Untitled work by: Anonymous
Finn woke with a start, the cold metal of the park bench pressing into his back. He then looked at his watch, it was around midnight. His arm glowing, Finn looked at his surroundings and sighed, the dark buildings were recognizable; he was in Disney World. He instantly assumed this was Wayne’s doing, and began to look for him. Wayne was a friend of Finn’s, he was the former Head-Imagineer, working for the Walt Disney Company. Wayne had spearheaded a new project for the company, almost 5 years ago. The shareholders wanted a new draw for the parks in Orlando, and Wayne delivered. He came up with the idea to use holograms as guides, and that’s where Finn came in. Finn was one of the lucky teenagers chosen to become one of the holograms and was being paid handsomely in return. But, these jobs had a side effect; whenever the kids fell asleep, they were instantly transported to Disney World at night, to become half human, half hologram.
Tonight was another one of those nights. Finn got off the park bench and began walking, looking for Wayne. Hooking a left from the castle and heading into Adventureland, he looked for Wayne – an extremely recognizable man. Wayne was a wiry old guy with platinum silver hair, and was one of the last people alive who personally knew Walt Disney. Wayne was nowhere to be found, which left Finn quite puzzled. As he walked back into the hub, he noticed his friend walking around the hub as well, holding an odd shaped piece of paper. He ran over and greeted his friend; “Hey Willa!” Finn said, “Do you have any idea what we might be doing here?” Willa walked over and handed him the piece of.
“I think this might have to do with it.” The piece of paper held a riddle
“Here the dishes serve themselves,
Returning to sit on little shelves.
But don’t forget to look for the star,
Candles alight to be seen from afar”
“Hmmmm. What could that possibly mean?” Finn questioned, “I think dishes serving themselves is quite obvious – it’s talking about-”
“Be our guest restaurant!” Willa blurted out smugly, “It’s not often that I beat you to a conclusion like that!” she smiled.
“So candles alight is the last part of the riddle…”
“And it references Lumiere! HA! I got you again Finn! You’re going to have to step up your game.”
And the two set off for New Fantasyland, heading to the Be Our Guest restaurant and keeping an eye out for Wayne. Finn decided to take the long route, walking briskly to the back of Tomorrowland, not paying attention to their surroundings. They were now in the heart of Tomorrowland, standing in front of the Peoplemover and turned left – moving at a slight jog.
“Why… are… we… running…” Willa managed to say in between breaths.
“Well I’m worried about Wayne. You know how he liked to wander around the park. Always looking for things to improve, that guy was. Besides, I’ve got to get fit for track so I might as well start now!”
“Ughh” Willa groaned and doubled her pace, ready to show up Finn for the third time that night.
Soon, the two high schoolers were sprinting across the dim park, the only light of the source the moon. They quickly approached New Fantasyland, still having seen no sign of Wayne, and slowed down, walking with a brisk pace down the small bridge that served as the walkway to the restaurant. The two of them slipped through the front doors, and began their search.
“That’s odd.” Willa commented
“What do you mean? Nothing seems odd to me except how dark everything is when it’s late at night”
“Not that! You dummy!! I mean, it’s odd that the doors were unlocked, you know how big of a deal security is here”
“I don’t know Willa, let’s not question it. Just start looking for a Lumiere character made of plastic, there’s tons of them here!”
“Found it!” Willa exclaimed with delight, “This is the fourth time tonight Finn, are you feeling okay?” she teased.
Willa had found a small plastic version of Lumiere, with three mini candle led lights that were currently pulsing, as she had just picked it up. Turning it over to view the base, she noticed a small logo. “Finn!” she called him over, “What does this mean?”
“I know this! That is the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, Wayne worked on that project as well. I don’t exactly know what to do but I think we should bring Lumiere with us, the nearest location isn’t too far away”
“Whatever you say Finn” Willa agreed and handed Finn the plastic figure.
And off the two went, headed for Sir Mickey’s, a gift shop near the castle, and the site of another part of Wayne’s riddle. Upon arrival at the outside of the gift shop, Finn looked and noticed a metal disc, sunk into the concrete that matched that of the figure in his right hand and little box, shaped like a keyhole sticking out of the wall. He rested the bottom of the Lumiere figure against the reader and in front of him, a screen sputtered to life, showing through the brick wall, hidden in a display. A wizard appeared on the screen and thundered “Your card?!”, and then faded to black. Confused, Finn tried to think of the card he had. Suddenly, he realized! The oddly shaped piece of paper, it looked like the outside of of the keyhole. He held up the paper, with the writing facing out towards the screen and suddenly the screen came to life again, this time with a video from Wayne.
“Very good job Finn! By now I assume you have found Willa and the two of you are working together. Listen very carefully because I will only say this next clue once…”
“I was hand-picked by Walt,
It was not my fault.
But after my long journey,
I finally was able to rest.
Don’t forget to water me,
Or one day I might totter.”
“Wow” Finn said, and instantly tried to hear it one more time. He scanned the figure and got no response from the screen again.
“I guess Wayne wasn’t kidding about that ‘only once’ thing” Willa said from the shadows. “But I remember it all, it’s alright Finn. I wonder what this could be talking about. Pretty much everything on opening day was “hand-picked” by Walt, so that doesn’t help us at all”
“Maybe we should move on to the next phrase, Willa. ‘After my long journey’, Hmmmm. That doesn’t seem to be very specific either.”
“Well,” Willa continued “maybe the last sentence will clear up all our confusion. ‘Don’t forget to water me, or one day I might totter’… Honestly, I have no idea, I’m pretty stumped.”
“Oh I know!! It needs to be watered because it’s a tree! Wayne wants us to head to the Liberty Tree! Walt found the tree on property and moved it almost 8 miles to get it to Liberty Square, that was the long journey – HA beat that Willa!”
“Okay, okay, I concede, you did it. Good job Finn! Now let’s go to that tree, I’m getting tired”
The two kids ran again, this time to Liberty Square, beginning to get frustrated with Wayne and his shenanigans. The Liberty Tree was a 38 ton oak tree, with thirteen lanterns hanging off of it to represent the thirteen colonies. It’s bright green leaves and brown rope coloured lanterns glistened in the moonlight. Upon arrival at the tree, the two circled around it many times, seeing nothing particularly special, or relating to what they already had learned.
“Willa, what are we doing here?! I think Wayne might have actually gone off his rocker”
“Oh hush Finn! I found the symbol again, hand me the figure”
Willa inserted the figure into the embossed concrete on the edge of the planter and suddenly, the replica of the liberty bell, all the way across the “land” began to ring, very loudly.
“What do you think about this Finn? I’m starting to get pretty weirded out-”
Just as she finished her last word, the “Liberty Bell”, another bell that was made in the same mold before it was destroyed, stopped ringing, on the 13th ring, leaving deathly silence in its place. Willa tried to pull the Lumiere figure out of the concrete but it was stuck, something was holding it down. Finn moved his gaze from Willa’s attempts to remove the tiny statue to look around and noticed Wayne hanging out of a window across the square, smiling. Wayne waved and suddenly disappeared with a smile on his face. Wayne had been hanging out of a window at the top of the hall of presidents, a large, white, colonial style building. Finn ran over to the doors and Wayne emerged, spooking Willa who still had her concentration on the statuette.
“Congratulations you two! You have solved the first of many mysteries!” Wayne told the two kids emphatically. “I am very proud of both of you and now I have something to ask of you.” He led the two over to a park bench and sat down. “Right now, not many people know this, but the parks are alive. Walt built this place to be a refuge for all of the characters he wrote about to live happily. See that?”
Willa and Finn turned to look where Wayne pointed. Pluto was walking by.
“Is that-” Finn whispered
“Yes, it is.” Wayne answered, “He is the real Pluto. And we need your help! All of the characters have been happy for many years but recently we have been having trouble. All of the happiness is crumbling away, like film left out in the elements. We need you to find out what’s going on. But for now, you have accomplished your test, and it is time to go home. You can do this Finn, you and your friends, I just know it.”
He smiled at Finn and Willa. And with that, Wayne pulled a small fob out of this pocket and pushed it, sending Willa and Finn home to think about what had happened that night.