When we last met, I was telling you all about my Supervillain father, Bushwacker Bill, the Red Terror of the (Disney) World. A man who, while described by many as a “straight arrow,” morphs into a dreadful menace that clips down innocent bystanders and the people who love him most without prejudice. If the overpriced vibrant jungle of Walt Disney world was a battleground, then May the 4th 2016 was our Vietnam. Come with me, if you dare, as we stare into the depths of Bushwacker Bills, murky wake of misery in the worst park on the worst day in the history of ever.
Before we get on with the gore-fest, I have a statement to make for all of my Star Wars geek readers:
Hey YOU! No, not those other idiots who have no idea what Carbonite is, I’m talking to YOU, beloved Star Wars/ grouchymuffin fans!
Listen sporto, I’m gonna say some crummy things about your precious, just know that I respect your decision to identify as Jedi. Seriously, at a Halloween party, I once made out with a dude in a Obi Wan Kenobi costume. I’ll also have you know that I saw the new-fangled JJ Abrams number, TWICE. Why twice? Because I wanted to make sure my daughter saw a kicka$$ movie heroine; BTW she loved it, and is team Rey all the way.
Hope this softens to blow!
Episode 2: A New Nope
Looking back on those 6am claps of thunder, I should have recognized the omen that they were. 2 hours later, while noshing on my $5.00 bagel, (“Toast it yourself, cheap a**hole.” -Walt Disney) I had no clue how close to the edge of insanity yours truly would be a mere 13 hours later.
Bushwacker Bill, refreshed from a mere 5 hours sleep, cut a menacing swath while we made our way to the covered bus stop off of the lobby. The plan was morning/lunch in Hollywood Studios followed by an afternoon at EPCOT. This was the scooter’s first time on a WDW bus, so I was curious to see how the process worked. 10 humiliating minutes later, I had a complete working knowledge.
We were greeted by an extremely helpful WDW transportation staffer who got about the business of getting the Old man squared away, “Good morning friends! Here’s how it works, the bus will be here in 3 minutes; Sir, you will enter first and after the driver straps your EPV in, your family will join you. ONLY THEN will the rest of the passengers be allowed to board.
Bushwacker Bill was a sucker for the white glove treatment, “I told ya we’d be treated like VIP’s!” I looked around at the benches filled with people, most of them wearing Star Wars-related apparel. Still blissfully naive, I saw the approaching bus marked “Hollywood Studios,” and anticipated a day of fun. When the bus pulled to the curb, all 50+ people who previously were mingling and sitting, lined up, we were all trying to get on the same bus.
“Oh crap!” I breathlessly told L4L, “we’re going to Hollywood Studios (aka Disney’s Star Wars ball-gargling land,) ON MAY THE FOURTH, AKA AN UNOFFICIAL HOLIDAY THAT CELEBRATES STAR WARS!”
L4L did a double take in horror before frantically checking his smartwatch for the date. The life begin to slowly drain from his eyes, “How could you do this to us?”
Sadly, it was all my fault, back in November, I made our lunch reservations on 5/4 at Hollywood Studios “Prime Time Cafe,” a nostalgic must-visit on every WDW trip. Due to my near-sighted excitement about a lunch in a galaxy far far away, I completely missed the fact that I committed us to an intergalactic clusterf*ck.
The truth is, growing up a troop in Bushwacker Bill’s squadron, I’m team Star Trek all the way. While he dutifully made sure we watched the Star Wars movies, his Rodenberry’s only had eyes for the Enterprise. Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Jimmy Doohan, all practically hailed from Mount Olympus as far as the Old man is concerned. Me? I’ve always been a George Takei admirer.
“Way to go, Einstein. You planned a visit to the Star Wars park on May the dorkth. Good going, Magellan.” Dad quipped.
I stood there powerless on that drizzling morning as the droves of Star Wars disciples descended on our personal space. Our kindly friend with the clip board shooed everyone away from the marked handicapped square on the walkway, “Folks, this gentleman is going to get on first, once he and his family are secured, we will open boarding to everyone else.”
Beaming from his newfound VIP status, Bushwacker Bill personified joy as he did his excited-dad eyebrow dance and began up the ramp to an empty bus.
3 agonizing minutes passed, while pops (and a VERY patient bus driver,) tried to get his EPV settled. A swirl of “Crap! Whoops!” and “WAIT-let me try that again!” played before the now pin-drop silent crowd, who collectively shot him Jedi mind tricks of murder.
My ability to read an audience showed itself, and I focused on a Grandma in a gold C3PO set of Mickey Mouse ears. She intently watched and reported on each detail. “The scooter guy is having a hard time getting settled. HE’S what’s holding EVERYONE up.” I flashed a firey look at the old bat that warned, “stop talking sh*t about my Dad, or I will cuttab*tch.”
I whispered to our savior with a clipboard, “People are starting to get mad.”
The crowd erupted with sighs, eye-rolls, smacks, and “c’mon ya gotta be kiddin’ me’s,” while Bushwacker Bill ping-ponged around the bus, playing out the world’s least entertaining game of pinball, the Star Wars turds grew restless.
“They’ll get over it, this won’t be the last time they have to be patient for limited mobility guests, don’t sweat it. Besides, you guys are going to get the pick of any seats.” For the next two minutes, Dad and the sainted Bus Driver tackled “docking.”
“I’m so sorry,” I told my new friend, “Crash is still getting his Sea Legs.”
“Ha! I’ve seen worse, I’ll tell you what, when y’all go to EPCOT, the monorail opens on BOTH sides at the same time.There’s a pretty good chance your dad will overshoot it and fly out the other side (without a ramp.) When he goes over the other side, make sure you’re filming and post it on YouTube!”
His humor not only buoyed my spirits, but it caused me to relax, if only for a moment. Our chit-chat had shifted me several feet away from Dad’s dance recital of Hell, only the mouthy CP3O slut from earlier knew the Old Man belonged to us. I’ll just get on the bus and pretend not to know him, stare out the window for 20 minutes, shake him until the main gate, and BAM! I’m free of these stink lines.
Bushwacker Bill, cutter of lines and maker of endless waits, finally was strapped in and ready to roll, the restless mob of blobs, straightened up and formed a line quickly.
“Everyone, STOP PLEASE. We will not be boarding until this gentleman’s family, these people right here, board with him!”
I turned to our new friend in a slow-pan of shock, “Gee, thanks for outing us, friendo.”
I don’t remember much about the humiliating march to Dad’s cushy handicapped section of the bus, nor do I remember the ride. Simply put, the entire journey to Hollywood Studios was one long gaze at the glittered linoleum flooring.
Wracked with shame and body-breaking douchechills for Bushwacker Bill, I refused to make eye-contact with anyone. Once free from the human squeeze cheese canister called a “bus,” our family was met with a startling crush of Star Wars buffoons in elaborate costumes. “May the fourth go f*ck itself,” I muttered under my breath.
For everyone who doesn’t have a raging hard-on for George Lucas and his sexy bullfrog chin, Hollywood Studios is a sub-par theme park that’s mostly shops with just two good rides: Rockin’ Roller Coaster, a magic time machine that transports you to an era when Aerosmith was still relevant, and Stephen Tyler hadn’t yet morphed into a Memaw; and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a thrilling drop-ride where the true beauty (and devil) is in the ride’s details. I’m a HUGE fan of Tower, but mostly because I love the creepy lingering of Al Jolson’s singing over the cobwebbed and deliciously decayed surroundings. Valor was too short for Rockin’ Rollercoaster (more on that later) but fell in love with the Tower of Terror.
After several hours amongst a flourish of manchilds and cat ladies, the drizzle of the day picked up to a steady rain, it was time to break out the classy ponchos that I insisted upon purchasing for everyone. The very ponchos that Bushwacker Bill refuted like they besmirched his character. To this day, we have no clue why he so violently rejected the UT BURNT ORANGE roomy and durable pleasure of a poncho I procured for him, but he took no shelter from us that rainy day. “I told you, I brought my own.” L4L assisted him in unfolding the gossamer-thin clear plastic bag. “Bill, I think this is going to be too flimsy.”
Hand up and immune to suggestion dad reassured him with an “I’m fine.”
Over the rain and obscure cosplay getups, Val asked the question no candy coated fairydust sprinkled Disney princess has ever uttered, “When are we going back to the hotel? I’m ready for a break, everything is Star Wars here.” Looking out onto the rainy crowd dutifully waiting for a couple of dudes wearing miked headsets to have a sword fight with some glowsticks, the answer was clear. “Let’s get the fiddlesticks out of here, and go dry off at the hotel!” Before we left, my inner school yard bully couldn’t resist a little fun, so I took a quick turn at screaming anti-Star Wars sentiments towards the masses, “STAR-TREK FOREVER!!! SPOCK RULES, SKYWALKER DROOLS!!!! BEAM ME AWAY FROM ALL THESE FREAKS, SCOTTY!”
I know what you’re thinking, “Gee Cribsy, other than causing a near mutiny with the Disney Dorks at the Bus Stop, seems like Bushwacker Bill was pretty tame this time around!” FALSE. The Dastard bastard didn’t rise to power until the day’s second act, which took place where all dreams go to die, EPCOT.
Fresh from a nap, yours truly lost her damn mind while slumbering, because when I awoke, I had the brilliant idea to tackle and conquer EPCOT for the rest of the late afternoon/evening. Dad had booked a dinner at his favorite place, EPCOT’s Nine Dragons. He made the reservations for 8:30, because the restaurant had a front row seat for a nightly fireworks show, “Illuminations, Reflections of Earth.”
“I say we go to EPCOT, hit up future world, ride a few rides, and then go through World Showcase until we hit China, have dinner, and GTFO. We’ll be knocking out Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT in one long day!”
30 minutes later, we were nearing the monorail for EPCOT, the very place my morning traitor had previously warned me of. Giddy with anticipation, I waited for Bushwacker Bill to get his comeuppance and pondered filming with my phone. Here’s where a loving and respectful daughter would have given her father a head’s up, but this is the point in today’s tale where I remind you that I am the child of Bushwacker Bill, Red Terror of Disney World, a cruel dictator that raised us to be ruthless when on Vacation.
“Move outta the way slowpokes,” yelled Bushwacker Bill, who in rare form, adeptly made his way through a pack of wild toddlers and swiftly rounded the turn into the Handicapped accessible Monorail cabin before driving right through its rampless other side. After a hearty laugh, I looked upon our fallen villain, he was stuck like some sort of prideful robotic turtle. Helplessly, he pushed every stupid button on the Red Scooter of Death, but it was clear he would have to pull this one out manually. Terrified of a lawsuit, Disney’s quick-moving staff removed Dad’s scooter and made sure he was OK. Annoyed with the whole situation, the proud Evil-King of sorrow, assured them with his trade mark “I’m Fine,” complete with simmering disdain.
I’d love to tell you that the rest of our day went as seamlessly as dad’s swan drive off the monorail car, but alas! This was EPCOT, all it knows is pain. BRUTAL AND INTENSE PAIN THAT CAN ONLY BE PROPERLY INFLICTED BY HOURS OF POINTLESS MARCHING THROUGH SOGGY STREETS in a concrete wasteland filled with dusty Science-Fair rides into oblivion, and shops that sell crap nobody wants to buy at a 200% mark-up. Through my varied and multiple tours of WDW over the last three decades, EPCOT had always been home to abject misery. However, this time, while I watched the cruel ravages of boredom and sheer exhaustion, overtake our adorable and normal bouncing ball of energy, I’d had enough. We slogged through the World Showcase, the rain was coming down in sheets, our feet began to take on water. “Dad, our sneakers are soaked, I don’t want the baby to get blisters on her feet from the friction and moisture, we should go back and ditch dinner.” In a stroke of evil-genius, Bushwacker Bill pretended not to hear me over the rain, the know-it-all slipped into a perfect impression of a clueless grandpa who had no idea his family wanted to flush his entire operation down the tubes. The clever sonofab*tch (sorry Grandmother, it’s just a saying,) was going to nonchalantly roll right through my pleas for clemency, it was as if I’d never uttered them.
I looked at my watch in defeat, it was 7pm, a full 90 minutes before dinner. After riding the horrible/endless boat tour in Mexico’s pavilion whose sole purpose is to provide drunks doing “drinks around the world,” a place to vomit discreetly. I came to the conclusion that I needed some liquid assistance.
They freely serve and hock booze in EPCOT because even that leather daddy power-top Mickey Mouse knows EPCOT is the f*cking worst. I began to make my way towards the boutique tequilla tasting room, fully planning to engage in some retail therapy.
The Boy Scout, who had still not fully forgiven me for putting us “square in the middle of ground zero for d*pshits on May the 4th,” ran after me. “Babe, you can’t get sh*tfaced on tequila right now, we have a 2 mile walk (in the rain) back to the monorail.” His logical words were repelled like water on my durable (and far-superior to Dad’s) poncho. “So what!? I’ll stagger back to the Yacht and Beach Club, then call a cab to rescue me from the RIVER OF SH*T I’M SWIMMING IN!”
“Lauren, you’re not thinking this through. If you won’t listen to reason, at least think about the inflated cost. I mean, good Tequila isn’t cheap to begin with, I imagine Disney prices will require liberal amounts of lube. THINK OF YOUR UPCOMING HAUNTED MANSION MEMENTO MORI’S SHOPPING SPREE!” Appealing to my flawed and incredibly selfish logic, L4L pulled me off the ledge and saved me from imminent doom. We continued our death march through the rivers of runoff, my bones began to ache from the dull soggy abuse they had endured. China became visible, eureka! We had almost made it, never mind that it was only 7:45pm. For the next 30 minutes, Valor had the most fun since the Tower of Terror earlier in the day. What did we do? Poured over shiny baubles and toys from the Far East in a massive shop located at the back of the chinese pavilion. Before we made our purchases, I told Val to rub the golden belly on the 7 foot statue at the end of the store, “for good luck.” Almost a full 15 minutes early for Dad’s reservation, our group breezed into a virtually empty Nine Dragons restaurant, where we were greeted like diplomatic royalty. “Good Evening, friends, we’ve been expecting you.” The graceful hostess escorted us past floor to ceiling ornate wood carved screens, to a private and secluded dining area.
After a sumptuous meal and 4 glasses of unsweetened blackberry tea, the rumble of fireworks shot through the night sky. Bushwacker Bill, unhappy with the limited view inside the restaurant, took Valor and headed outside for the show. Our waitress, (who was impeccable, BTW) began to panic, “Uh, do you need the check?” she nervously chuckled. “Of course. I’m sorry, they are coming back, it’s just they were excited to see the firework show.”
She rolled her eyes and joked with me, “Yeah, yeah, I see that same show every night, it’s not that special.” Without missing a beat I replied, “Well yeah, you’re from China, this is all child’s play compared to the gorgeous firework displays y’all have!” “You got that right,” she enthusiastically chuckled. “Go join them, the check will be here when you get back.”
6 Minutes of OOOOHS! AHHHHHS! and EXPLOSIONS later, all of the spectators in China were quickly engulfed in the blow back smoke of the finished show. Seems Mother Nature wanted to give us one last gut-punch in the form of a smoke-laden money shot complete with choking fumes. Soon after the coughing dissipated, we began the agonizing crawl back to the monorail. 30 minutes later, exhausted and soaked, we arrived at the monorail station. “Mommy, I can’t walk anymore.” For hours, Val had but one mantra, “My feet are tired, I’m sick of walking.” As with all constant nags from a whiny kid, I mostly tuned her ramblings out, but there was something different this time, my MOM GENES had been activated. Gone was the absolutely crushing weariness of my current state, and like some kind of She-Hulk I hoisted all 52 pounds of her, and began the 2 story march up to the platform that would take us home. She nuzzled into my neck, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and quietly thanked me. I would have carried her up and down 4 flights of stairs if I needed to, her unbridled love and sweet gratitude was all I needed to fuel my endurance.
And it’s a good f*cking thing I could, because that’s exactly what I had to do. I made my way up the platform, strong like a Crossfitter’s profile picture. Bushwacker Bill rang his bike bell and zipped past me, barely clearing my heel, “We’re gonna miss it if you don’t hurry up.”
As with many homicidal maniacs, where all it takes is one itsy bitsy slight to set them off on a rabid and frothing frenzy, Bushwacker Bill’s zip caused me to flip. “OH! WELL FORGIVE ME! LET ME GET OUT OF YOUR WAY, YOUR MAJESTY!” Like a seasoned charmer used to calming the deadliest of Cobras, the old man slipped back into his nice-guy routine, “I’m sorry, I just wanted to make sure everyone gets on that monorail and back to our beds, as quickly as possible.” The pro still had the touch, I was temporarily diffused.
Finally, we arrived at the end of our hike, the Monorail attendant asked Dad where we were going. “Contemporary Resort, and make it snappy.”
I looked up from the muscle torture of holding a sleeping 52 pound kid, just in time to see a hulking slob in a uniform instruct us that “This monorail is only going to the Magic Kingdom, you want the one on the other side.” Devastated at the prospect of having to go down a steep ramp for 2 storeys only to turn around and climb another 2 storey ramp to another f*cking monorail, I mulled over inciting a riot. Like a cornered drowning rat, I feverishly searched my surroundings for a quick solution. GADZOOKS! The other monorail was accessible by simply taking a few steps through some (easily unchained) barriers.
“That monorail? You mean the one that’s easily accessible right through here?” I pointed. “Yes, but you’ll have to go all the way down and back up, that’s the policy.” “But, my dad is in a scooter and I’m carrying 52 pounds of adorable dead weight, please have mercy, just this one time.”
I hoped for a break in the stone facade of the lumbering idiot. “You can get there by going down and then back up.” Livid with his soulless response, I decided to teach the schluby Droid a lesson. My tenuous grip on sanity broke free once more, I looked tubby in the eyes, surrounded by zombified tourists with sleeping children, and let loose a tirade of screaming obscenities that not only made the Robodik blush, the rest of his security circle jerk began to circle us like vultures.
“SO I CAN JUST GET F*CKED, RIGHT!? THAT’S THE WAY OF LIFE IN THIS SH*TTY MOUSE-THEMED GULAG! TAKE IT UP THE ASS YOU STUPID B*TCH, THAT’S THE DISNEY WAY, AMIRITEGUISE!!?!?!?!?!?”
If there’s one thing an over the top, braying trashy jackass knows, it’s when she’s in imminent danger of getting arrested. Some sort of dirtball doppler went off inside of me, just as quickly as I had my outburst, I gracefully hefted myself (and kid) out of dumbstruck dummy’s sight. After a quick hike back up the devil’s taint, I slipped into a car and watched as the staff tried to make sense of the flash-meltdown they just witnessed.
While speeding back to our hotel, Valor woke up to witness the tail end of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, “Look sweetie, fireworks!”
Ever the 75-year-old, she replied: “Grandpa, we’ve already seen one set of fireworks tonight, that’s enough.”
Finally free of EPCOT and the rain’s cruel shackles, I collapsed into bed and tried to forget everything about May the stupid Fourth. I’ve said it once before, but it really can’t be said enough..
May the 4th go f*ck itself.