Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Mouse Gave Me the Bum's Rush

I've been promising for a LONG time to tell the story of how I got thrown out of Disneyland... and just the other day I realized that I wrote it up during my "reign" as Geek of the Week on BoardGameGeek. So, now I'm sharing it with the rest of you. Set the Wayback Machine for Spring Break week, 1980...

I didn't do anything... except make the bad choice to hang out with my friends, Jim & Mike. They decided late in the evening to take advantage of the lack of seatbelts on Pirates of the Carribean. The boat in front of us was empty - and our boat just contained one necking couple (in the front) and four high school guys (Mike, Jim, Larry & myself) in the back.

At the first ledge you pass (before the first waterfall), Jim & Mike both hopped out, ran around for a minute, and jumped back in the boat. There was an annoucement over the regular narration saying "Get back in the boat."

You'd think this would slow down the idiotic behavior, but after we went over the first falls, there's another ledge on the left hand side of the boat. Again, Mike hopped out and hopped right back in.

As we reached the edge of the second falls, there was a funky "alert" noise and the boat ground to a halt with the couple poised right at the edge of the drop-off (not that they would have noticed). A guy in a pirate's outfit came out from behind the rocks & told the four of us to "get out of the boat." Larry & I both asked "us, too?" (since we hadn't done anything wrong!) - and when it was clear that the four of us were together, they took us all.

I wish I hadn't been so dang freaked out by this - I was a good kid who NEVER got in trouble - because we walked back to the boarding area through the "backstage" of Pirates (which would be pretty cool if you weren't spending all your emotional energy worrying about what was going to happen next).

Of course, what did happen next was a strong lecturing by Pirate Security Guy on the boat dock - including scare stories about kids getting killed on Tom Sawyer Island and the like. (I've since read a number of books & articles on Disneyland - and as far as I can remember, he wasn't embellishing anything.) Finally, in disgust, he handed us off to another security guy who had showed up - this one in Main Street garb.

Main Street guy was a bit older - my guess is that he'd worked at the park since the '60s - and was a bit kinder in the way he treated us. He walked us out the back of Pirate's and around the Jungle Cruise... we came up on the back side of the Fire Station on Main Street, where he stopped to point out the Disney family quarters above the firehouse.

Then he stopped & told us that we seemed like nice enough guys... and that we should know better than to pull crap like this. Instead of taking us to the security office & calling our parents, he was simply going to take us out the front gate without letting us get our hands stamped for re-entry.

And that was it.

I didn't tell my parents for YEARS.

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