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    My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    Figured I would post this up. I wrote it at the end of 2007 as part of a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Well, I failed. It's only 30,000 words and it took me longer than a month to put an end on it. But I figured I'd post it up for anyone who may want to read it. Its a Walt Disney World/Star Trek crossover; I hope you enjoy.





    Disney Q


    By


    Mark Petar



    Historians Note

    This story takes place after the events of the novel Star Trek: The Next Generation Q&A. Don't read any further if you don't want that book spoiled; it does give away the ending. You have been warned.




    Prologue

    Bored.

    Bored, Bored, Bored.

    Sometimes Q envied humans. Sure they are far inferior beings that would never evolve into anything more; but their pathetically short life spans, half of which they spend asleep, coupled with how long it takes them to do even the most simple things gives them purpose; it gives them something to do. "Sometimes the problem with being Q," Q thought, "is that there's just not enough to do in the Universe; not that I haven't either seen already or caused to happen in the first place anyhow."

    "I should have let that Calamarain get me." Q muttered to no one in particular. Of course he tried that and managed to pass the test he didn't even know he was taking by performing that one unselfish act; up popped Q, saved Q, saved the Enterprise, gave Q back his powers and so here he was. Bored.

    The irony wasn't lost on Q that he was having thoughts so similar to those of Q, the first Q to be allowed to end his own life; an action to which Q himself was sent by the continuum to oppose in that joke of a trial with Kathy. "Dear Kathy," Q reminisced to himself, "an admiral now, stuck behind a desk all day; I wonder if she's as bored as I am?". And if Q, one of the most celebrated thinkers in the continuum, had come to the conclusion that there was nothing left to do; well what chance did Q have of finding something interesting. In the end, Q had assisted Q, or Quinn as he had started to refer to himself as, to commit suicide empathising with his reasons, which were mostly about being bored, despite the continuum’s contempt for the idea. But Q knew he could never commit suicide, he didn’t know why not, it wasn’t like there was anything to do now, but he couldn’t and that just left him here, now, bored.

    So all these thoughts were futile; especially considering if Q had either been killed by the Calamarain or taken his own life in the past, following Q’s lead to escape the boredom, well, there wouldn’t be any Universe left to be bored of. “Picard would have never passed the test without me.” Q exclaimed to himself with an inflection that would have come across as a smug grin if Q weren’t a non corporeal being.

    Because although Q was bored now, and had been in the past for such a long time, the end of the Universe and the events that had proceeded it had been; fun. For a short while by continuum standards, Q had really enjoyed himself and savoured existence. Maybe it was because there was so much on the line, after all, if he, and it really had been all his idea, had been wrong about humans, Picard or any of the lessons he had taught him, the Universe itself would be gone, engulfed into nothingness. So much like the humans themselves, his belief in them had given Q purpose, and there was always planning and anticipation of what was to come. Or maybe it was because while he had known himself to be right all along, Q, Q and Q opposed him all the way to the final judgement at Gorsach IX, and for much of the time it had been just him alone against the rest of the continuum; and that truly excited Q. Q’s part in assisting Q’s suicide didn’t go down well with the continuum either and added fuel to the fire and Q, Q, Q and Q argued so violently in the aftermath that the continuum deteriorated into civil war.

    Looking back on it, Q was thankful for Q’s support; while she may not have agreed with Q’s belief in the humans as “the ones,” at least she didn’t dismiss his thoughts as Q and Q had. And of course, she had agreed to his plan to bring a level of harmony back to the continuum by conceiving a child together; the first new blood to be born in over ten millennia. Fatherhood; how rewarding. Sure, q had been a handful at times, he had even had to strip young q of his powers and force him to spend some time with Auntie Kathy to straighten him up a little; a little pot calling the kettle black but necessary. Q had shown q everything he could think of, filling him with all the experiences and knowledge the Universe had to offer; but when you can go from place to place in the blink of an eye and see one thing after another it becomes old. And looking at q now; well, he’s almost Q, looking to make his own mark on the Universe; a far fetch from the q once held in his arms.

    It was all over now anyhow. Just as Q had always predicted, humanity and Picard had been “the ones” and when it came to the judgement at Gorsach IX, Picard had passed the test and saved the Universe. Picard had finally seen through the pretence of Q’s trials over the years, by his standards, as just warm up sessions for the end of the Universe and everything had returned to this; boredom. Even the gloating had gotten old. Obviously Q still wasted no time in reminding Q, Q or Q that he had been right and them wrong all along, and at first it had been great fun, Q was practically strutting through the continuum. But the level of smugness was dropping; Q, Q and Q just weren’t as incitable any more and if he were honest with himself, even Q was growing tired of it.

    So here he was, a Q in the continuum; bored.

    Bored, Bored, Bored.

    “Oh would you give it a rest Q; your moping about is really beginning to annoy me.” Q said.

    “Q!” Q replied, “Mon cherie; I am merely reflecting on the nothingness there is to entertain now that the Universe is saved.”

    “Well get over yourself, the Universe is saved; life will continue and as long as there is life, then we shall find things to observe and nurture.”

    “But I don’t want to just observe and nurture, I’ve just been involved in both the saving the Universe and shaking up the continuum. I..”

    “Yes we all know how you were right all along Q, you, you, you. Have you spent any time with q that wasn’t bragging about your achievements; its all I’ve heard from you lately when you’re not sulking about having nothing to do.”

    “That’s it Q!” Q exclaimed, “we should do something as a family.”

    “I’m already regretting saying anything”

    “A vacation. It’s something the humans do to get away from their normal lives…”

    “Of course it is, always with the humans; maybe you should have stayed one.”

    “Paris once talked of a place, you know how nostalgic he could be for old time Earth habits…”

    “I really never paid that much attention to your human friends.”

    “We’re going to Disney World!”





    Chapter One

    November 2007 – old Earth calendar

    It was the start of a typical day at the Magic Kingdom, the flagship park of Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. The skies were blue and within hours the sun and humidity would cause the temperatures to rise. The Lilly Belle had pulled into Main Street station and a small cast had performed a song and dance number culminating in a confetti cannon blasting off to signal the opening of the park. Throughout the day 40,000 people would pass under the railroad tracks; a good number of those were already there, waiting at the gates in order to run to their favourite attractions. Between the anticipation, the ongoing show and the families trying to shuffle a baby, stroller, 2 cameras, bag and have their tickets out ready, no one noticed the flashes of light that deposited three more guests that hadn’t been standing there before.

    "What am I doing here?" q asked, "you don't even ask anymore?"

    "Your father decided we should all go on vacation together;" Q replied in a tone that somewhat lacked enthusiasm, "apparently, this is it."

    q looked at the humans around him. He had spent time with humans before, on Auntie Kathy's ship; part of a test his father had given him. But these humans seemed different somehow, they came across as even more primitive than Voyager had been; many of them wearing small black hats with two circular shapes protruding. q looked down upon himself at his own attire; a blue pair of jeans, q had been taught about human clothing by Icheb, and a t-shirt that bore a symbol very reminiscent of the hats the humans were wearing. He turned to his father who so far had said nothing. "Q, when are we?"

    "Very good my boy. We have indeed travelled in time. The humans called this the year 2007; a little while ago even by our standards."

    "So they will be even move primitive than before?" Q chimed in once she had realised what that meant; her demeanour dropping from unenthusiastic to downright unimpressed. "At least he hasn't dressed me up like last time" she thought to herself, suppressing a shudder at the thought of it.

    "My dear," Q replied in his most charming voice, "at this point in time the humans hadn't made it past their own moon," Q chuckled, "only a hard full of them have even left the planet; they are trapped here like rats."

    "Well I can think of only a few places I'd rather not be than here Q, so thanks for the history lesson but I have things to do. Care to join me q?"

    "Definitely mother." q replied as he quickly moved to his mother's side. Q, however, stood still and made very little protest for someone about to be deserted by his family.

    "We'll see you soon Q. You stay. Have fun" Q said as she smiled and snapped her fingers and...

    Nothing

    ''Oh did I forget to mention?" Q quipped with a boyish grin, "I had your powers revoked for the duration of the trip."

    "You did what?" Q shrieked; her annoyance with Q now not in the slightest bit masked.

    "We're on vacation from being Q, Q;" Q explained, "how can we do that if we were still Q?"

    Seeing the look on Q's face, Q decided to attempt an appeal to explorer in Q. "q and I have both spent time without our powers in the past and while things are that little harder, the level of reward with achievement can be hugely satisfying; you will love it.” Her face wasn’t moving, time to keep digging in a more grovelling manner “Besides; it’s not like q or I faced any danger while powerless.” Q knew that Q knew he was lying; both he and q had both faced death while powerless and around humans; this was going to be a hard sell even for Q’s suave self.

    “Fine;” Q relinquished, “but I won’t forget this Q.”

    Q had gotten away lucky and he knew it. The only thing an omnipotent, non corporeal being feared was an angry female omnipotent, non corporeal being; and Q was feisty even for a Q, it was one of her attributes that most excited Q. But he wasn’t going to let Q know how relieved he was feeling so he did what many had accused him of doing best; he lied through his teeth and put on a show. “Tremendous!” he bellowed making sure to grin widely and gesture wildly. In truth Q didn’t really have any idea what he was getting the group of them into or have any real desire to be there himself; but anything was better than being bored, and human culture had always fascinated him.

    From seemingly out of nowhere Q produced three small pieces of card each decorated with drawings of odd looking creatures and passed them around, “these things are called tickets, apparently you need these things to get in and out so you need to keep them safe. And you’ll need some of these, they are called dollars and they work on a base 10 system, the decimal parts being referred to as cents; it’s what the humans used as currency.”

    Q and q looked at each other quizzically as they held Q’s offerings in their hands; the concepts of what they were holding were primitive and basic but that made them easy enough to understand. Q, Q and q had all observed such basic systems on numerous planets around the Universe, but suddenly faced with the prospect of having to partake in them themselves rather than just laugh at other’s simpleness; it was just bizarre.

    “So,” Q announced as he turned towards the entrance archways, “here we go.”



    Chapter Two

    "It's going to be a hot day today," Philippe Picard thought as he stood by the turnstile to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; "Thunder Mountain will be busy."

    Philippe had only been working at Walt Disney World for a few weeks and found it exhilarating. He had grown up at the family vineyards in La Barre but had already decided to himself that the family business was not for him. He really didn't even like the taste of wine, although he was very careful to whom he confided that piece of information, his mother understood but his father would have been either very angry or very disappointed if he found out; Philippe didn't want to risk either.

    So Philippe would sit at the table and sip the family's product, and if ever questioned by his father would explain he had to drive later that night or make up some other reason; luckily his mother always had his back and would collaborate his excuse. Spending his entire life working on the vineyard just wasn't an option that Philippe could entertain.

    Telling his father that he wanted to get a job outside the vineyard hadn't been easy, and when he finally plucked up the courage to do it, it had been a very heated and emotional discussion. Philippe had never been more thankful that both of his brothers loved the vineyards; if he had been an only child his father would never have agreed.

    He managed to get a job at Disneyland Paris, meant to be more of a temporary measure than a career choice, but he really enjoyed the work. So much so that he was still there nine months later when he was given the opportunity to take part in a cast member exchange program that would take him to Walt Disney World, the largest of the Disney theme park resorts; and he jumped at the chance.

    And now here he was, working Thunder Mountain no less. In truth he believed the newer version of the ride at Disneyland Paris to be far superior, but this was one of the most iconic rides in the park and Philippe knew how important his job was as a part of the guest's overall experience; he took pride in what he did.

    Philippe saw the first people emerging through the walkways that led to Frontierland from Liberty Square; the main route from the hub to the furthest north-west corner of the park in which he was situated. Thunder Mountain being such a popular ride that people rushed to, in the hopes of avoiding the queues that would soon form, he knew they would be heading straight to him. "They've dropped the rope;" he thought as he prepared to speak in his best cowboy accent, "Hang onto your hats and glasses, folks, ‘cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!"

    ***************************

    It didn't matter how many times he saw it, it still made him tingle with joy and anticipation.

    Mike Ridgway had stood in front of all five castles around the World before, each named for a different Disney princess; but while all stunningly beautiful, none had the same impact on him as Cinderella's castle here at WDW. He didn’t know exactly why it had such an effect, he thought it was more likely than not because this was the park he had visited as a child with his parents, so this park more than the others, and this castle more than the others stirred the child in him and brought back so many special memories. He could stand here and look at the castle all day.

    Now an adult, Mike was a self confessed Disney Geek and proud of it. He had his daily rituals of visiting websites to read the latest articles, was a well known member of several Disney fan message boards and his iPod would contain all the best Disney podcasts that he would listen to religiously every week.

    Living in New York, Mike wasn’t able to visit the parks as much as he would like; in fact it had been almost eighteen months since his last visit to the World; he had been to Hong Kong Disneyland in that period, but nowhere else felt like home like this did. Newly married, Mike had managed to convince his wife how wonderful it would be to move down the coast. He had used reasons like the weather, the possibilities and the lifestyle in order to convince her, all he really cared about was being close enough that he could become an annual passholder and visit whenever he wanted; now all he had to do was get a job down here and everything was set.

    “Stacy wont mind me taking a little time out of job hunting to visit;” he thought to himself. After all, he couldn’t be down here and not visit the park at all, it would be sacrilege; especially as so much had changed since his last visit. He had read so many articles, heard reviews, even watched people's home videos of the new and changed rides on YouTube; now it was his time to experience them. Mentally he had been prioritising for weeks, Pirates of the Caribbean would have to be done, Nemo and Friends, O’ Canada and Gran Fiesta Tour all at Epcot would be good to do; Finding Nemo the Musical and Expedition Everest, which he only got to ride once as it had just opened on his last visit, at Animal Kingdom were musts. But most of all, top of the list, was the Haunted Mansion; which is why he had to get moving or the line would be huge by the time he got there.

    He couldn’t remember the last time he had anticipated something so much. The Haunted Mansion had been one of his favourite rides as a kid, and while it remained one of the parks most popular attractions, it had really started to show its age over the past few years; the doombuggies’ sound systems had started to faulter, animatronics had started to break and not be fixed, and versions of the ride in the other parks had been upgraded while WDW’s had been allowed to stagnate. After months and months of internet rumour and speculation Disney finally announced that it would be shutting down the Mansion for a few months and spending thirty million dollars in order to restore and enhance the ride to not only match but surpass the other versions around the world. Once the rehabilitation was underway the rumour mill started up again with what the imagineers would do; Disney released certain information but was also careful to keep a lot of surprises in store for the reopening. So when it finally opened a few weeks ago the online community went into overdrive. It would have been near impossible for Mike not to hear about the changes, additions and surprises; he would have had to cut himself off completely. But, he had managed to resist the urge to watch any videos on YouTube though, so seeing it should still hold some surprises.

    "I can't wait;" Mike thought as he made his way into Liberty Square, "the Escher room, floating Leota, new bride; this is going to be great!"

    His upbeat attitude took a dive though when he realised that he could see the Mansion grounds and there were no people walking through them. "This doesn't look good," he muttered under his breath; and sure enough when he got the gates he was met by a cast member telling people the ride was closed. Mike's heart sank on hearing the news but the cast member added that it was a planned downtime and not a fault and that the ride would re-open by lunch time; so it wasn't the end of the world, she even gave him a fast pass ticket so he could walk in rather than line up"

    "Waste a few hours in the Magic Kingdom;" Mike said to himself, "not a problem."



    Chapter Three

    Entering the park had been a little more hassle than expected; apparently these ticket things also involved sticking ones finger into a machine. In all the times Q had chosen to appear as a human, the need for representative detail had always been minimal, it had been more about the show and the lesson than the fine details; he was always still a Q inside and out, just looked like a human. Finger prints? What would ever have been the point of going into such level of detail when creating the perfect human form to appear as; and he did consider his looks to be perfect in every way. Q had gone first and when the machine had rejected her finger, Q had quickly realised the issue and with a blink of the eye given all three of them the needed identifying feature; Q just hoped that Q or q didn’t realise that Q still had his powers even if they didn’t. He quickly made a jibe about 21st century technology to divert the blame.

    Upon entering Q, Q and q found themselves staring down the barrel of a long street crowded with people. There was noise coming from all around; families talking, children shouting, a band playing as well as music being played in the background and a very loud steam train pulling out of the station behind them. All the noises were drowned out however by the sight in front of them because what stood out more than anything else was placed just beyond the end of the street, totally unexpected compared to the environment in which they now inhabited; it was a castle.

    Q looked at the castle with a sense of wonder. She had witnessed super novas, the creation of planets and life first hand before, she had even caused a few phenomena herself; but this single building captured her imagination. She wondered if it were something to do with the lack of her powers or something else that Q may have done to her; “damn Q,” she thought, “can’t trust him for a second.”

    Her thoughts were cut short, however, when a ringing bell startled her attention. Seeking the source of the sound, she noticed a carriage being drawn by a horse heading straight for her at a fair pace; the driver motioning her to move. Acting on instinct, Q thought the oncoming vehicle stopped, Q would move when she was ready to, it would just have to wait for her. The oncoming horse and carriage didn’t stop. That was when the realism of not having powers hit her; “Q!” Q cursed under her breath as she quickly moved to avoid being hit.

    “This isn’t right,” q exclaimed, “even in the 21st century, when they were still pre warp, the humans had mechanical modes of transportation; these buildings here are also non-consistent with time and appear to be unusually scaled; and the castle doesn’t fit in at all. What is this place?”

    Q’s confidence in himself took over and he opened his arms wide; “Well,” he began; at which point he realised he didn’t have a clue how to finish his sentence. In fact he realised his entire knowledge of even the existence of Disney World had come from a quip that Tom Paris had made when asked what he was going to do next, but he had expressed “I’m going to Disney World!” so energetically that Q had surmised it was a special place in human history. Q inwardly scolded himself for not being more prepared; he had studied Earth for a long time before revealing himself to Picard at Deneb V but so much of this era’s culture had been wiped out by the nuclear World War III of the mid 21st century; this place included.

    For the second time, in short succession, Q was glad he had retained his powers; with a blink of an eye he had his answer. “Well my boy,” he said again although this time with much more confidence, “Disney World is the ultimate incarnation of what the humans called a theme park. It was a place that young and old would go to immerse themselves in fictional places, enjoy rides and shows and have fun. The park we are currently in is called the Magic Kingdom, it’s the flagship park of the resort. And this park is made up of lands…” Q looked about and noticeably perked when he saw what he had been hoping to find, “here we go;” Q exclaimed as he took one pamphlet from a distribution box, he then opened it up to display a large circular diagram. “You see, here we are at Main Street USA,” Q pointed to the middle lower passage as indicated on the map, “it is purposely made to appear old fashioned.” all three Q had to laugh at the concept of the short lived humans of this time reminiscing about when they were an even more basic race.

    “So gang;” Q asked with a peppy tone, “where do we want to go first? Do we explore the unknown on the Jungle Cruise, battle the Evil Emperor Zurg on Space Ranger Spin or witness Snow White’s scary adventures?”

    Q and q looked to one another; again not looking impressed. “Q,” Q started, “this is your adventure, why don’t you lead the way and we will follow while imagining all the ways we are going to punish you once we have our powers back.”

    “Great!” Q exclaimed ignoring the threats, “Then to Fantasyland it is.”


    Chapter Four

    "Hurry up, we're late!" Jennifer Roberts exclaimed as her husband, Graham, got the stroller out the trunk.

    "Calm down Jenny," he replied, "the park doesn't close until 10 tonight; that's 11 hours from now."

    "But now we're not going to beat any of the lines;"

    "Mommy?"

    "We’re going to have to wait for everything."

    "Mommy?!"

    "And we've had to park in Dopey, DOPEY, the tram ride alone will take ten minutes, and that’s before the monorail ride to the main gates."

    "MOMMY?!?!?"

    ''WHAT Samantha?" Jennifer retorted much louder and sterner than she had meant to. Samantha stepped backwards, her eyes filling with tears just waiting to start flowing. "Oh honey I'm sorry, Mummy and Daddy are just trying to get everything sorted so we can go have some fun. What did you want?"

    "I can't find Pony and I need her" Samantha sniffled; the explanation being enough to set off the tears.

    "Oh dear God no." Jennifer thought to herself. Samantha had been given the pink plush My Little Pony for her second birthday and even now, a year later, Pony went everywhere with her. A lack of Pony would mean either hoping something in the shops here would appease her for the weekend, a tactic with mixed levels of success in the past, or a three hour round trip home and back to pick it up; and given that road works had caused them to be late already, three hours would be if they were lucky. This was not a good start to the weekend. “She must have had him when she got in the car,” she thought as she started to look around the back seat of the car where Samantha had been sitting. “She’s forgotten Pony,” Jennifer called out to Graham who had just closed the trunk and missed their daughter’s distress.

    “I’ve got it;” Graham called back, as he emerged from around the back of the car with the stroller and bags.

    “Thank god;” Jennifer muttered as she clambered back out of the back of the car, backside first.

    Seeing the tears on Samantha’s face, Graham realised what he had missed; “it’s ok Sammy,” he reached into the stroller and offered Pony to her, “you dropped Pony when you were asleep in the car so I put her in your stroller for you.”

    Samantha’s eyes lit up and as she saw her beloved toy in her daddy’s hand. She gratefully accepted it from him and gave it a big hug. Jennifer and Graham exchanged a relived glance at each other; both knew they were thinking the same thing; “what are we going to do if she ever does lose it.”

    “Here comes a tram,” Jennifer said as her eyes caught it coming, “come on, Mickey is waiting.”

    ***************************

    Having worked at the park for nearly six yeas, Jonathan Rose considered himself a veteran cast member. For almost all that time Jonathan had been a character portrayer; one of the most important and secretive roles in the park. Cast member behaviour was something the Disney company took very seriously and character portrayers had to be totally in character from the second they were visible until they were completely out of sight; keeping kayfabe was paramount. It was a difficult job; the costumes could be very heavy and were so hot inside, visibility ranged but would be generally poor, you had to make each person feel special but at the same time get through as many as possible, hold books and sign autographs while wearing huge mittens or having just three fingers, control the crowd, reward those who waited patiently while making those who push in wait, be careful not to trip over or hit any children with a limb while being pulled about like a rag doll; all while staying in character and without talking.

    Over the years he had seen many people not be able to handle the pressure, dream job turned nightmare; but Jonathan had thrived on it. All the hardships of the job melted away every time he saw a child or family smile or laugh. And he had loved to be able to play up all the different personalities, the playfulness of Pluto and Tigger, the tenderness of Mickey or Pooh; he even loved playing the villains, they weren't as mobbed and he could really interact with the guests whether it be by showing disgust at being asked to sign an autograph or by stealing their hats.

    A year ago Jonathan's role had taken a twist. The Pirates of the Caribbean film had been a major success and Disney wanted to have Jack Sparrow in the park. They made slight alterations to the attractions adding Captain Barbossa and changing the focus of the town pillaging to the search for Captain Jack; who would make appearances hiding and outsmarting his would be captors. But they also wanted Captain Jack as a walk around face character; Jonathan had auditioned and gotten the part.

    Essentially it was the same job with the same objectives; he did miss the variety of portraying a different role each day, but his body had never been so grateful. After only a week of wearing normal clothes, rather than a huge suit and head piece, Jonathan could feel the difference; he had grown so accustomed to the pain that he didn't feel it until it wasn't there. And of course there was the one major difference between a face and non-face character; he could talk. At first it had been quite hard getting used to the perk, he would find himself motioning and gesturing to guests the way he would have always had to before remembering he could use his voice, but once he mastered how to use both techniques together his performances had begun to shine; he just had to master the dialect Johnny Depp had given the character in the movies, best described as a drunken campness.

    He still had an hour before he was scheduled to make his first appearance of the day; Jonathan liked to arrive early in order to get into character while applying his extravagant make up. Most male face characters were princes so just needed to look handsome, some even jibed Jonathan for the extra work his role needed; "who cares," he would think to himself, "they were just an accessory to their respective princess; most guests couldn't even name them. I on the other hand am a main attraction."

    ***************************

    Cameron Fisher was a Hidden Mickey hunter; he wanted to be amongst the most famous for it too. "If Barrett can have a book out why can't I?" he would often say to friends who questioned his sanity.

    Living in California he had not been to Disney World in a long time; he didn't even really like it here. Like many Disneyland enthusiasts, Cameron considered the East coast park to be nothing more than a tourist trap; inferior in every way to the original. It didn't matter that Disney World had been the first park to have Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin or Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It didn't matter that Disney World had the water parks, Epcot, MGM and Animal Kingdom while Disneyland's second park was the biggest failure of all Disney parks. If didn't even matter to Cameron that the "Florida Project" was Walt's greatest dream. It was inferior and he would argue that to anyone willing. These arguments would usually end up with Cameron bringing up that Disneyland was Walt's park; Walt walked it, designed it, rode the attractions, made it perfect. The pro-Disneyland enthusiasts loved being able to play this card; while the “Florida Project”, more specifically EPCOT, was Walt’s greatest dream, he had passed away five years before the Magic Kingdom opened, sixteen years before EPCOT had opened, before construction on the property even got underway. Disneyland fans always claimed that you could feel Walt when walking around Disneyland, Disney World fans never had a comeback of equal stature to counter with.

    But his personal thoughts on the parks didn’t matter, he was here to hunt Hidden Mickeys and he would need to collect his research if he were to launch his planned book and website; this was, after all, the birth place of Hidden Mickeys, as much as Cameron hated to admit it.

    In his head he already had his first chapter written. He would start by giving a brief description of how Hidden Mickeys had originated, how imagineers, who had been banned from bringing Mickey into the EPCOT plans as a character, decided to sneak little images of him into the artistic designs. After all, who would notice that in one scene of Spaceship Earth there’s a tiny ink blot on a piece of paper on a desk in the shape of Mickey head and ears? Well, as it turns out, many people did and thus finding Hidden Mickeys became a popular game for guests at EPCOT; so much so that from then on they were added to all the new parks as well as integrated into both new and old attractions at the existing parks. He would then explain how this book would not only be the first guide to Hidden Mickeys that encompassed all the Disney parks world wide, it would also be the first to include a picture of every one of them.

    On his PDA he had prelisted every known Hidden Mickey in Walt Disney World, he had searched the internet for months to compile his list and worked out the best route in which to capture them all; almost 600 in total. And if he could find a few that were previously unrecorded, well, even better, after all they popped up and disappeared all the time; the newer or newly refurbished attractions could be a goldmine for discovering newly placed Mickeys.

    Cameron checked his camera was ready to go, this morning he was going to cover Tomorrowland. He checked his PDA; he was going to start over at the Indy Speedway and make his way back to the main hub. When there, there would be two Hidden Mickeys to photograph, the first just outside the attraction formed by shadows on the pavement; the second visible only from the grandstand viewing area where ears could be seen on the billboard.

    “Let the hunt begin;” Cameron said to himself as he headed down Main Street towards the north end of Tomorrowland.

    ***************************

    "Again?" Manny Jenkins spoke into his walkie talkie; "Didn't it need fixing yesterday?"

    "Affirmative, Handy Manny" came the response.

    "I'll be right there." Manny said with a depressed voice. "Why did they have to call that bloody kid's show repairman Manny?" he thought to himself, "it's going to be yeas before i shake that nickname."

    Manny made his was through the utilidors, heading for Stairway #13. The utilidors were a network of corridors where garbage disposal, cleaning and cast members could move between places in the park without being seen by the guests above. To most this would seem like an underground basement, in fact it was the real ground level of the park complete with roads, parking and restaurants; the ground that the guests walked on actually being the first and sometimes second floors of the park as Fantasyland was raised even higher than the rest of the park. Manny was incredibly grateful for them, moving around the park, navigating through the guests would be extremely slow compared to this way of getting from place to place. They had been put into the initial designs for this park after Walt himself had seen cast members wearing Adventureland uniforms walking through Tomorrowland to get to their posts at Disneyland. Walt was so angered that uniforms would spoil the place making effect that he devised this false underground system.

    Manny sighed, he had made this walk too often lately. He unclipped his walkie talkie and dialled one of his assistant’s numbers.

    "Yes boss?" came the reply.

    "Liberty Square again Phil, you'll never guess what's not working this morning."

    "Country Bears again?"

    "Yep."

    "What do they do to that thing every night?"

    "Beats me; but it's our job to fix it."

    "I'm under Tomorrowland, I'll be around ten minutes."

    "See you there. Out."

    This was becoming an almost daily problem. Seemed like every morning Manny would be called to take a look at the Country Bear Jamboree, he'd fix whatever the problem was, it would be fine all day; and then the next morning it would be broken again. "At least when we used to do Country Bear Christmas we could properly service the attraction at the same time as make the changes." Manny thought to himself; with the Christmas overlay of the attraction not happening in 2006 and again taken off the schedule for 2007, the attraction hadn’t had a proper servicing since Christmas 2005; and Manny was paying the consequences on a daily basis.

    Manny emerged from stairway #13 and made the short walk to the Country Bear Jamboree show building where outside a cast member was apologising to guests that the attraction was out of order. Manny hated seeing the disappointed look on people’s faces; it wasn’t a new show but it was one of the most popular attractions in the park; it just had too many aspects that could and did go wrong.





    Chapter Five

    Q was now sure that Q depriving her of her powers had to have something to do with her fascination with the castle. The three had walked up Main Street and as they had gotten nearer the detailing of the brickwork and stained glass windows had began to shine; it was just a building she knew, but if she were a queen or a princess, she wanted this as her castle. She felt herself in major conflict, she mocked and scolded herself for even thinking these thoughts, “you’ve gone mad!” she thought to herself, but she couldn’t help it, she was imagining and fantasising and thinking about how she could integrate a representation of this building into the continuum.

    q recognised the style of the buildings in the area the map had called Fantasyland. Q had often regaled q with the story of how he had embarrassed Picard by making him play the role of Robin Hood, the lead in a very old human tale, in one of his games. Like that tale, these buildings were set in medieval times; brick turrets, woodwork and colourful tent canopies surrounded the open areas. "Odd," he thought; "where do the flying elephants fit into the decor?" q never recalled Q mentioning flying elephants in his description of the timeframe; he was pretty sure that detail would have made it in.

    ''I'm going to kill Paris." Q muttered to himself as he looked out over the scene in front of him; children everywhere. If there was one thing that Q agreed with Picard about it was that children just aren’t tolerable; apart from his own of course. This wasn’t what Q had in mind. He looked down at the map he still held; “Look,” he said to Q and q still trying to sell excitement, “they have something called ‘It’s a Small World’; maybe the humans that built this place did know how insignificant their planet was.”

    Nothing.

    Q had been expected a droll laugh from Q and q, but neither were paying any attention to him. Q wasn’t even facing the same way as Q and q; she had her back to them and was just staring up into the air where the castle towered above them. She had a feint smile across her face and seemed to be completely oblivious to what was going on around; her eyes glistened as they reflected the sparkling accent of the castle turrets. q too had ignored him, but having shown q the Universe, Q recognised the look on his face; something had raised his intrigue. Q approached where q stood and followed his line of sight; registering his approach, q lifted his arm and pointed, “What race or species is that?”

    “Race or species?” Q thought, “humans didn’t make first contact with Vulcans until 2063, 56 years from now and this place will be long gone by then”. Q was slightly disappointed in his son’s lack of knowledge. However basic and mortal the humans were, they had been the race that saved the Universe and even though they had needed his help to do it they were worth a basic knowledge of. He was about to express his thoughts when he saw what q had been looking at. Standing in the middle of groups of humans, particularly the children, were various creatures that even Q didn’t recognise as being from any planet he had visited; and that was all of them. One of them was tall in stature with an elongated nose, big ears, wearing an orange shirt and yellow waistcoat topped off with a tiny green hat and huge white gloves; a very odd looking creature indeed. The second creature was blue head to toe and practically naked apart from a garland of flowers around his neck. He, at least Q presumed it was a male, had dark blue eyes and sharp looking teeth. q posed his question again and Q had no answer to give; a quick use of powers seemed required.

    "They, q," Q began like he had always known and the answer was obvious, "are Goofy and Stitch."

    "What planet are they from?"

    ''My boy, they are merely humans in costumes meant to represent characters from popular Disney made media. Apparently being here requires a level of playing along with the facade; a suspension of disbelief."

    q nodded in understanding. Q regained Q's attention and so pleased with his quip the first time he repeated, "Look, they have something called ‘It’s a Small World’; maybe the humans that built this place did know how insignificant their planet was.”

    Nothing.

    "Tough crowd;" Q thought.

    Chapter Six

    “Shut up!” Casey shrieked at her best friend Tiffani who had just asked her if she had a thing for Corey from their psychology class; both girls giggled.

    "I'm just repeating what Laura has been telling everyone;" Tiffani replied, "Besides, he is cute in a geeky kinda way."

    "Maybe, but you know I'm more interested in someone on the football team." Casey took her mobile phone from her pocket and started frantically pressing keys.

    "What are you doing?" Tiffani giggled.

    "I'm texting Laura; telling her to stop spreading rumours; and send." Casey said as she pressed the last digit; however, then she started typing again.

    "Now what are you doing?"

    "Texting everyone in my phonebook that Laura slept with Tom Jenkins"

    "From math class? Ewww!"

    Casey couldn't help but laugh both at what she had done and Tiffani's reaction; both girls stood still as they enjoyed the moment.

    For Casey and Tiffani, Disney World was their playground. They both lived in Celebration, an experimental town founded by Disney, where many of the parks employees and management lived; both girls’ parents came under the latter. Living practically on Disney property; having an annual pass to the parks was as normal to them as a video rental membership and they, and their friends, would pop in out at of the parks after school or at weekends as they pleased.

    Finally Tiffani broke the laughter; "So what do ya want to do? We've got an hour till we've gotta be at Space Mountain to meet the others."

    "I don't mind;" Casey replied, "just not Carousel of Progress, I don't need a nap."

    "Stitch?"

    "Yeah, fine; I haven't done Stitch in a couple of weeks." The girls took a right turn to cross the walkway that led to the controversial front avenue of Tomorrowland where both Stitch's Great Escape and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor are situated.

    "I miss Alien Encounter," Tiffani said as the girls walked under the huge Stitch sign into the building that used to house the scary attraction, "I know it's essentially the same thing but it was better before."

    "We all know that Tiff; you mention it like every time we walk past here."

    "It could be worse;" Tiffani said in defence, "my Mom still goes on about when it was Mission to Mars, Monsters Inc was Timekeeper and Buzz was Dreamflight."

    "My Dad's the same, he can't even look at Pooh's Playful Spot or Adventures without mentioning 20,000 Leagues and Mr Toad."

    Both girls laughed at their parents stuck in the past attitude to attraction replacement. To Disney fans there would always be very different attitudes on how the park should be grown. All fans want new attractions, and sometimes the success of a movie will demand a new attraction, but with the parks borders being quite specific, a new attraction often means the demise or major change of an old one; and every old attraction is somebody’s favourite from when they were kids. Some attractions had planned and announced closures like Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, which had been running for 27 years. The announced closing sparked national campaigns to “Save Mr Toad” and in it’s final days hundreds of fans protested outside the ride, begging for it to be spared; some even going as far as to exit the ride vehicle and hide inside the attraction, an act that became known as a “Toad In”. Other rides just closed overnight with no warning like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which was temporarily closed for maintenance, but never reopened. It was a debate that would always run and on which people would often sit on different sides of the fence depending on what attraction would be going away and what attraction it would be making room for.

    "So," Tiffani asked with a slightly shy bitten lip; "if you don't want Corey, can I have him?"

    Casey rolled her eyes; "he's all yours."

    ***************************

    Mike Ridgway stepped off the boat, a wide grin on his face. Having been turned away from the Haunted Mansion, Mike had decided to ride the new and improved Pirates of the Caribbean attraction; and was able to make the quick walk from Liberty Square down to Adventureland before the line hadn’t gotten too long.

    With the attraction having been reopened for over a year now, much of the buzz over its improvements had died down but to Mike it had been a wonderful first time seeing them. The Davey Jones ghost and Barbossa and Sparrow animatronics were all excellent and the enhanced sound system made the whole experience so much more encapsulating than it had before. Inwardly Mike wondered if there would be any way to get to Disneyland on the west coast any time soon; however good this new version of Pirates was, the Disneyland version would be so much better.

    He took a few pictures of the loading and unloading area before making his way through the caverns to the ride exit where a group of people were watching the new Pirate Tutorial show where Captain Jack Sparrow and a pirate stooge would lead the crowds through various pirate activities and of course a rousing rendition of Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me). Mike didn’t want to stray too far from the west side of the park so decided to watch the show, take a few pictures to post in his trip report, maybe ride the Jungle Cruise next as it was situated right besides Pirates before heading back to the Haunted Mansion and his date with the new bride.

    ***************************

    Jonathan was in full flow. It was his first show of the day and the first part of it was going through a scripted routine called the Pirate Tutorial. Jonathan really enjoyed this part, it wasn’t like being in a character costume show where the voices were pre-recorded and played through the speakers while the actor made the motions and danced; this was completely live and allowed the actors to mix things up a little depending on their audience and stray from the script to get a few extra laughs. The two of them had been doing the show together for about four months now and they were able to bounce of each other a lot during the shows confident in each others ability to go with the flow; he and Ray were quite a team. Jonathan’s character of Jack Sparrow meant that he had to come across with a drunken flamboyance whereas Ray’s generic pirate named Mac was much straighter in his portrayal; this allowed for them to play the classic straight man angle in their banter.

    The first show of the day was always the quiet one, most guests were getting in as many of their favourite attractions as possible while the park was not quite so full; but he had a decent audience and the fewer of them would mean he could connect with them more. Jonathan loved to be able to make guests walk away from the show thinking they got a special experience, that they themselves were special; it didn’t really matter that he would do the same thing for a dozen people each day, they didn’t know that. After the show portion of the appearance, he would sign autographs and pose for photos, and so often he would see those he had played to during the show at the front of the crowd and they would comment on how great the experience had been. To Jonathan this was the most pleasing part of his job, better than any applause he would receive.

    This was one of his favourite parts of the show, he would pick certain members of the audience, usually children, and show them how to sword fight using small wooden sword props. They would then battle Mac while he cheered them on and told them which body parts to be aiming for; everyone got a laugh out of it and Jonathan could really lay on the flamboyance waving his arms around with the sword while giving commentary to the audience.

    Following this they would lead the crowd in a sing-a-long version of Yo Ho, he and Ray taking a side of the audience each and seeing who’s newly initiated pirates could scream it loudest; and then it would be time for autographs and photos. They would be doing the show seven times today, once an hour, so they would only be getting twenty minutes rest in between shows for a quick snack, a drink and to reapply any make up that had smudged off in the heat. It was going to be an exhausting weekend but it would be a lot of fun.



    Chapter Seven

    Q’s opinion of humans pre World War III was dropping rapidly. While Q had berated Picard on their first meeting about how humans were savage creatures who destroyed themselves, the Eugenics War and WWIII pushed mankind forward massively on a technological basis. While the technologies had originally been researched and developed with warfare in mind, specifically to cause maximum damage, after the nuclear war had finished and the world started to rebuild it only took a little imagination for a crazy scientist to convert the technologies and create the first shuttle able to manage warp speed; and the rest was history.

    But with the war starting in 19 years, the technology Q had just witnessed was a far cry from that, let alone where it would be in the half a decade from now when the war ended.

    Despite the lack of reaction to Q’s quip, the three Q had made their way to the attraction called “It’s A Small World” where they were met with a horde of people. The building they entered was adorned with large cut out shapes to create a colourful city skyline on the back wall. Because of the way it was laid out, Q could see all the people lined up behind one another following a snake formation that went back and forth as it worked it’s way down from the level at which they entered to the bottom where boat like vehicles were emerging from a hole in the wall, stopping to offload their passengers, moving forward, being filled with more passengers from the front of the line and then disappearing through a hole on the opposite end of the wall.

    “Apparently we stand behind these people and make out way down to those boats;” Q said to Q and q.

    “Gee, that sounds like a lot of fun;” Q replied with a sarcastic voice, “is this where the excitement begins?”

    Q didn’t know how to answer that without risking further future revenge from Q so he stayed quiet. Thankfully for him though, q chose that moment to interject himself into the conversation.

    “Well there are a lot of people here;” he said, “they must know what this is and be wanting to experience it, it must be good.”

    And so they waited.

    For almost an hour.

    During the wait, Q, Q and q discussed the way humans would waste so much of their spare time waiting like this. For a Q, the hour, while boring, was nothing but a mere spec in time; and for a human an hour wasn’t very long either, but when you added all those hours together the total percentage of their short mortal lives the humans wasted like this was quite considerate. The three surmised that the experience must be pretty special in order to be worth the sacrifice of time in this manner.

    Q later kicked himself for not realising then that the number of humans in attendance or their willingness to stand in line wasting their lives should not have been used as a guide for the quality of the experience for which they were waiting.

    It hadn’t been an acknowledgement of the patheticness of mankind and their tiny planet as Q had surmised, it was a instead a showing of global unity and love; a joke if ever there were one. And the way it had been done, it were enough to make Q sick; if Q could get sick that was. Little mechanical dolls singing, dancing and spinning while dressed up in front of backgrounds supposed to represent the countries of the world, and this terribly annoying song that was supposedly being sung over and over and over; “no wonder this place was levelled during the war” Q thought. And to make matters worse, now it was over and the three of them were outside again, Q wouldn’t stop singing the wretched song.

    “Its a small world after all, its a small world after all, its a small world after all, its a small, small, world. It's a world of laughter, a world of tears, its a world of hopes…”

    Q had to end this. He didn’t know for sure whether Q had lost her mind or was just singing the song to annoy him, he suspected the latter, but it had to come to and end. Q’s first instinct was to just shut her up through use of power, but that would tip her off and who only knew the trouble he would be in then. So instead he decided to go the persuasive route; “Q darling,” he began in his smoothest voice, “as much as I love to hear your beautiful voice, as I am sure everyone else here does too, would you mind singing something a little less asinine?”

    Q cut off her singing and gave Q a look that confirmed his thoughts that she was doing it on purpose to annoy him. “Great”, he thought, “she’s going to pull that one out whenever she wants to annoy me.”

    q, however, didn’t seem anywhere near as put off as Q and was looking at the map. “Maybe I let him spend too long with Kathy,” Q thought, “Paris and Kim and rubbed off on him a little too much.

    “So what do we want to do next?” q said in what sounded like genuine interest.

    “I don’t care but I’m not doing one of those line things again any time soon, Q dragged us here to escape boredom not experience it as part of a crowd.” Q answered, with total indifference.

    “Well, that ride hasn’t got a line,” q said pointing to a canopy covered area not far from their current location; “apparently they are the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups.”

    “Excellent idea my boy!” Q exclaimed pretending to be thrilled and trying to get away with the situation he had put them in, “lead on.”


    Chapter Eight

    “This is my good friend Chief Namee, who runs the Cannibal Cafe. The last time I talked to Namee was at his cafe. I told him that I didn't like his brother very much. He told me 'Next time, have the salad’.”

    A few chuckles came from throughout the boat; the kids obviously not getting the pun.

    “And now, probably the most dangerous part of our journey; the return to civilization! I certainly hope you've enjoyed our cruise. However, if your in-laws are still with you, you've missed a golden opportunity. However, bring them back later tonight for our ‘in-law’ special; halfway for half fare, no questions asked.”

    “Make sure you have all personal belongings with you; cameras, purses, small children. Anything left on board will be thrown screaming to the crocodiles.”

    “It's very important that you wait to get off the boat until one of our dock crew is there to assist you. Just yesterday we had a lady fall in and none of them were around to laugh at her.”

    Skipper Chuck pulled the lever that would slow down the boat to a complete stop just as they approached the docking area.

    “Now, as you're leaving the boat, if you find your shoes rapidly filling with water, you've gotten out on the wrong side!”

    “Please be sure to tell your friends how much you enjoyed the Jungle Cruise; it helps keeps the lines down.”

    He made sure the boat was locked into place as the group of guests started to exit the ride vehicle. Still he kept the one liners flowing.

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, please watch your step, and please don't step on small children indiscriminately. Pick the one you want and make sure you get him!”

    He got a few extra laughs and claps from the guests as they waited their turn to exit.

    Finally the boat was almost empty, although all that really meant was starting it all again in a few minutes time. As a Jungle Cruise skipper he would narrate the ride 4 or 5 times an hour, several hours per day. To many it would be very repetitive, but the Jungle Cruise skippers took pride in their ability to change things up and make the experience different every time for both themselves and the guests. The basic story they told would obviously always be the same because of the set pieces, but after 50 years of operation, an entire back catalogue of one liners existed from which to choose from.

    Jungle Cruise was one of the opening attractions of Disney and had a long history and heritage; however, because of this it was also one of the most basic, outdated and false looking attractions as well. Compared to Disney’s own Animal Kingdom theme park just a mile or so away from here, Jungle Cruise was still in the stone age. Therefore with the ride being so out of date, it was up to the skippers to bring it to life, they made the difference between a guest laughing at the attraction and laughing because of the attraction; and the Jungle Cruise’s reputation as one of the main rides was testimony enough as to their impact.

    Everything about the Jungle Cruise was fake, the so called rivers they sailed through were actually only three feet deep and contained coloured water so the guests couldn’t see the bottom. Despite the skipper pretending to steer the boat throughout the ride, the boats were actually on a track and the only things the skipper actually controlled were speed and stopping. The smells and sounds were artificial and pumped in using various hidden speakers in the trees. All the animals were fake and mostly obviously so, powered by hydraulic systems from before audio animatronics were invented. And what he found funniest of all was, that at certain points on the route, the visitors were a mere hundred yards from Main Street, just the wall of trees and a small service road separating the deepest jungle to one of the busiest places in the park; and yet the guests in neither place could ever tell. It was so fake that his name wasn’t even Chuck and he wasn’t from Texas, it was Alvin and he was from Seattle; but he had forgotten his name badge this morning and as was custom between Jungle Cruise skippers, they would go down to costuming and just pick up an old name badge and pretend to be that person for the day; so today he was Chuck from Texas.

    Once fully empty, Alvin gave a salute to the two dock crew members as he moved the boat on towards the next dock where the next thirty people were waiting to board. The boat could handle a maximum of thirty nine guests at a time, but the park had to be very busy for them to push capacity that high; guests appreciated enough room to move their shoulders rather than be packed into the boats like sardines.

    As he slowed the boat down to a stop again, Alvin started to think what lines he would use this time around. He had his favourites, some he would use every time around the track, but he generally liked to use a variety of lines at other places, for his own sanity if nothing else. The boat stopped, guests started to board and it was time to start the spiel.

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, please slide all the way forward now. That's the only way we have of keeping the cushions clean!”

    A few initial laughs, always a good sign.

    “How many of you are on the Jungle Cruise for the first time? Good! So am I.”

    “Come all the way to the front, up by me. There's no truth to the rumour that you get a longer ride in back.”

    “Let's get one thing straight, if we start to sink, the captain will be going down with the boat. I'd like you to meet your new captain,” Alvin picked on the nearest guy to him, he was wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and a Yankees baseball cap, “What did you say your name was?”

    “Mike.” Mike Ridgway replied.

    “Your new captain Mike everybody”

    The guests that were already seated and situated gave the guest named Mike a small applause.

    “Look! Little kids! I love kids! A little mustard, a little barbecue sauce. Oh I'm just kidding, I don't like mustard all that much.”

    Everyone was in, and Alvin could see the boat behind them was almost ready to move forward having unloaded so he got their boat moving forward at a slow chugging along pace.

    “Hello and welcome to the world famous Jungle Cruise. My name is Skipper Chuck and I'll be your skipper, guide, captain, cruise director and dance instructor for the next five exciting days and six romantic nights.

    “Now, let's everyone turn around and wave good-bye to those people on the dock we've left behind. Come on folks; pretend like you're having a good time.

    The guests were doing as he asked, he had them, and for the next nine minutes they were his audience.

    ***************************

    The Robert’s family had made it into the park. It had taken a little while to get there, the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center had been reasonably fast because it didn’t have to stop at any of the other car parks, but they had had to wait a little while to board the monorail which itself took a little while because it stopped and waited at the Polynesian resort. But they were here now and as they walked onto Main Street all the stress of the car journey and subsequent Pony scare slipped away.

    As a family they tried to visit at least the parks twice a year, while dating Jennifer and Graham would drive down all the time for weekend getaways and even got married at Disney World in the wedding pavilion. It had been expensive but worth it, their wedding pictures in front of Cinderella’s Castle had come out beautifully; and while dancing at the wedding had been fun, the entire wedding party taking up an entire mine train on Thunder Mountain in their wedding attire had just been hysterical. Since Samantha had been born the visits had became more infrequent, the logistics of visiting the parks with a toddler were just so different to the carefree way a couple of twenty-somethings could do it. But while there were rides the couple could no longer do together, as one of them would have to sit with Samantha, other aspects of the parks were so much more enjoyable now when done with a child.

    It was one of those things that the family decided to do first. Graham had been right in the parking lot, the park would be open all day today and tomorrow, and missing out on one ride without a line wasn’t really the end of the world; especially as tomorrow would be different with them staying so close to the park. So instead of going straight for a ride, they headed down to Mickey’s Toowntown Fair, a small section of the park specifically designed for the younger guests. There was Goofy’s Barnstormer, a rollercoaster for children, Donald’s Boat, a water squirting play area, Mickey and Minnie’s houses and most importantly of all the Judges Tent. At the end of the Judges Tent walk through you got to meet and get your photo with the main Judge, Mickey Mouse; what better way could there be to start the holiday than with the icon himself.

    They waited in the very short line at the end of the walkthrough for their turn to go in. Samantha was oblivious as to what would be coming next, it being six months since her last visit she had completely forgotten; she also was far too young to question how comes it was that people were taken into different doors all to meet the same person. So when they were finally led into a room, Samantha’s eyes grew wide when in front of her stood Mickey Mouse. He went down onto one knee and opened his arms out wide and Samantha wasted no time running into them and embracing the mouse in a huge lingering hug; Pony dropped in the process which Jennifer wasted no time in picking up in case it was left behind.

    “Mickey Mouse” hadn’t been Samantha’s first words, but they came soon after; she would spend half the day at home watching and singing along to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse shows on Playhouse Disney. Seeing Samantha hug Mickey the way she did brought a tear of joy to Jennifer’s eyes; Disney was so important to her, she loved seeing that passion live in her daughters heart as well.

    Once Mickey and Samantha had unlocked from each other, the whole family got in on the act; Jennifer getting a hug and Graham a handshake and pat on the back. Out came the new autograph book, “you have to have Mickey on the front page,” Jennifer insisted, and next came a few family photos with both their own camera and the Disney Photo Pass system that had become so effective over the last few years.

    They left the tent with a smile on their faces. Jennifer had often told friends who questioned their love of Disney that meeting Mickey forced you to become a child again no matter how old you were or how grown up your real life problems were. She felt that way as she walked out of the tent, she had just hugged Mickey Mouse; life was good.

    Having gotten the holiday kicked off, they decided Fantasyland would be where they would spend the rest of the morning; most of Jennifer’s favourite rides from childhood were there and it was also the land where Samantha had the most fun; Graham was happy as long as his two girls were both content. A quick show of hands meant they would ride Dumbo first and then Peter Pan.



    Chapter Nine

    “I need to sit down now,” Q said as she held her own forehead.

    The Tea Cups had not been such a good idea. They weren’t anywhere near as mundane as Small World had been, instead they were the opposite; and the spinning had been to much for Q. Of course it probably didn’t help that q had absolutely loved the thrill of the ride and spun the middle disc which in turn spun their ride vehicle even more than the floor movement already would have.

    “Who knew that without your powers you would suffer from motion sickness in this way my dear.” Q said, trying to sound as sympathetic as he could.

    “Who knew?” she replied, “WHO KNEW?!” she repeated although the second time far louder and certainly with more anger; “Why would we need to know? Why would I ever be without my powers for it to become an issue?”

    Q knew he was going to get it now. She was right, the only reason she was without her powers was because of him, the continuum would never strip her as a punishment like they had him because she never rocked the boat in the same way, even when she was supporting him. Despite the tone of her voice, Q was feeling very weak and with Q and q supporting her on either side, the three entered a nearby restaurant so they could sit down. q left the two of them to get Q some water, Q thought this would be a good time to think.

    It occurred to Q that the main problem with this place was it’s simplicity. Looking at the map all these attractions sounded good but all they were going to be were basic mechanical shows and they were never going to impress. The others would be rides designed to give the human body a thorough shaking or force the feeling or fear through extremes of movement. “This just isn’t going to work;” Q thought to himself.

    But then out of nowhere he saw it and got an idea. On the wall there was a little statue of a small boy made out of wood; although he was fake he had been carved to appear real to the best of his makers ability. It made Q think of Data and his constant desire to be more human; more real. In actuality, being human would have been a huge step down for him, but it was what he was designed to be and so that was what he wanted to achieve.

    “What if these rides weren’t full of crappy imitations and representations, what if they were more real; I could easily explain to Q and q that the first ride was much older than the others, they would think the new rides are just that much better not knowing it had anything to do with me.”

    A smile crept across Q’s face as his idea grew in his mind and that it could both save the vacation and if it worked, save himself from Q later on. With a quick flash of light it was so; the Magic Kingdom was now more realistic.

    Continued......
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  2. #2

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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    double post
    CoHost of the Dedicated to DLP Podcast, part of the MiceChat MicePod Network
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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    Chapter Ten

    Mike Ridgway was in awe; everything had been perfect so far.

    He was in his doombuggy and was just reaching the top of what used to be called the Grand Staircase but was now being referred to as the Escher room; a 3D recreation of the famous picture where staircases led in all directions with no discernable bearing.

    He had managed to time things just right in the end; Pirates and a trip on the Jungle Cruise, with skipper Chuck, had been fun and he had returned to Liberty Square just as they were starting to let people onto the Haunted Mansion grounds. He kept his fast pass in his pocket deciding he wouldn't have to line up anyway, "May as well keep it and ride a second time;" he thought knowing that by the time he came out the line would be much longer.

    The stretching room looked fantastic, the wood redone, the paintings touched up and the Dorian Gray morphing picture completely redone using newer technology. And the new sound system was amazing; creaking sound effects added to the walls and Paul Frees’ original recording never sounded so crisp; now being played through sixty four speakers it floated around the room.

    Mike was the last of his stretching room group to board the doombuggies as he had lingered after the doors had opened in order to hear the gargoyles speak, most people didn't even realise this little bonus existed; and then he had taken his time walking through the newly decorated loading area. He wanted to have a doombuggy to himself, as he didn't want to risk sharing a vehicle with someone who might ruin the ride, so he made sure the last of his group had boarded before he approached the entry platform. He had actually managed to build a buffer of four buggys between himself and the last people to board; “great”, he thought, “I won’t even be able to hear them.”

    As he reached the top of the Escher room he was greeted by the new blinking eyes all around which as the light slowly came up just enough to see the details sunk into the pre-existing wallpaper that lined the Endless Hallway, which led into the conservatory and the Corridor of Doors. Mike was amazed, the details and improvements were there but they were so subtle and in keeping with the original ride that while they enhanced the experience immensely nothing looked out of place and the new elements didn’t make the old elements seem dated.

    “No wonder the net is going crazy over what they’ve done;” Mike thought, “this is how a refurb should be.”

    The next room was one that Mike had been really waiting for; the semi circular Séance Circle acted as the turning point of the ride where Madame Leota summons the ghosts and ghouls of the house to make themselves appear; until this point in the ride you never actually saw any apparitions. The effect used here had been in place in Disneyland for years and was the most demanded effect to be brought into the refurbished attraction by the fans online. No longer did the crystal ball, which contained Leota’s head, sit in the middle of the table; now it floated around the middle of the room sweeping up and down and from side to side, while the table, candlesticks and instruments around the room also floated and gently moved around it.

    Mike couldn’t help the huge grin across his face, he was thoroughly happy with everything he saw. However as he neared the end of the Séance Circle, the largest single area in the ride because of the way it loops around one big stage area, there was a very bright flash of light.

    “Bloody idiots using their flash on dark rides!” Mike thought; obviously the next group of people from the stretch room elevator were closer behind him than he thought.

    However, his annoyance at the flash was soon overshadowed as he entered the balcony overlooking the Grand Ballroom. He had heard that the Peppers Ghost effect had been enhanced using directional lighting but he wouldn't have believed the difference it made without seeing it with his own eyes. The ghosts enjoying the banquet below looked positively alive, their colours vibrant, their movement so smooth; they looked like they were actually moving creatures, not just reflected spinning mannequins.

    As he neared the end of the balcony his doombuggy turned; Mike knew what this meant; the attic was next and his date with Constance, the bloody bride.

    ***************************

    Philippe Picard had found it to be a pretty normal day so far. The sun was hot but not totally unbearable; there had been a constant flow of guests into the ride and a few minor breakdowns but nothing that had caused any problems.

    There was a flash of light, nothing blinding but there, he figured it must have been the sun reflecting off something metal someone was wearing that had caught him in the eyes. Philippe blinked which cleared his vision but as he looked around the panoramic view in front of him he saw something that could only be described as bizarre.

    From where he stood at the foot of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasyland was across the Rivers of America, the expanse of water which separated Frontierland and Liberty Square, and just a little further out of sight. Over the tree tops and buildings, which blocked the view so guests couldn't see one land while in another, he saw the silhouettes of the Dumbo elephants flying through the air. "They shouldn’t be that high," Philippe thought to himself; "they couldn’t be that high," he corrected himself. What's more, from his viewpoint they didn't appear to be attached to the cylindrical drum that drove the attraction. Philippe rubbed his eyes again thinking the flash of light must have been making him see things, but when he reopened them they were still there; “something is very wrong here;” he muttered under his breath.

    And as he said those words his ears were assaulted by the loudest crashing sound he had ever heard; his first thought was that a bomb had gone off. He frantically looked around in an attempt to identify the problem and when he turned around he saw a sight that made his knees almost give way under him. The tallest mountain that formed the Thunder Mesa mountain range, the final rollercoaster lift hill of the attraction, wasn’t there; all he could see was rubble, smoke and dust. That part of the ride was made to simulate a cave in, but it was just a few moving boulders on hydraulics accompanied by sound and lighting effects, it couldn’t actually happen; but what he saw in front of him contradicted that.

    ***************************

    Cameron had made good progress so far, he had acquired the two photographs at the Indy Speedway, he had then gotten another at the Astro Orbiter, another on the TTA and four in the final scene of the Carousel of Progress. His next step was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin for which he had just joined the line. Unlike the Indy Speedway and Astro Orbiter where Cameron could get his photo’s without actually partaking in the attraction, this one he would have to ride to get his prize. He also couldn’t Fast Pass the attraction because of the eight Hidden Mickeys on the ride, two appeared in the line itself.

    Cameron hated this attraction; to him it emphasised some of the worst Imagineering in the park, and worse yet, it had been introduced into his precious Disneyland as well some years later. They hadn’t even bothered to create a new ride system or track for the attraction, the vehicles were of a standard omnimover style and moved along the exact same track that had been in that building since If You Had Wings first opened in 1972. Anyone who had ridden the original ride enough times would still be able to recognise the rooms and tell you what used to be there. In fact, in Cameron’s opinion, all they had done when making this the Buzz Lightyear attraction was paint the entire place black, throw in some lighting effects, a few basic large models, some basic 2D painted plywood pieces with targets on them; and then create a buggy with laser guns that could tally the target hits using a pretty basic laser feedback technology. To Cameron, the only impressive part of the entire attraction was the Buzz Lightyear animatronic in the queue area which was, and continued to be, one of the most sophisticated animatronics ever designed with a backwards projected face and a stunning range of movement.

    Finally the line moved far enough for Cameron to capture his first Hidden Mickey. It was on a map of the local universe, disguised as a continent of a planet; a beautiful side profile of Mickeys entire head, nose, chin and ears protruding. Cameron took both close up and long shots of the Hidden Mickey and then made the appropriate amendments to his PDA file. But he didn’t have long to wait until he reached the line’s second Hidden Mickey, another planet this time made up of green spheres, 3 of them forming the head and ears. Again Cameron took the pictures and made the appropriate changes to his PDA file.

    Eventually Cameron made it to the ride vehicle boarding bay; he requested a vehicle to himself and got his camera ready; making the necessary adjustments to best capture the picture in the dark. He didn’t even bother reaching for his laser gun, he wasn’t going to play along. He turned his vehicle forty five degrees to the left, knowing that his first Hidden Mickey would be on his left hand side in the battery room; he decided not to turn his vehicle completely as he wanted to be able to see it coming.

    “There it is;” he thought as he saw it, his camera was already turned on and waiting, flash charged. He took the long shot while still at a little distance; then he zoomed straight in framing the Mickey shape in the middle of his screen and waiting for the right moment. As he reached his closest point to the design he pressed the button and got his picture.

    The next Hidden Mickey wouldn’t be until the Space Video room; Cameron sat back and went over the locations of the final two during the ride in his mind so he would be ready; in both cases they would be the planet seen in the earlier maps again, only this time in “real” form that he would be flying past. The remaining Hidden Mickeys would all be in the post show area. Cameron didn’t know what he hated about this ride more, it’s tackiness, cheapness, relation to computer games or just that despite all that, it was one of the most popular rides worldwide. He entered one of the lightening sequences between rooms where a strobe light was flashing; flash, flash, flash, FLASH.

    “Damn, that last one was bright;” Cameron thought to himself, he wasn’t even looking up but it got his attention.

    He felt his vehicle shake and he looked up, there was a monster, one of the ones from the ride with the target on his chest, on the front of his vehicle and it was climbing towards him, its mouth moving, arms waving, eyes blinking. It was still a 2D piece of wood but there was no doubt about it, it was animated in a way that he had never seen and couldn’t be possible; it was almost like it was alive, and it was attacking him.

    ***************************

    “Try it now” Manny called out to Phil who was in the control room just off the main show theatre. Manny was on the main stage and had finally made the adjustments he hoped would allow the show to be opened to the public. Today’s problem with the show mechanics had been quite serious, normally it was something far less complex; Manny was annoyed the attraction had been down for almost half the day.

    He saw the mechanics start to move, Phil having initiated the sequence from the other room. The curtain to the side of the main stage started to open to reveal Big Al, the largest and in this case the malfunctioning animatronic bear in the show. The soundtrack wasn’t playing, but that didn’t stop Manny from singing along as the bear twanged his guitar string and moved his head and lips.

    “There was…” Many sung; “blood on the saddle. And Blood all around. And a great, big puddle of blood on the ground.”

    The curtains shut and Manny smiled; Big Al was fixed.

    “We’re good,” Manny called out to Phil; “run the finale with sound just to make sure.”

    Manny moved just off the stage as he saw all the mechanisms kick in that would bring all the bears from the show onto the stage at the same time. The music hit and the bears all started moving as programmed running through the routine without issue. “Fixed for another day” Manny muttered to himself.

    “Everything look ok from in there?” He called out; knowing Phil would be watching all the monitors himself as well as checking the various readouts.

    “Yep, we’re ok in here boss.”

    Many turned to where Big Al was situated, he wanted to make sure that animatronic made it through to the end without getting stuck in a movement loop; the problem he hoped to have fixed. Suddenly there was a bright flash of light. Manny blinked but recovered quickly, concerned that there had been a spark of some sort close to his face. He looked around, no bright lights, no fires; then the thought hit him; “no music”.

    “What was that?” he called out.

    “Don’t know boss, bright light got me right in the eyes.”

    For the first time since the flash of light, Manny’s eyes focused on the bears in detail. They weren’t moving in their usual manner, they weren’t even standing normally and they had all dropped their instruments. Their eyes looked wider, their mouths looked to be snarling; “do I hear growling?” he thought to himself.

    The thought, or at least any reaction to it, came too late.

    Phil was still blinking to clear his eyes of the after effects of the flash of light. He looked at the monitors in front of him; and gasped. He had looked just in time to see Big Al, jump from his podium directly for Manny, swiping his paws at the same time. Henry wasn’t far behind him and as Phil watches in horror, all of the bears made their way down from the stage; some attacking Manny, some ripping at the chairs and the set pieces. Phil thought he was going to be sick, he saw the Sun Bonnet Trio all grab one of Manny’s limbs and start pulling in different directions; fighting over his body.

    Finally a scream escaped his body and as soon as it did, he knew he had made a mistake. Wendell and Earnest took notice of the sound and as Phil could see from the monitors were heading towards the room that he was in. Phil panicked, he looked at the door that separated the control room he occupied and the main theatre; “it’s still open!” he realised. He rushed over to it, he could see the bears coming towards it and they sped up, they must have seen him. He slammed the door shut and flipped the locking mechanism. He then bolted for the emergency exit at the other side of the room that would lead directly to the outside of the building. He smashed into the emergency release bar, the door flung open. Phil ran and ran and ran not noticing that the door hadn’t shut behind him.

    ***************************

    “We’re in the front!” Tiffani boasted to the others in their group as they waited by the gate for their rocket to arrive.

    The pair of girls, having experienced Stitch’s Great Escape, had met up with their group of friends outside Space Mountain and after getting drinks were now ready to travel through the cosmos.

    There were nine of them in total; an eclectic mix of backgrounds and personalities brought together by a shared love of Disney. Four of them lived in Celebration and went to the same school, while the other five had been originally brought into the group as friends of one of them; but they soon become part of the gang.

    Tomorrow would be Shyla's birthday, so, as was tradition in their little group, today they would do all her favourite rides; starting with this one.Standing with Tiffani were Casey and the birthday girl Shayla. In the back half of the rocket would be Robby, Erica and Scott; Jared, Kisara and Jenai would follow in the next rocket.

    The empty rocket pulled up in front of them and the six of them all took their seats.

    "You know they've finally scheduled the mountain for refurbishment next year?" Casey said from the middle seat.

    "Really?" Came the reply from Tiffani behind her.

    "Yep, they've already got the closed signs backstage; April to December next year."

    "Nine months!?" Shayla cut in from the front; "they're closing the mountain for most the year."

    "That's gotta be one hell of a refurb to take that long." theorised Casey.

    "Maybe we're gonna get the fast launch like they have in Paris;" suggested Tiffani, "that would be so much better than the slow lift hill."

    "That would be very cool;" agreed Shayla "but seriously; nine months?"

    With an air pressure noise the rocket started to trundle forwards to where it would turn and leave the lit waiting area and be plunged into darkness.

    "Happy Birthday Shayla!" called either Robby or Scott from the back rocket; she couldn't be sure.

    "Thank you!" she shouted back.

    The rocket pulled into launch tunnel where it came to a standstill; the anticipation of the take off. The light show began; rows of lights flashing faster and faster to simulate accumulated speed. One of the flashes seemed especially bright but was lost in the strobe effect.

    A loud countdown began;

    "TEN"

    "NINE"

    "When did they put in a countdown?" Shyla asked.

    "EIGHT"

    "First time I've seen it." Casey replied.

    "SEVEN"

    "Maybe they've started testing ideas already." Tiffani proposed.

    "SIX"

    ***************************

    Jonathan Rose was just finishing taking photos with his second audience of the day. If had been a large audience and so taking pictures and signing autographs was taking a long time.

    "This is going to be a short break;" Jonathan thought, but he didn't really mind; he didn't usually try and eat a meal until after the third show.

    The last family approached Jonathan, and Ray, as he often would when it was larger groups, spoke up.

    "Captain," he said in his best pirate voice, "would you be liking me to take a group photo of yew new crew?"

    "Grand idea Mac," Jonathan replied, "relieve that man of his camera and throw him over here with the rest of his lot."

    The family members laughed as Mac threatened their father until he handed over the camera. Mac readied himself as the family posed with Captain Jack Sparrow.

    "Say dabloom;" Ray Called out.

    "DABLOOM!" they all shouted.

    Flash.

    Jonathan blinked out of instinct; for broad daylight that camera had an extremely powerful flash.

    The family said their goodbyes and Jonathan and Ray wished then on their way and said goodbye to the crowd that still remained just to watch; they had come up with various routines over the months to end the show.

    But, just as they were about to nip down the alley that would take them backstage, a huge bellowing voice came from the exit to the show building accompanied by interest from those who could see the source.

    "It's Captain Jack Sparrow we're after, and a fortune in gold!" said the voice.

    Jonathan and Ray both turned towards the voice and were quite stunned at what they saw. Walking out of the building came the best look a like Captain Barbossa they had ever seen, it could have been Geoffrey Rush himself and he sounded perfect too. Surrounding him were numerous pirates who all looked exactly like those from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. These were either a group of very keen fans who had gone to great expense or they had been hired as face characters and no-one had told them.

    “Captain,” Ray said keeping in character, “did you know anything about th..”

    A huge crashing noise came from the direction of Frontierland. The careful placing of buildings and trees meant that they couldn’t see what had happened, but a noise that loud couldn’t be good. The pair turned back towards Captain Barbossa and his apparent crew, as they approached them and Jonathan decided in light of the noise they should break character; if something had happened their main concern would be crowd control and safety.

    “Are you guests or cast members?” Jonathan asked as he approached.

    "Strike yer colours, yeh bloomin' cockroaches! Surrender Jack Sparrow." Captain Barbossa replied, again sounding exactly like the recording used for the ride animatronic of the same character.

    “This is no time to play about;” Ray interjected, “something’s happened in Frontierland and we need…”

    For the second time in short succession Ray was cut off mid sentence. This time, however, it wasn’t because of a large explosion, as it had been last time; this time was because he was suddenly aware of the sword penetrating his chest and the life draining from his body.

    ***************************

    Dumbo had been great fun; it always was. To visitors without children an up to two hour wait time for an attraction so basic would often sound like madness; but parents with children knew why it was worth the wait.

    As it was, they only waited in line for forty five minutes. Jennifer and Samantha had ridden or Dumbo wearing a blue hat and Graham rode in front. They had found out a long time ago that to get the best pictures on the ride the person with the camera should go in the carriage in front, fly a little bit higher than the intended target and lean around; they came out a lot better than any pictures from the ground ever did. Graham loved taking these pictures, Jennifer and Samantha both looked so happy as they rode together, Jennifer with her arms around Samantha; both with big grins on their faces.

    Before riding Dumbo, Graham had picked up the Peter Pan fast passes so the three of them were currently in the special line heading for their boat. Peter Pan was one of their favourite rides as a family; it would be rode several times during the weekend. Having been operational since the park opened in 1971, it was a ride that Jennifer remembered loving as a child and so even though it was technically very basic and lacked excitement for adults, it was a ride that she cherished; even more so now that she could see the expression on Samantha’s face as they made their way through scenes from the famous story.

    “Who do you want to ride in the front with you Sammy?” Graham asked looking down at her.

    “Pony;” came the reply

    Her parents laughed at the answer; Pony was the obvious choice of course, but the way she had said it had been so cute they couldn’t help but find it adorable.

    “Daddy or Momma?” Jennifer asked.

    “Err, Momma!” she answered.

    “You’re up;” Graham said to Jennifer as they got in the right places to enter the boat. It didn’t bother either of them who she chose; there would be plenty of opportunities for both of them throughout the weekend to sit with her. They got into their boat, they got a pirate one, Graham taking the bags into the spare space at the back of the boat; Jennifer and Samantha getting comfortable in the front. With a small lurch the boat moved off, the vehicle running along a track above them attached by the mast so that the scenes could surround the vehicle below to give the illusion of flying above.

    The first room was Wendy and the boy’s bedroom, a sprinkle of pixie dust and they sailed straight out the window and into the night sky.

    “Nana!” Samantha called out pointing to the animatronic of the barking dog as they flew above her.

    From there they flew over London, following the Thames as they circled around Big Ben and passed over Tower Bridge before flying into the stars and past the moon. They entered the next room of the attraction, through a hole in the top half of a wall made to look like flying through stars and so you could no longer see the London cityscape behind you, and in the distance was Neverland up to which they flew.

    “Fire Mr Smee!” rang out, coming from the pirate ship off the shores of Neverland, the cannon lit up and a booming noise rang out.

    “Fire Mr Smee!” came the shout again, again followed by the light and the noise

    “They always have had that loop running too fast;” Jennifer thought to herself.

    “Fire Mr Smee!” a third time rang out only this time as the boom noise was accompanied by a stunningly bright flash.

    Samantha screamed as the light caught her in the eyes. She brought her hands up to her face to shield her eyes. As she did so she realised what she had done but by then it was too late.

    “Pony!” she cried out.

    ***************************

    Alvin, today known a Skipper Chuck, had just started another cycle of the ride on the Amazon Annie. His array of passengers seemed quite diverse, a few families, a few teenagers and a few middle aged couples; from the look of it, maybe thirty in total. He directed the speed of the boat while he went through his spiel, he was getting a good few laughs at even his most cheesiest of lines and was enjoying himself seeing just how cheesy he could get.

    “We've now turned down the Nile river, the longest river in all of Orlando. That's right; a whole 200 feet;” a few laughs. “and if you don't believe that, you must be in denial.”

    A few more laughs at the play on words.

    “On the left bank there,” he said, pointing to the bank; “it's a huge bull elephant. The large sloping forehead and enormous ears mark the African bull, the second most feared animal in the jungle;” Alvin waited to see people nodding as if they were learning, “and on the other bank, THE most feared animal in the jungle; his mother-in-law.”

    A few claps; Alvin was beginning to like this group of guests even more. He pushed the lever to speed the boat up to almost it’s maximum speed, a whopping two miles per hour; turning the wheel when he knew the boat would change course around the next bend. Remembering to turn the wheel was actually the hardest part of operating the vehicle as it wasn’t necessary; it was pure illusion with no actual objective.

    As they turned the corner the animals on the banks came into view, Alvin continued his witty commentary as he pointed to the herd of zebras.

    “How do you tell the difference between the male and female Zebras? The males have black and white stripes and the females have white and black stripes.”

    Again there were a few chuckles from around the front of the boat. As the boat continued on to the end of the scene, Alvin pointed to the pack of lions who had surrounded their zebra prey on the rocks.

    “Ohhh, don't worry kids. Those lions are only protecting that sleeping Zebra. Look! It's Simba and Nala from The Lion King!”

    “Everybody; can you feel the love tonight…” As per usual, no one sang along, but there was a good laugh reaction.

    Again the boat turned, this time to the right, where they were greeted by three safari explorers climbing up a tree to escape a chasing rhino whose tusk was mere inches from the bottom explorer’s backside.

    “Hey I know that guy on the bottom, his name’s Juan. And it looks like that rhino is going to get a hole in Juan”

    “Of course, it could be worse for those guys; they could be the Zebra”

    He hit the speed a little, giving the boat enough power to seem like they were running from the animals and also to get around the next corner.

    “We are now turning onto a pool of dangerous hippos, so please, sit still and don't rock the boat. These huge creatures are quite curious and could easily upset our boat. So please, don't do anything that might attract them!”

    A flash of light caught Alvin in the eyes causing him to blink. He hated it when that happened; the sun would come through he trees at just the right angle, bounce off the water and if everything lined up perfectly would catch you right in the eyes with an almost blinding light. He took a second to recover and get a proper look in front of him at which point he realised the boat wasn’t in the usual position for this part of the river. “Odd;” he thought. He turned the wheel, more out of habit than anything else because the boat should be turning, and as soon as he did it started turning.



    Chapter Eleven

    Philippe grabbed for his radio. “Control, this is Philippe Picard at Big Thunder Mountain, we’ve got a serious problem, the mountain has caved in. I repeat the mountain has caved in.”

    Philippe didn’t believe the words he was saying himself, he questioned if those at the control station would believe them before looking at the security camera and seeing it for themselves. However his attention was taken when he saw and heard the train whiz past travelling on one of the lower parts of the track; the final high speed section before the end of the ride.

    “Mon Dieu! Ca marche toujours!” He said aloud to no-one; reverting back to his native tongue. All around people were starting to scream and point as they registered the same thing he had. Those who had just passed him to enter the line came running back out again.

    He brought his radio to his mouth again. “The train is still running!” he shouted.

    “We can’t stop it!” came the reply, “It’s not responding to the emergency breaks, it came through here and made it over the first lift hill by momentum.”

    “What do we do?” Philippe asked in a frantic voice

    “There’s nothing we can do, the lift hills are deactivated; we just have to hope that gravity takes its toll and that the train will roll backwards and get stuck in the dip when it can’t make it up the second hill.”

    “Did you see the speed the train is going, we can’t risk it making it over the second hill, if it does then it will crash on the third.”

    “What can we do?”

    Philippe didn’t have the time to answer, it would only be a matter of a couple of minutes until it was too late. He ran to the supply closet located close by and pulled out the ropes used when further crowd control line forming was required, they were made from a thick rope and had hooks on the ends; they would have to do. Slinging them over his shoulder he quickly made his way through the access tunnels that are unseen by the guests and as fast as he could ran up the stairway that led to the bottom of the second lift hill. The years in the vineyard were paying off now as Philippe was amazingly fit from working the fields and with sheer determination was able to run up the stairs at a good pace.

    As soon as he was in the open he could see how close the train was, it was thirty seconds at most from starting to climb the hill and definitely travelling faster than the 36mph it was designed to. The hill itself was quite steep and with the winch turned off there was a chance that the train wouldn’t make the climb, but it was too much to risk. He thought himself lucky that it was this lift where he could make his stand, the first and third lifts were indoors and didn’t have step access either side of the track; this one, the only outdoor lift, did.

    Philippe pulled the first rope from his shoulder and slung it over the railing on the far side of the track, he pulled it tight so the hook grasped around the hand railing alongside the stairs and then fastened the hook around the near side railing keeping the rope as tight as he could in a hurry. He then climbed a few steps and repeated the process, he only had five ropes and he knew he would need to intersperse them throughout the hill.

    He had managed to get four ropes set up in such a manner before the train reached the hill; he knew he should get the fifth done, but he couldn’t take his eyes of the train that was heading straight for him.

    ***************************

    "THREE"

    "This is really gonna feel like a disappointment when we only creep up the hill." Casey called out; the girls all laughing at the comment.

    "TWO"

    "Here we go, two miles per hour!" Tiffani quipped.

    "ONE"

    The girls all jumped as far as their harnesses would let them as a huge booming noise coupled with intense heat come from the back of the rocket.

    "Ignition sequence activated." came over the speaker; barely audible over the noise.

    "What's going on?" Shayla cried out to the others but her voice was completely drowned out.

    The rocket started to move only it didn't trundle up the lift hill as it had done for the last thirty two years; it stated to move, faster and faster, accelerating continuously. The girls were thrust back into their seats, the G-forces much higher than any previous ride; their hands gripping the arm rests out of fear.

    Casey tried to scream but she couldn't open her mouth; the pressure on her face unbearable. She knew the props on hill like the back of her hand, the right hand turn into the first dip would be approaching; "just a little further," she thought.

    Only the rocket didn't slow and turn; instead when the tracks banked right, it dislodged from them and kept its angle of accent. All six passengers were terrified, none could even move.

    Like a bullet through paper, the rocket tore through the infamous white cone shaped roof of Space Mountain leaving Tomorrowland, the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida, North America, the planet Earth behind it. It danced through space, around asteroid belts, past nebulae and super novas. It travelled faster and father than any human built rocket ever had; speeding past distant worlds, through distant galaxies.

    It would have been quite amazing for them had the passengers’ heads not exploded during takeoff.

    ***************************

    The monster got closer and closer; Cameron leaned back as far as he could, trying to keep as much distance between it and himself as possible. He was about to scream when a laser beam ripped through the monster causing it to explode on contact; it shattered into pieces and into dust. He looked to his left where he saw two teenage boys in the vehicle behind him on the track, one of them still poised from firing; a look on his face that showed the same level of disbelief that Cameron himself was feeling.

    A quick scan around the room confirmed a chilling thought; "it's all of them."

    And indeed it was; what seemed like tens and tens of these wooden monsters were stating to attack the vehicles. To make matters worse the ride was made to be a 360 degree shooting galley; now it meant they were all being attacked from every angle, including above.

    Cameron grabbed both the guns on the front of his vehicle and started shooting at anything that moved. There were crablike monsters, snakelike monsters, ones with 3 heads, some crawled, some flew; thankfully they all disintegrated with a direct hit from the laser blasters.

    He returned the favour to the teenagers in the vehicle behind, a monster had latched onto the back of their vehicle without them knowing, it had been about to swipe at them when Cameron saw it; he fired.

    Lights continued to flash all around the room as the battle raged on. The other guests in the vehicles around Cameron had realised the same as he had and were shooting at the oncoming creatures. Shooting at any of the static objects for points had become a moot point; most people were shooting purely for survival. Cameron never actually saw a monster make contact with any of the passengers, there had been some close ones but they were all picked off before managing to strike; he was glad for small mercies.

    His vehicle went though the archway and into the next room. Cameron checked the sides and back of his vehicle; he didn't want any unexpected hitchhikers. In front of him was Zurg, manipulating the controls of his spaceship; but while Zurg himself was rather terrifying the passengers seemed in little danger from him and they rode past. Some tried to shoot him but it was of no affect, the lasers unable to pierce the hull of his ship.

    Again, the vehicle went though an archway and into the Space Room tunnel that would lead to the final scenes of the ride. Cameron took a moment in the complete darkness to calm his nerves and try to rationalise what had just happened. Suddenly what was supposed to be a video projection of a space fight above him started, only there was no way that this was any ordinary video. It had depth and a natural look, and what’s more, Cameron could feel the heat every time there was an explosion; what they were witnessing seems as real as other cars on a road just in front of him. He saw the Hidden Mickey planet fly past him, he didn’t even care. With a final explosion and a sudden impact of heat on his face, Cameron watched as Zurg’s ship was hit and spiralled out of control just as the ride vehicle was about to exit the tunnel into the room ahead; he grabbed both guns ready for whatever was next.

    ***************************

    Jonathan’s eyes widened as he watched Ray fall to the ground after Captain Barbossa had run him through with his sword and removed it. It had happened in seconds, nothing he could do. The sword dripped with blood as the Captain lifted the sword to Jonathan’s face.

    “Put up yer white flag ye scurvy scum.”

    Jonathan did the only thing he could think of; it had worked for Captain Jack Sparrow in the movies; it was worth a shot now with nothing else coming to mind.

    “Look over there!” he shouted and pointed to nothing in particular behind where Barbossa stood.

    It worked; all the pirates, not the brightest bunch, turned around to look. As soon as they did Jonathan ran as fast as he could away from the ride which formed a dead end and towards the main pathways that led to the rest of the park. A look behind alerted him to the fact he was being chased; a knife flying past his head and embedding itself into a tree only served to clarify that assumption.

    Jonathan knew he couldn’t run into the main sections of the park, it would be too dangerous for the guests if these Pirates, whoever they are, kept throwing knives. They had probably killed Ray, the bastards, but it had been him they wanted; well, Captain Jack Sparrow anyway. “What is going on?” Jonathan thought as he ran, “the explosion we heard, and now this? It’s like they’re mimicking the story of the ride, plundering a settlement to get to Sparrow; or me".

    “Where do I go?” Jonathan panicked, his determination for self preservation battling his need not to put others in danger by trying to get lost in a crowd.

    Thankfully between the explosion and what had happened to Ray, most guests had either run away or taken shelter inside buildings, and those who hadn’t seen it themselves got the message pretty quickly and followed suit. Jonathan hoped no-one would try and get in the pirate’s way lest they suffer the same fate as his colleague. By the time Jonathan had escaped, even though it had only been maybe thirty seconds, the area of Adventureland had almost emptied out.

    Then it came to him, the parade route starts from a gate between Adventureland and Frontierland. “The Ultildoors;” he said to himself, “they wont be able to follow me down there.”

    Jonathan looked over his shoulder; he had a decent lead but not more than a few seconds. The entrance to the utilidors was not far away; his hand scrambled in the hidden pocket inside his elaborate costume for his staff identity card and as he approached the entrance he pulled it out, swiped it through the scanner on the wall and waited for the light to shine green to grant him access.

    As he opened the door he glanced at the oncoming pirates, they were heading for him and were not far away, they would know exactly where he went. He ducked inside, pulled and held the door to until he was sure the magnetic locks had resealed. Not long after he felt the door lock into place, he heard the first bangs on the outside and the voices of the pirates as they tried to gain access but could not.

    Jonathan allowed himself the shortest of seconds to regain his breath and composure; he was holding himself together but barely. It had been a risk using the entrance to the utilidor, if his pursuers were cast members, not that he believed they could be, they would be able to follow him and he would have lost his distance advantage. Satisfied that they wouldn’t be following him, he headed down the stairs to the ground level of the park as quickly as he could, his legs tired from the run, trembling in fear. At the bottom he was able to use one of the wall telecom units in order to call for help; just maybe Ray could be saved, Jonathan wasn’t able to clarify one way or the other before having to escape. He pressed the intercom button.

    “This is Jonathan Rose to anyone who can hear me. I’ve heard an explosion coming from Frontierland and have been attacked by men dressed to appear like the characters from Pirates of the Caribbean. They have already attacked one cast member who I believe possibly to have been killed outside the attraction and are currently located at the entrance to the utilidors between Adventureland and Frontierland. Help me someone please.”

    “This is control;” came a frantic reply, “we’ve got all hell breaking loose; we will get a medical team to Adventureland as soon as possible but we have incidents all over the park and **** happening that cannot be real. If you can help the cast member in any way, please do so.”

    The connection went dead.

    “What is happening?” Jonathan thought to himself, the utilidors were deserted, usually you would be able to see or hear at least one other person even in the most remote areas. “I need to get to Ray,” he said to himself, “if there’s to be any chance for him, I have to get to him.”

    ***************************

    Recovering from the flash themselves, Jennifer and Graham both turned towards Samantha as soon as they heard her cry of distress. They immediately saw her pointing towards her pony toy which dangled off the front of the boat, only being held in place by its legs straddling the very tip of the décor. Jennifer made a move towards retrieving it but it was too late, as the boat jerked forward and around the corner the pony fell off and headed for the floor below.

    “Great!” Jennifer thought to herself expecting to see the Pony bounce off the mermaid lagoon floor 5 feet below any second; “we’ll have to ask a cast member to retrieve it once we get out the ride.”

    But it didn’t bounce, it kept dropping and dropping, getting smaller and smaller the further it fell. Both Jennifer and Graham watched in confusion as it continued to drop and then as if to enforce the impossible sight they were seeing, the mermaids on the rocks seeing the falling pony dived into the water and swam away just before the pony finally hit the water with a splash.

    “Did you just see what I saw?” Graham said in disbelief.

    “If you saw what I saw then we’ve spent too much time in the sun this morning.”

    “Pony fell in the water!” Samantha screamed, confirming what both her parents had thought they’d seen but neither wanted to say.

    The boat continued to fly around the mermaid lagoon and onto the Indian village, where again, the parents were left stunned. The Indians, Tiger Lilly included, were not just posed or making basic movements; instead they were dancing around the camp fire with full movement, their fire burning bright, sending smoke into the air, and singing.

    The boat lurched around another corner and the family found themselves flying through Captain Hook’s boat, Wendy and the boys fighting the captors while on the mainsail Peter Pan and Captain Hook duelled in a sword fight. Pan and Hook were going at it tooth and nail, and as the Roberts’ vehicle sailed underneath there was a sudden jolt as extra weight landed on the back.

    Peter Pan had jumped off the mainsail to avoid a swipe of Hook’s sword landing directly on the back of the vehicle. Hook followed him down plunging his sword as he dived at his nemesis; but Peter moved, deflecting the sword from his body using his own knife. The deflected sword pinged from the contact, only barely missing Graham, who had turned as the boat jolted from the weight hitting it from above. Samantha and Jennifer both screamed as they saw Hook’s sword plunge past Graham in the back of the boat and into the family’s travel bag situated next to him. The bag ripped open from the attack, spilling nappies and baby changing supplies everywhere. Hook swiped at Peter again, this time Peter ducking and letting the sword whiz over his head; and again only for Peter to jump the attack. As Peter landed the boat tipped backwards a little the weight becoming too much for it to carry; the girls screamed again, Jennifer holding Samantha tight.

    Graham had an idea, he grabbed his camera from around his neck and turned it on giving it a second to power up. He waited for Peter to have his back to him so he would be able to get a direct look at Hook’s face.

    “Hook!” Graham shouted as he lifted his camera. Hook redirected his glare from Peter to Graham just behind him.

    Flash.

    Hooked reeled backwards from the light bulb going off in his face, Peter saw his opportunity and sent Hook plunging from the boat falling into the sea below. Peter turned around and gave the family a smile as he jumped off the boat and onto Hook’s ship just before the family’s vehicles turned the last corner of the room and sailed into the next.

    Graham turned to his family; Samantha had tears on her face but she wasn’t crying, she just seemed a little startled, Jennifer was more concerned for Samantha than herself who she still held tight; none of them had a clue what or how they had just witnessed what they were all sure they had just witnessed.

    “Are you ok?” Graham asked. Jennifer just nodded as she kissed their daughter on the forehead and whispered words of encouragement to her.

    The boat flew into the final room where they were greeted by the sight of Peter, Wendy and the boys standing on Captain Hook’s ship victorious; Peter even shouted his thanks to Graham for helping him to defeat Hook. The family were in too much shock for the gratitude to mean anything. As they turned around the corner of the ship Graham had the sudden thought of what was next.

    “Jenny, cover Sammy’s eyes;” he said in a careful whisper. Jennifer didn’t question why, she gently turned Samantha’s head into her chest and held her tight effectively blocking her view in the cuddle.

    Graham’s thoughts had been correct. The end of the ride was supposed to be a comical moment with Captain Hook saving himself from Tick-Tock the crocodile by having a foot on either jaw prying them open and calling for Smee to help him. The sight that greeted the boat as they passed overhead wasn’t so comical; some of Hook was left, an arm, some torso; but the crocodile had taken care of most of the body and enjoying every bite.

    ***************************
    Alvin had killed the speed of the boat as soon as he realised it was off the track, the boat drifted a little, situated between the last scene and the next although out of sight of both. He had explained to the guests he was having a slight technical difficulty and they seemed to be ok; thankfully they were nicely shaded by the trees so the heat wasn’t too bad. Alvin gave the boat a little speed and tested the steering; amazingly it seemed to work, it shouldn’t but did.

    As he looked up, past the end of his own boat he saw the next boat approaching; he decided it would be best to wait for it to approach and see if the other skipper had any advice; worst case scenario the other skipper may have an idea what to do, Alvin had tried to contact control on the walkie talkies and gotten no reply.

    The other boat slowed as it neared, it didn’t take long for Alvin to notice it too wasn’t on the usual path; “two boats come off the track?” he thought to himself; surely that can’t be. The other boat came right up close to Alvin’s boat and the two skippers leaned close to communicate without everyone hearing. “I’m off the track and not getting any response from control.”

    “Me too;” Skipper Bob replied, “I got a blinding reflection and then realised I was off the track but the boat seems to be steering for real so I thought it best to just continue and get back to the docks; haven’t been telling as many jokes though.”

    “You got a blinding reflection too? So did I just before I realised the same thing.”

    “Really? That’s a little freaky.”

    “Did you try and contact control?”

    “Yep, nada; something is definitely not right here. Are they upgrading the scenes at all?”

    “Not that I know of; why?”

    “I just back from vacation and this is my first time around the river today. But I was about to use the sleeping zebra line when I noticed that lions were actually eating the zebra.”

    “The lions are always eating the zebra.”

    “No, Al, I mean they were eating the zebra; ripping, blood, the lot.”

    “That can’t be, I’ve been around over a dozen times today and didn’t notice anything different.”

    “So I don’t suppose the explorers up a pole were more animated and screaming with moving mouths either?”

    The comment made Alvin laugh.

    “Oh this has got to be a wind up; good job Bobby, you got me.”

    “Al, seriously, this is not a wind up.”

    “Seriously?”

    “We gotta get back to dock”

    “Agreed”

    Both skippers returned to their boats controls to make announcement’s to their guests. If the boats were able to steer then getting to the docks shouldn’t be too difficult; they were already half way around the river course. Still, what Bob had said about the changes to the scenes both confused and worried Alvin; “he must be imagining things,” Alvin thought, “but with everything else that going on who knows.”

    He took his microphone; “Ladies and Gentlemen; as I said before, we’re suffering some technical difficulties, it seems to be affecting the whole attraction and not just our boat. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take us straight back to the docks where hopefully we can get this sorted out as quickly as possible. To be on the safe side, I’m going to ask that everyone come sit in the middle seats of the boat and not use the outside edge seating.”

    Alvin decided this would be best as passengers did have a habit of letting arms dangle over the side of the boat and he wasn’t too sure how good his steering would be. As soon as the guests had made the move to the other seats Alvin started to give the boat some power; he kept it very slow at first while he worked out the extremes of manoeuvring the vehicle.

    With the other boat, the Senegal Sal, just behind Alvin steered his boat around the corner to where the hippopotamus pool would be. The track was laid out so that the boat would weave between the sunken models; the skippers would have to be very careful to match the same pattern or else they would be hitting one of them. He looked to the right where the first one should be; nothing. “This can’t be?” Alvin mattered under his breath. He looked to the left where the next ones should be bathing; this would be where he would normally say “Last week, they overturned six of our boats. Only five of them were mine though!” but again nothing.

    Suddenly the boat jolted to the side, like it had been side swiped in a car accident and several of the female guests screamed. Alvin looked in that direction and there it was, a full size hippopotamus and it really was ramming the boat; and winning. The guests all scurried to the opposite side of the boat to get as much distance from the hippo as they could but this just made it easier for the boat to be tipped. The boat started to take on water, Alvin knew he had to do something but the only thing he could think of was to follow the normal storyline for this part of the attraction. “Real hippo; real gun?” he thought, “can’t hurt to try.”

    He picked up his gun which was only a prop that would make a good but obviously fake sound effect; aimed; fired. He wasn’t expecting the recoil and he fell backwards into control panel. “What the hell is going on here?” he muttered; the guests all turning to look at him with a look of shock and terror on their faces. It had fired, the prop had actually fired live ammo; he didn’t know if he had hit or not, but the hippo retreated.

    “We’ve got to get out of here.” Alvin announced to the guests. The Senegal Sal pulled up alongside and Bob motioned for the guests to cross from their boat to his which they started doing.

    “Did you see that?” Alvin asked Bob; “the hippo attacked me, it really friggin attacked me!”

    Bob didn’t have time to answer though because before he could both skippers heard something they both feared; the war drums of the native village.

    ***************************

    The bride in the attic had always been a part of the Haunted Mansion ride, but always very vague in storyline. Different people would tell different stories of who she was and why she haunted that space; stories were told about how she was murdered on her wedding night by her new husband, how she jumped out the window on her wedding night in a fit of madness, or how her husband had found her and her lover in the attic and killed him; hence her glowing heart. A metal post, that had once been fixed in cement outside the attraction and later removed by being sawn at the point of protrusion, had left a visible metal ring in the ground. Folklore had it that it was the bride's ring tossed out of the attic window, in front of which it was situated, and that it had melted the ground on which it fell. Even cast members would claim it to be a part of the Mansion's story when giving tours; although it never officially was.

    But now the bride did have a definitive back-story and she definitely wasn't the victim this time. Now she was Constance, the bloody bride who married six men for their money before beheading them with her axe. Surrounding her would be the portraits of her dead husbands and their wedding cakes as she would gloat about getting everything she wanted and always getting away with the murders.

    Mike knew there were three main things to look out for while passing her. Firstly her wedding ring would sparkle, secondly the axe would appear in her hands and finally all the heads of her previous husbands would disappear in the portraits.

    As he approached he could see the decoration around her and a side glance of her dress that shone in the simulated moonlight coming from the attic window. However, his attention was suddenly taken away from her when he realised his own wedding ring was sparkling much the way he had expected to see Constance’s react. Mike chuckled to himself, “must be something in the lighting that reacts with gold,” he thought when a sudden movement claimed his attention and he looked up.

    Standing in front of his doom buggy, axe in hand, stood Constance. “no-one mentioned that she now moved;” Mike thought looking at the beauty of the bride in front of him, how real she now looked now her face was internally projected; but then her face turned from one of beauty to one of rage and her eyes burned with fury.

    “Till death do us part…” she said as she lifted the axe.

    “I do…I did…”

    Mike’s last thoughts were of his wife Stacy as he watched the axe swing towards his head.



    Chapter Twelve

    It had been a pretty slow day for Ryan Jackson, manager of Fantasyland. While his job sounded whimsical and magical, it was actually pretty run of the mill; there really wasn’t a whole lot of granting wishes and making magic happen like people assumed. But he was happy in his role and occasionally those moments did pop up where he would have the opportunity to do something special or arrange something that could make a person or family’s dream come true. So far, today wasn’t one of those days.

    He had started the day, as always, by walking his area of the park; making sure everything was clean, everything was running, everything was ready for the day ahead. After quick informal meetings with the head of staff at each of the attractions under his domain, to make sure there were no pressing issues, Ryan headed back to his office to take care of the paperwork. With so many staff members working within the fantasyland area, there were always holiday forms to authorise, sick forms to approve; and the countless other issues that arose with having staff.

    They were also coming up on year end, and that meant Ryan would have to present his report on Fantasyland operations over the last twelve months. There was no way to get around the facts, Fantasyland was the home of some of the oldest rides in the park and many of them had never been upgraded; this meant both breakdowns and a lack of easy accessibility for guests in ECVs or wheelchairs. His desk was littered with reports, graphs, statistical sheets and random pieces of paper with jottings all over them. Ryan wasn’t worried though, his staff had good morale, there had been no major accidents or incidents in the year and capacity rates were good and steady; it would be a breeze. He was actually more interested about trying to convince the powers at be that the space behind Pooh’s Playful Spot could be so much better utilised and making the plea to receive the Little Mermaid attraction that he knew was in planning stages for California Adventure on the went coast.

    He was just thinking of what to have for lunch when a siren throughout the building began to sound. He sat upright in his seat, the siren only went off when something major was happening in the park above. It was a mere fraction of a second before his phone rang, he picked it up immediately.

    “Ryan Jackson;” he answered

    “Mr Jackson, this is Richard in control, we have a situation.”

    “I can hear the siren; what’s happening?”

    “We don’t know sir, we are getting mixed reports and from our own monitors we are seeing things that we find hard to believe?”

    “Like what Richard? Please be more specific.”

    “Like Dumbo flying a hundred feet in the air with guests still aboard, the horses on the carousel all galloping away from what we are hearing, Peter Pan and Captain Hook are duelling for real.”

    “That’s impossible!”

    “I said it was hard to believe sir. We are also getting similar reports from around the park, there’s been a fire reported in Adventureland, and what is thought to have been one of the ride vehicles has launched into space from Space Mountain.”

    Ryan was dumbfounded, he had no idea how to respond to the information he was being given.

    “Sir,” Richard spoke again, “we’ve been given the order to evacuate the park, but due to the unusualness of the situation we’ve been asked to contain and safeguard guests in central locations until they can be evacuated in groups.”

    The business side of Ryan took over, he still wasn’t sure what was going on, but if his managers had already decided to evacuate the park he knew what he had to do. “Get the cast members to start ushering guests into Pinocchio’s Village Haus. Get as many cast members that are on break into there as possible to start tending to them. I will get there as soon as possible to take control of the situation.”

    “Yes sir.” came the reply.

    Ryan hung up the phone and took a deep breath; he was still doubtful of what he had been told but there was only one way to find out. He grabbed a walkie talkie and attached it to his belt, then headed for the corridor that would bring him out at the Village Haus.

    ***************************

    Jonathan looked at the utilidor map on the wall, stairway #16 from which he had come was the closest to where he needed to be, but obviously that wasn’t an option. He would have to use stairway #13 which would place him near Country Bear Jamboree and then go around the back of that building and cut through behind the magic carpets and enchanted tiki room in order to get back to the pirates courtyard. Not the best of routes but his only choice; he had to hope he could get to Ray, if he were still alive, and both get back to safety before the Pirates recognised him.

    "Recognise me;" Jonathan said aloud, "that's it!"

    As he made his way down the corridor he quickly removed everything he could that enhanced the Jack Sparrow look. He had grown the facial hair and dyed it black but removing his wig revealed a short blonde haircut. Next to go were his jacket and shirt, followed by all the clip on jewellery. Finally he brought his hands to his face and used his own sweat, of which there was plenty of, to smudge any remaining make up into a senseless covering; wiping as much as he could onto his removed shirt.

    In the few minutes it took to reach the exit, Jonathan was sure he looked a complete mess; most importantly though he was sure he didn't look like Jack Sparrow. He slowly opened the door, creeping his head around the side. Nothing. Grabbing for a nearby chair he placed it so it would keep the door open in case time was of the urgency on his return; then he started to make his way around the back of the Country Bear Jamboree building, peaking around each corner before making the turn.

    Along the way he passed the back entrance to the shows control room, the door to the outside was very unusually left wide open. Jonathan peeked inside, maybe he could get some help from anyone operating this attraction; it was completely unmanned. A glance at the screens, that monitored the inside of the theatre, sent a chill down his spine and gave him his answers. "The bears are alive?" he questioned with both intrigue and fear as he saw the animatronic bears from the show ripping the stage, set and seats apart as if they were wild animals.

    Suddenly it all made sense; the likenesses of the pirates and the speech coming straight from the ride; there weren’t imitating the ride, they were from the ride itself. Control had said that things were happening that couldn't be real; "is this what they meant?" he thought, "Could it really have been the robots that attacked us?" A banging on the door reminded Jonathan that there wasn’t much that separated the room he was in from the theatre he was watching on the screens. He had to leave but he couldn’t allow the bears to get loose. He shoved a table in front of the door and on his way out closed the door behind him. Being an outside security door he hoped it was made of sturdy stuff.

    He continued on his path and soon was able to see around the corner of a building that overlooked the main courtyard. Ray still lay there, not moving; “please Ray, please still be alive;” Jonathan prayed. He looked towards the direction of the utilidor he had used for his escape; he couldn’t see it from here, but he knew he would be able to from where Ray was; which meant they would be able to see him as well. However, he didn’t need to be able to see the utilidor entry point to see the flames and smoke coming from the area; just like in the ride, the pirates were setting fire to everything they could in their search for Captain Jack.

    Jonathan decided he couldn’t wait any longer, he had to get to Ray and he had to do it now. The pirates seemed to be completely ignoring the area from whence they had come; he could only hope they continued to do so. He was now very glad he had propped the door open, he was going to have to carry Ray and swiping his identity card would have cost him time.

    He ran over to Ray as fast and quietly as he could; as he approached he got his first look at the pirates by the far utilidor; none were paying any attention in his direction. He dropped to his knee as soon as he reached Ray; there was a lot more blood now than there had been when he left him only a few minutes ago. He reached for Ray’s neck to feel for a pulse, praying in his head as he did. He massaged his fingers around and felt it; feint but there. “Thank god;” he said not even trying to hide the smile across his face, “Ray, it’s Jonathan. Can you hear me?”

    He got no reply.

    “I’ve got to stop the bleeding,” Jonathan thought. He had been given only the most basic of first aid training; this was going to be mainly guesswork. He looked up to check on the pirates, still no sign of them showing any interest in him; the change of appearance appeared to be working. He ran the few meters between where Ray lay and the nearest merchandise stand; deserted but still wide open. He grabbed at whatever came first, long sleeve shirts, scarves, t-shirts; then he returned to Ray and padded the sword wound as best he could, securing the bandage by wrapping and tying the scarves around his body. He hoped it would be good enough.

    Scooping Ray up, Jonathan started to make his way back to the utilidor; he could feel his legs getting weaker by the step; Ray was not a light fellow. As he left the possible eye sight of the pirates he took one last look, nothing.

    ***************************

    Jennifer held Samantha as they disembarked the ride vehicles as soon as it pulled around to the load/unload area; both of them shaking but relieved. Graham was scrambling as much of the spilled contents of the bag back into it in a way it could be carried. Cast members rushed to them to make sure they were okay and ushered them to an area where they could sit down.

    “What happened in there?” Graham asked a cast member approached him; “the ground seemed to be way below us, the characters seemed alive.”

    “We don’t know Sir;” came the reply, “please come with us, we want to get you to safety and we would like to let a doctor check you all over to make sure you are ok; if that’s ok with you of course.”

    “We’re physically fine, but I would like some space to be able to comfort my daughter, as well as what she saw she also lost her favourite toy in there; that’s what she will remember tomorrow.”

    “I’ll make sure you have a room where you can be alone Sir, and I’ll arrange for someone to bring you some toys for your daughter.”

    “Thank you.”

    Jennifer, Samantha and Graham were led into the backstage area and what seemed like underground. If it had not been under such circumstances, this would have been a dream come true for Jennifer; she had always wanted to see behind the scenes. It didn’t seem to matter now.

    ***************************

    Philippe watched as first rope pinged off the railings as soon as the train charged into it; its speed far too great for the rope to hooks to handle.

    The second did much the same although not with so much speed and force. The hill was starting to take it’s toll on the train, he could tell it had started to decelerate.

    Philippe forced himself to take his eyes off the train and get to the top of the lift hill; although very much with his head over his shoulder looking backwards.

    The third rope held. It was being pushed up the railing at quite a speed but the hooks were able to hold. Only when one of the hooks hit a join in the railings with a vertical bar did the push slide halt and the hook break. The train was now moving much slower but was still moving forward, closer to the apex of the hill.

    The fourth rope also held and Philippe allowed himself to breath for a moment but it too eventually gave way to the runaway train’s brawn just as the front of the engine peaked over the apex of the lift hill.

    They were running the trains at full capacity today, the engine and five carriages, holding a maximum of forty five people. Pretty soon gravity would start to work against him as the train’s momentum would be helped by more weight over than apex than on the hill; at which point all would be lost. Philippe knew that he must stop that from happening and came to the conclusion that the only way to achieve this was to remove the possible weight tipping the balance in the wrong direction. It was against every rule in the handbook, but he yanked the bar release lever on the first carriage, letting the bars off the passengers laps. If the train did go now, the movement and G-forces of the ride would almost certainly cause the passengers to come out of the carriage unrestrained.

    “I need you to get out the carriage, quickly and carefully, please help each other onto the steps where you will be safe;” Philippe shouted to make sure he could be heard over some of the frantic passengers who were in tears.

    Almost the entire engine car had now made it over the apex, it was the heaviest part of the train and would be putting a lot of weight on the wrong side of the scale. As Philippe started releasing the second carriages safety bars he noticed some leaning over the edge of the back carriage and trying to do the same to their own.

    “Sir!” Philippe shouted, “I need you not to try and leave your vehicle”

    “Screw you!” came the reply

    Philippe ignored the comment understanding everyone was under a lot of pressure. “Sir, if you leave the vehicle we will lose the weight advantage; we need as much weight in the back as possible.”

    “Get us out of here;” came the reply, this time more afraid than offensive.

    “I’m trying;” Philippe thought to himself as he continued to work.

    By the time Philippe was releasing the third carriages safety bars most of the first car had also crossed the apex of the hill. Thankfully the passengers were at this point helping each other with the men helping the women down onto the stairs and in some cases coaxing some of the more afraid passengers out of the cars. However, as the third carriages passengers alighted the train started to move forward with a little more momentum.

    “The front of the train is heavier than the back!” Philippe shouted, “I need as many people holding the train steady as possible.”

    The men all grabbed whatever non moving part of the vehicles they could as Philippe released the fourth safety bar lever; the fifth having already been released be the passenger who thankfully had taken heed and stayed seated. The passengers holding the train back were beginning to struggle to do so and were shouting that they could only do so a little longer.

    “I need all children to be passed out of the train now.” Philippe shouted and the adults inside the train quickly did as asked passing any children to those who had already escaped and to safety.

    “Ok,” Philippe continued, “I need everyone else to get out at the same time, we can’t afford to have anyone left in the train when we lose a significant amount of weight in the back. Please all get to a position where you will be able to climb or jump out when I say so and once you are out please help hold onto the train.”

    “HURRY!!” shouted one of the men trying to hold the train back

    “Everyone ready?” Philippe asked more of a warning, it had to be now or never, “on three.”

    “One.”

    “Two.”

    ***************************

    Cameron turned his vehicle to the right. As he entered the room he saw that there was only plain wall to the left so he felt safe to have his back to it and give his full attention to the other side. In front of him was Zurg in his now failing and half broken spaceship; sparks of electricity were fizzing and there was a smell of smoke in the air. Despite Zurg’s complaining about how he had been foiled, there were Little Green Men crawling over his ship and a level of joy coming from them. Cameron sighed with relief and sat back in his vehicle as did many of the other guests he could see; it was over.

    Suddenly a roar came from Zurg and a laser beam emanated from his spaceship, ripping into a vehicle just four vehicles in front of his own. When the light from the beam dissipated there was nothing left, just a smouldering pile of burnt slag where the vehicle used to be; a family wiped out.

    Cameron and the other riders in the room grabbed their laser guns and started shooting wildly at Zurg and the remains of his space craft; obviously not as disabled as first thought. The LGMs scattered as the fire fight began and Zurg screamed in anger. Being one of the larger rooms of the ride, many vehicles simultaneously started to fire in unison, small explosions going off as the individual parts of his ship broke away or were destroyed. Zurg fired again; Cameron winced not daring to look which poor people would be killed this time. Thankfully when he dared open his eyes he could see no obviously missing vehicles; “he must have missed;” he said to himself as he renewed his firing.

    Zurg’s spaceship succumbed and with a final explosion it ceased to be. Zurg himself managed to escape the fireball but was captured by the LGMs and their claw device just prior to the unloading bay coming into sight. This time it really was over.

    ***************************

    “We’ve got to get off the river” Alvin said to Bob as they heard the war drums getting closer, “we always joke about them being cannibals, what if they are cannibals now.”

    “What do you mean Al?”

    “Thank about it. You said the lions were eating the zebra and that the explorers were pretty much real humans. I just got attacked by a bloody hippo and my prop gun fired a real round of ammo. I don’t think it’s stretching too far to suggest that the native tribe will be a real native tribe; and I for one don’t want to drive through the boat ambush scene.”

    “It sounds crazy, but I agree.” Bob responded.

    “So how do we get out of this?” Alvin asked, “going back through the elephants doesn’t sound like a great option either.”

    “How about we go by land? After all, this is where you can hear the parade’s if you listen real carefully; Main Street must be close.”

    “It is,” Alvin confirmed, “I just don’t know what it on the other side of the banked hill between it and the back of the Crystal Palace; there could be a wall for all I know.”

    “I’d take a wall over hungry cannibals or elephants.”

    “Me too, power the boat over to that bank it looks like the bank is a little lower.”

    Bob chuckled, “you do realise that if we are massively over reacting we’re going to be deep in it for trespassing all these guests over the back of this ride.”

    Alvin took the microphone on the Senegal Sal while Bob started to steer the boat towards the shore they had picked out. “Ladies and Gentleman; obviously that level of attack isn’t what we are used to, and to be honest, neither Skipper Bob nor I know what is going on. We apologise for what just happened. We have decided that in the interest of your safety, it would be wise for us to vacate the ride vehicles and leave the jungle completely. To do this we are going to usher you through the back of the ride area which should bring us out behind Main Street. Does anyone have any questions?”

    The boat was oddly silent, many of the passengers from the Amazon Annie obviously still in a level of shock from the attack.

    “Ok, Bob is going to bring the boat as close to the bank as he can; should you fall in the water please do not panic, it is clean we merely add the murky colour; it is also only three feet deep so can be easily stood in.”

    The guests merely nodded in understanding.

    As the boat pulled up to the bank Alvin decided it would be best to get out of the boat himself and help drag it in as close as possible. He stood up on the edge and jumped into the water, two wet feet were the least of his worries. The guests all gasped as Alvin disappeared into the water; head and all. Within a second he resurfaced gasping for air; it was obvious that the river was not the mere three feet deep as thought. He made it to the bank where he pulled himself up and regained his breathing pattern.

    “You ok?” Bob shouted

    Alvin just nodded still regaining his breath.

    “Ok folks,” Bob said turning to the guests; “it appears that all bets are off, please take nothing for granted as being part of a ride; and please do not go into the water.”

    Alvin regained his footing and as Bob pulled the boat alongside the bank Alvin grabbed the side and pulled it in. Together they started helping the guests off the boat and onto the shore. There were around fifty of them all together; and the men in the group all started to help the women and children whether family members or not.

    They were just evacuating the last members from the boat when the noise of the war drums definitely got louder. Alvin and Bob looked to the opposite shore of the river and sure enough they saw some of the village natives appearing from between the trees.

    “Bob; get the people moving over that hill, I’ll catch up.”

    “What are you going to do?” Bob asked.

    “I’m going to see if the gun was a one time deal or not; but I can’t with the guests here.”

    “Ok, don’t stay here too long though.”

    With that Bob started leading the way for the guests and very soon disappeared over the horizon of the hill. Alvin hoped that it led straight into the car park behind Main Street and from there safety wouldn’t be an issue. The guests were shaken and wet from the hippo attack, but there had thankfully been no injuries.

    By the time they were gone though, more natives had amassed on the opposite side of the river and were pointing at him. One of them had tried the river and found out how deep it was; Alvin was now very thankful it was impossibly deep. Alvin reached into the Senegal Sal and retrieved the shotgun, again it looked like a simple prop; detailed but obviously fake. He aimed at one of the native tribe but he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. They may have been statues somehow brought to life, he couldn’t believe he was even considering that as a plausible reasoning, but they looked as human as human could be; and Alvin wasn’t a killer.

    A couple of the natives started to swim across the river; Alvin knew he had to do something. He aimed the shotgun at a tree to the side of the largest group, wanting to scare them off like he had the hippo; and fired. Again, and unbelievably, the shotgun let out a live round and while he missed his intended target he did get the tree next to it. The natives took notice, those swimming towards him retreated and those who had seen him fire looked at him in stunned amazement.

    He allowed himself a quick smile, his tactic had worked and he was holding them off. He was about to turn and run up the hill himself, where he could take another shot to make sure they didn’t try and follow him again, when he suddenly felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He brought his hand up to find it, it felt like an insect bite, but instead what he felt was a blow dart. It was just a short second later when he dropped to his knees, his legs refusing to take his weight and soon after that he found himself laying on the floor, unable to move his arms or his legs.

    Alvin remained perfectly conscious, he could see and hear everything, he just couldn’t move; not his arms or his legs, not his neck, not even his mouth. His range of view was mostly the sky above but it was soon interrupted by the first of the natives standing over him, dripping wet from crossing the river. As more and more of them came into his view he resigned himself to his fate; his face showing none of the terror he was feeling inside; his body numb.

    Continued...........
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  4. #4

    • FuseMP
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    May 2006
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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    Chapter Thirteen

    Kelly and her friend Tina had been the first to exit the stretching room lift and had rushed to get on the first doombuggy out of their group. They had ridden the attraction the day before and loved it; now they were back for more. This time around the ride seemed even more realistic than it had the day before; the lightening flashes at the bottom of the lift sequence had seemed especially bright.

    “Tina,” Kelly whispered as they made their way into the attic scene, “Weren’t there only six portraits on the wall yesterday?”

    “Yeah, why?” Tina replied as she counted for herself, “oh my god, there’s seven now.”

    “And the new one is wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and Yankees cap; it’s not very in keeping with the theme.”

    “Look at the bride; she’s covered in blood!” Tina screeched as both girls reached for each other’s hands.

    Constance just watched the two girls cowering in their vehicle as they passed her, never taking her eyes off them, blood dripping from her axe; waiting for her next husband.

    ***************************

    “THREE!” Philippe shouted.

    The remaining twelve passengers in the train all exited as fast as they could, some climbed and dropped, others jumped onto the metal steps with a loud clank as they grabbed the railings for support. Immediately everyone grabbed hold onto the train helping to buy the few extra seconds needed to allow the others to get off.

    As soon as the train was empty, those who had been trying to hold it back released their grip; many with screams of pain they had been holding in while doing what they could. The weight of the train that had crossed the apex took over and the three remaining cars on the lift hill side were quickly dragged over the edge as the train started its decent. Philippe and the forty passengers stood on the stairway in what seemed like silence as they watched the train make its decent, follow the track around the last few turns and then head into the now caved in mountain. Only after the explosive noise and the trail of fresh smoke started to emanate from the rubble did the world around start to come back and the tears be heard.

    Philippe turned to the people he had just saved. They looked at him, many still scared, many in tears, all of them grateful for what he had done. Many clapped, those closest started to hug him, some even gave him a kiss. Philippe looked down the stairway where more cast members had emerged from the tunnels and started ushering the passengers from the scaffolding to where they would be completely safe.

    “Maybe the vineyards aren’t so bad;” Philippe thought before looking to his side, “why is Adventureland on fire?”

    ***************************

    "Safe;" he thought

    Jonathan had made it and encouragingly Ray had made some noises during the escape back into the utilidor walkways. Jonathan's legs were another matter; still tired from running, carrying Ray this far had been difficult on both his arms and his legs.

    On the way back he had again passed the back entry door to the Country Bears, he could hear the banging on the door, the bears now in the control room; he hoped it would be enough. As he approached the propped open utilidor entrance he had kicked the chair out of the way allowing it to swing shut behind them; the sound of the locking mechanism never sounding so good.

    "I can't carry him much further; I've got to find a way to transport him." Jonathan thought. Looking around he saw there was a storeroom nearby, it held the stock for many of the Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square shops. Thankfully, just inside the entrance, there was a trolley; one of the ones used to transport crates through the walkways between depots. Jonathan kicked the few boxes that occupied it to the ground and laid Ray across it. He rechecked Ray for a pulse; very feint but still there.

    Now much more mobile, Jonathan made his way back to the wall telecom unit by the stairwell. “Control, this is Jonathan Rose, I have the injured cast member, he is still alive but barely. I have managed to control the bleeding but he needs help fast. Where do I take him?”

    “This is control;” came the reply, “we have ambulances arriving at the main car park under Fantasyland, please get him there.”

    A few minutes later he arrived pushing Ray on the trolley as fast as he could. As he had gotten closer to the main hub of the utilidors they had gotten more crowded with cast members, emergency crews and guests that had been brought down at various points in the park to escape the various incidents. Jonathan shouted for them to make way as he passed them. The utilidors were generally off limits to guests. Some of the more pricey backstage tours allowed the guests a short walk through one of the walkways but even that was prohibited to the under sixteen’s, the feeling being that it would be distressing if a child saw two Mickey Mouse’s walking past each other or worse yet a character in costume but not head piece; this was all forgotten now.


    Chapter Fourteen

    q returned to Q and Q with Q's water.

    Q took it with a look of thanks and started to take a sip; having never been powerless before the mere concept of drinking was foreign to her. Q it seemed was in a world of his own; "probably wondering how he's going to get himself out of this one;" q surmised.

    Suddenly, all around them people, who looked like they worked there, started to take positions at all the entrances and exits to the building. q noticed that humans who were trying to leave were being denied while other humans who were being let in looked either distressed or plain terrified.

    "Something is happening;" q said just loud enough for his parents to hear.

    Q and Q looked up to gauge the situation for themselves; but as they did an older gentlemen standing in the middle of the room spoke up.

    "Ladies and Gentleman;" he started in a loud, commanding voice, "Ladies and Gentleman if I could have your attention please."

    "What the hell is going on out there?" came a shout from the back of the room where people were being ushered inside.

    "Ladies and Gentleman; please stay calm." the authoritive human began again. "My name is Ryan Jackson, I am the manager of Fantasyland. We have a situation in the park, we need you all to stay calm and stay seated until we can evacuate you all safely."

    "But what's going on?" another man shouted.

    "We don't know Sir. I wish I could tell you more but we simply do not know what is happening."

    "I'll tell you what's happening," came a voice from the back, "it's like in Terminator 2, the robots have taken over. I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean setting fire to Adventureland."

    "Robots?" another voice came; "more like terrorists."

    It was starting to turn into a panic fuelled shouting match; a free for all with anyone interjecting.

    "Terrorists?" someone else shouted; "how could terrorists have turned Small World into World War III?"

    "And made Dumbo fly a hundred meters off the ground?" yet another person chimed in.

    "We were attacked by real animals on the Jungle Cruise" a lady in wet clothes said while displaying the state she was in.

    Ryan knew he had to calm the crowd down and pat of that would be to stop this building argument; but the revelations coming out were mind boggling and Ryan both wanted, and needed, to know everything he could. He knew about the fire but hadn't heard the Pirates part, he knew about Dumbo and he even knew things nobody had mentioned that had happened on the other side of the park; but Small World and Jungle Cruise were news even to him.

    "Please everyone. Please take your seats and remain calm. I repeat that we do not know what is happening. We have to make sure any injured guests are seen to first. As soon as possible we will get you all away from the park safely."

    Q remained silent; contemplating his actions of the last few minutes. He had made the Magic kingdom "more real"; were these incidents a mere coincidence or had he caused these results. He suspected the latter.

    “Q?” Q asked, noticing his facial features.

    “Yes my dear?” he replied coyly.

    “I recognise that look on your face, it’s the same one you got just before Kathy told you off for the trouble you caused.”

    Q remained silent.

    “You still have your powers!” Q accused.

    “What?” q chimed in with surprise.

    “What did you do Q?” Q continued to demand, “How much of this is your fault?”

    “I didn’t do that much really” Q said quietly; “I merely made everything here more real; thought it would make things a little more….” Q searched for the word, “…interesting.”

    q laughed; “Well, judging be all this I think things have become a little too interesting. Good job Dad.”

    Q gave his son a look; “Don’t be sarcastic son, I can still leave you here powerless.”

    “Reinstate our powers Q; both of us, NOW!” Q demanded, and Q knew he was beaten. With both Q and q now knowing that Q wasn’t as powerless as they were; he knew there was no escape. And he also recognised the look in Q’s eyes, he had seen it before, this was the look that meant he had pushed her too far and if he didn’t start appeasing her he would be paying for it for a very long time.

    “Fine;” Q snapped his fingers, “there.”

    Q and q both felt the difference immediately, it was like blood pumping through their veins as they felt their inner being surge with power.

    Another finger snap, this time from Q, and there was a brilliant flash of light.



    Chapter Fifteen

    “It sure has been a weird kind of day,” Philippe Picard said to himself as he stood at the entrance to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. What made it most odd, was that while absolutely nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened, Philippe had spent the first half of the day with a very unusual sense of déjà vu and a feeling that something bad was about to happen. And if that wasn’t unusual enough, when he had gone for his lunch break he heard stories of other cast members feeling exactly the same way.

    “Very strange, it’s like we all had some sort of collective nightmare.” his friend Alvin, who worked the Jungle Cruise, had said to him over a cold drink. But that’s all it did appear to be, because while they all had these premonitions, as they had started calling them, nothing had actually happened; and in the end, it had been just another day at Walt Disney World.

    Night had now descended and while the ride remained busy most of the parks guests were now at the Main Street hub getting ready for the “Wishes” firework display extravaganza. Most the people riding Thunder Mountain now were teenagers looking for the thrill of riding at night and the advantage of being able to ride several times while the lines weren’t as long.

    Philippe looked over the Rivers of America to where Fantasyland and Cinderella’s castle were situated, right on time the lights went out and the whole area was plunged into almost complete darkness. Then suddenly the first rocket could be seen whizzing into the air before exploding into a huge array of light; and within seconds the entire area was lit as firework shells started to fill the night sky. Philippe couldn’t hear the sound track to accompany the fireworks, he was too far away, but he didn’t need to, the fireworks were both beautiful by themselves and he knew the music and lyrics by heart. He went through them in his head….

    Snow White: “I'm wishing...someday, my prince will come.”
    Ariel: “ha-ha. I wish...Ohh...I wish I could be part of that world.”
    Peter Pan: “I wish...we'd never have to grow up. Off to Neverland, ha-ha.”
    Pinocchio: “Look Jiminy, someday I wish I could be a real boy.”
    Aladdin: “Genie, I wish for your freedom.”

    “What do I wish for?” Philippe thought to himself as he watched the explosions dancing in the sky. “If only I knew;” he thought. He knew he didn’t want to return to the vineyards, but who knows what the future would hold and although he didn’t like to drink the wine himself, he wouldn’t let the family business down if it needed him. “I can’t be a Disney ride operator forever;” he thought to himself. And then as a particularly large amount of fireworks exploded over the hub he saw the cone and spiked outline of the roof of Space Mountain in the distance, the centre piece of Tomorrowland. “Space….” he thought; “now that really would be an adventure. Not for me though; maybe in a few generations.”

    ***************************

    The voice of Jiminy Cricket rang out over the speakers.

    “When you wish, upon a star……
    Makes no difference who you are….
    Anything your heart desires will come...to...you…..”

    “Pretty, huh? I'll bet a lot of you folks don’t believe that, about a wish coming true, do ya? We'll I didn’t either. Course, I’m just a cricket, but lemme tell you what made me change my mind. You see, the most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish!”

    Cameron Fisher stood along Main Street and watched the amazing fireworks show, he has just taken his last Hidden Mickey picture of the day as shapes had been projected onto the castle that formed the famous shape. He hoped the picture would come out good, taking photos at night of lit up objects was never a sure science, he had done lots of homework before coming getting the advice of people classed as experts online at taking pictures around Disney World and had set his camera settings to their recommendations.

    “Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow to try again;” Cameron thought to himself. Not that he minded, while a Disneyland fan over Disney World, it was still Disney and he had still enjoyed every second of his day here.

    “Buzz even seemed better than I remember it being;” he said to himself with some amusement. It had been odd, he had always seen it as such a mundane attraction, so cheap looking and basically just a trumped up shooting gallery. But today’s ride through had been different, he had felt like he was in true danger and while he knew he wasn’t his adrenaline was pumping so much he actually started shooting and enjoying the ride rather than just sitting and waiting for his photo opportunities. Cameron laughed out loud; “I’ll be enjoying Stitch’s Great Escape next,” he thought, but quickly dismissed that notion.

    ***************************

    “Fate is kind….
    She brings to those who love….
    The sweet fulfilment of their secret longing.”

    “Like a bolt out of the blue….
    fate steps in and sees you through…..
    When you wish upon a star….
    your dreams...come true….
    Ha-ha….
    Sometimes, wishes can be granted in the most unexpected ways.”

    Mike Ridgway stood in front of the castle just like he had to start his day and looked up at it.

    “I’ll be back soon;” he thought to himself, “and when I do return I will never be far away again.”

    The day hadn’t gone quite according to plan but it had been amazing. The idea was he would get in, ride the rides he needed to and leave by late afternoon to get on with the job hunting. It was now 9pm. But what a day it had been, he had ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, where he had been made a temporary captain by Skipper Chuck, before finally getting to experience the absolutely amazing, newly refurbished, Haunted Mansion. Mike smiled at the thought; he could have sworn his heart stopped beating when he saw Constance in the attic; and the sight of her axe made him reach for his own neck to make sure it was still attached. And then he had rushed over to the Animal Kingdom to hit Expedition Everest and the Finding Nemo musical; both of which were amazing.

    He should have left the parks then, but the lure of Wishes had been too great so by five o’clock he was back in the Magic Kingdom and back in line for the Haunted Mansion for his second meeting with Constance before enjoying some of his other favourite rides and of course staking a good spot for the firework spectacular. He just thanked his lucky stars Stacy hadn’t called him to ask how the job hunting was going; that would have taken a lot of explaining.

    “Tomorrow I find a job somewhere nearby;” he thought to himself. He knew it wouldn’t be easy; first of all he knew he would have to resist the urge to spend another day in the parks; but he also knew the sooner he got a job he could relocate and be here all the time.

    “I’ll be back soon;” he said to no-one, “this will be my home.”

    ***************************

    Jonathan Rose sat across the table from his show partner Ray, both of them enjoying a meal to end their day. They always ate at this time because the staff areas were so quiet; many cast members leaving the underground areas so they can watch the fireworks. Sitting and eating a meal together after removing their make up, jewellery and clothing helped them both to relax and feel like themselves again; especially after a long day of being in character.

    “I had an idea earlier;” Jonathan said between mouthfuls, “what do you think about suggesting we introduce Barbossa and maybe a couple of villains into the show? Maybe they could come and chase us or something?”

    “I was thinking the exact same thing!” Ray exclaimed, I suddenly thought of it earlier during one of the shows.

    “Me too, how odd;” Jonathan replied.

    “Yeah. One thing though;” Ray said his voice becoming a little shakey, “can’t help but get the feeling Mac will be the one on the end of a sword.”

    “Not while I’m around buddy, Captain Jack has your back” Jonathan said as he held up his glass. Ray laughed as he raised his own glass and the two toasted their friendship.

    ***************************

    “You see, its just like I told ya…..
    Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart….
    And the best part is, you'll never run out of wishes….
    They're shining deep down inside of you….
    'Cause that my friends is where the magic lives.”

    “Wishes! Dream a dream (fate is kind)….
    Wishes! Set it free (she brings to those who love) ….
    Wishes! Trust your heart (the sweet fulfilment of) ….
    Just Believe (their secret longing) ….
    Just Believe (just believe)….”

    Jennifer and Graham Roberts looked down on their daughter Samantha as she sat in her buggy fast asleep, Pony clutched in her arms, her face illuminated by the fireworks above.

    “One day she will actually see Wishes;” said Graham loud enough to be heard over the crowd and show but not so loud as to disturb his sleeping daughter.

    “One day it will wake her up;” laughed Jennifer in response.

    The couple returned their focus to the castle in front of them as projections of moons and stars and Disney characters lit it up while fireworks exploded all around. Their hands met and tangled as their reaffirmed their love for each other. They had stood in almost this very spot on the night of their wedding and watched Wishes, two people in love enjoying the happiest day of their life; and here they stood again, now a family with young Samantha between them.

    It had been a fun day, but not without incident. There had been a camera flash during their ride on Peter Pan and Samantha had screamed; quite unusually for her as if it were something more than the flash that had spooked her. But in the commotion she had dropped Pony over the end of the ride vehicle and it had fell onto the set pieces below. Luckily it hadn’t caused any damage, just landing on the expanse meant to represent the Mermaid Lagoon. The ride had to be temporarily shut down while a cast member retrieved the stuffed toy and Jennifer and Graham were asked, very nicely, to take measures to make sure it didn’t happen again. Still they had laughed when they heard a child disembarking the ride shortly after them asking his parents why there was a pink horse standing in the middle of the sea; he didn’t remember it from the movie. But everything was good now, Pony was back in Samantha’s arms and she was fast asleep, thoughts of Mickey Mouse in her head and a smile on her face even as she slept.

    Jennifer thought back to her own childhood, how she had stood in awe as she watched the old show “Fantasy in the Sky” light up the night around her and illuminate the castle in front. She hoped that one day Samantha would stand here too with her family, watching the Disney World fireworks, and she would think back to these times, and the times they would share over the coming years, of being here with her parents and nothing but happy memories and smiles; just like Jennifer did.



    Chapter Sixteen

    “Wishes,….
    Dream a dream ….
    Wishes, ….
    Set it free ….
    Wishes,….
    Trust your heart ….
    Just believe (oh, believe)….”

    “Star light, star bright ….
    First star I see tonight ….
    I wish I may I wish I might….
    have the wish I wish tonight ….
    We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do ….
    And all our wishes (all our wishes)….
    all our wishes ….
    will come true”

    Under the night sky, being illuminated by the explosions of light in the air, on a bench at the end of Main Street USA looking towards Cinderella’s Castle, sat a family. Two adults and a teenager. The teen with a smile on his face as he watched the show and slowly fed popcorn into his mouth. The woman leaning her head against her husband’s shoulder as she wrapped both her arms around his single arm and stared contently at the view above. The man looking miserable as hell.

    “This is beautiful;” Q whispered as she clung to Q’s arm, “It’s like a million super novas exploding in time.”

    “Yes, it’s just lovely, can we go now?” Q retorted, the tone of his voice clearly not looking to hide his feelings.

    “Oh calm down dear, you’ll have your powers back soon enough.”

    “Yeah Dad, have some popcorn;” q said offering the bucket in his father’s direction.

    Q merely glared at his son.

    The three sat in silence as another round of fireworks shot up from behind the castle and exploded overhead.

    “Well could one of you at least get that Small World song out of my head? It really is becoming quite irritating;” Q demanded.

    Q and q just smiled and chuckled at the request thinking back to how they had made Q endure the ride in an endless time loop until even they, who had muted themselves to the singing, couldn’t take it any longer. Q, on the other hand, hadn’t be afforded that luxury and had been forced to listen to the irritatingly annoying and yet catchy song over and over and over and over again.

    He’d then been put onto the tea cups where Q and q had spun the wheel so fast that Q turned positively green, the single cup never before having created such G forces. Q was quite thankful when the spinning mechanism finally snapped under the pressure and the cup eventually came to a stop.

    And following that he had spent the day being carted around this theme park from ride to ride, Q and q using their powers each time to make it more unbearable for Q. Q himself spent most of the day considering just what he would do to Tom Paris when he had his powers back just as he was doing now.

    With a big musical ending and a large array of fireworks the display came to an end. The humans all around started clapping and shouting as they all started to move, many towards the exit of the park as the show signalled the end of the day.

    “Can we please return to the continuum now?” Q asked, “Even I don’t usually spend this long around the humans.”

    “But the vacation has just begun my dear and we are having such a fun time;” Q retorted.

    “Yeah dad,” q picked up from where his mother left off, “we still have Adventureland and Frontierland left to go; not to mention EPCOT, Disney/MGM Studios and the Animal Kingdom.”

    “But that will take days in Earth time!” Q exclaimed.

    “Well, we are only booked in for three nights so enjoy your vacation while it lasts Q;” came the response from Q.

    “Booked in?” Q asked, “where might I ask?”

    “In there;” exclaimed Q as she unwrapped an arm from around Q’s and pointed to the castle in front of them; a large smile on her face. “By some amazing coincidence we will be chosen at random by their computers to win the grand prize of the castle suite every day for the rest of the week.”

    Q felt his heart sink at the news. “Three more days”; he thought. “Three more days without powers. Three more days with Q and q. Three more days of them having fun at his expense.” And then it hit him; they were spending time together as a family, Q and q were having fun and at least it wouldn’t be boring for him even if he was the butt of all their punishment. Q reached his free arm up and around the back of his son holding him close, then he turned his head towards his wife who was cuddled up besides him and kissed her on the forehead. “Things could be worse; anything is better than being bored.”
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  5. #5

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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    WOW! Good job! I might take like 12 days to read it, but 30,000 words in over a month is really, really good! Congrats
    -Tyler

  6. #6

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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    LOL! Actually, most people have managed it in a couple of days that have read it on paper. Thanks
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  7. #7

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    Re: My Disney World Novel (not sure where it belongs)

    wow, 113 views, has anyone actually read it? I would love any feedback.
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