Disneyland is rightfully called the happiest place on Earth, but even in the happiest place, disaster can strike. The next time you visit the resort, think about this instead of thinking about how many hours you have to work to earn enough to pay for parking: what would you do if the zombie apocalypse struck while you were in Disneyland?
The obvious thing to do is wait for instructions from cast members. Believe us when we say that Disneyland’s automated emergency contingency system contains plans for everything from a full-on alien invasion to a simple weasel attack, so they have planned, prepared, and drilled for a possible zombie apocalypse ever since the issue came to public attention back in 1968. But any emergency plan is only as good as those who carry it out, and if you see shamblers on Main Street, you can bet your crawling skin that behind the scenes cast members are already politely devouring the happy thoughts in each others’ brains and using two fingers to point out new victims.
So, if you are in Disneyland park and the zombies strike, what can you do? Here are a few tips:
- Don’t try to leave the park. Unless you came to Disneyland in a fully stocked military survival vehicle, you’re better off inside Disneyland than you are trying to get back to your (probably already burning) vehicle or (likely zombie infested) hotel. The park’s gates and berm will help protect you from the flesh-eating undead trying to get into the park, and these tips will help you deal with the creatures that are already here.
- Don’t go on any rides or attractions. Sure, lines may suddenly become super short, but avoid their siren call. You don’t want to be stuck in an attraction vehicle when the undead is coming for your brains.
- If you’re already on a ride or attraction, wait for it to end or stop before getting off. You’re probably in more danger from moving ride vehicles than you are from the undead while riding. But exercise particular care if you are on the Haunted Mansion or another scary ride (e.g., Pooh) — zombies can easily blend in with the scenery!
- Speaking of blending in, don’t get out of a boat in Pirates and try to pretend you’re just another animatronic character. Yes, you’re very clever, but zombies don’t care about clever — they can smell the living, and you aren’t going to fool them, no matter how much look like Johnny Depp or how red your hair is.
- Arm yourself! Most of the “weapons” you see around Disneyland won’t be much help — they’re either light-weight replicas or bolted to something. You’re going to have to improvise. Depending on the season, there might be a barrel full of oars outside the Explorer Canoes, and these make excellent clubs. Guns in the shooting gallery don’t really shoot, but they too are good for zombie-head smacking. If you don’t mind getting close up with the undead, all restaurants have knives. Main Street vehicles can be used to ram zombies. Check the fire station and fire boxes back stage for axes. If there is any refurbishment going on, raid it for tools (hammers, crowbars, arc welders). If the back-stage security office hasn’t been overrun, there is a supply of shotguns and uzis behind the non-lethal riot-control equipment. Clever guests can also weaponize fireworks, custodial equipment, and stale churros.
- Zombies hate fire! Get bottles of alcohol from Club 33, use cloth napkins as wicks, and you’ve got fire bombs. If Push is available, fill him with gasoline and use him as a huge radio-controlled Molotov cocktail.
- Traveling with children? If they’re small enough to be in strollers, keep them there. If they’re too big, promise them anything they like when the looting starts, just so long as they swear to obey your commands without question. If you have a daughter dressed as a Disney princess, change her clothes immediately (during emergency preparedness drills, it was found that zombies beeline for princesses). If you have a son dressed as a Disney princess — well, that’s an issue for a different post.
- Stockpile food. Either barricade yourself in a restaurant or other eatery, or grab some shopping bags and fill them with fruit, drinks, chimichangas, and turkey legs from stands you pass as you run for your life.
- Avoid non-face costumed characters — who knows whether the thing beneath the giant head is alive or dead? If you have kids, sternly remind them that, no matter how fast a character is approaching, this is not the time to collect autographs.
- And while we’re on the subject of things not to do, no pin trading! (Unless there’s a lull in the violence, or you’re barricaded with another pin trader, or you see a really good rare one or one that will complete a set you collect, or you can nab a lanyard off of something whose head you’re clubbing.)
- Don’t try to escape into the tunnels beneath Tomorrowland — they don’t exist. However, lots of people think that they do exist, so a cry of “run for the tunnels in Tomorrowland!” might send a crowd of ignorant victims in that direction, drawing the zombies away from you and your family.
- If you can, get on the monorail and stay there. Monorails are, by design, largely zombie proof. So long as they have power and are away from a station, they are hard to get into and they can travel fast enough to swat any dexterous climbing zombies off the track. If someone on the monorail shows signs of becoming a zombie (by dying, for example), throw them out a roof hatch.
- Tom Sawyer Island is another possible refuge. Zombies don’t swim well and the Rivers of America is toxic enough to burn the flesh off any undead that tries to walk over, so if you can clear the island, you and your party of survivors should be good for quite a while. The caves have defensible choke points if things get really bad, there is food in the back-stage storage areas, and you can make weapons (including a serious flamethrower) with the Fantasmic! show equipment. Also, if things get really bad, there are enough resources on the island that — assuming your party has a good mix of genders — you may be able to wait out the problem and use this as a launch pad for repopulating the planet.
- If you’re reasonably athletic, you can climb the Matterhorn faster than any zombie. At the top is a large room (about half the size of a basketball court) where you can barricade yourself. This also gives you the high ground for sending signals, on the off chance that help is ever on the way.
- Take pictures and videos! If you survive, an online slideshow of zombies at Disneyland will get you millions of hits, and footage of creatures in mouse ears shambling through Fantasyland will easily make you the toast of YouTube. Think of all the Adsense revenue! (Assuming you — and the nation’s infrastructure — survive, of course.)
That should be enough to keep you going through the worst of the disaster. If you have any tips of your own (particularly for guests who are stuck in DCA, Downtown Disney, or one of the hotels), please leave them in the comments.