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Old 01-26-2009, 03:12 PM   #151
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Haunting The Mansion

HAUNTING THE MANSION
While leaving the tavern, DD8 states that she wants to go to The Haunted Mansion one more time, and she wants to ride in a doom buggy by herself just to prove how fearless she is. I am doubtful about this plan. DD8 may have shown some courage during our last trip through the spooky home, but she was accompanied by her protective father. I am not certain that she can handle the morbid edifice on her own.

As I express my disapproval, DD8 insists that she is up to the task. I reconsider her request since it seems of utmost importance to her. I definitely want DD8 to move in the direction of fearlessness and empowerment. Being my most timid child, she frequently misses out on challenging but fun activities and dampens the exciting mood when she is forced to participate. Giving her opportunities to know the pride of bravery may help her to overcome her cowardly tendencies, making this questionable challenge worthwhile.

However, as I ponder DD8’s request, I envision going through the mansion and my fearless child discovering that she has misjudged herself. It is feasible to assume that about the time we hit the creepy hallway where people plead for help and doorknobs turn frantically as if someone is trying to escape the locked rooms, she will second-guess her self-estimation. I imagine her jumping from her doom buggy in an attempt to either find her parents or a way out of the cultish building. I see the whole ride being stopped as operators search for my traumatized ghostbuster amongst the wedding artifacts in the attic, which is where she attempts to find a hiding place from the murderous bride who has happily decapitated all five of her grooms. Do I really want to risk living this scenario?

Or--I continue to hypothesize--what if the ride is stopped in the graveyard due to technical difficulties? Could she truly withstand being held captive in the burial grounds of countless spirits, some of who spontaneously jump out from behind gravestones? She might emerge from such a horrific experience with all types of neurotic ticks and twitches, betraying the fact that she has been irreversibly, emotionally damaged as a result of her NDM’s poor judgment. At the very least, the trauma could squelch all hope of DD8 ever attempting any show of bravery ever again. I can’t help but feel that maybe this proposed situation is not a good starting block for DD8 to test her fear factors.

DS6 is already shaking in his Lightening McQueen sneakers at the thought of having to endure the mansion one more time. He shows no interest in taking another step in its direction, except for the fact that his big sister (who he usually seeks approval from) is desperate to have another look at it. So if my one child, who usually does not shrink from the chance to showcase his strong and daring nature, is intimidated by this attraction, how could my fearful other possibly come through this emotionally intact?

Suddenly, I am inspired with an idea that may please all parties invested in this controversy. “DD8,” I suggest, “Why don’t you and DS6 go together in a doom buggy? You wouldn’t have Mommy or Daddy. And you could help protect DS6, who is a little frightened. That is very brave!” In my mind, this proposition could work. On most days, DS6 adores DD8 and has been known to seek her company. This companionship helps him feel a like a “very big kid”, so I predict he will be less reluctant to ride if he has the chance to be with DD8 exclusively. Also, it is reasonable to expect DD8 to get caught up in her protective duties; therefore, not focusing so much on the actual, ethereal surroundings.

“No,” she cries, “I want to go by myself. I don’t want anyone else to ride with me.” “Hmmm,” I say as I mentally design some type of middle ground. Then, after a brief consultation with DH, I say, “DS6, do you think you can be brave enough to ride with DD8 in a doom buggy?” DS6 positively responds to my proposition. “Yes,” he says confidently. I emphasize, “She will be the only one in the cart with you. Will it be too scary for you?” “No,” he remarks with a little less certainty. “DD8,” I say firmly, “We will go in The Haunted Mansion again, but you must ride with DS6. If you get through the ride one time with him and you are not afraid by the end of it, then we will go another time and let you ride by yourself.”

DD8 finds this to be an acceptable transition into a courageous, conquering girl. DS6 shudders at the thought of having to go through the mansion two more times, but he holds his tongue in order to share the “big kid” privilege of riding alone with DD8. I attempt to prepare them both by giving reminders that the rest of us will be in the doom buggy right next to theirs and that they can close their eyes at any time to block out scary images as well as lie down on the seat to hide. DD8 does not seem intimidated by the challenge she currently faces, so I hand her some responsibility by instructing her to hug DS6 and allow him to hide his eyes and put his head in her lap if he becomes frightened. She agrees to these motherly duties and takes DS6 by the hand as we approach the daunting gates of the mansion.

I hardly enjoy or appreciate the ride this time through. My mind cannot rest as I mentally prepare myself to respond at a moment’s notice to any crisis that arises. The thoughts absolutely terrify me because while I am able to remain relatively calm within my doom buggy, I am certain I will lose control over important bodily functions if I have to leave it. Nevertheless, I tell myself to be ready to jump from my moving vehicle to retrieve any frightened children that escape or be ready to make a flying leap between the two vehicles if I hear uncontrollable hysterics taking place.

I sit on pins and needles, straining my ears for the slightest sound of unhappiness from the buggy in front of ours. But I hear nothing. Good! They must be Ok. Then it occurs to me that their silence may be an indication of just the opposite. What if they are paralyzed with fear and hunkering down on the floor of their cart while they whimper like little puppies? I start to panic. It seems like an eternity before we make it to the ballroom scene where our carts turn to position us alongside our darlings rather than in back of them. I illegally lean my body outside of my cart to provide an angle for viewing the inside of my children’s vehicle. It is not enough. I cannot see anything.

What if they have already escaped and are in danger? I recall a report from many years back of one teen dying in The Haunted Mansion when he left his vehicle and caused an accident. I voice my concern to DH who assures me that our beautiful children are still within their earthly bodies and buggy of doom. He is certain they have not passed on to the spirit realm, but I am not convinced. There is only one thing left to do. In the middle of the ride I yell out at a volume that would wake any dead that were not already up, “DD8! DS6!” There is no answer. My panic is heightened. With more intensity I yell, “DD8!! DS6!!” “Yes,” they say and poke their little heads from the confinement of the doom buggy. “Is everything alright? Are you scared,” I desperately implore. They cheerfully respond, “We’re fine.” I sheepishly respond, “Ok. I just wanted to check.” With that the two little heads disappear within the blackness of their doom buggy, and I lean back a little embarrassed by my overreaction.

I manage to keep my imagination from getting the best of me throughout the rest of the ride, and we emerge from the dark rooms no worse off than when we entered. Once we are outside DD8 delivers her report of the exhibit without the slightest sign of fearfulness. I am stunned by not only her lack of fright but also her pure enthusiasm for this ride. She has certainly earned the privilege of occupying her own doom buggy.

We exit the mansion just to enter the queque area again. DS6 is consoled by the knowledge that DH will solely guard him throughout the entire attraction. Also, he will have the company of the rest of the family in his doom buggy. This seems to be enough to make him feel that one more time through the dreadful mansion is endurable.

As we repeat the attraction, I find myself replaying all the imaginary, horrific scenarios in my mind. It is very hard to relax, but I somehow contain my impulses to call out to DD8 for a safety check-up. As I fight my irrational compulsions, I realize that this experiment has turned out to be more of a test of my own courage than DD8’s. And I am failing!

At the end of the mansion’s tour, DD8 leaves smiling from ear to ear. Her newfound pride is evident. I congratulate her as I try to recover from the nerve-wracking experience. I feel exhausted by the pent-up anxiety I have harbored through two trips of this spooky place. In my mind, I consider that there must be easier ways to help a little one transition from childhood into a brave, new world. If there isn’t—if all events that promote the inevitable state of independence are as anxiety-ridden as this one--it is probable that I should begin a search for a good therapist who can prescribe strong drugs.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:33 PM   #152
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Wow - what a hoot - I spent several hours this weekend reading about your trip. You have a great writing style and you are bringing back several emotions and memories from past trips.

I look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:22 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by kathymc View Post
Wow - what a hoot - I spent several hours this weekend reading about your trip. You have a great writing style and you are bringing back several emotions and memories from past trips.

I look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing
You are very welcome!
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:57 PM   #154
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A Happy Ending

A HAPPY ENDING
Feeling the need to avert having nightmares, I suggest that we all pick a more cheerful ride in Fantasyland® to follow my harrowing time in The Haunted Mansion. DH proposes that whatever it is, it should be the last ride of the day. He is really feeling drained by all of our activities and sees a need for adequate rest to prepare for our trip back home tomorrow. The children don’t protest since they seem very tired as well.

As a NDM, I am not accustomed to leaving the park before it closes. However, I remember the epiphany I nearly had earlier in the day. Perhaps the time has finally come to acknowledge that staying in the park solely for the sake of neurosis is not in the best interest of the family. Am I able to do this? I hesitate for a brief moment as I try to conjure a reason to delay our exit, but I am unable to do so. We have covered every square inch of the Magic Kingdom® and even repeated some of it. Everything we could have wished for in a trip has come to pass. To insist that there is more to desire would be beyond neurotic—it would be crazy.

The simple truth is that it is time to retract (or at least amend) the final tenet of The Sacred Seven that states: Thou shalt not exit the park until forced. As impossible as it previously seemed, I now understand that there are instances when an early departure may be preferred. And now that I have the comfort of knowing my family will return every year, I feel I can relinquish some of my rituals and trust that my family’s Disney heritage will still be passed on effectively.

Without reluctance, I agree to DH’s suggested plan and prepare for our last ride of the trip. The entire family agrees that Cinderella’s Golden Carousel is the ideal attraction to end our wonderful day. There is little wait for it. It is possibly the most romantic and cheerful exhibit in all of the Magic Kingdom®, and everyone can ride it. So when we are admitted, we hurriedly select our steeds and begin our fanciful rotations around the musical core. As the wind blows my sweat-plastered and knotted hair, I hear the fantastic giggles of my small equestrians. I relish every second and remember that it is unforgettable moments like these that make Walt Disney World® a beautiful place.
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:47 PM   #155
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Thank you for your wonderful stories. You are a great writer.
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:52 PM   #156
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Thank you for your wonderful stories. You are a great writer.
Don't be fooled, there is still more!
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:55 PM   #157
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At the end of the mansion’s tour, DD8 leaves smiling from ear to ear. Her newfound pride is evident. I congratulate her as I try to recover from the nerve-wracking experience. I feel exhausted by the pent-up anxiety I have harbored through two trips of this spooky place. In my mind, I consider that there must be easier ways to help a little one transition from childhood into a brave, new world. If there isn’t—if all events that promote the inevitable state of independence are as anxiety-ridden as this one--it is probable that I should begin a search for a good therapist who can prescribe strong drugs.
Just look for the therapist...just saying
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:24 AM   #158
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Just look for the therapist...just saying
Noted!
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:18 PM   #159
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Hi. Love your TR.

Sign me up as a NDM. I'm definitely there.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:56 PM   #160
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Hi. Love your TR.

Sign me up as a NDM. I'm definitely there.
Hey, Chris! I would love to sign you up as a NDM. Just shoot me an e-mail at ndm1@ thedisneydrivenlife.com . Send me your first name, last initial and home state as well as a reminder of the title you want (NDM in your case). I'll officially "christen" you in my reply and you can find your name on the roster (Stand Up and Be Counted) here: http://thedisneydrivenlife.com/ I'll be looking for your e-mail!
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:59 PM   #161
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Reframing The Big Picture

REFRAMING THE BIG PICTURE
When our turn around the carousel is over and we carefully dismount, it is time to go. We all hold hands and move toward the exit on Main Street, U.S.A.® with a deep sense of contentment and peace.

It is a bittersweet and almost surreal feeling to walk this path voluntarily. I am so accustomed to being pushed down it by a dense, packed-sardine-style crowd that is making its mass exodus. In a way, I miss the sense of solidarity that hangs heavy over a large group that has shared the same struggle of surviving a long day and is now being removed due to the arbitrary practice of closing the park by a particular hour. It seems odd to pass the brightly lit shops and heavenly smells on the way out without crying babies all around and the balloons of a person, who stands directly in front of me, smacking me in the face. And it is definitely foreign to have enough open space around me as I walk so that I can see the ground and avoid awkwardly stepping on a trolley track and twisting my ankle.

Yet at the same time, I have a new sense of pride as I leave on my own accord. It is unexpected, but there is a great amount of dignity in admitting that your time in the park has come to an end before cast members begin rejecting your entry in the lines of their closed attractions. And there is certainly less stress in catching your mode of transportation since hour-long waits have not yet formed in the boat docks, bus stops, and tram and monorail depots.

I feel my eyes are opened a little more with every step toward our exit. Apparently, Disney can be enjoyed in more ways than The Sacred Seven indicate. A “perfect” Disney vacation takes a different shape for different families in different stages, and room needs to be left for these different “walks of life” as well as the evolution of one’s own “walk in life”. For example, it has become apparent that even in this single vacation, our family’s membership in the Disney Vacation Club has already begun to subtly change the way that we operate. It is relieving to understand that it is Ok to allow these changes to take place . . . even embrace them.

I hold tightly to the new treasure of these truths as we board the red flag-flying boat that takes us back to The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. We are on our way back to relax a little in the comfort of our villa before turning in for a full night’s rest. The extra hours of sleep will be needed for the emotionally difficult day that looms before us, the day of departure from our cherished Walt Disney World®.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:02 PM   #162
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Wonderful trip report! I hope you continue to chronicle your upcoming adventures with your family.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:40 PM   #163
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i really enjoy your writing style, and i look forward to reading more!
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:41 AM   #164
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Wondering About The Wilderness Lodge

DAY 8
WONDERING ABOUT THE WILDERNESS LODGE
With a great jolt, I sit up straight in bed. As I gasp for breath, I look at the clock. It is 4:30 am. I begin to panic and let out a great whine, “Oh no! I can’t believe it!” DH startles at my actions, “What?! What is it?” “I can’t believe it,” I say nearly in tears, “I missed it.” DH continues to probe, “What did you miss?” I wail, “The Wonders of the Wilderness Lodge Tour! I just can’t believe it! It was one of the things I was most looking forward to doing. I was planning on doing it the morning my mom came, but I forgot until just this moment. Now I have lost my chance since we are leaving today. And we won’t be back at this resort for years because we will stay at all the other Disney Vacation Club resorts before we return to this one.”

I flop down on my extremely puffy pillow, pouting like a little girl who was just denied tea and cake at her unbirthday party. The tour had looked so intriguing when I read about it in the Disney forums. It promised to deliver a unique history of all the lodge particulars. This was my chance to find out the inspirational stories behind this magnificent building, and it slipped through my fingers almost unnoticed. Life is so unfair sometimes. How could this have happened?

“Well, when is the tour,” DH continues with his investigation. I moan with all the doom and gloom I can muster, “It is at 9:00am Wedenesday through Friday. Wednesday was the day I was supposed to go. Thursday we went to the Magic Kingdom®. And today, we will be too busy getting packed up and checking out. I can’t believe it! How could I have forgotten it? Did we sleep in that morning?” DH confirms that we did sleep in on Wednesday morning, which is the reason the tour must have slipped my mind. I moan again as I realize that letting my NDM guard down and relaxing on my vacation has deprived me of one of the primary events I had been hoping to attend. In the future I will have to be more careful about releasing my NDM ways to indulge in this new notion of “relaxing” on vacation. There certainly is no point in “relaxing” if you miss all the fun.

I huff and puff a bit, and then I bury my head in my abundant pillow to muffle the scream of frustration that I am compelled to let out. I know that I must let this go, but how can our “perfect” vacation recover from this gross oversight?

Rubbing my back in sympathy, DH says, “Well, why don’t you go this morning? If you get up a little early to help with packing the suitcases, I will feed the kids and clean and pack the kitchen.” My heart takes an unexpected leap. What a romantic gesture! “Really? Do you mean that,” I ask with great expectation. “Sure,” he states, “We’ve eaten most of the food we brought, so packing up the kitchen won’t be as difficult as it was from home. How long does the tour last?” I express uncertainty but relay that I doubt it will be more than an hour. “Well, then you will still be back an hour before we have to leave. That should be enough time to make sure we’ve got everything taken care of before they pick up our bags,” he lovingly rationalizes.

A grand smile overtakes my face. DH’s ability to understand the uncommon needs of a NDM certainly takes me by surprise. What an incredible show of sensitivity on his part! He is absolved of any Disney sins that he has previously committed, and he is granted the status of Disney saint for the rest of the day. I give him a tender kiss on his precious cheek and snuggle back into the comfort of my bed for another hour and a half.

When the clock reads 6:00 am, I get out of bed and start to prepare for the day. After making myself presentable, I lay clothes out for all my sleepy heads and pack up their suitcases. I then gather all of the souvenirs we have accumulated and make sure they are carefully packaged as well. Slowly a mountain of suitcases, boxes, and bags grows near the entrance of our villa.

Once everyone awakens, I get to work on a more thorough routine of departure preparation. Children dressed and groomed? Check! Beds stripped? Check! Dirty towels and linens put in laundry basket? Check! Extra blankets folded? Check! Kids toys and special stuffed animals located, gathered and ready for transportation? Check!

It isn’t long before the nine o’-clock hour rolls around. I hurry out the door and rush to the lobby. I don’t want to risk being left behind on the tour because NDMs simply love Disney history. We feed on it like plants absorbing water from the soil. It is a form of sustenance for us. The tales about the people and events that helped form the present Disney come together to form a compelling story of drama, suspense, comedy, tragedy, action and romance. It is a feast for the NDM mind, and I am hungry!

I arrive in the lobby, but fail to see a group. Have I missed the tour in spite of my great effort to make it on time? I inquire at the Concierge Desk. They inform me that the group is standing by the huge supporting pillar right behind me. Odd! I certainly had not seen a group when I arrived three seconds ago. I turn to take a second look, but I still don’t see a group. I question at the Concierge Desk once again. They tell me more specifically to fix my gaze upon a middle-aged couple casually standing near the pillar. I remark, “Just them?” They nod, so I make my way over to the designated tour spot.

I am a little surprised by the tiny number of attendants. Apparently, this is not a widely popular tour. I reason that not everyone can be expected to show such a passionate hunger for Disney history. This level of interest is almost always reserved for the more devout Disney fans such as the unique breed of NDMs.

Park Ranger Stan, an elderly man who is our tour guide, approaches our group with his protégé. He introduces his trainee and himself with an adorable smile that makes me wish I could pinch his cheek. He gives a brief explanation of his own long-standing history of working for Walt Disney World®, and I am completely taken in. I love hearing about how Disney has affected the lives of others and how other lives have affected Disney, and Park Ranger Stan shares his memories with great affection. This tour is off to a great start.

But then Park Ranger Stan begins a long monologue about the materials that compose the lodge. We stand in this single spot for about fifteen minutes, listening to in-depth descriptions about types of wood, concrete and stone as Park Ranger Stan points his red, power-point pen at various features in the lobby.

While I have a healthy appreciation for construction materials, the amount of concrete needed to form the walkways is not exactly what I came to hear about. I tell myself to be patient. Surely, once we start moving Park Ranger Stan will switch from these cold-hard construction statistics to inspiring tales that took place within different areas of this beautiful and magical setting. I can tell by his endearing nature that this man is connected to many lives here, and I am certain he has more stories to tell than time will allow.

Eventually the middle-aged woman in our group asks if we will be moving from the spot we have been standing in for about twenty minutes. Park Ranger Stan explains that the tour begins, remains and ends in this single spot. He states that his power-point pen makes moving unnecessary since we can visually follow the red dot around the room.

I am confused. It seems like the historic tales we will soon hear would be more powerful if we travel to the places in which they occurred. But I tell myself not to be so demanding. The important part is not standing in various locations. The important part is simply learning the legacies.

But Park Ranger Stan just continues to talk about square footage and sand bags. We are occasionally blessed with a passing remark about Native Americans visiting the construction site to approve Disney’s efforts of authenticity, but—in general—the topic remains strictly architectural with little said about humanity. I feel myself get a bit antsy.

After another ten minutes, Park Ranger Stan asks with finality, “Does anyone have questions?” I am left a little alarmed that his tone indicates we are at the end of this tour, and I have yet to hear one bonafide, historical tale about a specific event, person or token of humanity other than our dear park ranger’s introductory resume.

I quickly raise my hand. “Could you tell us about any interesting people or events that are in the lodge’s history,” I sweetly implore. “Hmmm. Could you give me an example of what you are looking for,” he probes. I respond, “Well, things like . . . have any famous people stayed here? What happened when they did? Was the building packed with onlookers? Has anyone died here? Has anyone been born here? Have any horrific curses been cast on this place? What about blessings? Were there any terrific obstacles that needed to be overcome and ultimately ended up in the triumphant completion of the building? Oh! I know! Are there any Wilderness spirits that haunt the lodge on occasion? Or are there any legendary cast members who have greatly contributed in some way to the betterment of this place?”

Park Ranger Stan looks a little stunned by my sudden, verbal explosion. “Well, I guess I don’t rightly know of anything like that off the top of my head,” he admits. “What about romantic tales? Do you have any specific memories about weddings that have taken place here,” I plead. He shakes his head and says, “Not exactly. I can tell you, though, that weddings in the lodge take place on that upper balcony. Most of the bride’s here are Asian. Apparently, it is less expensive for an Asian bride to have a grand affair here in Walt Disney World® than it is to have a smaller affair in their own country.” I consider this tid-bit more interesting than the other stuff he has told us so far, but when I inquire about more specifics, he has none to give.

In an attempt to jump start his memory, I feed him the beginnings of a story that I have already heard. I rationalize that though I know the basics of this tale, he may be able to fill in details with a more personal touch. At this point, I am desperate to hear a story even if I already know it. “Can you tell us the story of the man who worked here and began the tradition of rubbing Humphrey’s nose,” I ask. “I’d be happy to do that if I knew the story,” he replies. I suggest, “Oh, I am sure you know this. There was a man who used to work here. You must have known him. He would rub Humphrey’s nose. But he is now dead. Does that sound familiar?” “No,” he says with a terrific smile, “but I am really interested to hear about it. Why don’t you tell the group about it?”

I am a little embarrassed to be suddenly thrust into the role of tour guide, but this tour is begging for stories that aren’t about brick and mortar. I feel obliged to share what I know with the other two people who made the effort to come to this tour (possibly with misaligned expectations as I did). “Well, I am a member on the Disboards, which is an online community. If you have a question about Disney, these people will have the answer for you within 5 minutes flat. Anyway, on that board, this story is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 101. There was a cast member, someone they called ‘A Wilderness Vet,’ and he really loved his job here. He apparently started the tradition of rubbing Humphrey’s nose. Humphrey is the bear on the bottom of the totem pole near the mercantile shop. Park Ranger Stan, do you mind shining your power-point dot on Humphrey for us,” I request. Park Ranger Stan is happy to assist my presentation and directs our attention to Humphrey with his pen. I continue, “Well, he told everyone that when they visited Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, if they would rub Humphrey’s nose at the start of their vacation, it would make their magical vacation dreams come true. He has died since then, but people still seek out Humphrey every time they visit to carry on this tradition. My kids and I did this when we first arrived earlier this week, and it was a lot of fun for us. As you can see, the paint on Humphrey’s nose has been worn off. This is because of all of the rubbing, so this cast member’s legacy lives on at the nose of this adorable bear.”

My story is met with unexpressive nods from the inattentive couple. Apparently, brick and mortar statistics actually were all they came to hear about. But Park Ranger Stan looks as if he could not be more pleased with my tale. He remarks, “That was wonderful! Maybe you should learn to give the tour. I never realized that Humphrey’s paint had been rubbed off, but you are right. Isn’t that amazing!”

Due to Park Ranger Stan’s reaction, I feel proud of my contribution. Maybe the mystical cast member’s legend will expand if Park Ranger Stan decides to add the tale to his tour.

Suddenly, Park Ranger Stan’s face brightens. “I have a story for you that I think you will like,” he offers, “But we will have to go to the floor where the weddings take place. Does everyone have enough time to do this? Our tour is actually over now, so you may leave if you need to.” Everyone agrees to stay, however, and he leads us to the higher level.

Once we are there, he has us look over the railing for a bird’s eye view of the lobby floor. In a secretive tone he relays that he doesn’t always give this information out because some consider it to be offensive to their religion or to their lack of religion. With that disclaimer, I am hooked. I know this is going to be good.

He then explains that the Native American tale of Creation is told in the layout of the wood planks on the floor. So with his pointer pen in hand, Park Ranger Stan begins the elaborate Creation story from the perspective of Native Americans. With each story detail he traces the floor with his floating red dot to illustrate the hidden symbolism. Park Ranger Stan becomes more engrossed in the legend with each word, and I can see his enthusiasm and pride in the lodge growing as his story progresses. He continues until the end and delivers an excellent and informative report that certainly speaks of the lodge’s architectural history as well as the theology that is the backdrop for it. And by the time he finishes this climatic presentation, I am full to the brim with satisfaction. This is the type of thing that I had hoped to learn about. It was long in coming, but Park Ranger Stan did not let me down.

As we conclude our time together, Park Ranger Stan asks again, “Does anyone have more questions?” I raise my hand again. He looks at me quizzically, waiting for me to respond. I carefully inquire, “Are you able to show us any of the Hidden Mickeys of the lodge?” Park Ranger Stan flashes me his winning smile but says, “You have stumped me again.” Rats! “Well,” I think to myself, “no one could blame me for trying.”
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:11 PM   #165
linmc1129
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 108

Just stumbled upon your trip report. It is told beautifully. You should work on getting that book published. I will have to check out your website, because I am, at times, considered a NDM. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
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