MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 6: LADY TREMAINE #mayhemofthemouse

In the aftermath of the first presidential debate and the messed up comment about cutting PBS’ funding (ON PBS, mind you—that’s ballsy) and threatened layoff of Big Bird, a bunch of internet memes proliferated (big word of the day). One of them had a picture of Big Bird with a tie on, looking for a job with a caption that read, “Shit Just Got Real.”

And that’s precisely what happened folks. In my zeal to hit you day in a day out with Mickey Mouse-themed villainy, we had a little bout of “real shit” here on the ranch. And that real shit threw me off my game. So, I’m playing catch up here and somewhere between fighting the Day Job Dragon, working through that real shit, and taking the Honey Badger to a Justin Beiber concert tonight (yes, you read that right), I’m getting back on track. And first, we have Cinderella’s evil Stepmother, Lady Tremaine.

On the surface, your girl isn’t all bad: she looks okay (she ain’t the Evil Queen), she’s taking care of her two butt-ugly daughters and child that ain’t hers, Cinderella. That’s noble, right? She didn’t make Cinderella a ward of the state—she just treats her foul and kicks back and collects that SSI. Cinderella becomes more Natalie and less Blair, life isn’t fair, yada yada yada.

That’s actually not what makes Lady Tremaine foul to me. I have 2 issues with this chick: first, they have a cat and still have QUITE the rodent problem. Second, seriously can you not see how whopped AND untalented the daughters are? Come on, man!

I don’t know what Disney’s affinity is for rodents—one mouse is fine. Mickey’s a bucktoothed redneck who walks around with no shirt and just pants. I can deal with that. But when you make a whole movie about a rat cooking 5 star meals IN A RESTAURANT, I want to vomit. Ratatouille was freaking disgusting! And there are rodents everywhere in Disney but notably in Cinderella. What is the value of the cat? The cat’s name is LUCIFER and he is shittiest mouser ever! Even Tom made a valiant effort—this clown is so poor the mice can come and go, take sewing lessons at JoAnn Fabrics and manufacture an ENTIRE DRESS under his nose. My problem with Lady Tremaine is, she HAS to know she got mice and is oblivious. And it is this oblivousness that leads me to my second issue.

Her daughters are shook! I mean seriously! SHOOK! They look and sound ugly, cannot sing nor play their instruments, dress like a LaBelle’s catalog threw up on them. And your girl cannot see it. Look, as a parent, you know your kids. When I turn on the news and see something blow up I immediately do an internal account of the Honey Badger’s whereabouts. If I hear screams in the middle of the day, it’s entirely possible The Boy has seen his shadow. You know your kids. And this woman sticks these whopped ass women in front of the prince like they are some kind of catch. She knows they’re all gonna live together with a bunch of cats. She knows the best future for her daughters is the Sisters of Saint Something or Other.

You know what’s really foul about Lady Tremaine? She’s a cockblocker. Seriously. She knows Cinderella is the hot one. She does. So she keeps her dirty and in Kmart clothes. She knows who Cinderella is at the ball and hates on her, throwing them boogerwolves at the prince. And when the dude comes by looking for the other shoe, she knows damn well her sugar-foot daughters can’t fit the shoe AND she knows who can. And sends Cinderella to her room. Cockblocking! Cinderella got one chance to get out that rat-infested house and Lady Tremaine tries to block.

Foul, man. Foul.

Next up, God of the Underworld: HADES!!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 3: CAPTAIN HOOK #mayhemofthemouse

Number three in our line up of Disney’s usual suspects is the big-hatted, blouse-y shirted, fisherman-friendly prosthetic-wearing original Disney pirate: Captain Hook.

I usually go into movies either strongly in the hero’s column (like Rocky or Spidey or Iron Man) or at least hero-neutral: rarely do I have strong negative feelings about a hero. Except for Peter Fucking Pan. I hate the fairy, I really do, and I’m not entirely certain why. He’s just kinda creepy to me and when a yellow sweater vest-wearing, ET-loving, Macaulay Culkin-hugging Michael Jackson said ol Petey was his favorite, that was the nail in the coffin. And I love Michael Jackson but…I just didn’t feel right.

So knowing that I HATE Peter Pan, you can imagine I was pretty excited about Captain Hook. Oh, you hate his lil ass too? Great! I’ve only seen this movie once and it was a long time ago and I hope I never see it again. Yes, it was that fantastic. Captain Hook spends the movie chasing Peter Pan and his band of Bebe kids because Peter cut off his hand. Now, Hook has his own issues: aside from his infatuation with a group of perpetually 8-year-old boys, Hook lives in terror of a crocodile that thinks he’s a two-piece dinner and stalks him because he tastes good.

Now, I’m a little concerned about the man’s obsession with a Justin Beiber lookalike in green tights. I get the kid cut off his hand and everything but does it not strike anyone as a lil disconcerting Hook’s perpetual focus on a group of small boys? This obsession leads him to attempted murder, kidnapping, imprisonment—and none of his focus on adults. Captain Hook is a poor pirate; he’s an angry schoolbus driver in frilly clothes. And, the truth is, the foulest villain in the whole movie was Tinkerbell. That chick got so jealous of Wendy, she tried to get Hook to kill her.

The whole movie is a hot mess and the catalyst for everything is that Wendy has gotten too old to be sleeping in the same room with her brothers. I’m a parent: the end of this story is Wendy gets her own freaking room and everybody grows the fuck up. The End, right? But no, we get Peter teaching people how to fly, evading Captain Hook, leading an expedition against the “Indians” that live on the island (one of which Captain Hook kidnapped). Peter Pan refuses to grow up, Captain Hook is both jealous of Peter and eager to see him dead, Tinkerbell is in love enough with Peter that she’s willing to kill. And the crux of the movie is the kids really want parents and structure and Peter Pan wants to deny them what they need.

In the end, Captain Hook has one redeeming quality: he is so vehemently opposed to not growing up. Peter Pan is his enemy because Peter Pan represents a level of immaturity that the movie seems to reject—ever Peter’s own people reject it. The entire movie is about time and maturity and growing up: Peter’s immaturity hampers Hook by cutting off his hand and the inevitability of Hooks eventual death is chronicled by the ticking clock in the crocodile. Geez, I got deeper than I wanted. I’m still not a fan but Hook’s a winner because he hates Peter Pan more than I do. And I HATE Peter Pan.

And that’s the deal! I will catch you guys tomorrow! And, don’t forget, join the giveaway! Swing by amandabellestarr.com and submit your entry!

MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE Day 2: URSULA #mayhemofthemouse

And you came back! Look at you got a little streak going and everything! I’m so proud! So welcome back, friends and foes, to another FAN-tastic episode of Mayhem of the Mouse—the place where we look at some of our favorite Disney villains and then talk about what’s wrong with them.

Now, I fully planned on talking about Captain Hook today and, if you’ve been paying attention, you know I am no fan of Peter Pan. But that sounded too much like right so I decided to switch things up to Ursula from the Little Mermaid. Why the switch? In the litany of disturbing Disney deaths there are some doozies: Mufasa getting trampled by wildebeests in The Lion King; the boy having to shoot his own dog in Old Yeller; Clayton getting hung by vines in Tarzan. But I have to say Ursula’s death in the Little Mermaid takes the cake.

That chick got stabbed. By a boat.

Go back and read that again. Stabbed. By. A. Boat. I’ve seen some big MFs in the movies in my day—you know I’m a Godzilla fan. I love some Jaws. I’ve even read Moby Dick (see! I can read!) In exactly none of those instances was the gigantic beast impaled by a nautical vehicle. That’s a Jenny Craig ad for your ass. Stabbed by a boat.

Anyway, I figured since I was so stuck by her death, I might as well explore her living years too, huh? So, if you’ve never seen the Little Mermaid, you’ve missed the cutest lil thing in a clam bra since Mary Ann danced a hula on Gilligan’s Island. This is the classic “the grass is always greener” story, right? Ariel’s a mermaid who wants to be human and, after watching some fireworks, pulls a Baywatch and ends up saving a dude named Eric from drowning and sings to him. He falls in love with her voice and vows to find this girl. Ariel vows to be human. Her father disapproves and, like a teenager, runs off into the arms of the chunky chick down the street: Ursula.

Ursula has eyes on the throne and makes a deal with Ariel: she’ll make her human in exchange for Ariel’s voice.  Now this is the beginning of the bait-and-switch all men have fallen victims to at some point in their lives: you meet someone and they sound real good, only to meet them in person and be horribly disappointed. Keep in mind, Ursula now has Ariel’s pretty ass voice but no neck (it’s all chin and chest). Ariel still makes it happen with Eric anyway and just as they fall in love, Ursula comes back to ruin the party.

Ursula comes back as this sexy-ass woman named Vanessa with the voice Eric fell in love with and gets him all hot and bothered enough that he wants to marry her. Like the next day! My PSA: when you do meet that special someone, let it marinate: symptoms of crazy can take up to the 3 weeks to manifest. Ariel’s all heart broken (but she can’t tell nobody cuz she has no voice), the creatures of the sea break up the wedding and part 2 of the bait-and-switch happens: when things go awry, Ursula transforms from the sexy girl in the club who said “no, it’s ok, I like watching you play that game” into a REALLY big girl (still with no neck) who’s ragging on him and ruining everything (“you never pay attention to me anymore! All you do is play that game!”) and screwing up the family and shit.  And then he stabs her with the boat.

The End.

I guess I took Ursula a lil more personal than I should (hey, highschool was tough!) and it is just the Little Mermaid. I’ll add that to my therapy group discussion topics. Tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll do Hook tomorrow, you’ll have to swing by and see! But before you do, if you haven’t joined the Amanda Belle Starr giveaway, click HERE and get on it!

See ya!

Coming this October: Mayhem of the Mouse!

You might remember a year ago I was chomping on my nails, fretting about the coming October. For those of you who skip that lil Archive link on left, my wife LOVES horror movies. I do not. I do not like them Sam I Am. So every October I gird my loins for 31 days of blood and guts, ghosts and goblins, hack and slash supernatural nonsense.

Until this year.

This year, I got smart. See, in addition to horror movies, and the Lifetime Channel, my wife LOVES Disney. Disney movies, Disney parks, Disney body spray—you name it, if it has the Mouse on it, she’s all over it. So this year, I figured I’d balance the horror with some hilarity and Disney-up October with MAYHEM OF THE MOUSE (imagine that with booming echoes and stuff)!

What is Mayhem of the Mouse, you ask? Great question. We’ve spent the last 6 months looking at all kinds of villains, haven’t we? Supervillains, galactic terrors, giant monsters, soap opera baddies, Kardashians—okay, no Kardashians (yet) but you get it. Disney has an awesome array of bad guys waiting for the Crooked Letterz treatment—we’ve already had Scar, the Evil Queen, and Cruella DeVille grace these lovely pages. So for the 31 days in October, it’s all Disney villains.

But wait, there’s more! As an added bonus/incentive, hop on over to amandabellestarr.com and join the giveaway. She’s got a BEAUTIFUL Limited Edition Maleficent statue and a Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghost Figurine for you Disney lovers—all for the low, low cost of some Facebook Likes and some Twitter Follows. And if you book a vacation with her, you get some extra entries.

So swing by amandabellestarr.com, join the giveaway, and hang out with me throughout the month of October to get my take on your favorite Disney villains. It’ll be a scream! (You know I am legally obligated to say that for any Halloween-related post, right?) It all starts Monday, October 1st!

Pursue Your Happyness

I have to interrupt my lil bout of villainy for an important public service, feel-good type of post. Yeah yeah, I know, it runs counter to my usual bad self but, sometimes, it has to be done. So here goes:

I learned a couple of things from Will Smith: that a poor kid from the ghetto with a winning smile and a bubblegum song about how his “Parents Don’t Understand” can leave his homeboy behind, move to Beverly Hills, and forge a lucrative movie career; that those G-Men is the nondescript black suits, white shirts, and boring ass cars are really the alien police; and that “if you want something, go get it. Period.”

Pursue your happyness.

In the based-on-a-true-story movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a single dad whose just trying to do the damn thing and take care of his son. His wife left him, unpaid parking tickets got his car towed and him arrested, and his only source of income is selling these unsellable bone scanning machines. Oh yeah, and the IRS takes all his money. FROM HIS ACCOUNT. Chris gets a spot in an unpaid internship (clad in a wife beater tank top and paint-covered pants) and does everything he can—from taking the bus to jacking taxis for their fares to sleeping in train stations and shelters—so he can complete the internship and POTENTIALLY win a full-time gig with Dean Witter (remember them? They’re Morgan Stanley now). Short of Seven Pounds, Will Smith only does feel-good movies; you can figure out how this ends.

My wife has always been a go-getter. Seriously. When we moved out to Colorado (leaving sunny Cleveland, Ohio (the land of dreams) in a Saturn Vue and a 5×10 U-Haul trailer with two kids and a dog), my wife found a job and was AT WORK in 2 DAYS. Interview, hire, start. 48 hours. Never seen anything like it. When she got fed with working for The Man, she started her own event planning company. And got good at it.

And this week, she became an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

Now you might be thinking: dude, it’s just Disney vacations. Whoop-de-doo! I get that. But my wife LOVES Disney. I told you that. She LOVES Disney. Read no less than 12 Disney guides before we went to Disneyland for the first time. She searches for the hidden Mickeys in the parks and the resorts on the property. Wants to be Belle when she grows up. My wife is literally a Certified Mousejunkie.

And this is what makes her happy.

We have a million reasons why we don’t pursue that which makes us happy. Which feeds our souls. Which completes us. We find the practical, the realistic, the superficial, the ancillary, the financial—we are exceptionally creative when it comes to the rationale for why we shouldn’t do what we love and be the people we wish to be. And we shortchange ourselves in the process.

Our country is founded on the pursuit of that which makes us happy. It is your God-given right. You deserve it. I deserve it. And I am terribly proud of my wife: she figured it out.

And she is happy.

If you wanna book a Disney vacation (you know you do), you can check the Wife out at amanda@dreamfindertravel.net or on her Facebook page.

Gotta run, guys. The Honey Badger turns 10 today and is bringing all the attitude and ass that Tweendom inspires. I’ll be back to the badness tomorrow.

See ya!

How We Broke Disneyworld Part VI

In the midst of the craziness, all the villainy goodness, the pages upon pages of script and poorly written novel, I bet you thought I forgot all about that Disney thing I was telling you about, huh? Bet you thought I’d never circle back—just leave ya hanging. NOPE!

And if you’re wondering, here’s where we left off:

RECAP: Once upon a time, there was a man, his Wife, and their children, The Boy and the Honey Badger. They had a magical dream—to see a little boy fly. So they traveled to the most magical place on earth, found a little boy, took him to the top of Cinderella’s castle, wished upon a star and let him go. Things did not go well. In fact, charges were filed yesterday for an alleged “assault” of Peter Pan. Pete can’t fly (pixie dust, my ass). He also can’t walk or run or jump. Now he makes Christopher Reeve look like Bruce Jenner. Whatever. We countersued with Fraud. Anyway, after our alleged “actions” caused the fairy’s injuries, we (and I’m reading from the police report now) “attempted to flee the scene, committed grand theft auto by confiscating a parking tram, committed 82 counts of kidnapping (the tram had passengers), assaulted 2 Space Rangers with ‘imitation’ lasers, committed 4 counts of gross indifference by laughing (hey, Tanner should have worn his seatbelt), 1 count criminal negligence(Indiana Jones was drunk when he swing unto the Big Blue Hat), and 1 count of flying an unauthorized aircraft in a no-fly without a pilot’s license.” There are also unspecified damages—I don’t have solid figures yet but it has 8 digits.

And now for the thrilling conclusion of How We Broke Disneyworld.

Problem is, at this point, we hadn’t even left the park.

The Nazi Flying Wing from the Raiders of the Lost Ark cannot actually fly. It’s not even a real aircraft (which is part of our defense). So instead of flying the hell out of Orlando, my 9-year-old is rumbling this behemoth down the street. There’s a small mob behind us, waving neon Michael Jackson hands and strobing lightsabers, yelling Don Knotts-style obscenities in the darkness.

I just want to go home, The Boy has crayon all over his face from the kindergarten savages, The Honey Badger is enjoying the trip entirely too much (and wants to know if the guns on the plane work), and my Wife is laden with bags bursting from the swag she’s confiscated along the way. This nonsense has to stop and there’s really only one place left to go: I can see the top of the Spaceship Earth ball looming ahead. Epcot.

As we rumble into the parking lot, we are met by a semi-circle of black SUVs complete with mouse-eared, muscled security officers waving their red and blue flashlights. They’ve apparently had it as well: they’re cursing at us in the Mickey voices: “That’s it, jackasses!” and “Ha ha! We’ve got you now!” and “Gawrsh, you’ve really caused a disturbance.”

Shit.

I should mention here that during our Disney trip, we made an excursion over the border and went to Universal Studios. Disney bought Marvel Comics last year but hasn’t been able to convince the characters they actually own to migrate to a single Disney park. It’s like the Civil War: cuddly, friendly princesses, fairies and animated animals against a kid who can shoot webs, an ornery man with metal bones, and an overwhelmingly patriotic man with a shield. Oh yeah, they have a Hulk. He’s not so friendly. And they have the other nexus of magical power: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

This shit is like the Middlearth: on one end of Orlando is the happiest place ever–whose magic could not make the boy fly, I might add—and on the other is like the dark side of the force (except Disney is trying to buy the Force). While at Universal, the children got wands: The Boy got Sirius Black’s; the Honey Badger got her own. She’s been carrying her wand around for days—to dinner, to the bathroom, and to Epcot. And she knows only one spell.

Our plane is still moving, the Mickeys have us surrounded and they are genuinely tired of our shenanigans, and the Honey Badger pops the cockpit, pulls out her wands and says, “Avada Kedavra!” I look at The Boy, he covers his mouth and goes, “Ooooo,” like the cat from Puss N Boots. I look quizzically at my Wife, she whispers, “It’s the Killing Curse!” I’m not a Harry Potter fan; I don’t know what that means. But the Mickeys do.

An SUV flips in the air and I hear a Mickey scream, “Ahhh, she got me!” (still in the Mickey voice). What kind of shit? The Honey Badger’s loving it. She whirls, aims, “Avada Kedavra!” Another SUV upended. I look at my kid, who is ECSTATIC, and I say, “What are you doing? Are you killing them?” She shrugs. “Ioan’tknow.” And then, “Avada—” I snatch her wand. “Stop!”

I first saw a picture of Epcot Center when I was 12 or 13. I remember that one of the kids in my neighborhood had just gotten back from Walt Disney World and was showing us pictures (back when pictures where on paper, not on your phone). He kept showing up pics of this big ass golf ball-looking thing and I kept saying, “What is that?” And he would only answer, “Epcot.” So for 25 years, I thought the entire park was in that ball. And all I wanted to know was, what’s in it?

Now I know. The plane crashes into the ball, weakening the supports. I hear an eerie quiet, the sudden inhaling of breath and then CREEEAAAKKK!!!! The ball shudders then, slowly, begins to roll. Away from us. It thunders to the ground, shattering the flickering sidewalk, leaking those triangle pieces as it rolls over immaculately clipped hedge statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They’re flat now. The ball—Spaceship Earth—rolls out to the World Showcase lagoon right in the middle of Illuminations. It was like that scene in 48 Hours when Eddie Murphy shows up in the country bar and the music stops. What’s in that ball at Epcot? Now, about 68,000 thousand gallons of water.

A hush falls over the park. Our plane sits smoldering in the three-legged wreckage of Spaceship Earth. In the parking lot behind us, two SUVs swivel slowly on their hoods, tendrils of smoke pooling in the air, crooked bodies strewn about. The only fireworks in the lagoon are the rampant sparks from inside the great big ball. Epcot is broken, Indy is broken, Peter Pan is broken.

“Oops,” I say aloud. “Sorry. So, uh, we’re gonna, um, we’re gonna go ahead and call it.”

A man staggers up to me, the same tram driver I kicked out earlier in our escapades. He leans in close to me, raggedy orange vest still clinging to his slender frame, and says, sounding just like Scar, “Run away, Simba, and NEVER RETURN.”

We did. And here we sit, awaiting our arraignment.

And that, my friends, is how we broke Disneyworld.

How We Broke Disneyworld Part V

RECAP: If you’re just now joining us, where ya been? OK here’s the deal: me and the family went to Disneyworld with a dollar and a dream. Our dream was to see magic! We snatched Peter Pan and tried to make him fly…from the top of Cinderella’s castle. We made him fall. From the top of Cinderella’s castle. And then we ran. We got chased by the Mickeys (Disney’s mouse-eared security force), stole a tram full of weary patrons, made our way to Hollywood Studios, got stopped by stormtroopers, The Honey Badger became a rebel spy, The Boy had an “accident,” my Wife stole the ruby red slippers, we rode the Tower of Terror (and then it broke down), Tanner fell (HARD), and the Space Rangers took The Boy into custody. And we’re still stuck in the park…

Shit Shit Shit.

Now what are we supposed to do? My first inclination is to just walk and leave The Boy as a down payment on Peter Pan’s round-the-clock medical bills. I hope the fairy has AFLAC because there’s a pigeon chasing us, singing “Pays the doctors, Boyeee!!” But that actually isn’t gonna fly with my wife so we have to come up with a strategy to get him back.

Shit.

After mouse-eared Mickeys, leapfrogging Space Rangers, fat Han Solo, and Janey and Tanner’s bullshit, I think a full-scale, hair-raising, skin-of-your-teeth, stunt mission is in effect. Lucky for us Disney can afford to license the premier motion picture stuntsman: Indiana Jones. Off to the show.

The Indiana Jones Stunt Show & Casino showcases a small selection of the Raiders of the Lost Ark stunts we’ve come to know and love. There’s the big-ass ball, spears that shoot out of the walls and floor, flames, the Nazi brute and the plane fight. It was pretty cool…well, it would be if time had been kind to Indy. It hasn’t. Indiana Jones has gotten a little old over the years. And fat. And drunk.

See, the stunt show has changed a bit as time as passed to accommodate Indy’s “maturation.” The ball is really a great big Whopper, spears are Nerf darts the size of potbelly pigs, and, to make Indy run, the attendants hide caches of Pabst Blue Ribbon throughout the arena. This is our solution?

Godammit.

But we have to find The Boy and I have no idea where to start. I lose it, grab the first freckled-faced stagehand clad in puffy clothes I can find and try to shake the teeth out of his head. “Where is my kid?!” He starts to cry because no one at Disney is ever upset, he tries to run and, in the process, I rip his shirt. Tattooed on his back, in glittering ink, is a full-color map of Hollywood Studios complete with a sticky You Are Here jewel. And then I see it.

In the center of the map.

The Big Blue Hat.

I spread the kid out on the ground, smooth him out like the map he is. “That’s where we have to go.” But the show is starting and Indy is shakily leaping over Nerf spears, shuffling toward a rocky ramp with a golden idol at the top. The idol! Wife starts moving before I do, pinballing through flashes of flame, smacking life-size Nerf darts aside, and crashing into Indy. “Hey!” he says. “Beer!” she says, pointing. “Where?” he turns and she’s gone, dashing up the ramp. She grabs the idol.

There is no beer. Indy says, “Give me the idol!”

“Help me find my kid!”

The crowd thinks it’s part of the show. They say, “Help me find my kid, I’ll give you the idol!”

Indy relents. “Where’s the beer?”

“In the Big Blue Hat,” the Wife says.

We’re off and running. Down the ramp to the Nazi warplane in the back. When we get back there, the big burly guy is laid out and the Honey Badger is in the pilot seat. I don’t even ask what happened but her knuckles are bloody. Fine. Whatever. We pile in. Indy finds a six-pack in the cockpit and we roll out of the arena to the center of Hollywood Studios.

We round the man-made puddle called Echo Lake into the 138th parade of the day. While the kids are singing old High School Musical numbers, Muppets and Monsters Inc. characters frighten the multitudes of children just trying to leave the park. And then we see The Boy. He’s underneath the Big Blue Hat, surrounded by a bunch of kindergartners dressed like Ewoks and the savages from the Recess Kids, getting slow-roasted over a bunch of multicolored glow sticks like Rotisserie Gold.

“You gotta help save him,” I say to Indy.

“There’s beer back there,” my Wife says.

“I’m too old for this shit,” says Indy.

The Honey Badger pops the cockpit, stands up and sings the Indiana Jones theme song: “Da-da-da-Daaaah, Da-da-dah, Da-da-DA-DAAH, Da-da-da-da-DAAAH!”

And Indy’s feeling it! He snaps out his whip, flips it around a powerline above and executes a beautiful Spiderman-style swing for The Boy. It is majestic! And poorly aimed. He misses. Badly. The parade stops. The crowd goes “Oooh!” The fake Ryan Seacrest from the American Idol pavilion says, “THIS is American—oooh! That’s gonna leave a mark.”

But Indy falls on the edge of the rotisserie and The Boy is flung in the air. He flips end over end, tumbling above the crowd and lands on the wing of the plane. Perfect!

But now everybody’s pissed. We screwed up the parade, stole the idol, broke Indiana Jones, deprived the kindergartners of their lunch (and they are cranky–waaaaayyy past nap time!) They turn on us like we spoke Voldemort’s name.

I yell, “Hit it!”

Honey Badger pounds the gas and we rumble out of Hollywood Studios followed by a fake Ryan Seacrest, imitation Troy and Gabriela, Mike and Sully, and 2 Space Rangers, and the extras from Indiana Jones

Good times.

Now the thrilling conclusion!

How We Broke Disneyworld Part IV

RECAP: If you’re just catching up, we went to Disneyworld, found Peter Pan, and dropped him from Cinderella’s castle. Peter Pan can’t fly, folks. He also can’t stick a landing. So he’ll be blowing into a tube to make his wheelchair go from now on and we’re on the run. First from the Mickeys through Tomorrowland; then we stole a tram and kidnapped Mabel, Janey and Tanner (who really needs one of those monkey-leash things); and then escaped to Hollywood Studios, where we eluded the Space Rangers and made our way to Tower of Terror. Got it? Good.

There are 19,000 ways I can describe how ominous the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror looks against the night sky. Cool is not one of them. Let me say this: it is a massive spectacle in a park that’s really designed for people under 52 inches: 200 feet of damaged concrete and exposed wiring, venting and plumbing. I can hear the screams of other patrons falling to what sound like horribly untimely deaths. Seriously, it is intimidating. “I wanna go on that!” the Honey Badger says.

Fine.

We run for the Tower, well, most of us do. The Boy is doing that crabwalk thing you do when your pants are wet (or nasty) and it’s cold on your giblets. And he is not interested in the Tower of Terror. At all. I should say here that The Boy is not the picture of ignorant bravery you might expect from a 12-year-old. He’d be better suited as a technical consultant on Monk. This kid has an autographed poster of Cringer from He-Man on his wall that says “Be Careful!” and as we walk, he is actually making that Scooby-Doo knee-knocking sound. This should be fun.

In the midst of trying to convince The Boy he’s not going to die, here come the Space Rangers, bounding after us, yelling like a cross between Tim Allen and William Shatner: “Lasers set to stun.” But the lasers are really red flashlights tied to their wrists so when we don’t respond, we get: “Star Command! I got you! You know I got you.” The Honey Badger whips around, turns fingers into guns, and makes laser sounds: “Peww! Peww!” Two Rangers fall. “Evasive maneuvers!” they shout and spin away. Off to the Tower.

At first glance, I didn’t realize the empty fountain, the decrepit facade, the Munsters-style cobwebs were part of the decor: I thought this was the one ride Disney didn’t give a shit about. We jump in line, ease past the vacant stares of the attendees and are funneled into a room with set pieces children CANNOT KEEP THEIR HANDS OFF OF! I never hear Rod Serling tell me I’m going to the Twilight Zone because I’m too busy telling the Honey Badger to “stop touching that!” “Keep your hands to yourself!” “How did you set that on fire?!” I also hear: “TANNER! This is the last time I’m telling you…”

Rod Serling stops talking, the door opens and we are led into…the basement? Seriously? Now I know Disney prides itself on the realism and experience of each and every attraction—the Haunted Mansion seems haunted by both ghosts and the staff; Space Mountain attendees have Star Trek-ish uniforms and it seems like we’re on a space station; even the pin dealers in the American Experience in Epcot look like freaking Betsy Ross. But we left a dingy, damaged hotel replete with a zombie staff from 1920 to become HVAC technicians for the ride? It’s loud and hot and steam is escaping from odd places. I kept expecting to see Batman fighting the Joker (and I probably will…soon as Disney buys them).

None of this is helping the The Boy. We’re in line and this cat is already crying, the Honey Badger keeps throwing her hands up like she’s already on the ride, I just want to leave period, and my wife is eying the I Survived the Tower of Terror T-Shirt the kid in front of her is wearing. Elevator doors open, we file in, and we’re taken up.

We’ve been on this ride before—at Disneyland. There they take you up, show you your last glimpse of the outside world and LET YOU GO! And right before you die, hydraulics and brakes kick in and they do it to you again. And again. And again. The Disneyworld version, though, is a little worse. To heighten your terror, the elevator car you are in moves through the building, down a dimly lit corridor that showcases creepy things from dead hotel guests and a surprising number of ventriloquist dummies whose eyes follow you. I hear this kid whimpering, “Mom, what’s gonna happen?” She responds, “You know what’s gonna happen. You’ve been on it before. It’s just a ride. You’re gonna be fine.”

And right then, Bzzzhrrooon! The ride shuts the fuck down.

Are you serious? Now?

Lights come on. The mystique is broken. I can see all the wires and pulleys and the bright ass EXIT sign on the door directly to my right. We haven’t even gotten to the part where they let you drop. We’re still on the top floor, but we’re on the floor. If I wanted to, I could get out and walk away, right? There’s the exit door, there are stairs beyond it. Now The Boy has a full-blown meltdown. He says, “I wanna get off!” I say, “Get off what? Dude, you’re on the floor. What can happen?” “I don’t like this, I don’t feel safe!” Janey says, “I feel safe. You can hold my teddy bear.” Janey is in the first grade and doesn’t have her two front teeth.

He takes her bear, the Honey Badger laughs at him while he tries to wriggle out of his seatbelt. Then Bzzzhrripp! Attendant on the PA says, “Your ride will resume NOW.” Lights out, The Boy screams, car jerks forward, doors open and we are taken into the elevator shaft. Ride drags us up and I hear The Boy, “Noooooooo! I want to get oooofffffff!” Too bad. We hit the top level and I hear “Tanner! Tanner! Why isn’t your seatbelt…?” And we drop! It is so fast my scream is left at the top.

The Honey Badger laughs the entire ride. The Boy cries the entire ride. The kid in front of us throws his hands up. My wife snatches the Tower of Terror shirt clean off his body. We hit the bottom, Tanner hits the seat (HARD — guess his lil ass will sit down next time, won’t he?), and we drag The Boy off the ride into the 2 remaining Space Rangers.

“Got ya,” they say and grab the Boy. They cuff his hands in those big, white Mickey hands.

“Let him go!” Honey Badger throws her fingers up. Wrist flashlights shine back. Mexican stand off. “Don’t make me do it!” she says.

“You won’t make it out alive,” says one Ranger. “But we do hope you’ll come back and see us!” says the other. He throws a packet of papers and some pens us. “Here’re some guest surveys; tell us how we’re doing!”

Papers distract us and they disappear through a side door.

Now I can’t leave.

Godammit.

There is even a part 5?