By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Say what you will about the Mouse, but Disneyland knows how to throw a party. Their ability to pander to the media is rivaled only by a handful of seasoned pimps in Southeast Asia, and even they struggle to keep up. For every whim and request lovingly catered to by smiling Disney cast members, and with unlimited food and booze supplied to party guests, positive coverage of a Disney event is virtually guaranteed. And why not? Seeing drunken anchors from Good Morning Duluthswinging from light fixtures as the Wake Up Wichita weather girl pukes all over herself makes for great goddamned entertainment.
After hearing all of the stories, I too was ready to be pampered and pandered to by Disney's finest. I had forged credentials so authentic that the brightest minds of the NSA would have gladly given me a happy ending to know how I pulled it off. I had questions prepared for the talent and was already a four-car collision on the alcoholic super highway. My only concern for the day was sobering up, but a Gatorade bottle filled to the brim with alcohol was good enough insurance for me. Thirty-two ounces of straight Bacardi might have been overkill, but you can never be too sure at these events.
My itinerary was simple: ride the new-and-improved Pirates of the Caribbean, interview a few actors, see the new movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, eat their food, drink their booze and fuck with the locals. The last time Disneyland did a red carpet event, they only had park guests and media on one side of Main Street and everything unfolded in an almost operatic fashion. But this was a new beast all together. This resembled a Mongolian clusterfuck. There were literally thousands of people flanking both sides of Main Street ten deep: Goth kids doing their best to keep their makeup from running down their chubby faces, media types setting up equipment, Low Rider and NASCAR fans side by side, broiling in the warm California sun while preteen girls ran around the park wearing homemade "I love you Johnny" T-shirts.
I went into the off-limits area to go on the refurbished Pirates ride, still reeling from the hatchet job Disney had done on the ride a decade ago to make it more politically correct. How dare they? I grew up on this ride. I shit on my father as a baby on this ride. I stole my first kiss on this ride. I got my first blowjob on this ride for that matter. I figured I was kind of an expert on all things Pirates of the Caribbean. So how are the changes to the ride? I have to admit, Disney nailed it. The new sound, special effects and Jack Sparrow characters, while not exactly a perfect addition to the ride itself, definitely add a new layer to what is going on. Kinda like the Book of Mormon.
As I left the ride though, I noticed that the normally pleasant employees had a look of abject terror upon their freshly scrubbed faces. Security was up in arms, and even the unflappable managers were freaking out. But why? And then I saw him: the Studio Prick, standing next to a cast member. I've done my share of grab-ass at public and private events in the past, and the key to dealing with these types is to simply act bored and annoyed. Be ready to call his bluff.
"What are you doing back here?" "Bob" gruffly barked.
Not one to be easily intimidated, I flashed my credentials and told him to fuck off—not the best thing to do, but I was looooooaded.
"This area is off-limits," he said, trying to intimidate me.
Again, I showed him my credentials. He looked at them, pulled out his little book, and pointed out that I had the wrong credentials.
"Your day is concluded here," "Bob" announced.
"Whaddaya mean concluded?" I asked "Bob" in stunned disbelief.
"Press is not allowed back here. You'll have to leave," said "Bob."
"I'm not press. Am I? I'm a VIP!" I proffered as he carefully examined my forged credentials.
"That is what your laminate shows in my little book," "Bob" replied.
"No shit?" I parried.
"No, sir," "Bob" blocked.
"But the film doesn't start until 9," I reasoned.
"Yes, sir," "Bob" confirmed.
The realization of having to pay for my own booze flashed before my eyes.
"But how can I see the movie if I leave now?"
"You're not seeing the film, sir," "Bob" answered back
"How can I go to the after-party if I can't stay for the movie?"
"You're not doing that either," "Bob" said.
"But if there's no after-party, there's no way I can drink for free, there's no way I can get free booze," I desperately added.
By now a FOB (Friend of "Bob") was chiming in.
"Have you been drinking today?" asked "Gary" with an air of authority that hit my stomach with an impact that would have made Ike Turner proud.
I'd done enough shoplifting as a kid to spot undercover security and law enforcement types. I knew I was fucked. While "Bob" appeared to be striving for the Steven Seagal studio prick ensemble, "Gary" was up to his Mouse ears in the Disney cast member look, only it was all wrong. The haircut. The Foster Grant sunglasses. The business-casual Aca-polo shirt, almost concealing a fanny pack with the distinctive bulge of protection. The calf-high white socks and the unmistakable earpiece. "Gary" was a cop, and nothing good was coming from this. For all I knew, "Gary" was part of the advance security team for the governor, who was in town for this wingding. After a quick mental tally, I knew I had no choice but to leave the very event I was supposed to cover. No interview. No free movie. And most important, no free booze.
I have been kicked out of Disneyland in the past, but I've never been "urged" out of the park. Instead of being physically removed, "Gary" simply followed me around until the paranoia finally got the better of me. After 37 minutes of making "Gary" swelter in the heat, I felt I had fucked with him enough. I left, but even outside of the gates, I had the Anaheim PD take up the "urging" until I was far enough away from the Disneyland entrance to no longer be perceived as a threat.
As I basked in the cool air conditioning of the resort's Grand Californian Bar, I decided to push my luck one last time and sold my credentials to some unsuspecting rube for 100 bucks. I told him to give my best to "Gary."
Related story: Scott Foundas, on the other hand, did make it into a screening. Read his review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
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