“If you are looking for Disney, you won’t find it here,” said the man.
Obviously he didn’t mean we took a wrong turn. Heather (my daughter and fellow Mousewife) and I exchanged looks that said, “But it can’t be! This is a Disney event!”
We forged ahead on our 1.7 mile trek, determined. If there was even a teaspoonful of pixie dust, we would find it. And it would all be worth it.
Heather and I signed up weeks earlier for the Cars 3 promotional tour that was traveling to a location about an hour from home. Disney coming to us! What could be better? Heather’s two mouseketeers would love it!
Big Brother Mouseketeer was told only that we were going to a special Disney surprise. He marked off the days on his calendar. “Mommy, when I wake up will it be the surprise?” he asked day after day. And now, finally, it was the day.
We packed the car with two car seats, the double-stroller, and lots of snacks. Gemma (that’s me) brought the ponchos (because that’s Gemma’s job whenever we do Disney). Daddy would take off of work early and meet us there.
Missing: Disney-like Attention to Details
Our first clue this might not be Disney away from Disney World came when the GPS said, “The destination is on your right.” The sign in front of us read, “No outlet.” Concrete barriers blocked the road. Unlike in Disney World, where helpful signs make even the directionally-challenged like us heroes to a carload of excited kids, we found ourselves staring at a concrete barrier perplexed. Time was ticking and the thought of disappointed mousketeers was too sad!
Heather did a quick Google search for the site listed on our ticket. The event was being held at the grounds of a major trucking company, complete with test track. How hard could it be to find? The location appeared to be a few blocks and turns away. Taking a risk, we decided to “follow our noses.”
Our dead end route had cost us valuable time though, and we were now running close to the start of the event. I called my husband who was more familiar with the area, and he tried to give us directions.
“Turn here,” I told Heather, pointing left.
Two police cars blocked the street. Whistles shrieked and gloved hands motioned us away.
“How do we get to the Disney event?” we asked.
“No more cars are allowed in,” he replied.
“But we have tickets.”
“The event is full,” he said, directing us to move on.
We complied. But we were not giving up.
We turned down a side street and tried to calculate how far we would need to walk. Could we park here? We weren’t sure but, desperate for some Disney, we decided to do it anyway. We unloaded kids and backpacks. Got the two mouseketeers situated in the stroller and pulled up Google maps. 1.7 miles; 36 minutes to walk. The event would be over!
So we decided to walk super-fast. Not easy with loaded backpacks and a double-stroller with uncooperative wheels. But after an hour’s drive with eager mouseketeers, we were not giving up!
Ahead on our route a solid line of traffic inched toward us, apparently exiting the event. “Don’t even bother. They’re not letting anyone else in,” said one after another, obviously trying to be helpful.
A dad walking toward us with two pre-school age boys dressed in matching McQueen shirts said sadly, “The line is a mile long. You won’t get near the place.”
“We have tickets,” we said.
“It doesn’t matter,” was the oft-repeated response.
Unlike at Disney World, where the smallest details are considered and attended to, someone here had missed a few major ones. Like how Disney-desperate we northerners get after a very long winter. Especially when somebody says, “free tickets.”
We trudged on. If there was Disney at the end of this trail, we would find it.
Missing: Disney Cast Members
1.7 miles and 31 minutes later we arrived at a gate…of sorts. A group of orange-vested men stood in a huddle and said, “You won’t get in.”
“We have tickets,” we said yet again.
“You can try it.” That was the only encouragement we needed. Onward we went. The orange-vested men seemed to care little either way.
We encountered the next group of gatekeepers. About 6 women sporting Cars 3 T-shirts with Disney-like name tags stood in a huddle in front of what appeared to be the entrance to the metal fencing encircling the event. Surely this group was authentic Disney.
They continued their personal conversation as we approached. (Cast Member Training 101…”Always turn to greet the approaching guest.”) Like the orange vests, the T-shirts seemed unconcerned about whether or not we entered.
Heather and I looked at each other, shrugged, and forged ahead.
Evidently the “lines” had given up and gone home. Or had been turned away.
But…we had made it! We were in!
We were in, but did we ever actually find Disney? Stay tuned to our next post to find out!