So there I was: Unable to breathe on Peter Pan

funny Christian blog-Peter Pan

I have a confession to make. Before I was a world-famous Jungle Cruise skipper of the world-famous Jungle Cruise, I worked in Fantasy Land.

Here’s what you need to know about that situation: I campaigned hard to be transferred to Adventureland, convincing the higher ups that my darling personality and ability to memorize long spiels was currently wasted on asking big groups of people, “How many? Row 2. How many? Row 3.” After three weeks, all my dreams came true.

But Fantasy Land holds some of my favorite “guest” memories from my six-month stay at Disney World. For example…

Toddlers can’t help but to be drawn to Fantasy Land’s whimsy like a moth to a flame. On a hot summer’s day in August, I can guarantee there are no less than 150 strollers parked outside of It’s A Small World, as well as 150 babies/crawlers/new walkers crying their brains out because the family pushed them to miss their mid-morning nap.

See? Happy place!

Because Fantasy Land is LOUD, a system was developed to help one cast member catch the attention of another cast member amid the joyful, laughing family who just got to the park and the miserable, wailing family who are on day seven. Calling out someone’s name or whistling morphs into a white noise of tears and giggles. We were taught to hiss at someone if we wanted them to turn around. And I’m here to tell you, dear reader, that this trick works! A slow and steady snake-like hiss can cut through any sound a screaming toddler or ornery kid dressed as Buzz Lightyear can summon.

Let me be clear: it typically doesn’t work if you haven’t trained yourself to listen for a hiss. Interestingly enough, it’s quite easy to be trained. After two or three hisses, it becomes part of your subliminal consciousness. And it’s not just a Disney thing. I taught this trick to the girls on my Rwanda mission trip, and to this day, my friend Ann will whip her head around when I hiss at her in church. She’s a pro.

How’s that for a lead in?

If you’re not familiar with the Peter Pan ride, allow me to educate you. It’s a bunch of boats that slide down a long alleyway. People jump in the boats and then they are whisked away to Neverland. The entire ride, you look down and see the story of Peter Pan unfold. It’s extremely popular.

One particular day, that will live in infamy, I was on wheelchair duty. The wheelchair entrance is on the far left—the beginning of the alleyway. This gives those who need extra help, plenty of time to step onto the moving sidewalk, find their balance and then slide into their boat. For efficient parents who have been maneuvering kids in and out of wheelchairs for years, this does not bother them in the slightest. And for those who haven’t negotiated wheelchairs, there’s still plenty of time to figure it out before the sidewalk turns into the regular boarding. That being said, there’s always that one person who freaks. Do you see where I’m going with this?

When you work the wheelchair line, you have to walk backwards on the moving sidewalk, waiting for guests to arrive. And on this day, I had a family of eight who were accompanying a plump grandma in a wheelchair. I greeted them and asked if they had ever ridden Peter Pan before. All answered in an enthusiastic chorus of, “YES!” It was several generations who clearly had visited the parks on multiple occasions. At this point, it’s my duty to explain E-X-A-C-T-L-Y what will happen with the adult in the wheelchair after I learn that she can walk.

Me: Okay! This is going to be super simple. You’re going to stand up, get your balance and then take two steps toward me on the moving platform. I’ll hold both of your hands. You just stand there and take a moment. Then I will help you in your boat. Easy peasy.

This is typically when the person asks, “Will the boat leave me behind on the sidewalk?”

Me: Excellent question. The answer is no. The boats move the same speed as the sidewalk. So once you step onto the moving sidewalk, wherever you are, there’s a boat right there for you. It won’t leave you.

By this time, the little ones are eager to get on the ride. One of the adults volunteers to go first. She shoves the kids past me and hops on the boat. A few tweens were next. I was left with a man who was clearly Grandma’s son. He helps her stand up and she grabs my hands. I can tell she’s scared. I explain again.

Me: All you have to do is take two steps toward me (I say as I’m still walking backwards on the sidewalk.) One, two and then stop. Got it? Ready?
Grandma: Yes.

[son looks unconvinced]

Me: On three. One, two…
Grandma: NO! I’M NOT READY!

By this time, the tweens are yelling for Grandma to hurry up and get on the stupid ride already because the line for Space Mountain is probably hours long by now. I try again.

Me: On three. One, two…
Grandma: DON’T PULL ME!

I explain to Grandma that I would never pull her onto a moving sidewalk. She was going to step on it herself. At this point The Son is also irritated. He pushes past me and Grandma, figuring he can be more helpful if he’s in the boat to help her in. Now that The Son is no longer behind her, she feels extra pressure to make this happen.

Me: On three. One, two, THREE!

As you may recall from my never-wavering instructions, this was the moment that Grandma was supposed to walk toward me (left foot, right foot) and then stand there. I stop walking backwards, because I’m supposed to let the momentum of the moving sidewalk guide her forward. We are still holding hands, yet Grandma did not take the steps. Therefore, I have inadvertently pulled her onto the moving platform.

She landed on me. This darling, squishy, lovely, rather large Grandma landed on me.

I am now sandwiched between Grandma and the moving sidewalk, making my way down to the general public section. I try not to waste time being frustrated at The Son for chilin’ in the Peter Pan boat without a care in the world. Locating my emergency stop button that is clipped on my hip is a useless endeavor. It’s buried and feeling up Grandma to find it is not an option.

So I do what anyone in my position would do at this point. I decide to hiss with the hope that my general public “How many? Yellow boat. How many? Green boat.” counterpart will see the situation and push her own emergency stop button.

There’s just one problem. When I try to hiss at the girl, Grandma’s weight keeps me from properly performing my nifty trick. She’s constricting my airway. All that comes out is a sputtering “sah, sah, sah, sah” sound that doesn’t do anything but throw Grandma in a panic. She thinks she’s smothering me. That’s when she starts apologizing profusely. Since she’s three inches from my own face, I give her a weak smile.

After a solid 30 seconds of pseudo-hissing, we finally slide up to the regular entrance. My “how many” co-worker still hasn’t noticed me. I shouldn’t be mad. Why would she expect me to come gliding along beside her ankles? A waiting man said something along the lines of, “Does she need help?” before the chick punched her button. Three chivalrous Peter Pan enthusiasts helped pick Grandma off of me. She thanked everyone involved in the rescue, squeezed my cheek and then selected a boat from her many unmoving choices.

Those standing in line applauded me. I bowed and went to lunch.

[PS: That’s me in the Peter Pan ride after hours. Pay no attention to the dorky outfit I had to wear.]

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July 13, 2015 4:03 pm

Another great peak into your world — and it’s not so small!

July 13, 2015 4:49 pm
Reply to  Sarah

oops, that really sound be peek, but you knew that!

Kara k
Kara k
July 14, 2015 1:05 am

Lincee, reading your post made me laugh out load because I have a six month year old (our first) and it really is true that they cranky if they don’t take naps. But, my experience at Disneyland (I live in CA) will probably be like you wrote about. I can just picture all those strollers. Thanks for making me laugh once again! Oh and Brian Owen worked on staff with me at Cru and he told me about your blog one great day many years ago and I read your recaps out loud to my husband. We are addicted to you. God has given you a great gift

July 14, 2015 6:35 am

I love, love, love this story! Having been to Disney World many times…and leaving for there again in less than 2 weeks, I can truly appreciate it! I have had all my kids there through all the ages and stages, and with the grandmas too! And I really love your picture of something I’ve seen many times but from a different perspective. Thanks for the laughs!

July 14, 2015 2:47 pm

This is awesome on so many levels!!! Your Bachelor/Bachelorette blogs are so funny but you need to write more Disney stories too! I am a Disney World lover and have been to the parks probably 15 times (and on 4 Disney cruises) and I just adore reading about your adventures there.

July 14, 2015 3:47 pm

I love this story!! We are yearly Disney trippers, so I can envision the whole fiasco perfectly. Lol! The pic of you is awesome!

July 19, 2015 2:58 am

This was such a fun surprise story to read!! I could picture the whole thing! We’ve been to Disney many times and I love behind the scenes stories like this. I am totally listening for the hiss’s next time we go!

August 17, 2015 3:47 pm

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