hours (they disqualified you if you took out your cellphone, so I kept mine and Andrew's phone in my backpack until closing ceremony). It was the longest in a while I haven't used my phone, and although I was bummed to not be able to take pics, this temporary digital cleanse helped me focus on the task at hand and appreciate being inside the "Happiest Place on Earth."
  • Some teams had excel sheets, observed wait times for weeks in advance to strategize when to get Fastpass, and for some it paid off, but I'd rather not take things TOO seriously and am glad Andrew and I did not invest a ton of time researching since it might've been moot anyways.
  • That I can be content not winning; reflecting upon the competition- while it would've been nice to be in top 5 again, being in presumably top 13% still puts us ahead of the hoi polloi and I still got to spend a day catching up with my college roomie and also burned 1000 calories (according to Apple watch, which is 3-4 times my normal daily goal).
  • I also never mentioned that we also competed in 2012, partly attributed to me feeling sick that year but mostly because we weren't in the top 10. I checked results and saw we got 15th place out of over 100 teams, but realized I shouldn't be ashamed of my "failure" but confront it- and being in top 15% isn't a bad feat in itself- but I'm glad we improved in 2018.
I am now torn whether I should retire or whether I should compete again in the next Gumball Rally. Sure there's tons of places to explore in the world that I haven't seen, but being so close to victory makes it so much more desirable. Should I compete again? 

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