Discover the Magic Tour
The Discover the Magic tour is a three-hour adventure, geared toward children from four to 10 years of age (and their parents, of course). Guests are guaranteed to have a unique adventure in the park and get some significant one-on-one time with a variety of costumed characters.
The tour begins at the Main Street Opera House, where the tour guide starts to talk about the history of Disneyland from a janitorial perspe ctive. But just when things are getting really dull, Pluto rushes in, waving his paws franticly and covered in blood. He's been shot!
The poor yellow dog falls to the floor unconscious seconds later, and the tour guide notices that he had been carrying a large book with him. Ignoring any pleas from the children to call an ambulance or vet, the guide picks up the book. Could it hold a clue to who shot poor Pluto? She opens it to the first page to find out.
Inside is a picture of Snow White. The tour guide says that Snow White usually hangs around her wishing well when she's not cleaning up after other people, so that might be a good place to look. Before heading off to find the princess, guests are given kazoos, tambourines, and other noisemakers, with which to play a joyful tune during their walk down Main Street, in the honor of the late Pluto.
As the tour group nears the wishing well, the children are told how to behave around a princess. For example, they should not speak unless spoken to, and if they ever turn their back on the sovereign they will be beheaded. But all this training is for naught -- by the wishing well stands, not Snow White, but the huntsman, holding a knife and a jeweled box and looking extremely severe. Particularly observant children might even notice just a hint of a limp, pasty white hand on the ground behind the well, and a little bluebird who stands weeping on the well's rim.
When everyone reaches Adventureland, the guide says she thinks they've gone far enough to be safe. She checks the book again for clues, and sees that the next page has a picture of Mary Poppins on the carrousel.
Heading toward the carrousel, the tour guide tells the group that for the rest of the day they are going to play a special game. Whenever they cross a bridge, one of them will be chosen to tell their deepest, darkest secret. As the castle drawbridge is crossed, the guide reveals that s he used to be a man. A child is then chosen to tell a secret of his or her own, quickly before their parents can stop them.
At the carrousel, the tour group sees that Mary Poppins has a bit of a problem. Her magic flying umbrella has become caught in one of the horse's bridles, and Mary is being dragged around in circles to the tune of calliope music. With a little coaching from their guide, the children yell, "Let go of the umbrella!" Obeying their suggestion, Mary lets go and is thrown safely into a bush. She then stands and brushes herself off until she is practically perfect, aside from the occasional bruise.
Unfortunately, Mary Poppins can shed no light on Pluto's untimely demise. She suggests that they turn to the last page of the book, for that is undoubtedly where the solution lies. Ignoring the busybody's suggestion, the tour guide turns to the next unseen page, where there is a picture of Woodie and Jessie. It's off to Frontierland!
A t the edge of Fantasyland, the guide stops the group and hands out bandanas. Everyone is encouraged to put a bandana on over their nose and mouth, just like an old-west outlaw. That way, if Pluto's murderer sees them, he won't be able to identify them and hunt them down later (what with them being nosy kinds and potential witnesses and all).
With their disguises in place, the group enters Frontierland. But what do they see? In front of the Golden Horseshoe, Woodie and Jessie are engaged in a wild gunfight, shooting it out with a half dozen outlaws! Fortunately, our heroes get the best of the bad guys (with one falling spectacularly from the saloon roof), but it takes a moment to convince them that the tour group isn't another gang of villains.
After consulting with the cowfolk, it's clear that Woodie and Jessie were too busy chasing owlhoots when the murder took place to have any useful information. The guide turns to the next page in the book, which holds a pi cture of Tarzan. Because an illiterate, tree-dwelling, bug eater is unlikely to be much use in a criminal investigation, she turns the page again, only to find that it has been torn out!
A quick forensic analysis shows the "finger" prints of Captain Hook on what remains of the torn page. Fortunately, the tour guide just happens to know where in the park a bunch of pirates like to hang out! She leads the group on to New Orleans Square, where they enter the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction via a seldom-used side door.
Inside the attraction, the group sneaks downstairs to the burning city. There they find their way to the prison scene, and discover that something has been lodged in the ribcage of the skeleton hanging on the prison wall. It's a treasure map of Tom Sawyer's Island!
With the villains so close, time certainly is of the essence. Hurrying out of the attraction, the tour group runs to the Rivers of America and, not wanting to waste pr ecious seconds waiting for a raft, swims across the river.
The map has a big "X" marked on a spot behind the fort. When the group gets there, they see that the marked spot is a grave -- and that it has been dug up! A trail of footprints leads behind some bushes where a chest is discovered beneath a layer of camouflage. It takes all of the tour guide's skills and patience to open the chest without setting off the booby-traps and blowing the entire group sky high, but she somehow manages.
Within the chest is gold, jewels, and silver -- a king's ransom! There's also the page that was torn from the book! Should the kids stop here, divide the treasure, and just forget about the mystery? Ignoring the group's wishes, the guide insists that Pluto's murderer must be found. She looks at the torn page and finds a picture of none other than Mickey Mouse! Could Pluto's trusted master secretly be a dog killer? Say it isn't so! Well, there's only one way to find out , and that's to confront Mickey with the evidence.
A second swim across the lake (taking care to avoid the Mark Twain) and a march to Toontown brings the group to Mickey's house. Entering through the garage in order to better surprise the mouse, the group finds him on the set of one of his films (which is suspicious in and of itself, since the film he's supposedly working on was long ago completed).
Mickey listens patiently as the tour guide recounts the morning's events, and then he starts laughing silently. It's all been a misunderstanding! He pantomime whistles, and in comes Pluto, healthy as can be!
It turns out that Pluto was up all night with Donald and Goofy, drinking and playing cards. He was dead tired and hung over in the morning, so much so that while Mickey was eating breakfast Pluto stumbled against the table and got catsup all over himself. He would have gone right to bed, but he had to get the book to the police so that they could capture Captain Hook who had made off with a load of loot from the Toontown bank. Unfortunately, Pluto was so exhausted that when he reached Main Street, he fell asleep right there on the floor of the Opera House.
Now everything's okay. The fool's errand the guide and her tour group went on gave Captain Hook time to escape justice, but at least Pluto is unharmed (unlike poor, dead Snow White -- it's to bad the kids hadn't gotten to the wishing well just a little sooner). To reward everyone for their efforts, Mickey gives each child a commemorative pin, which, he's sure, is exactly what they wanted.
Tour length, 3 hours. Cost, $65.27 ($65.28, weekends)
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