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.
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.
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!”
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...
''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.”
"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."
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.”
"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;"
"We’re going to have to wait for everything."
"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."
''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?"
"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.
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.”
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.”
"Tough crowd;" Q thought.
“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."
"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.
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.”
“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.
“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.