We often get asked about our writing process and how long it takes to put an event together. The time varies by location, but I’ll dive into the Disneyland Resort here.
Generally, we rotate between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure each event, although ongoing construction can affect that schedule. Since Joe and I live locally, we handle most of the writing for the Disneyland Resort events.
We start about two months before the scheduled game day, meeting at the chosen park on a Saturday morning. Usual banter starts by us worrying we aren’t going to find anything different to work with from our past games and then the ideas come pouring in. I carry a list of puzzle types we have used in past games. When we see some elements we think we can use, I can refer to this list to see if these items fit into any of our typical puzzle mechanics.
We wander land to land trying to create a quest in each area. After a full day we take stock of where we are by going over our notes and checking for any critical parts of a puzzle we may have missed. During the week, I type out all the information and Joe uses the data to start laying out the quests. This process is repeated the next weekend, which should put us close to a full game of quests.
The following weekend Steph and David travel down from Northern California to test what we have written so far and contribute ideas for anything else left outstanding. While the NorCal team is testing, Joe and I work on some of the other pieces, like eye spy photos.
The next few weeks is all about getting everything laid out and tested remotely. Two weekends before the game we invite some non-competing teams to test the nearly-final game for us. This final beta test helps with corrections and gives us a player’s perspective.
During the following week, all corrections are made and final proofing is done. The weekend before the game is production weekend, where Joe and I work at our office to produce all the physical components of the game.
Finally, the big weekend arrives; it’s game time. The four of us go into the park on Saturday morning and retest all parts of the game. This is when we find out what Disney changed since we went into production. Depending on what the changes are, we either must reprint entire quests or make an errata sheet to update the teams in their packets of any changes.
Packet stuffing takes place in our hotel room on Saturday night. Sunday morning, we greet you all with smiling and exhausted faces!
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