A Different look at Disney...

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My thanks goes out to the two dozen brave and talented souls who contributed stories for our fan-fiction content. The results were thrilling! I had great fun simply curling up for a weekend and losing myself in the wonderful adventures these folks came up with. In fact, more than once I berated myself for starting this competition. How in the world was I supposed to choose a winner when all were so good?

The plots were amazingly imaginative:

  • Disneyland as the world’s defense against alien invaders
  • A family in the Midwest remembering the recently departed Grandpa on their visit to Disneyland
  • The dolls on it’s a small world attack!
  • Two boys argue about the virtues of DL and WDW stacked up against each other
  • An archeologist in the future makes a discovery in the dirt: Walt’s Disneyland
  • A mischievous Walt Disney gives a modern-day tour of Storybook Land
  • Walt’s ghost dog wanders the Anaheim park
  • In the future, DCA stands for Disney’s Classical Adventures, and functions as a theme park museum of rides that were removed from other places
  • A magical GPS phone provides Walt’s voice as you travel the park
  • A time traveler brings an E-Ticket to his own family, to make that day magical
  • A man realizes he wants to be a better "Disneyland dad" than his own father had been
  • Plush toys come alive on family vacation, escape the Candy Cane Inn and sneak into Disneyland
  • A visit to Walt Disney World while recovering from a tough end to a relationship
  • A man plans to get engaged at Disneyland but the "perfect day" continues to be derailed by life.
  • The spirits of old Imagineers pronounce judgment on modern-day Imagineers
  • Teachers visit Disneyland, a place to keep their lively debates going
  • Sentient cats battle Imagineers who carry around "Walt Water" to fend them off
  • There were several stories that prompted particular attention. Some for their intricate plots, others for their true-to-life characters, and others for the sheer value of the drama and hard-hitting emotion:

  • The boy who dates a Russian circus girl (at the Pond in Anaheim) and visits Disneyland
  • The ultra-advanced robots that take the place of regular AA’s after a devastating earthquake
  • The Disneyland visit for a family that recalls a beloved family member, now gone
  • The Disneyland visit for a family about to endure tragedy (in the form of the father’s imminent death), enjoying one last happy day together
  • But in the end, the prize for the best story goes to one that succeeded on multiple levels. It wasn’t just a good drama, though it had conflict and resolution in it. It had an inventive plot. It was one of the best at gauging the audience, teasing our brains, and making us imagine the scene. But best of all, it had heart and charm.

    The winner can expect an email from me with details about his prize, a brand new copy of the Pixar coffee table book, To Infinity and Beyond. And with no further ado, let’s sink into the story. Congrats to our winner!

    Bismarck by Shane Lindsay

    Dawn was dawn. It came every morning, painting the sky the color of strawberry lemonade, always with a whisper, never with a complaint. And yet as Bismarck sat there, studying the familiar horizon of buildings and foliage punctuated by the peak of the White Mountain, he could not shake the feeling that something was not quite right.

    He took another bite of breakfast, chewing carefully. The grass tasted exactly as it had the night before. So what was different?

    He studied the wrought iron perimeter fence of his patch, its shadow creeping across the lawn as the sun floated higher. He absently licked his paw, his customary morning ritual, and suddenly it hit him.

    The grass was dry.

    Dry as if it were dinnertime. In fact, it was as dry as lunch grass, baked under the sun, teeming with buzzing insects. Breakfast grass was always deliciously wet, with a delightful crunch to it. Bismarck felt the suspicion growing inside him. Juneau had been at it again.

    He loped over to the fence, right up to the very edge of it. With a wiggle of his nose, he took a sniff. He detected it immediately: the raspy smell of paper mixed with a faint dose of wax. A man smell.

    It was a paper cup. The people served them somewhere not too far away, usually filled with a sugary concoction that tasted pleasant enough. Careless humans sometimes tossed spent cups onto his lawn, but he never managed more than a few licks. Anything thrown over the fence into Partner's Corner was almost immediately retrieved by an army of roaming spear-people.

    Somehow they had missed this cup. It was wedged deep into a nondescript hole near the fencing and covered over with cut grass. There were four of these rain holes, roughly the same distance from each other, all around the perimeter of the patch. Every night like clockwork, rain would burst from the holes, drenching the entire lawn and the small juniper bush planted in the center. The rain would gush for fifteen minutes or so, and then abruptly stop.

    Last night, there had been no rain.

    This human cup was wedged tightly against the black plastic disc at the bottom of the rain hole. With the disc blocked, there was no rain to drench the grass. Bismarck hopped along the fence, inspecting each hole, and was not at all surprised to find that the other holes had been similarly stopped up.

    Grumbling to himself, Bismarck hopped back to bush at the center of Partners' Corner. He ducked under the thorny branch that hid the entrance of their burrow.

    "Juneau, wake up," he said, nuzzling against his bigger brother. The other rabbit snorted in his sleep, but didn't budge.

    Bismarck nudged again, harder this time. When Juneau still wouldn't answer, he took hold of his brother's scruff with his sharp front teeth and bit down just hard enough not to be ignored.

    "What's the matter with you?" Juneau growled. "I've not had a lick of sleep."

    "So I noticed. You stopped up the rain holes this time. That will mean more of them tonight, stomping all over the turf, cleaning them out. And then how will you sleep?"

    At this Juneau gave a smile, a smile that Bismarck didn't like one bit. "Maybe we won't be here tonight."

    Bismarck scowled. "I thought we agreed that we would just ignore Denver from now on!"

    "Come on, Bismarck! Don't you ever wonder what life is like outside of Partner's Corner?"

    "Why would we want to leave? We have a great life here."

    "That's because you were too young to remember."

    And there it was again. Their arguments always came down to this. Juneau was older, therefore he knew best.

    "I may be younger, but I know better than to listen to a cracked squirrel."

    Juneau rolled his eyes. "This has nothing to do with Denver. Of course he's a little nuts. But not all squirrels are like that. I remember squirrels from before you were born. When we lived in the wilderness. I'm telling you, you've never seen such a place! You've never even left the lawn, so how would you know?"

    "Oh, big deal!" scoffed Bismarck. "I hardly think peeking your head through the bars makes you worldly."

    Juneau gave a knowing smile. "And what makes you think I haven't been beyond the bars?"

    Bismarck stopped and looked at him. "Where did you get the cups?"

    "What cups?" Juneau asked, casually cleaning his face with his paws.

    "The cups you used to stop up the rain holes. I can see you getting your paws on one, but not four. Where did you get them?"

    "Alright, I'll tell you. But if I do, will you finally admit I may know more about the world than you do?"

    Bismarck merely pursed his lips and waited.

    Juneau leaned in closer, and said in a whisper. "I got them from a popcorn wagon."

    "You went outside the lawn?" Bismarck exploded. "Are you out of your mind? Don't you realize how dangerous that is?"

    Juneau crossed his paws and looked down his nose. "I do. Do you?"

    Bismarck huffed and then hopped back up the run. Juneau sighed and rolled his eyes. They had this fight all too often lately. He had no worries about chasing after his brother. There were only so many places Bismarck could go, all of them within ten feet of the rabbit hole. He licked some of the mattes out of his fur then headed up the tunnel himself.

    He caught up with Bismarck in a sunny patch near the iron railing. For a while, they just nibbled the grass together, not saying anything. At last Juneau spoke.

    "I'm going to the wilderness, Bismarck. I want you to come with me, but if you won't, I'm going anyway."

    "But what does the wilderness have that we don't have here?"

    "Freedom," Juneau said simply.

    "But we have freedom."

    "What good is it if we don't ever use it?" Juneau gave his brother a sad smile. "Come on, with me out of the way, at least you'll have the run of the place."

    They both chuckled.

    "So why did you stop the rain holes?" Bismarck asked, changing the subject.

    "I had some work to do, and I didn't want to get all wet. I figured you might not come, if I asked, so I wanted to make sure you had a way to find me. When you're finally ready to leave."

    "And how do I do that?"

    Juneau grinned. "You'll just have to ask the stars."

    Bismarck punched him and for the next several minutes, they enjoyed a good tussle on the dry morning grass.

    With the sun beating down, Bismarck was content to doze in the shade while Juneau nipped a light lunch. Early afternoon was always a lazy time for the rabbits. People went by in a blur, hurrying this way and that-any way but Partner's Corner. The brothers were free to move about their lawn at leisure. But all that changed with the onset of a piercing shriek.

    Bismarck awoke with a start. His first thought was for Juneau, and though he looked frantically, he saw no sign of him. He heard the shriek again, accompanied by a high-pitched gurgling. His heart leaped in his throat as he finally caught sight of his brother.

    A human child had Juneau by the ear. It had climbed the railing, or been put there by its parents, and was now rampaging across the lawn, dragging Juneau with it.

    By the glee on its face, it could have been just another happy person, no different than the children they saw every hour of every day. But loose inside the boundaries of the railing, naked except for a gleaming white diaper, drooling and screaming at the top of its lungs, it was a terrifying monster indeed.

    Juneau was on his back, unable to get leverage to even use his claws. He squirmed, trying to turn over, but the child seemed remarkably adept at dragging him the opposite way.

    Shrugging aside his own fear, Bismarck bolted from the run, skirting the bush, trying to keep pace with the child. He had no idea how to help. He could strike at the child, but that would likely bring the parents, and the parents would bring the groundskeepers, and then Juneau really would get his wish to leave. He had to think of another plan.

    Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of something white sticking out of the ground. It was one of the paper cups. Bismarck skidded to a halt. It seemed to him that he was on the verge of a plan, but he couldn't quite make it take shape in his mind.


    He whipped his head around and saw to his horror that the child had spotted him. It had released Juneau and was now lumbering directly towards him. It would be upon him in a second.

    "Run, you idiot!" shouted Juneau, who was himself sprinting for the safety of the juniper bush.

    Bismarck hopped backwards, unsure which way to bolt, and tripped over the edge of the paper cup. The child's shadow clouded over him.

    Without thinking, Bismarck bit hard into the paper cup and ripped it loose.

    Latent pressure exploded from the rain hole in a geyser, catching the child square in the face. Bismarck leaped through the spray and darted for the burrow. He was a good body length into the run before he skidded to a stop. He smiled in relief at his brother, but Juneau's eyes were wide, staring at something behind him.

    Drenched and gurgling happily, the child was now speeding for the juniper bush. Its thick hands suddenly stabbed into the branches, grasping for the rabbits.

    "Get down!" Juneau yelled.

    The brothers pressed themselves to the dirt as the screaming child pushed its way deeper into the foliage. A finger grazed Bismarck's back. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to become smaller. He could hear the thrashing of the arms, the snapping of branches, and the screams of glee from the child. He had never been so scared.

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    © 2008 Kevin Yee

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