Monday, 12 March 2012

DisneyQ - Part Four

DisneyQ is a Disney/Star Trek crossover novel that I wrote in 2008.

If you missed Part One, and all the explanation as to why I wrote it, you can find it here
And then you can find Part Two here, and Part Three here.

Here's Part Four

Chapter Eight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few initial laughs, always a good sign.

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

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

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

“Mike.” Mike Ridgway replied.

“Your new captain Mike everybody”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...........To Be Continued

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