Daniel had been trying to reach his uncle for a while now, but Daniel had not been able to reach him by phone. He had even tried to write a letter to him but had not heard anything back. Earlier in the week, he had talked to the concierge’s desk about getting a plane ticket, but all flights out of Orlando had been booked solid. There were not to be any flights out for another month. He took the standby option on a late flight.
Because he could not get a ride to the airport, he missed his flight back to California. Giving up, he stayed and tried to enjoy himself. He had given up on Kim when he did not hear from her. Instead, he went boating and went out to the clubs on Pleasure Island. He liked living at Disney though it was still very odd that he was there.
One night at the Contemporary Hotel, they held a pin trading event. Guests and fans of pin trading invaded the hotel. Everyone wore lanyards filled with pins. Daniel checked out the event to see what all the excitement was about the pins. He arrived at the event and a girl at the desk would not let him enter without a reservation. When the hotel manager saw Daniel trying to enter, he allowed him to go in and take part.
That night Daniel got addicted to pin-trading. Each time he went to the park, he traded pins. He was not a collector, he traded to trade. For the fun of it only. Daniel even bought lots of limited-edition pins to give some lucky guests a chance to trade a starter pin for a good limited-edition pin, which usually made kids incredibly happy. He did not care; he was not paying for anything. His account always had a zero balance.
The Magic Kingdom was one of the most popular parks in Orlando with the tourists and was the place Daniel loved to frequent to pin trade because of the number of people there. Not only did Daniel trade with other guests, who were very happy to trade with such a friendly guy, but with cast members, too. People often sought out Daniel to trade and exchange stories.
Daniel saw a group of cast members hanging around a cast member entrance door who were all wearing lanyards with pins. No guests were around, so Daniel went up to the group to see what pins he could trade. When he arrived, he saw someone he thought was his uncle.
Daniel spoke to him as if he knew him, “What are you doing here?”
The guy dressed like a cast member seemed to be uneasy and agitated but greeted Daniel as if he did not know him. “I’m sorry, did you want to see our pins?”
Daniel knew it was his uncle, “Uncle Charlie?”
“I’m sorry, my name is John Jenkins,” he said and pointed to his name tag.
The other cast members looked at John with strange, even worried looks on their faces.
“I am Daniel, your nephew? You raised me.” Daniel said looking for an answer.
“Are you okay? I don’t have any kids, not even married. Do we need to call someone?” John said to Daniel assuring him that he was not his Uncle Charlie.
Convinced that he was, Daniel started to walk off sulking. Just as Daniel was out of range, John took a deep breath and left the park through the cast members’ door. His fellow workers followed.
“Dude, that was close.” one of the cast members said to John.
“I know. They never told me what to do if I ran into him. They told me I wouldn’t. I had a feeling I would, but they swore I wouldn’t.” John insisted.
“Are you going to tell RED?” Another one asked.
“I have to,” John replied.
Daniel decided to hide out on Tom Sawyer’s Island until the park closed and the coast was clear. He hoped that if stayed in the park, more characters would come to life. After his run-in at The Jungle Cruise, his Kim Possible in action, and Cruella and her henchman, they were as real as he was. There was a possibility that they got to play around after the park closed. If he stayed around long enough, he thought the cast members would come out and play. He could try to find out more information about what he was doing there.
Once he thought it was safe to come out of his hiding spot, he revealed himself and saw the magic of Magic Kingdom come to life. Fairies flew around happy and free. He followed them to the edge of the island where to his surprise Tom Sawyer Island was for the pirates. In the middle of the water, Daniel saw the pirate ships had escaped from the Pirates of The Caribbean ride and were battling Capitan Hook and his ship of bumbling pirates. It looked a bit comical to Daniel as the combination of characters and movies had come to life and were mingling with each other.
As Daniel turned around to walk to a different side of the island, away from the pirates, Peter Pan stood directly behind him. “Hey Daniel, wanna play?”
“So, you know me too?”
“I know everyone who is a kid at heart,” Peter said.
“But I’m not.”
“You are too.”
“Too, to infinity. I win.” Peter declared his victory, but Daniel did not accept it.
“And beyond. I win,” He sarcastically said to Peter.
Daniel started to walk off, but Peter followed, copying every move and every gesture as if he was Daniel’s shadow. He could see Peter behind him from the corner of his eye. It annoyed him. Once his frustration built to the point of no return, Daniel turned around to tell Peter to leave him alone. Peter was gone. He turned back around, and Peter stood in front of him to give him a start.
“Ugh.” Daniel released his frustrations.
“Why did you lose your kid?”
“What kid? What are you talking about?” Daniel asked raising his voice at Peter.
“The one inside you. You have all your marbles, but no kid.”
“Look. I am 21 years old. I can’t be a kid anymore. I have responsibilities. I have a life.” Daniel explained.
Peter seemed sad as Daniel continued to walk away from him. Just then, Peter had an idea. “Pixie Dust!” he exclaimed.
Daniel turned around, “What about it?”
“You need some. With pixie dust, you will find the magic and once you believe, you will get your kid back.” Peter explained.
Peter leaped into the air and flew over Daniel sprinkling him with his magical pixie dust. Peter explained. “When you see pixie dust, you need to believe, and all your dreams will come true. It’ll take you to enchanted worlds only you can imagine.” Peter flew off and soon vanished from Daniel’s sight.
Daniel knew that everything he saw must be real but how could it be? Peter Pan was the same guy he saw in the park all day long. He was in the parade and greeted guests but there he was flying over Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Daniel looked for a wire to see how Peter flew. Nothing. With a sigh, Daniel continued to walk to the other side of the island to the raft launch. He thought he would be able to paddle the raft to the other side of the island, he did not want to swim. When he arrived, the rafts were on the land side. He was stuck.
Standing at the launch contemplating his next move, Daniel heard something running in the bushes. Outcomes a white rabbit wearing glasses with a red jacket.
Daniel knew at once that he was from Alice in Wonderland. The rabbit ran. “I’m late, I’m late for an important date.”
Daniel asked, “What are you late for?”
“Oh my, you need to come too.” The white rabbit grabbed Daniel’s hand, pulling him along one of the paths into the island.
Suddenly with a quick turn, the two of them stepped off the path and past a few trees. The rabbit jumped into a rabbit hole and disappeared. Daniel stopped and peered down at the blackness of the hole. It was large enough for him to go through but without seeing what was below, he hesitated. What the hell, he thought. He jumped into the hole without regard to where he would end up.
The blackness engulfed Daniel as he seemed to be falling into a pit of nothingness. He could feel the air rushing past him as if he were falling at a high speed. He tried to open his eyes but all he could see was darkness.
Stopped by something that made him bounce back up, like a trampoline, a bright light appeared. Surrounding him was a movie screen. Memories of his life were playing played in front of him as he floated in the air.
Everything played backward. He saw his moments with Kim Possible. He saw as he showed up at the park. His last job. Everything played in high-speed reverse. There were his uncle and him playing with his friends, his movies, and his favorite drawings. He looked so happy.
Soon something appeared that he did not remember; Daniel was in a building with people he did not know. Did he just not remember who these people were? There he was a baby. It was his father that he had never met.
The film ended with a team of men in white lab coats in a room with lots of experimental-looking tools. One of the men was holding up a bottle with something in it. Daniel squinted to get a better look but could not tell what it was. The movie’s sound kicked in. Daniel heard one of the men say, “I think we finally got a boy.”
Just then the sound and lights went off. Daniel began to fall, again. When the lights came back on, Daniel found himself falling into a pool of water. SPLASH!
He swam up back up to the top. As he trod water, he noticed that he was no longer at the Magic Kingdom but was back at the Contemporary Hotel in the pool. He was in the clothes that he had on all day, shoes and all. He swam to the shallow side and rested on the steps.
Trying to grasp everything that happened and what he saw, the night felt exhausting. There was too much to take in all at once. As he sat at the edge of the pool in his quiet, peaceful surroundings, he wondered if any one of those men in the movie of memories was his father. He started to miss his aunt, uncle, and friends. He felt empty.
Walking back to his room, Daniel bypassed all the employees that were greeting him. Trying not to cry, when he got up to his room, he slammed the door behind him. He looked around and a world of confusion engulfed him. He did not know whether he should be angry or sad at that moment. He had drawn a beautiful picture of Kim Possible in a sketchbook that was left by a mysterious person earlier in the day but when he looked for it, it was gone. Just like every picture he had drawn since he had been there. Everything disappeared and Daniel did not know by who or when. He screamed to release the emotions that were building inside.
He sat down at the table. Pencils and blank pages in a book sat where Kim’s drawing was lived. Daniel ripped out a blank page and threw it on the floor then another. Picking up a pencil, he wrote the words: ‘Fuck You’ then in anger, he threw the book across the room which hit the wall and fell to the ground. He started to cry. Sleep would help him forget about his day.