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The Disneyland Quest

The Disneyland Quest

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The Disneyland Quest

Length:
180 pages
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781310609954
Format:
Book

Description

15 year-old Dizzy Walker and his 6 year-old sister Ana are about to meet their mom's new boyfriend, Steve, and his son, Travis, for the first time. To make the introduction go smoothly, Steve brings Dizzy and his family to his favorite place in the world-- Disneyland. When they arrive at Disneyland, they learn about a once in a lifetime treasure hunt called The Disneyland Quest. Clues are hidden throughout the theme park, leading the Quest participants to the combination of the vault set up on Main Street and the $250,000 prize inside. Dizzy, Ana, and Travis must work together in a race against the clock, thousands of opponents, and the mysterious man in red who follows them throughout the Quest. Friendship, perseverance, and trust are all put to the test in The Disneyland Quest.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781310609954
Format:
Book

About the author

Matt Ainsworth is a husband, father, and teacher with an unhealthy desire to be a Jungle Cruise skipper.

Book Preview

The Disneyland Quest - Matt Ainsworth

Prologue

Five men in suits walked down Main Street, USA at Disneyland. It was a beautiful summer afternoon in Anaheim, only 83 degrees with a slight breeze. The men were Senior Vice Presidents of Walt Disney Inc. and were making their regular visit to the park the day before their quarterly meeting in front of the board.

Lovely day, isn’t it gentlemen? a short, overweight man with a red bowtie said. We call this postcard weather. Not a cloud in the sky.

Let’s make this trip quick Pegg, the tallest of the five men said. Routine walkthrough. You know, the usual.

Yes, of course, said Mr. Pegg. But I just wanted to show you guys something and run an idea past you all. I am going to propose it tomorrow at the meeting.

A group of teenagers bumped into Mr. Pegg and continued walking without saying a word. All three had headphones on and were typing away at the screens on their cell phones. Mr. Pegg shook his head in disappointment.

Mr. Pegg led the group through the opening of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and into Fantasyland. King Arthur’s Carousel was playing a medley of Disney songs, filling the entire area with music. They walked past the line of Peter Pan’s Flight, continued past the line for the Carousel and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and stopped in front of Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Gentlemen, Mr. Pegg said. Look around you. What do you see?

The four men took in the scene in front of them. Flying elephants swooped past them, white horses rose up and down to the music, and Casey Jr.’s Circus Train chugged by on the nearby tracks.

I see kids on rides, one man said.

Ok, what else? Mr. Pegg asked. Look closely.

Mr. Pegg pointed their attention to the people standing in line for the rides. Almost all of them had a cell phone, tablet, handheld video game, or some other electronic device in their hand. There were kids lying on the ground watching movies on their iPods and adults were typing away on their phones or talking into a headset attached to their ear.

This is a problem, Mr. Pegg began. The magic here is dying. People are so wrapped up in the device in their hand they are missing the point of the park. Look at this place! That kid over there is a few steps away from a flying elephant, but he is on his back watching a movie. He is IN a movie right now but he is missing it. No one appreciates the history of this place anymore. No one notices the small touches that make this the Happiest Place on Earth!

The four men looked at Mr. Pegg. A passionate speech about the park guests changing was not unusual for Mr. Pegg, but he seemed especially worked up this time.

I am going to propose something tomorrow that will bring back the magic to Disneyland, something that will let people fall in love with this place all over again. I want people to notice things they have never noticed before. I want people running all over the park and actually experiencing the magic of this place. Tomorrow morning, I am going to propose my idea of The Disneyland Quest.

The men stared at Mr. Pegg.

The what? the tallest of the men said.

The Disneyland Quest, Mr. Pegg repeated. It will be a treasure hunt across Disneyland. Clues and riddles will be hidden throughout the park leading guests to a combination.

A combination to what? another man asked.

The combination to a vault, of course.

And what is in this vault? The men were toying with Mr. Pegg, certain his idea would be a dud.

I was thinking $250,000 and four lifetime passes to all Disney parks worldwide.

You are nuts Pegg, the tallest man said, bursting into laughter. The rest of the men joined in. No one will go for it. The bosses might be ok with the passes. Getting people into the park is what they want after all.

Can’t get their money until they get in, one of the men added.

But the $250,000 they won’t go for, the tallest man continued. No way, no how.

The $250,000 will be my own money, Mr. Pegg said proudly.

The smiles erased from the men’s faces. They began wondering if Mr. Pegg had lost his mind. If the board agrees to the Quest as I have designed it, only someone who truly knows Disneyland will be able to solve the riddles. If that happens, I will gladly hand over the prize.

If you are putting up your own money, I don’t see why they won’t sign off on this idea, one of the men said as they turned and walked back toward Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It definitely will fill the park, that’s for sure.

The next morning the board unanimously agreed to Mr. Pegg’s proposal after another heartfelt speech from the man in the bow tie. There was some stirring from the men and women in the room when Mr. Pegg mentioned the prize money, but they calmed down when he said it would be his money on the line.

As the board room slowly emptied, Mr. Pegg stayed behind and looked out the window. He wondered if anyone out there would be able to finish his Quest. He wondered if anyone loved the history and magic of Disneyland as much as he did. And if there was, Mr. Pegg couldn’t wait to meet them.

Chapter 1

Dizzy…Dizzy. Come on Dizzy, wake up!

Dizzy rolled over in his bed, saw that his room was still completely dark, and squinted to check his alarm clock.

It’s only 3:30? Go back to bed Ana.

Dizzy Walker was fifteen years old. His real name was Desmond, but when his little sister Ana was a toddler she could only pronounce it Dizzy. The nickname stuck and six years later everyone called him Dizzy, including his teachers. Dizzy was short for his age, with short brown hair and more freckles than he could count.

He lived in West Sacramento with his sister, Ana, and his mom, Michelle. His parents had been divorced for three years and his dad moved to Arizona shortly after the divorce. Dizzy and his sister hadn’t seen their father since he moved, which was fine with Dizzy. The only time he heard from his dad was on his birthday, when he would receive a birthday card with nothing inside it, not even a name.

Dizzy was a typical fifteen-year-old boy. He got mostly good grades in school, except for math, which he hated. He kept to himself in class and on the playground. He wasn’t a class clown or a teacher’s pet. In fact, he hated any type of attention from teachers or his fellow students, good or bad. He spent most of his afternoons playing basketball alone in his driveway or playing video games with Ana.

I don’t care what time it is, his little sister Ana replied. Her voice was excited and showed no sign that it was only 3:30 in the morning. Come on Dizzy, wake up and talk to me. I’m way too excited to sleep!

Fine, Dizzy said as he reluctantly threw back his covers and sat up to face his sister.

Tell me what it’s like again, Ana said. Don’t leave out any details.

We’ve been over this a million times. It’s called ‘The Happiest Place on Earth,’ what do you think it’s like?

The Walker family was leaving for a family vacation to Disneyland later that morning and it would be Ana’s first time going. Their mom had been dating her new boyfriend Steve for almost four months, and this trip was going to be a way for the kids to meet and get to know her boyfriend and his son Travis. Normally Dizzy’s family wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation like this, but Steve insisted on paying for the trip. This trip would be a big change from their normal family vacation of visiting their grandparents in the Bay Area for a BBQ.

Dizzy had visited Disneyland once before. He had gone with his friend Kevin and his family during the summer after fifth grade and instantly fell in love with the place. His mom had sent him with $150 to spend on souvenirs, food, snacks, or anything else he might need on the trip. But Kevin’s parents refused to let Dizzy pay for anything, so Dizzy ended up spending almost the entire $150 on different books about Disneyland they sold at the Emporium shop on Main Street. He bought Behind the Scenes at Disneyland, The Making of Disneyland, and several other books about the history of the park. Dizzy read and reread the books so many times over the past three years that he had almost every page memorized. His only other purchase was a small stuffed Mickey Mouse doll he bought for Ana, which she continued to sleep with every night.

That fall on his first day of middle school, he wore the Disneyland shirt Kevin’s parents had bought him, excited to show off where he had been that summer. Unfortunately for Dizzy, his classmates were not as impressed as he was expecting them to be. Dizzy was teased by almost everyone he encountered until he was forced to retreat into a nearby bathroom, where he quickly turned his shirt inside out for the rest of the day. To middle school students, there was nothing cool about Disneyland. Although Dizzy continued his love of all things Disney and most specifically Disneyland, the unfair workings of middle school forced him to do so in private.

For almost an hour Ana continued to ask Dizzy about every detail of Disneyland that he could remember, but he had perfected the ability to act like he wasn’t interested. The more excited she got, the less excited he acted. He didn’t want to admit he was just excited as she was. That he couldn’t wait to hear that familiar whistle when your ticket is scanned. That he couldn’t wait to see the Disneyland Railroad pulling up to Main Street Station. That he couldn’t wait to smell the churros, popcorn, cotton candy, and thousands of other smells that create the aroma of the park.

Whatever…I guess it’s alright, Dizzy concluded when Ana was out of questions.

At 6:30 that morning, their van was packed and they started the long drive to Anaheim. Dizzy had packed light, with just a change of clothes, toothbrush, deodorant, and of course, his books on Disneyland all stuffed into his backpack.

Are we picking this Steve guy up? Dizzy asked his mom as they approached the freeway.

No, Steve and Travis are flying down. They are going to meet us when we get to the hotel.

Dizzy was relieved. The long car ride was going to be awful, but being forced to talk to two strangers the whole time would be pure torture.

It would be a shame if they accidentally flew to Orlando and went to the wrong park, he said sarcastically.

Be nice, Dizzy, his mom replied with a smile.

While the Walker family van merged onto the freeway, Ana’s first of several Disney movies began to play on the overhead DVD player. Dizzy rolled his eyes, put on his headphones and sunglasses, hit a button on his beaten up old iPod, and tried to look uninterested. As Ana started giggling and singing along with her movie, Michelle glanced in her rearview mirror and saw Dizzy holding back a smile.

Dizzy’s headphones weren’t plugged in.

Chapter 2

It was almost three hours into their drive and Dizzy had secretly watched both of Ana’s movies. She now was asleep, and Dizzy’s mom sat in silence. Dizzy looked out the window and watched the rows of trees in the fields next to the freeway running alongside the car. Dizzy felt bad his mom had no one to talk to, so he took off his headphones.

Don’t the rows of trees look like sprinter’s legs running next to us? Dizzy asked.

I’ve never thought of it like that, his mom replied as she looked out the window at the trees. Yeah, I guess they do.

Michelle had been on several dates since the divorce, but not once had she introduced her date to Dizzy and Ana. She and Steve were now serious enough for this important step. She was extremely nervous when she told him that she wanted him to meet her kids, not knowing what his reaction would be. She expected a response anywhere from pure excitement to him running as fast as he could

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