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The next morning, Donny awoke to a knock at the door. He walked over to the window and looked outside to see a man in Coronado Springs uniform with the name tag reading ‘Pedro’ on his chest. He saw Donny and said “Room service.”
Donny opened the door.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“Special delivery for Donny Michaels,” Pedro said.
“I’m Donny Michaels,” the young man said hesitantly.
“Here you go, sir,” the young man in Disney uniform said as he pulled a knife out of his pocket. Jabbing in for Donny’s stomach, his fast hand was stopped by Donny’s even faster hand. He grabbed the man’s wrist, halting its momentum. He then hit it as hard as he could with a karate chop forcing the man to lose his grip on the knife.
Merle and Sean awoke to the chaos. Merle rushed over to the door and Sean sat up in bed. Merle arrived at the door to late because Donny already had the man’s arm behind his back in a position where if Donny really wanted to, he could break it without trying too hard. Sean was already on the phone with hotel security. Holding the man custody in their hotel room, Donny whipped out his pocket-sized notebook. Looking at the man, he couldn’t help laugh. The obviously hired hit-man was sitting in a desk chair fastened to it with all belts the trio brought with them on the trip.
“Who are you working for?” Donny asked. “Ha, I’ve always wanted to say that.”
“I’m not telling!” the man said struggling with his makeshift bonds.
“The less you cooperate, the worse the repercussions will be in the end,” Donny explained.
“Okay, okay, I’ll talk. I’m working for a guy named Jason Euchre. He called me up on the phone and hired me. I’ve only met him once,” the hit-man explained.
“Where did you get the uniform and name tag?” Donny asked.
“Someone in the costume department provided the costume and the name tags. I guess the name tags are old ones that were previously used by past employees,” the man hypothesized. Donny was about to ask another question, when a knock was heard at the door. Merle opened it to reveal two security guards. They walked in and undid the bonds holding the criminal in the desk chair. They put handcuffs on him and placed him under arrest. Leading him out of the room, the security guards pulled the door shut behind them. Donny glanced down at what he had just written in his pocket notebook.
About a half hour ago, I awoke to knocking at our door. I answered it to find a man dressed in Coronado Springs attire claiming to have something for me. He suddenly took a knife out of his pocket and tried to stab me but I stopped him, and Sean called security. We had time to ask him some questions so we took advantage of it. First, we asked him who he worked for. He said he was hired as a hit-man by a man he had only met once named Jason Euchre (I wonder if this is a fake name??). I then proceeded to ask him where he got the uniform and name tag. He responded with the idea that someone in the costume department was working with the culprit and was supplying Disney World costumes and name tags. That is all for now, more later.
“We don’t have to report this, do we?” asked Sean.
“Just keep quiet about it. The security guards don’t know who we are. They just think that we are someone that Jason Euchre didn’t like,” commented Merle. “Why don’t you guys take a shower and get dressed. After that we’ll get some breakfast and figure out plans for the day. Sean, I’ll help you with your shower.”
“Alright, then. I’ll go first,” Donny suggested.
“Be my guest, monsieur,” Sean joked. The other two chuckled at the joke that was obviously taken from the line in Disney’s movie, Beauty and the Beast. Turning on the television, Merle changed the channel to channel 18, the Walt Disney World tour channel. After watching, the oldest detective changed the channel to number 19 where he could find park hours.
“Well, Seanny Boy,” began Merle. “It’s between EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom. Why don’t you decide where we go, today?”
“How about the Magic Kingdom. What is that one?” Sean asked.
“Umm, that’s the park with the seven lands. I think it has Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain,” said Donny as he walked into the room, a towel wrapped around his waist. “That’s the park we went to during the E-Ride Night. Shower’s free.”
“Your turn, Sean. Do you need help or can you do it on your own?” asked the teen’s uncle.
“I think I can manage. Thanks anyway, Unc,” Sean said with a smile. Hobbling into the bathroom with his crutches, he closed the door and stripped down to his underwear. He took a washcloth off the rack and wet it down with water from the shower nozzle. He then lathered it with soap and scrubbed the most essential parts of his body. Turning off the water, he dried himself off, and put his pajamas back on. He hobbled out of the bathroom into the bedroom where Cap was waiting with a change of clothes.
“Your turn, Uncle Cap. Don’t worry. I saved you some hot water,” Sean said. Donny was already dressed and eating his breakfast of Fruit Loops and chocolate milk as was his ordinary custom.
Sean pulled some clothes out of the bureau and got dressed while watching channel 18's only show, “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah-Day!”
“So Sean,” began the older teen. “How was your sleep last night?”
“It was okay. It was hard sleeping with a broken leg. You are always trying to roll over and your leg keeps falling off the stupid pillows. It’s annoying,” Sean explained.
“Did you pick up a map of the Magic Kingdom at the front desk when we checked in?” asked Donny.
“Yeah, it’s up on top of the bureau with the rest of the maps,” explained Sean. Donny stood up and walked over to the bureau. He dug through the maps until he found the one he was looking for. Spreading it out on the bed Sean was sitting on, Donny started to look over the map. The only talking between the two until Cap got out of the shower was some “I gotta go on that!” and “That looks cool!” and “Stanley said that ride is awesome (Stanley Werdna was their Disney World-obsessing friend back home)!”
“Hey Donny, can you pour me a bowl of Fruit Loops with WHITE milk, please?” Cap asked walking out of the bathroom, fully dressed with his pajamas in his hand. He dropped them onto his cot as he walked by.
“Sure,” Donny said as he walked over to the small refrigerator next to the bureau. Fixing a bowl of the colored circles for the elder gentleman, Donny explained to Cap that he would enjoy the Magic Kingdom.
“Why’s that?” asked Sean’s uncle.
“Well, for a couple reasons, really,” began Donny. “Number one) Because you enjoy adventure and laughter. Number two) Because Stanley Werdna said that was his second favorite park after MGM.”
“You know that new movie out with Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush in it called Pirates of the Caribbean?” asked Sean.
“Yeah,” responded Cap.
“That movie is based on a ride in the Magic Kingdom. There is another movie coming out this fall with Eddie Murphy in it based on the Haunted Mansion ride which is also a ride in the Magic Kingdom,” Sean explained. Every word he said got faster and faster until he was out of breath.
“Breathe, Sean, breathe!” laughed Donny.
“What time is it?” asked Cap, who was looking at the Disney World newsletter, WORLD UPDATE which had all the times and operating hours of the parks on the back.
Sean looked at the clock. “It’s 8:23, Cap.”
“The park opens at nine. Shall we head out?” asked Cap.
“Sure. Should we call the girls?” asked Donny.
“No offense to them but I would like a day with just us three,” Sean explained. The other two agreed.
“We can call them and have them, Smiley, and Jolly meet us on Main Street tonight and we can all see Fantasy in the Sky and SpectroMagic,” Donny suggested.
“That’s a good idea, Donny,” Cap said.
“Thanks. Everyone ready?” asked Donny as he finished tying his shoes. He walked over to the bureau and put his cell phone, sun glasses, sun screen, and money in his pocket.
“Let’s go!” said Sean. Cap opened the door as Donny pushed Sean in his chair out into the hallway. They took the elevator down to the bus stop and had to run to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom.
The bus was almost empty. Other than the driver, they were the only people. Loading Sean onto the bus was no easy task. First, Cap and Donny boarded the bus. Then, the bus tilted to the side where Sean would be boarding. A platform came down and Sean wheeled himself onto it. The platform raised and the teen in the wheelchair wheeled himself into the bus. The vehicle righted itself and the platform re-attached itself to the bus. The doors closed and the bus took off.
“You know, boys,” began the bus driver. “Once you get to the Magic Kingdom, you can trade your wheelchair in for a motorized wheelchair like they have in a Meijers grocery store. That way, someone doesn’t have to push him around all day.”
“Where can we do that?” asked Cap.
“Right when you enter the park, there is a wheelchair/stroller area. That’s where you can trade it in. Daily wheelchair rental isn’t that expensive and you can leave your manual wheelchair at the rental place so when you return the motorized wheelchair, you get your manual wheelchair back,” the bus driver explained.
“How long do you get to use it for?” asked Sean.
“As long as you are in the park,” the woman explained.
“Cool, thanks for the tip,” Donny gratefully ended the conversation.
“So where’re you all from?” the woman asked.
“Michigan,” the three detectives answered all together.
“Michigan? Is it nice, there?”
“It’s okay. Mild during the summer and cold during the winter. You get used to it, though,” Cap explained.
“I see. So, is this your first time here?” she asked.
“It is my first time,” Cap said.
“Mine too,” agreed Donny.
“I’ve been here before but when I was a young child,” Sean recollected.
“Cool. Well, there are a lot of new things since you’ve been here, then,” the bus driver commented.
“On your right is the Contemporary Resort,” the bus driver informed. “We are approaching a water bridge up ahead. It is one of a few water bridges in the United States of America. Now on your right, is the indoor roller coaster, Space Mountain. We have arrived at the Magic Kingdom. Closing time is eleven pm. The SpectroMagic parade is at both nine and eleven pm and the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show is at ten pm. The bussing runs a half hour after the park closes so make sure you get here on time. Thank you for choosing Disney bussing transportation and have a magical day. Bye, bye now!”
The bus driver lowered the ramp to allow Sean off as Cap and Donny exited the bus. Donny walked over to Sean’s wheelchair and pushed him over to the entrance to the park. Merle pulled out the tickets and handed them to the person manning the turnstiles. First, Cap put his ticket in the machine and walked through. Next, Sean put his ticket into the machine and then Donny.
Donny collected the three tickets and handed them back to Cap who replaced them into his billfold. Donny wheeled Sean over to the wheelchair exchange place and got Sean a motorized wheelchair and left the manual there. Walking through the tunnel that was under the Walt Disney World railroad, the group looked at the opening scenery in front of them. They stopped in wonder of the sight of old-fashioned buildings on either side of a road with the famous Cinderella Castle ending the road. The group then proceeded down Main Street, USA which was fashioned after a turn-of-the-century Marceline, Missouri which was Walt Disney’s home town. On this street, the group found an old movie theater showing black and white films, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor called the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, and a baseball-based hot dog shop called Casey’s Corner, which was based on a poem called, “Casey At Bat”. “Casey At Bat” was about a cocky major league baseball star named Casey.
There was a sidewalk branching off of the road near Casey’s Corner and the group took it. They passed the Crystal Palace, a restaurant made of glass and arrived at the entrance to Adventureland. Upon entering Adventureland, they were greeted by the song of jungle music and bongos. As they headed for the Jungle Cruise, Donny passed a tall kid with sunglasses and a baseball cap. The kid rammed his shoulder as hard as he could into Donny’s shoulder. Donny turned around and started following the kid. Sean saw him approaching the kid.
“Donny, leave him alone,” Sean pleaded.
The kid turned around and reached his hand out for a handshake. He removed his sunglasses.
“Stanley? What are you doing here?” asked Donny shaking the kid’s hand. Stanley Werdna was fifteen years old and was one of Donny and Sean’s neighborhood friends. He was tall with blond hair and glasses. He loved Disney World and knew pretty much everything there was to know about it except dates and employees.
“My parents decided to take our summer family vacation here at Disney this year. Plus, my uncle got us discounts. What are you doing here?” Stanley explained.
“We were vacationing in Tampa but one of Cap’s friends called and gave us a case that brought us here undercover,” Sean explained.
“Sean,” Stanley laughed. “What happened to you?”
“Sabotaged ride at Animal Kingdom,” Sean said.
“Where’s Jack and your wife?” asked Cap, shaking Mr. Werdna’s hand. Jack was Stanley’s little brother.
“Jack had to go to the bathroom so Kay took him.” Mr. Werdna explained.
“I see,” Cap said.
“Oh, here they come,” Stanley observed.
“Hi, Donny, Cap, and oh! What did you do, Sean?” Mrs. Werdna asked and greeted.
“Sabotaged ride,” Sean repeated.
“I’m sorry,” the woman apologized.
“It’ll heal soon enough,” Sean explained optimistically.
“What hotel are you guys staying at?” asked Cap.
“Coronado Springs,” replied Mr. Werdna.
“Really? What building? That’s where we are staying,” asked Sean.
“Really? We are in the Ranchos building. Our room number is 7745,” said Stanley with excitement.
“We’re in the Cabanas building. Our room number is 9503,” informed Donny.
“Stanley, why don’t you spend the day with your friends? You need to be back in the hotel room at 11:30. Here is my cell phone. Dad has his if you need anything, okay?” suggested Mrs. Werdna.
“Alright, mom. Thanks! Talk to you later. Bye, Jack!” said Stanley to his little brother.
“Bye, Stanley. Have fun!” Jack responded.
“When do you go home?” Sean asked his friend.
“Tomorrow. We drove down and are driving back. How about you guys?”
“We don’t know. However long it takes for us to solve this case, I guess,” responded Donny.
The four got in line at the Jungle Cruise and waited for a little while until they arrived at the front of the line. Helping Sean out of his wheelchair and onto the boat, the two Cast Members were gratefully thanked. The boat was off and the group thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. As the Cast Members helped Sean out of the boat, the skipper told a joke to the exiting visitors.
“Make sure to gather your belongings and small children. If you forget your children, you will have thirty-six hours to claim them until they become Walt Disney World property. Their feet will be drilled to the floor and they will be taught fourteen languages in which to sing an annoying song, which is by the way, how I first got my job here.”
“What next?” asked Cap as Sean joined the other three who were watching Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats, a remote control boat piloting course.
“Well,” said Donny as he pulled out the park map. “Pirates of the Caribbean is right there. Do we want to do that, now?”
“Sure, while we’re here,” agreed Stanley.
The group went on the salty pirate-seeking adventure and headed over to Frontierland. While there, the group rode on the log flume ride, Splash Mountain (Cap sat out; he didn’t want to be wet all day), Thunder Mountain Railroad, and went to the show, the Country Bear Jamboree. Just before the group left Frontierland for Liberty Square, Stanley noticed the Frontierland Shooting Arcade.
“Check this out, guys.”
“What is it?”
“It’s the Frontierland Shooting Arcade. Sean, remember when we went to Cedar Point in eighth grade and they had those laser shooting arcades?” asked the friend of the two boys.
“Oh yeah. Is that what this is?” asked Sean.
“Yeah. Let’s watch. This guy is good at shooting. He has hit every target,” Stanley observed.
“Kyle?” the man asked. “Kyle, what are you doing here?” The man was Mr. Winkler.
“We decided to come to the Magic Kingdom today,” Sean explained. “Where’s Kara?”
“Her mom and her wanted to look through the Briar Patch store,” Mr. Winkler explained.
When his shots had run out, the man put another dollar into the machine and hit more targets.
“You are a good shot. How many have you missed?” asked Donny.
“None. Why do you ask?” the prime suspect asked.
“Just wondering. Were you in the military?”
“I guess you could say that,” the man said with a smirk on his face.
“Sean!” came a familiar squeal from behind the group.
Kara came around in front of the ECV and bent down to give him a hug.
“Like the new wheels,” Sean’s girlfriend complemented.
“Kara, this is my friend, Stanley. Stanley, this is my girlfriend, Kara,” Sean introduced. Suddenly, Stanley burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Donny.
“SEAN HAS A GIRLFRIEND?? AHA HA HA HA! Oh, my stomach. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard since I saw Finding Nemo. Oh, man,” the boys’ friend laughed.
“When was that?” asked Cap.
“Two days ago,” responded Stanley.
“Mom, can I please go with the guys? Please?” Kara begged.
“I guess. You need to be back to the hotel room at midnight,” Mrs. Winkler instructed.
As the group walked away from the elder Winklers, Donny took out his notebook.
We have just encountered Mr. Winkler at the Frontierland Shooting Arcade. We watched him take approximately fifty shots at various targets without missing a single shot. Does this leave any clue to how the culprit hit Mr. Engler in the neck and Mrs. Engler in her hotel room from a couple hundred feet away??
“Hey, the Haunted Mansion is back up and running,” said Kara. “They fixed it in five days. It must not have been a major problem.”
The group got in line and waited for a half hour until they got into the elevator-type room.
On all of the rides, the seating was set up the following way: Kara and Sean, Donny and Stanley, Merle all by himself.
Once the group had finished riding the Haunted Mansion, they walked over to Fantasyland. While there, they rode ‘It’s a Small World’, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures.
Sean looked at his watch; the face read 12:57 PM.
“I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m hungry,” commented Sean.
“Me too,” said Stanley.
“Stanley, you’re always hungry,” laughed Donny.
“So? I’m a growing boy. I need my nutrients,” Stanley objected. Everyone laughed.
“How about the Pinocchio Village Haus? They serve cheeseburgers and hot dogs,” suggested Cap, taking the map from Donny. Everyone agreed.
After lunch, Stanley made a suggestion.
“Can we please go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh?”
Everyone stared at him like he was a psychopathic maniac.
“It is an awesome ride. We went on it last time we came. I will admit that it was designed for small kids but it is fun for both children and adults,” the tall kid explained.
“Well, if Stanley says it’s fun, we’d better listen to him,” Sean said.
“Why?” Kara asked.
“Stanley knows everything about Disney World,” Sean said.
“Really? What years did the Disney World theme parks open?” asked Kara.
“The Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, EPCOT opened in 1982, Disney’s MGM Studios opened in 1989, and Animal Kingdom opened in 1998.”
“Was he right?” asked Donny.
“I don’t know, I was just wondering,” answered Kara.
“Man, today was so awesome,” commented Sean. The other four agreed. Everyone was sitting in Tomorrowland between the Carousel of Progress and Space Mountain eating ice cream cones from Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies. The time was 7:21 PM. The group had finished the Magic Kingdom at about three and decided to go on all their favorite rides again. They went on Space Mountain twice, Splash Mountain twice (Cap sat out again, both times), Thunder Mountain Railroad three times, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin three times. Donny had called Candy and told her to meet them in front of Space Mountain at eight o’ clock.
“Let’s go on Tomorrowland Transit Authority, again,” suggested Stanley.
“Alright,” agreed Donny.
“That is pretty cool,” Sean put in.
“Let’s!” Kara exclaimed.
“Hey, if I’m resting my old, tired feet, I’m happy,” commented Cap.
Sean parked his ECV at the bottom of the ramp and hopped onto the flat escalator. The group loaded onto the blue car and it zipped off.
“Welcome, TTA travelers!” came a voice over the intercom. “Whether you’re a humanoid, a robot, or an alien passenger, we would like to welcome you to Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s super skyway.”
“Please keep your hands, claws, flippers, feet, tentacles, and all other appendages in the ride vehicle at all times. Thank you,” came a female voice over the intercom.
The car first entered the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. While inside, the group saw the original plan for EPCOT Center. The car then buzzed over the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, a go-cart track where the car was attached to the track so no accidents could occur.
“Now entering Space Mountain,” came a monotonous robotic voice over the intercom. When the car had entered into Space Mountain quite a ways, Donny noticed it was so dark, he could not see his hand directly in front of his face. Suddenly, he saw stars, planets, comets, and meteors on the ceiling. Every once in a while, he saw green glow-in-the-dark strips move around like snakes on sand in the inky blackness. These, he realized were Space Mountain’s roller coaster cars. Suddenly, they were back outside. Although it was getting dark, it was much lighter outside than it was inside Space Mountain. The car passed by Tomorrowland Stage and passed over Tomorrowland where the park’s crowds was starting to thin out a little bit.
“Now approaching Carousel of Progress,” came the same monotonous robot voice. Once inside Carousel of Progress, the group saw normal services in the future such as hair cuts and pizza delivery.
Upon exiting the building, the female announcer came over the intercom.
“Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow, please come to the Astro Orbiter.”
The blue electronic car shot past the Galaxy Palace Theater and into Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Cap watched as the car passed by windows displaying the laser tag-like ride.
“Now approaching Mickey’s Star Traders,” came the mechanical voice.
The car passed by the store that sold everything from shirts and hats to candy and toys.
“Now approaching Rocket Tower Plaza,” came the voice for the final time. The car slowed down and the door opened. Kara and Donny helped Sean out and the group rode down the flat escalator to where Sean’s ECV was waiting. Sean slowly lowered himself into the motorized wheelchair and started it moving. Coming up alongside the other four, Sean asked,
“What are we going to do, next? It’s only 7:45. Candy won’t get here until eight.”
“Well, what is there to do that we haven’t done yet?” Donny asked. Everyone looked over to the building labeled ‘X-S Tech: ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounters’.
“Uh-uh. I’m not going on that. I’ve heard stories. My eighth grade science teacher was here once and she said while she was standing in line for this, adults, not kids but adults, ran out of there crying,” Stanley said.
Cap looked at Donny who looked at Sean who looked at Kara. They all looked at Stanley and grabbed him, dragging him toward the building. Holding him in line, the group celebrated that they got Stanley Werdna in line for a show he was completely terrified of. They walked right into the pre-show area without even having to wait for five minutes.
After the pre-show was done, the group made their way into the show area. Disney cast members came around and strapped the visitors in with shoulder harnesses not unlike the kind used on Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. The lights dimmed and an evil alien was zapped into a clear, glass tube in the middle of the auditorium. The alien broke out of the tube and killed the lights.
“Is everyone okay? Just sit tight and we’ll have a crew in here momentarily to capture that alien and restore the lights. Don’t make any sudden movements and don’t make any noise,” came the voice of the show’s host from somewhere in the room. Suddenly, he screamed and Donny felt something squirting on his face. The liquid was supposed to be the guy’s blood. People all over the auditorium started screaming. Suddenly, Donny felt something breathing on his neck. He heard the alien roar. Donny stopped moving, stopped breathing. Soon, the show was over and Cap, Donny, Kara, and Sean either ran or rolled out of the show crying. Stanley was the only one with a huge grin on his face.
“Let’s do that again!” he yelled.
“No!” everyone cried. Still wiping their tears, the group headed over to Space Mountain where Candy was waiting.
She ran to Donny and put her arms around him.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“A-a-alien was about to eat me!” Donny cried.
“Shh-shh-shh. It’s all right. It was pretend and is done now,” Candy tried to soothe. Suddenly, Donny felt something breathing on his neck. He jumped forward four feet and turned around. Stanley was standing there with a humongous grin on his face.
“Jerk,” Donny said, smacking his friend on the arm. Everyone laughed when Stanley started acting like he was having a seizure.
“What are you doing?” laughed Kara.
“I’m being a jerk,” laughed Stanley.
Everyone sighed away the tears and smiled.
“Candy, this is Stanley Werdna. Our friend back in Michigan. Stanley, this is my girlfriend Candy,” Donny introduced. Stanley burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Donny.
“YOU HAVE ONE TOO? HA HA AHAHA HAHAH HA. Whew, oh man. I’ve had a couple really good belly laughs, today. Oh,” Stanley hysterically laughed, putting out his hand. Candy shook it, giggling, herself.
“So, what do you guys want to do?” she asked.
“How about Space Mountain?” asked Cap. “I really enjoyed going on that.”
Everyone decided that was what they wanted to do and they got in line. Sean glanced at the sign that read ‘WAIT TIME FROM THIS POINT: 10 Minutes’.
The line quickly entered the building and down the ramp.
When the group arrived by a holographic display of a meteor, Stanley pointed something out to Donny and Sean.
“See that meteor?” he asked.
“Yeah,” the boys responded.
“You’ll see another one once we get into the boarding area on the ceiling, but that is actually a hologram of a chocolate chip cookie,” Stanley explained in a matter-of-fact manner.
“How did you know that?” asked Candy.
“Stanley knows everything about Disney World,” responded Kara, Donny, Sean, and Cap in perfect unison.
“Really?” she asked.
“Yeah, I even wrote my own Disney World guide. Would you like to see an excerpt from the Space Mountain part?” the tall boy said, pulling out an unpublished, rolled up paper book from his cargo pants pocket.
“Sure,” Candy said.
“Alright,” Stanley began reading.
“I gave it five out of five stars. The puke factor is 3. I wrote: Travel through space without even breaking the sound barrier! As one of Florida’s tallest mountains (the other two are Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad), Space Mountain is not something you would want to miss on your trip to the Magic Kingdom. Although it’s a dark and fast ride (at 28 miles per hour), and you can never anticipate the drops, the space effects are pretty cool. For instance, the strobes on the ride simulate stars in outer space. The darkness seems to get inkier and the ride seems to get scarier the farther you go. And hey! In the queue area, it that a chocolate chip cookie posing as a meteor flying overhead? All the ships have stripes of glow-in-the-dark paint on the sides so you can see the other rockets coming in this awesome roller coaster that will leave your legs shaking and your heart pounding for up to fifteen minutes after you get off the ride. I put the thrill factor at ‘high’.”
“Pretty impressive,” complemented Candy. She leaned over to Donny when Stanley wasn’t looking and asked “Does he have a girlfriend?”
“No,” responded the older detective.
“Gee, I wonder why,” commented Candy.
As the line was arriving at the boarding area, Sean noticed the ‘chocolate chip’ meteor fly by overhead.
“So, Mr. Disney World know-it-all,” began Candy.
“Yes?” asked Stanley.
“Name five rides that are being replaced and the rides replacing them,” quizzed Donny’s girlfriend.
“Mickey’s PhilharMagic is replacing a Lion King show in Fantasyland, MISSION: Space is replacing Horizons in EPCOT, Time Racers is replacing Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, Expedition Everest isn’t replacing anything in Animal Kingdom, and Stitch Encounters is replacing ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounters,” replied the self-proclaimed Disney World know-it-all.
“How in the world do you know all this?” asked the Disney employee.
“Partially because I have family that works in Animal Kingdom and partially because I am obsessed with Disney World and love researching stuff like this,” Stanley explained.
“I see,” was the only thing Candy said.
“How many in your party?” asked the cast member working on Space Mountain that sorted guests into ride cars.
“Six,” Cap answered.
“This car please,” he said as he helped Sean out of his ECV, into a regular wheelchair, and into the roller coaster car. The seating was arranged this way: in front was Sean. Behind him was Kara, then Donny, Candy, Stanley, and finally in the back was Cap. The car moved around the corner and into the first tunnel. They moved through the tunnel and up the lift hill. The lift hill opened into a room where astronauts were upside down working on part of a space station. The car then moved into another tunnel where a timer was that read ‘TIME TO IGNITION’ with numbers counting down to the right of the words. When the clock hit zero, the car moved forward and down the first hill.
Sean was thrown from the left to the right as the car was thrown around tight banked curves. Every once in a while, Sean would see stars and the beams that held the roller coaster together. Suddenly, he felt as though he were in a dream. The roller coaster car felt as if all it did were go in a circle. Next he knew, he was in a red room that had red carpet. Cap, Donny, Stanley, Kara, and Candy were all standing up on the ground and Donny and Cap were helping him out of the roller coaster car and into the ECV.
“Wasn’t that cool, Sean?” asked Donny. “Sean? Are you okay?”
“Huh? I’m- I’m fine. I just got dizzy and it put me in a state of shock,” Sean answered. “My leg is starting to hurt. Can I have some Vicaden?”
“Sure, Sean. I’ll buy you a Coke once we get out of here and you can take your medicine with it,” Cap offered.
“Thanks, Unc,” said Sean. When the six arrived back in Tomorrowland, Cap brought Sean to the Lunching Pad at Rocket Tower Plaza. Sean took his medicine and downed it with a nice cold Diet Coke. Once Sean was back to being himself, he noticed it was only 8:21.
“What do we want to do, now?” asked Kara.
“I don’t know, what do you guys want to do?” asked Stanley.
“How about we ride Thunder Mountain Railroad? After that, we can go to Main Street and get a good spot for the parade,” suggested Donny.
“Sounds good to us,” said Candy, nodding her head.
The large group made their way over to the roller coaster located in Frontierland. They walked up the handicap ramp and through the non-existent lines to the boarding area. They loaded onto the train that would carry them through the mines and raised their arms, yelling “YEE-HAW!” as the train began its journey. The car was thrown into dim light with only a few lanterns lighting the walls. Suddenly, they were on the lift hill which was a cavern, complete with radioactive pools of colored water, bats, and a waterfall at the top. After the lift hill, they rode down the hill and around the mountain. The train took them through a flooding town and through mines. The car was put on another lift hill, thrown down a mountain, and into a mine. Sean looked up just as the ceiling of the mine started to cave in on them! Suddenly, he heard the noise of a train. He looked forward to see a train coming straight at them!
They were about to collide with the other train just as the coaster car shot down an unexpected hill. The train was thrust out into the outside air and around a curve. Dinosaur bones were sticking out of the wall and the train was on a crash course with them until it dipped just below them. The train slowed down as it rode into the station. It stopped and its riders unloaded.
“I love that ride!” said Donny as the six moved down the exit ramp and into Frontierland. Candy grabbed his hand and together, the six friends walked to Main Street, USA. They stopped in front of Main Street’s shop, the Emporium and sat down on the curb. People had began assembling for the parade that would start in fifteen minutes. Kara stood up and walked over to her boyfriend who was sitting in his ECV.
“How are you feeling?” she asked, kissing the top of his head.
“Okay,” he responded. “I’m very tired. It’s been a long day of in and out of the wheelchair.”
“Yeah,” she agreed. “If you need anything, Sean, just ask. Okay?”
Sitting down, Kara looked at her Powerpuff Girls watch. The light-up face read 8:57.
“What time is it?” Cap asked.
“Almost nine o’ clock,” Kara responded.
Suddenly, music began to play over the intercom. Following the music, Jiminy Cricket’s voice was heard.
“Welcome to the splendor, the spectacle, the sparkling sensation of Disney fantasy, come to electric life.” When he said the word ‘life’, all buildings on Main Street lit up with beautiful, white Christmas lights.
Looking down the road, Donny could see the lit-up floats coming.
“Here they come!” said Stanley excitedly.
Some of the floats in the light parade included a giant fish, people riding on colored balls, scenes from famous Disney cartoon movies, and a cornucopia of other beautiful floats. At the end of the show, many people began leaving. It was only nine thirty-ish so the group decided to stay for the firework show, Fantasy in the Sky.
After watching the wonderful pyrotechnical show, the group made the short distance to the park exit. They traded the ECV back in for Sean’s manual wheelchair and headed for the turnstiles. Exiting the park, the group hurried for the bus stop where their bus would pick them up to go back to their hotel. Candy bid the other five farewell and headed to her car. Within ten minutes, their bus arrived and picked up the group and others at the bus stop. After everyone was on and Sean had been loaded onto the bus, they were off on their way to the temporary home.
They got off at the bus stop at El Centro. Kara, Donny, and Sean went back to their hotel rooms while Cap walked Stanley back to his hotel room.
Donny helped Sean get dressed into his pajamas and took three bags of chips out of the paper bag next to the refrigerator and three sodas out of the fridge. He gave two of each to Sean and kept one for himself; the two sodas and bags of chips were for both Sean and Cap. Sean pulled the covers of his bed over his body and set his leg in a comfortable position on the pillows that kept his leg elevated.
“We need to get cracking on this case, buddy. I think that Winkler is the culprit,” Donny suggested.
“No he isn’t,” said Sean.
“Stop defending your girlfriend’s dad. You don’t even know much about him,” Donny explained.
“Exactly! Neither do you. You prove to me that he is the culprit and maybe I’ll believe it.”
“Alright, then. Let’s go over the clues, shall we?” asked Donny. Sean nodded in approval. “First of all, how can Luke forget his own daughter’s name? Kara acted like she didn’t know her own mother. Kara seemed to get uptight whenever we tried asking questions about her father or even mentioned the fact her dad was a suspect. Also, did you notice how good a shot he was at Frontierland Shooting Arcade? He could have easily shot Barry Engler in a fatal spot,” read Donny from out of his pocket notebook.
“Whatever, Donny. He didn’t do it,” said Sean as the door opened. Cap entered quietly.
“Hey, guys. What are you watching?” he asked.
“We now return to ‘Sex in the City’, on HBO,” came a female voice from the television.
“Whoa, now boys!” said Cap. “Getting a little feisty or something? How about changing the channel?” asked the oldest detective, sitting down on Sean’s bed, next to his nephew. Sean handed him his bag of chips and soda.
“Sorry, Cap,” Donny commented as Sean flipped the channel to the local news channel, WSAM. “We weren’t paying attention.”
While watching WSAM, the group saw the weather for the next day. They flipped the channel to channel 18 to see what rides and shows were at EPCOT, which was the park they would go to the next day. At eleven o’ clock, Sean turned off the television. Donny and Cap got ready for bed. As soon as Cap was done, he walked over to his cot and pulled the covers up around his neck as he rolled over, facing the wall. When Donny was done, he turned off all the lights and felt his way to his bed. As soon as he was settled, he said into the darkness,
“Goodnight, Sean. Sorry about earlier.”
But Sean didn’t hear it; he was already asleep.
When Donny opened his eyes, he found he was on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Magic Kingdom. Looking to the seat next to him, he found Sean.
“What are we doing here?” he asked. Sean shrugged in response. Donny looked ahead to see the dingy in front of them enter the harbor where the pirate ship and Spanish fort were viciously battling using cannons. A cannonball hit the small dingy which shattered into a million pieces. Every person on the boat blew apart, as well.
“Oh my gosh!” yelled Donny, standing up. He felt a hand grab his arm. He followed the arm to see it was attached to Cap who was pulling him back into his seat.
“Sit down or the boat will tip,” Cap said. Donny sat down reluctantly. The dingy entered the town. The first scene that greeted Donny’s eyes was the one where the pirates were dipping the mayor in the well. Donny noticed that the mayor looked exactly like Carl Kerkstram. Blinking his eyes, he realized that the mayor was Carl Kerkstram. The boat moved further into the town into the scene where the women were being auctioned off to the pirates. Donny recognized all four of the women being auctioned. All four of them were sobbing. They were Emmy Winkler, Mrs. Werdna, Kara, and Candy!
“Candy!” Donny screamed. She saw Donny and began weeping harder. The boat didn’t slow down; it went faster. In the next scene, Donny saw Mr. Werdna sitting with his back to a barrel.
“Where is that lively lassie? She be a feisty one, she be. If ye see her, point’er out to me. I be willing to share, I be! Har, har, har!” he laughed. The top of the barrel moved up and Donny noticed it was balancing on a girl’s head. He realized the girl was Candy. Mr. Werdna’s hand moved up to reveal he was holding a transparent nightgown. Donny then saw Candy’s clothes in a pile on the ground.
“Get away from her, you jerk!” Donny yelled. Mr. Werdna began to shake, involuntarily.
“I be jerking! Har, har, har!” he laughed mockingly at Donny. Donny heard pigs on the other side of the canal. He looked to his right and saw Jolly laying on a large hog with a whiskey bottle in his hand. He heard cats and looked to find Smiley sharing his rum with a group of drunken cats.
The boat hurried through the burning town and dungeon but slowed down as it entered the gold room. The room was occupied by six drunk pirates. Donny inspected all their faces and didn’t recognize most of them. The one face he did recognize was that of the bald man with the bushy eyebrows and unkept beard. The man laughed and pointed his gun at Donny, pulling the trigger. Suddenly, Donny felt a throbbing pain in his throat. The man laughed again, but this time, his laugh resembled the ring of a telephone. The ride melted away to the inky darkness of the hotel room. His throat hurt due to the parched dryness. He must have needed a glass of water. He realized that the phone was ringing.
“Hello?” Donny said groggily into the microphone of the telephone.
“Ha-ha! Rise and shine! We got a lot to do...” Donny slammed down the phone.
“Who was it?” asked Cap.
“Wake up call,” said Donny. He stood up and walked into the bathroom.
Sean woke up with two large faces in his face. “Whoa!” he yelled, sitting up. He realized the faces were that of a well groomed Donny and a clean Cap.
“Get in the shower, Sean. We’re ready to go,” informed the boy’s friend, handing him his crutches. Sean got on the crutches and hobbled into the bathroom with clean clothes in hand. Cap was eating a banana and Donny had made his usual breakfast of Fruit Loops and chocolate milk.
“So, what rides are at EPCOT?” asked Cap. Donny reached up to the bureau and pulled down the EPCOT park guide and map.
“Let’s see,” began Donny. “There’s Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Universe of Energy, and Imagination.”
The bathroom door opened and Sean hobbled out, fully clothed on his crutches.
“You look like a penguin,” commented Donny. Both Cap and Sean laughed. Sean leaned his crutches up against the wall and sighed into his wheelchair. Cap handed Sean his camera, sun glasses, hat, sun screen, and wallet. When everyone was ready, Donny opened the door and Sean began to wheel himself out of the room.
He stopped just short of the door. “Shoot, I forgot to get breakfast.”
“Here,” said Donny handing Sean a granola bar-like package.
Sean read the package which read ‘Fruit Loops Cereal Bar’.
“Thanks, Donny!” Sean said excitedly.
“You’re welcome. I had them specially made; instead of regular milk, I had them filled with chocolate milk,” explained Donny. The other two snickered. “What?” Donny asked.
Upon entering EPCOT Center, the group was greeted by futuristic music that sounded as if it were arranged and directed by the famous John Williams who did music for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. Cap asked a Cast Member the direction to the stroller/wheelchair rental. The Cast Member pointed in the northeast and the group thanked him. Once at the rental station, Donny helped Sean transfer from his wheelchair to his ECV. The group payed and made their way toward the ‘big ball’ that housed the Spaceship Earth attraction. A sign that was placed halfway through the line read ‘35 minutes from this point’. Sean looked at his watch. The digital face read 9:57 AM.
“I have another joke for you, Sean,” Donny offered.
“Alright,” Sean accepted.
“Moses, Jesus, and an old man were out golfing together. Moses stepped up to the first hole and swung his club. He hit the ball, sending it shooting toward a forest. At the last second, the ball curved toward a water hazard. The ball was about to land in the water when Moses spread his hands. The water retreated and the ball rolled on dry land until it arrived back on the green. Jesus stepped up to the tee and swung his club. Again, the ball was moving toward the forest when at the last minute, it headed for the water hazard. Just before the ball hit the water, Jesus placed his hands face down and the ball landed on the water. It continued forward, rolling on the water, until it rolled onto the green. The old man stepped up to the tee and swung his club. Once again, the ball was heading for the forest and cut towards the same water hazard. Just before the ball hit the water, a fish jumped up and swallowed the ball. A bird caught the fish before it hit the water and carried it away. About thirty-five feet away from the hole, lightning hit the bird, which dropped the fish, which landed on the ground. When the fish hit the ground (which was about ten feet away from the hole), the ball rolled out of its mouth and into the hole. The man raised his club into the air and said,
‘Yes! Hole in One!’
‘Nice job,” congratulated Jesus. “Now, dad, would you stop showing off?’”
Sean and Cap started laughing. They were laughing so hard that people around them began giving them strange looks. Sean looked at their position in line and noticed they were just shy of going into the building. When the line began moving, the trio found themselves in one of four legs that held the geodesic sphere up.
“I read somewhere that this building was the first geodesic sphere ever to be created as a building,” informed Cap.
“Interesting,” the two detectives said. When the group arrived in the loading room, they found that the ride was non-stop, as Tomorrowland Transit Authority was.
“How many in your party?” asked a Cast Member.
“Three,” answered the three detectives in unison.
Donny and Cap got in the first car and a Cast Member helped Sean out of his ECV and into the second car. And then they were off! As the car made its way up the steep hill, traveling back into the time of the Neanderthal, Sean leaned his head back and listened to the presentation. Up ahead was a large screen with clay-looking pictures of cavemen, with horrified looks on their faces. Turning a corner, the scenery opened up to them to reveal a family of Neanderthals, complete with children. One cave-boy was putting a hand-print of paint on the wall of the cave.
Continuing forward, the visitors found themselves in ancient Egypt to the time of Pharaoh. The car continued on through the renaissance era, past Da Vinci painting a picture on the ceiling of the Cysteine Chapel, and into the time of Johann Gutenberg and the printing press. The car continued on through time to the early telephone times where operators had to manually connect phone lines. Visitors saw radio stations, television stations, and movies. Suddenly, the car stopped climbing and a breathtaking view opened up to the guests. In front of them was the pitch darkness of space, and hovering above the cars, was the earth.
The car turned around and started moving backwards. The car turned a corner and started descending on a steep decline. Futuristic kinds of communication were shown like virtual reality video games and digital telephones. Sean looked above him and saw lines of colored light shooting backwards.
“Please remain seated as we re-enter earth’s atmosphere,” came a woman’s voice through the speakers placed on either side of Sean’s head. Looking to his left, Sean saw clouds surrounding a suspended geodesic sphere that was Spaceship Earth. When the car arrived to the bottom of the hill, a girl’s voice came through the speakers.
“Hi! After you exit the ride, come visit the New Global Neighborhood! It’s a showcase of futuristic communication technologies. Well, see ya soon!”
The door of the car opened and Sean hopped off of the car and into his ECV, which was waiting for him at the ride’s exit queue. Cap and Donny were waiting for him.
“Let’s check out that Global Neighborhood thing,” suggested Donny.
“Alright,” said Sean. Stepping through sliding doors, the group found themselves in a room covered in wires and television screens. Goofing around for a few minutes, they put their faces on the televisions and played an oral video game.
“What time is it?” asked Donny. Sean looked at his watch. The face read 10:21.
“Well, let’s start with the Universe of Energy, and work our way around,” suggested Donny. The trio slowly walked over to the building completely powered by the solar panels on the roof. Entering the building, the group found themselves in a theater with three screens. Within a few minutes, the lights dimmed and Ellen Degeneras from the hit television show, ‘Ellen’, was found in her apartment, watching her favorite television show, ‘Jeopardy’. Her old roommate, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, was one of the players in the show. A knock on Ellen’s door was heard and she yelled,
In walks Bill Nye, asking for simple kitchen items for an experiment he was performing. After gathering the things he needs, he leaves and shuts the door behind him. Ellen falls asleep on her couch and dreams she is on ‘Jeopardy’. She is facing off against her roommate and Albert Einstein. Alex Trebeck asks a question about energy and Ellen doesn’t know it. Suddenly, everything stops. Ellen leaves her podium and walks around, trying to figure out what is going on.
The lights come on in the theater and the doors open. All the visitors walk through the doors and into a huge theater with a gigantic screen. They load into theater chairs and the lights dim, once again. Ellen and Bill come on screen and start talking.
Donny leaned over to Sean and said to him,
“I don’t think it’s Winkler anymore, Sean.”
“I’m glad you came to your senses,” Sean said in return. “Do you have any idea who else it might be, then?”
“That guy,” Donny said, pointing to a man who was sitting only a few rows ahead of the trio. It was the bald man with the unkept beard and bushy eyebrows.
“He has been around a lot whenever bad things happen, hasn’t he?” asked Sean. Donny nodded.
“You may want to cover your ears!” came Bill Nye’s voice from the theater speakers. The two boys looked at the screen when a terrible, roaring boom erupted. It lasted for close to ten seconds and subsided.
“That’s a big boom,” commented Ellen. Suddenly, Ellen and Bill were found in a pre-historic forest with evil sounding roars coming from all around. The theater seats started moving in a jolting movement through doors that opened underneath the movie screen. The seats split up into four groups with Cap, Sean, and Donny’s group first. The group of seats passed long-necked dinosaurs mowing on greens from the bottom of a lake. The group of seats passed Ellen fighting off a serpent-looking dinosaur and underneath a volcano. The theater seats entered into another pitch dark theater.
“Breaking news,” came a voice through the theater’s speakers. “A meteor has hit the Earth. I repeat: a meteor has hit the Earth, killing all the dinosaurs.” The screens lit up with Ellen and Bill in a helicopter flying over a dam. Bill explained the different methods of reaping energy. Ellen found herself back on the set of ‘Jeopardy’ with time still frozen. She took her place behind her podium and time resumed. Ellen answered the question Alex asked her and got the points for it. She answered every question asked her correctly leaving Albert in her dust. Albert left the game with zero points with Ellen and her former roommate closely pointed.
Alex asked the final Jeopardy question and Ellen got it right, scoring higher than Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, allowing her to win the game. Ellen woke up from her dream and the group exited the theater.
“What time is it now?” asked Cap. We had to have been in that theater for over a half hour.”
“It is 11:06,” answered Donny, glancing at his cell phone.
“Is there anything good to see at the Wonders of Life?” asked Sean.
“There is Body Wars, which is a flight simulator ride, Cranium Command, which just looks like a show, and the Making of Me which explains where babies come from,” explained Donny, reading from the EPCOT map and park guide.
“Cranium Command looks interesting,” commented Cap as the three entered the building that housed the health-themed attractions. Walking into Cranium Command’s pre-show area, the group watched the short cartoon. They entered the show area and sat down. Through this 18 minute show, the trio recognized actors such as Dana Carvey and many other comedians. The group learned through a fictitious manner how the brain communicates with other parts of the body to keep the whole package from going down the drain in disaster.
The group exited the circular building that housed the Wonders of Life pavilion and headed past the not yet opened Mission: SPACE attraction to the top thrill ride in EPCOT, Test Track; a fast pace ride where Disney guests are transformed into crash test dummies and put through various tests. The line time was close to an hour and a half long so Cap went to get the group Fast Pass tickets. Coming back, Cap put the tickets in his billfold.
“What time do we need to come back?” asked Donny.
“1:30 to 2:30,” Cap responded. “We got some bonus tickets with our normal tickets for ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.’ That Fast Pass return time is 1:45 to 2:45.”
“That’s nice,” said Sean, graciously, to no one in particular.
“Well, let’s go to The Living Seas,” suggested Donny.
“How about hitting the Innoventions buildings on the way?” asked Cap. “We can get some lunch, too.”
“Good idea. On the map, a restaurant called the Electric Umbrella, is suggested. It is located just outside Innoventions East,” explained Sean. The group dodged other guests and entered the Innoventions East building. While there, the group toured the House of the Future, viewed an exhibit on the upcoming Mission: SPACE ride, and played video games. Exiting the building, the group headed for Innoventions West and walked through there finding an exhibit on damaging household items, called ‘How Many Times Will it Take?’ After they were done in that building, the group hurried over to the Electric Umbrella to get some lunch. Carrying their cheeseburgers outside beneath the large purple umbrella that covered the dining area, the group sat at a table close to the fountain in Innoventions Plaza. Music belted from speakers that seemed not to exist from around the plaza. A spray of water shot from the fountain and began a water show that was set corresponding to the music. At the end, everyone clapped, although there were no performers.
“That was kinda cool,” commented Donny. He looked at the two-way cell phone clipped at his belt. The time was 12:54. Three guys walked by wearing hard hats carrying large, tin garbage cans. The trio’s gaze followed the three strange men to the Innoventions East breeze way. The men stopped and put their garbage cans on the ground.
“We are the Jammitors!” one of them yelled. The three detectives threw away their garbage and made their way over to the strange trio. The three men took drumsticks and other odd items out of the garbage cans. Flipping the garbage cans over, the three men began banging on the bottoms. The group was obviously some kind of percussive clean-up crew. After the show was done, the crowd of people around the make-shift drummers applauded and dispersed.
“Thank you! Thank you! We’ll have another show tomorrow and one on Thursday!” said the lead drummer.
“Well, it is one o’ clock. How about we go to the Living Seas?” suggested Sean, looking at the map.
“Alright,” said Cap as the three made their way toward the pavilion covered in 5.7 million gallons of water. The group rode the short ride to Sea Base Alpha and explored the mini-attractions featured. Afterwards, the friends made their way to the Land pavilion and rode the Living with the Land ride. While on Living with the Land, the three learned about hydroponics and different biomes.
After the group exited the Land pavilion, they headed back to Test Track for their Fast Pass return. While waiting in the entrance queue, the group walked through a zero sound chamber and past car and crash dummy construction areas. The threesome walked up to a door where they and other guests waited to enter through the door. The door opened and the group entered into a room where a group of television sets awaited them. The door shut and the lights dimmed as the pre-show began. A man came to the television set and started explaining the trip through the tests. After the show was done, the doors on the opposite side of the room opened and the group entered the ride boarding area where the test cars were awaiting them.
The threesome boarded their car and rode ahead to the seatbelt check station.
“All systems go,” came the voice over the car’s sound system. The car started uphill at a constant rate until they arrived in another room. The car went through various tests like anti-lock brake tests, hot and cold chambers, and a collision test when the ride hit its climax; a gut-wrenching, 65 mph, vertical banking track. At the end of the ride, the group saw their picture that was taken shortly before the collision. Also, the group saw a showcase of cool new car models that could arrive on the market soon. Exiting the building, the two walkers and the one motorist headed over to the Imagination! pavilion.
“So, what is the description of this ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Audience’ show?” Cap asked Sean while the group gave the Cast Member their Fast Passes at the return area.
“It says ‘You are invited to the inventor-of-the-year awards in this 3-D adventure film. But be prepared- things at these awards tend to get out of hand.’ Sounds cool!” Sean exclaimed as the group entered into a pre-show area. A film came on promoting Kodak, which was Imagination’s sponsor. The automatic doors opened to the left and the group walked or wheeled into the theater seats. Putting on the 3-D glasses they picked up at the door, the group watched as the show began. They watched as the multiplication ray multiplied one mouse to one million mice that were accidentally released into the audience. Screams were heard all over the theater as the mice ran around people’s ankles and past their legs. Later in the show, the theater was accidentally shrunk to the size of a small shoebox. The shrink ray was fixed and the audience was resized as a dog ran through the ray. The curtains closed and the gigantic dog stuck his head through the curtain. He looked at the audience and sneezed, sending snot everywhere onto the audience.
Everyone yelled as they were grossed out. The theater doors on the left opened and the audience exited. Cap, Donny, and Sean headed next door to Journey into Imagination with Figment, a ride that engaged imagination and senses starring a small purple dragon. Riding the short ride, the group laughed as their senses of smell, sound, and sight were tested. Exiting the ride, the group played around in ImageWorks, a interactive imagination playground. Exiting back into the hot, Florida air, the group worked their way out of Future World and into the World Showcase. The group walked past the Totem Pole sporting Canada, past the old English-looking United Kingdom, and past the France Pavilion with a model of the Eiffel Tower, which was one-seventh the size of the real tower. The threesome dawdled past the tile-infested Morocco, the symbolic tower of Japan, the old-fashioned American building, the living statues of Italy, and Glockenspiel of Germany. The group took their time past China and hurried into Norway to go on the thrill ride, Maelstrom. The three detective/tourists boarded the Pirates of the Caribbean-like boats and went back in time to the time of the Vikings. Cap, Donny, and Sean absorbed the sights of a Norwegian town where Vikings were preparing to go to sea. The boat passed polar bears on a glacier and entered a forest. They turned and rode up a river when a rock in front of the boat moved up and roared. It wasn’t a rock at all; it was a troll! The boat started moving backwards past other trolls. Suddenly, the sound of a waterfall filled Sean’s ears. He looked behind him and found that they were heading straight for a large waterfall!
The boat leaned over the waterfall about five feet and turned just in time to shoot down a hill and into the North Sea. Lightning flashed through the pitch dark sky to illuminate a close run-in with the concrete legs of an oil rig. The storm calmed and the boat headed into a small harbor where the passengers unloaded and headed into a theater. The show hadn’t started yet and the trio didn’t want to watch the show, so the three quickly walked and wheeled through the theater and out into a shop that led to outside. The group exited the building and headed next door to the Mexico pavilion.
“How could stores, restaurants, and a ride fit inside that small pavilion?” Sean asked himself as he stared at the Mexico pavilion which closely resembled the Mayan pyramid that was at the center of Coronado Springs’ swimming pool. The group entered the pavilion to find a small room that held Mexican trinkets in glass display cases. They walked past the cases to find a huge room that made them feel like they were stepping into a small Mexico town at night. All around them was a Mexican bazaar. There was a restaurant down by the river. A volcano spewing lava was on the wall with a starry night sky as the background. To the left was a line that was leading to El Rio Del Tiempo: The River of Time. The group walked through the crowded streets of the Mexican town and made their way to the calm boat ride that brought them through the history of Mexico from the Mayans and Aztecs to the present day.
After the group was done, they exited back outside into the Florida sunshine.
“What time is it?” asked Cap.
Sean looked at his digital watch. “Four o’ clock,” he answered.
“Shall we make our way to the entrance?” asked Donny.
“Yeah, but first I want to check something out,” suggested Cap. “When I was walking Stanley back to his hotel room the other night, he mentioned this place in Innoventions Plaza called the Cooling Station. It is a place where you can test different Coca-Colas from different countries. It is the place with the igloo and snowplow in front.”
The group went through the Cooling Station and made their way to the park, turning the ECV back in for the manual wheelchair. They exited the park and got on the bus that would take them back to their hotel.
Lately, we have been seeing this man following us around. I don’t know if it is a coincidence that he is everywhere we are whenever something bad happens or if he is causing the bad stuff to happen. He is a man that looks approximately fifty-five years old with bushy eyebrows, an unkept beard, and a bald head. He seems to look at us a lot whenever we spot him. Could the culprit of Mr. Engler’s murder not be Mr. Winkler? Could it be ‘Shaggy?’
“Donny, we are at the hotel,” Cap informed once the Disney Transportation bus arrived at Coronado Springs. He flipped the pocket notebook shut and stuck it in his pocket. Stopping at the Pepper Market in El Centro, the group got dinner and headed up to their room. Donny decided to stop at the front desk to see if Candy was working.
“Okay, we’ll be up in the room,” Sean informed.
Walking into the lobby, Donny saw a dazzling looking girl smiling at someone that was checking someone in. After the other guests left, Donny stepped up to the counter.
“Hello, I would like to check out the girl working at this desk,” Donny said to Candy.
“What do you think this is?” she asked. “A library? I get off work at seven. Come back then and we’ll do something. I’ve got tomorrow off,” Candy said.
“Cool. I’ll be back later,” Donny said looking at his cell phone. The face read 5:14. Heading up to the hotel room, Donny ran up the stairs to join his best friend and Cap.
Arriving at the hotel room, Sean and Merle were discussing the topic of Shaggy.
“It just can’t be Mr. Winkler, Uncle Cap,” Sean whispered as they arrived at their hotel room. Cap slid the key into the lock and pulled it out quickly. The lock gave a little beep and flashed a green light, signaling it was unlocked. Cap opened the door and pushed Sean into the room, flipping on the lights. The room in the light was found as if a tornado had attacked it. The chairs were all over the room, the beds torn apart, their toiletries in a heap on the ground. Clothes were pulled out of the bureau and laying on the floor. Sean pushed his way toward the bathroom mirror with a look of horror etched onto his face. A message had been written in toothpaste on the mirror.
You boys had better watch out.
I am angry and cant find what I want.
So watch your backs. I’ll see you...
But you wont be seeing me!
“So, he wants something of ours?” Sean asked. “What is there he needs that is of value to the capture of the perpetrator?”
Donny suddenly walked through the door. He was smiling but when he saw the room, his jaw dropped.
“What happened?” he almost yelled.
“Looks like Shaggy had a bit of a field day in our room,” Cap explained.
“Well, let’s clean it up before anyone sees it,” Donny urged nervously. When they were done cleaning the room, they sighed and fell onto their beds. A knock was heard from the door. Going over to the door, Donny peeked through the eyehole. Standing in the hallway was Sean in a wheelchair and Donny. Donny looked over his shoulder to see that Sean was on his bed.
“Who is it?” asked Sean with a look of concern on his face.
“It’s me and Sean,” Donny answered. Cap and Sean walked and hobbled over to the door and took their turns at the eyehole. When the Cap that was in the hallway knocked on the door, all three detectives jumped.
“Open the door, Donny,” Sean and Cap said, stepping back four feet. Donny opened the door to reveal the other Sean and Cap in the hall. Suddenly, the Sean in the hall stood up. He seemed taller and more well built than Donny’s real partner. Also, the facial features on both look-alikes in the hall seemed stressed or exaggerated.
“Hello, boys,” came a familiar voice from the mouth of the Donny look-alike. It was the voice of Jolly.
“Jolly?” Cap broke into a grin, sticking his hand out.
“Merle,” the Sean look-alike said, taking his turn at shaking Cap’s hand.
“Hello, Jolly and Smiley,” Sean said, hopping forward.
“These are good,” Donny commented to the two security guards. “What are they for?”
“Just to freak you guys out,” explained Jolly. “Let’s go to MGM for the evening. You guys don’t have anything planned, do you?”
“No, that’s fine,” said Cap.
“Before we leave, can we wash off the make-up and stuff?” Smiley asked.
“Sure,” said Sean.
“Alright,” said Donny. “Let me call Candy. Where should I tell her to meet us and when?”
“How about on New York Street by the blue van near the twenty-five miles per hour speed limit sign at nine?” asked Candy.
“Sounds good,” commented Donny. Dialing the front desk on the phone, Donny gave Candy the details of where to meet them at nine. He hung up and the group made their way down to Jolly’s Dodge Ram in the parking lot. Piling in, Jolly drove them to the movie studio theme park.
“Cap, how would you like to have a job in the wardrobe department to investigate where all the costumes are coming from?” asked Jolly.
“COOL! Do I get to dress up like Mickey?” Cap yelled, giddily.
“Hey, quiet down. Inside voices,” Smiley said as Jolly pulled into the parking lot. “No, I think they’ll start you out in the wash area.”
Cap helped Sean out of the car and into his wheelchair. He pushed Sean into the park and to the ECV rental place.
The group took a left when they arrived in the center of the park where the giant Mickey hat stood. They passed the dinosaur infested Echo Lake and headed for the Ewok Village which served as the queue entrance for the Star Tours ride.
Jolly walked up to the Cast Member taking Fast Passes from guests and whispered something in his ear. The Cast Member waved the five through the Fast Pass turnstile and allowed them to enter the building. Instantly the five found themselves in a hangar that advertised Star Tours, an intergalactic travel agency that could transport guests to any planet in the galaxy. Sean noticed up in the booth, three Mon Calamari who seemed to be watching over guests while working.
Turning a corner, the quintuplets were greeted by the famous droid duo, the golden C3PO and the squat R2D2, who was placed in the top of a Star Tours ship. Every once in a while, the lasers on the StarSpeeder would go off and 3PO would freak out. Turning another corner, the five law enforcers entered a room where droids were being built. Passing chatty droids that would tell jokes, the queue wound its way into a room where the guests would board the StarSpeeders. The automatic doors opened and the group of Disney tourists filed into the StarSpeeder. The five detectives were seated in the very back row.
The doors shut and the lights dimmed. A television in the wall on the right side lit up with C3PO acting like a flight attendant.
“Hello, and welcome to flight 376 en route to Endor. Please fasten your seatbelts at this time,” the droid explained as the StarSpeeder began to rise. After the golden droid finished his spiel, the face of another droid, voiced by Paul Rubens who was Pee Wee Herman in the eighties and nineties, appeared on the screen.
“Hello, my name is Rex. We will be leaving momentarily. This is your first time flying? It’s mine, too,” the droid explained.
“Star Tours flight 376, you are clear for departure,” a voice came over the intercom.
“Well, I think it’s alright to lower the flight shield,” Rex suggested. The wall in front of the StarSpeeder lowered to reveal Rex in the metal flesh. “Here we go!”
The car made a wrong turn and went into the Maintenance Bay and narrowly escaped crashing as it escaped through a small hole in the wall.
“Whew, that was close!” Rex yelled. “Activate hyper speed en route to Endor, R2!” The StarSpeeder seemed to get weightless as the ship shot into hyperspace. The television on the right wall said ‘Approaching Endor.’ A green planet quickly passed by and the message on the television changed to ‘Leaving Endor.’
“R2! You missed our exit!” Rex yelled angrily to the navigator droid who was stationed in the top of the ship. The StarSpeeder exited hyperspace and found itself heading into a cluster of icy comets. After crashing through, the car was caught in a tractor beam.
“Star Tours?” came a bewildered cry from an X-wing that shot by. “What are you doing here? Anyways, ease up on your main thrusters.” Rex complied and the ship was broken from the tractor beam.
“Let’s move in, men!” came an order from the lead X-wing pilot. The other X-wings followed him toward the death star. The StarSpeeder followed close behind and entered the trench behind the lead X-wing. The X-wing dropped a torpedo and pulled out of the trench. “We got it!” yelled the lead X-wing. The StarSpeeder shot out of the trench.
“Engage hyperspeed,” came the voice of the lead X-wing pilot. The stars around the ship elongated and the passengers of the StarSpeeder were forced into their seats. The ship came out of hyperspace and the passengers found themselves heading toward the hanger on Endor. He pulled into the hanger and tried stopping. The StarSpeeder wasn’t slowing down and it was heading straight for a tank of explosive and highly flammable gasoline. Rex threw the yoke to the left and skidded the StarSpeeder sideways to help slow it down so it didn’t hit the tank of gasoline.
The ship skidded to a halt. “Well, thank you for riding StarSpeeder flight number 376 to Endor. I am your pilot Rex and...” said Rex, when suddenly, the shield went up, halting his speech. A loud “HEY!!” was heard from the other side of the shield as the lights in the cabin came on. The audience/riders unbuckled their seatbelts and exited the moving theater. Walking out, the quintuplets found that there was a long hallway they had to walk down in order to exit the ride area. Heading down the hallway, the group picked up Sean’s ECV and headed through a black, opaque sliding door. They found themselves in Tatooine Traders, a Star Wars themed shop that sold Disney pins, lightsabers, and old school Star Wars action figures. Walking through the shop, the group looked at the Star Wars merchandise.
Sean purchased a Star Tours pin featuring Rex and Donny bought a Star Tours tee shirt. The group exited the store and decided to see Jim Henson’s MuppetVision 3D- a 3D show featuring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Sweetums, the Swedish Chef, and the rest of the Muppet gang.
In the queue, Donny noticed a net on the ceiling full of jello.
“What is that?” Donny asked Jolly and Smiley.
“It’s a net full of jello,” answered Sean.
“Put the words together or say them fast,” Jolly suggested. The group paused for a few minutes trying to figure out the significance of the suspended net that was full of the wiggly gelatin.
“Annette Funicello!” yelled Cap. Everyone laughed. Annette Funicello was a famous actress that was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club. She was also in movies such as the Shaggy Dog.
“That’s funny,” commented Sean.
The queue featured a sign that read ‘THE KEY IS UNDER THE MAT’. Sean looked down to find the mat and picked it up. Sure enough, there was a key underneath. The group laughed hysterically
After watching the pre-show, the group entered the 3D theater. The show began as soon as everyone was seated. The show followed the Muppets as they tried to contain ‘the Spirit of 3D’ that Honeydew and Beaker accidentally created. The show ended with the Swedish Chef blowing holes in the wall of the theater with a cannonball while trying to kill a chicken for his stew.
The group walked out of the theater and headed for the Tower of Terror. Donny looked at his cell phone and cringed. The face of the phone read 9:10. The group turned around and headed for New York Street. Donny found Candy sitting on the curb next to the 25 mile per hour sign wearing a sky blue spaghetti strap top with a pink jacket and light brown mini-skirt. The group headed for the Tower of Terror for something to do.
When they arrived in front of the salmon colored hotel, the group found that the front of the hotel was blocked by a forest of tall trees. They took a path through the forest and through the main courtyard. The fountain in the courtyard was dry with cracked tiles and had weeds growing through the broken tiles. Entering the lobby, the guests found the concierge’s desk abandoned with his spectacles still sitting there. Everything was terribly dusty and unkept. The guests entered the hotel library while creepy elevator music played. The library got dark and lightning could be seen through the curtained window.
A television set on one of the shelves came to life, featuring Rod Serling.
“Welcome to the Twilight Zone. What you are about to see on tonight’s episode is something totally different than you have ever seen before because this time, you are the main characters. Many years ago, five people were in an elevator when lightning struck the building. The people disappeared,” he explained. Stepping aside, Rod Serling revealed a service elevator. “This is a service elevator. It will take you directly to...The Twilight Zone.” Cue in the creepy Twilight Zone music. The group exited the library and entered a boiler room complete with very large heaters. There were water stains on the walls. Sean realized that one in particular resembled the silhouette of Mickey Mouse.
The group filed into boarding lines. The door of the service elevator in front of them opened to reveal that it had no passengers.
“Where’d they all go?” asked Cap in mock nervousness.
“Donny,” Sean said, waving Donny to him. “What ever you do, do not sit in the middle seat in the back row. Stanley warned me of it. It is called the brave seat. It doesn’t have a lap bar. It only has a seat belt.”
“Alright, thanks buddy,” Donny gratefully answered. The cast member in charge of the loading for the group’s elevator was a man dressed in bellhop clothing. He helped Sean out of his ECV and into a manual wheelchair and then into a seat on the elevator in the back left corner. Cap sat next to Sean followed by Jolly and Smiley. Donny looked around for any available seats. The elevator was full except one seat. It was between Smiley and Candy. Donny was terrified. The available seat was the brave seat.