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Thursday Treasures

May 31, 2012

Snow White's Scary Adventures

by: Mariel

It creaked. It squeaked. It showcased the number one reason why kids should not talk to strangers. Heck, there were even crocodile posers and conniving squirrels. But, that didn't stop little Miss Cinderella and tiny Peter Pan from happily abounding into the 'Bashful' mine car. I glanced at their weary parents, waiting a few more seconds for them to trek through the chained maze their children so easily bobbed and weaved through.

'We can go by ourselves. We're not scared of the witch,' Cinderella proclaimed, while flicks of glitter from her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique hair-do found their way onto her nose.

'This is scary? There's a witch? I don't want to go!' little Pan attempted to shove the princess out of the way, but it was to no avail. Once you're trapped in that mine car, whether it's by lap bars or your unnecessarily bossy sibling, you're stuck in that mine car. Peter Pan's eyes widened at the unknown world the car was going to drive him into. His parents' cajoling voices and sister's impatient attitude appeared to multiply the butterflies in his stomach rather than vanquish them. Flashes from my first childhood Snow White Scary Adventure prevented me from giving the go ahead to lock down the lap bars. I did not want to be the one to switch on the green light and force the kid to go into the terrifying oblivion he was imagining.

Unfortunately, the once empty queue line started to fill with princes and princesses anxiously awaiting their turn to explore the Dark Forest. Waiting for mini Peter to garner courage wouldn't be a plausible option for much longer. Conversely, anyone could sense the imminent cry that was sure to ensue from pixie-dusted-Cinderella if someone didn't convince her younger brother to go on the adventure. Improvising, I blurted the first thing that popped into my head to try to ease the boy's fears. 'You get to wave to Dopey at the end.'

In an uncanny, 80's family sitcom sort of way, the entire family became quiet and stared at me like I sprouted fairy wings. For a brief millisecond I couldn't tell if my interference was helpful or useless. After all, what kind of benefit is it to see a silly, mute dwarf when there are evil queens and hags lurking random corners?

'I can see Dopey?' Peter's voice rose slightly with hope, his knuckles slowly regaining their natural color.

'Even better, you get to go to a party at the Seven Dwarves' cottage,' I smiled. My eyes darted back and forth between the growing queue, the cautious parents, and little Pan slowly maneuvering into a seated position.

Taking off his feather adorned hat, mini Peter shook his head, 'I don't want to see the witch.' A collective sigh enveloped their mine car and Cinderella did her best to hold her tears at bay. With an empathetic smile, I waved good bye to the family and wished them the quintessential magical day they deserved. But just as I led a new family into the emptied mine car, little Peter suddenly popped up behind me, tugging at my green pant leg. 'Can you tell Dopey that I'm sorry I wasn't brave enough?'

I bent down a couple inches (or maybe it was only one inch) to his eye level, 'How about I tell Dopey that when you're ready to help banish the queen, he'll get to meet his new buddy?'

Pondering like an old soul, he scratched his head and stared inquisitively at me, 'Do you think I'm ready?'

'Of course I do,' my smile widened. Hope started to take over me now, wishing that this little boy would find courage somehow and some time during their trip. 'I wouldn't have told you about the cottage party if I didn't think you were brave enough to face the evil queen. Plus, the seven dwarves will help you out.'

'Honey, the nice lady has to go back to work,' Pan's mother motioned her hands toward the exit and pointed out that my coworkers could use me back at my post. He grabbed his mother's hand and trudged down the unload ramp, but not before gazing back and showing me a brave, tiny smile.

A few minutes later, I went on break and my mind couldn't help but wonder if I would ever see Pan and Cindy's family again. I also was in disbelief at how intricate little Cindy's dress was ' it was the first time I had seen park-issued princess attire. I clocked in after lunch and was sent to the friendly post of 'Snow Greeter.' With my greeter attitude in full gear I headed back to Snow expecting new faces asking me what time the 3 o'clock parade would start.

Before I had a chance to exchange rotation passes with my coworker, I was bombarded mid-stride by a not so lost boy. His green felt hat nearly got knocked off his head, but his toothy grin didn't seem to care. My eyes lit up at the sight of Little Peter Pan laughing and smiling away.

'Hi! Hi! Guess what! Guess what! I did it! I did it!' Joy washed over his face as he jumped around like Tigger at a bounce ' a ' thon, 'I was brave enough to go! And I SAW DOPEY!!!'

Laughing at his enthusiasm, I high-fived the kid for his bravery and courage. After his intense and rather entertaining re-enactment of his adventure, I asked why he changed his mind about facing the evil queen.

'Because you said that I'm brave.'

Snow White's Scary Adventures is where I took my first steps as a Disney cast member. It was the first attraction I walked through with my Fantasyland training buddy. It was where my family first saw me in attraction host action. Break room parties, accidental mine car hold ups, black curtain guesses, CP party ride throughs'Heck, it's where Thing 1 and Thing 2 first met a certain white pants guy. But the reason why my heart slightly drops at the thought of it vanishing forever is because it was the site of so many 'Take 5's' and 'Magical Moments,' the first and most special being Mini Pan's Courageous Day.

You never know where you'll find a bit of magic, that bit of extra strength, to overcome the evils and hurdles you encounter in life. And sometimes, that magic appears in killer friends who are willing to squash witches with boulders for you.

We'll miss ya, Snow. Thanks for the scary and not so scary memories.

And thank you, Huntsman, for some pretty good advice. It's just a shame none of us ever listened. Specifically:

'Run, Princess! Run away and never come back! (Ahh!) Go!!'

Maybe if I listened to the huntsman, my blissfully ignorant idea about squirrels being cute and fluffy might still be intact. Beware of squirrels, people. Seriously. You never know which forest cottage an evil squirrel may be lurking.


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