Haunted Fairy Castle ~ Installment 9


I’m spending part of my days now working at one of the rides in the park. All entry-level employees are required to become familiar with ride operations. I chose “Pirates of the Caribbean” because I liked the movie, but now I think I picked the wrong ride. Everyone likes that movie. I realize how unoriginal I am every day, when I see the long line of tourists stretching around barriers and row dividers, like a trail of ants in the sun. The engineers have it disguised really well, so people don’t realize they’re getting in a two-hour line. They could figure it out if they looked at their watches, but we play loud music and flash lights at them, as a distraction. Sometimes, when parents come around the bend they think leads to the entrance, and realize they’re only at the halfway point, they scream.

I think the ride was better before they came out with the movie. We watched a before-and-after video, and the old ride looks charming, whereas the new one is full of mechanical dolls designed to resemble movie stars. There’s this one of Johnny Depp hiding in a barrel that looks uncannily real. He moves in and out of the barrel in slow motion, as if medicated. If I were Johnny Depp, that would really freak me out.

When visitors come through that part of the ride, they all lean over the side of the boat and say, “Is that really Johnny Depp?” No, it is not really Johnny Depp. Do they honestly think Johnny Depp has nothing better to do than sit in a cave all day, popping in and out of a barrel? Besides, he makes four appearances during the ride, and people should realize that in a ride with boats coming through every five seconds, Johnny Depp cannot rush around being in four places at once. He isn’t magic; he’s just Johnny Depp. But people don’t realize that at Disneyland. They think that if fairies and talking animals and teacups can be magic, people can, too. If one more person asks me at the end of the ride if that was really Johnny Depp hiding in the barrel, I’m going to scream.


My boss has been working on our Fairy Castle dilemma. She’s trying to minimize attention about it in the press. The other day a reporter stuck his head in our office, and asked if it was true the Fairy Castle is haunted, and if so, whether the rumors are correct that the ghost lingers in the Fairy Castle in order to protest Disney’s life insurance policy. My boss distracted him by getting Snow White to have a nervous breakdown in the hallway.

“We can’t have it getting out that the Fairy Castle is haunted until we’ve fixed the problem,” she said.

I wonder how she plans to fix the problem. Possibly, she’ll sell the ghost a better life insurance policy, although it would be easier if she could just persuade him to relocate to the Haunted Mansion.


Today someone stopped me at the end of the pirate ride, and asked if that was really Johnny Depp, hiding in the barrel.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, it was. Johnny Depp spends most of his time sitting in a cave, popping in and out of a barrel all day.”

She asked me if she could go back in the ride to get his autograph.

“I’m sorry,” I said, in the polite but firm tone they taught us in operations training, “but visitors are not allowed to go back inside the cave. The ride only operates in one direction.”

So she walked all the way around to the front of the ride, and got back in the two-hour line again.

I suspect that in approximately two hours, the ride is going to stop, because one of the visitors is going to try to climb out of the boats. I plan to be on my lunch-break at that time.


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