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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
The Dark Rider Chronicles - Chapter One
Hello, fellow crime-fighting fanatics! This column kicks off an exciting five-part series on the Fantasyland dark rides. In this series, I have the great honor of introducing to you Disneyland's newest superhero. This brave young boy takes his secret identity to venture boldly into Fantasyland. Disguised as an innocent child, no one would suspect that he was (drumroll, please)... the Dark Rider!! Clashing of cymbals.

Today's mission: Save a young princess from a jealous queen!

Grab a blanket for those shocking chills and turn down the lights, 'cause we're off on our first big rescue.

"I hear the place we're going has been around since Disneyland's opening day in 1955," Dark Rider says. As we rush through the huge crowds to a building in Fantasyland. "I hope it's still safe!"

"Actually, the site of our destination was renovated in the early 1980s. When it reopened in 1983, it got a new name along with the new paint. It was originally called Snow White's Adventures, but now it is called Snow White's Scary Adventures," I explain, as I dodge a stroller and almost fall over a toddler. "I'm sure it's perfectly safe."

Snow White's Scary Adventures

Approaching the entrance to Snow White's Scary Adventures, the Wicked Queen peeks at us suspiciously from a window high above our heads. Clouds sweeping across the sky give the castle an eerie backdrop, causing some young children to hesitate and grab for their mothers' hands. …but not Dark Rider. He places his hand firmly on the brass apple by the door. A sharp, high cackle echoes through the doorway.

"This is the place," he says, as he swallows and bravely marches right past the carved stone daggers in hearts and into the queue. I look back one last time, knowing that I must continue on so as not to delay Dark Rider's mission.

Once inside the castle, we find ourselves peering through bars into a deep dungeon. Visitors try to toss pennies into the dusty skulls and goblets. We trudge on. Around the corner, we face a small cottage with a birdhouse and dwarf-sized tools leaning against its wall. We hop into a car bearing the name of a dwarf and begin our adventure. An owl telling us to beware makes me wonder what lies beyond, but it's too late to turn back now.

All looks peaceful enough as we turn the corner and see Snow White's critter friends helping with chores. A pie for Grumpy cools and the dwarfs dance and yodel the day away. Outside their cottage though, the Wicked Queen informs her raven friend that those dwarfs can't hide Snow White from her. She will soon bring a poison apple for the innocent princess. "Uh-oh," thinks Dark Rider, "we must act quickly."

We move on to the dwarfs' mine where I am distracted by the sparkling jewels and glittering specks in the walls. "I like it..." thinks Dark Rider, obviously pleased with the decor. We travel past the vault and two vultures gaze at us with sharp eyes from their high perch as we leave the mine. "Punks," Dark Rider mumbles, knowing that there is no time to waste with them. We sneak through squeaky doors into a room where the queen is standing speaking to her magic mirror. Oh! this is my favorite part; she surprises us both when she turns around, and staring at us is the ugly face of the old hag!

We hurry out past skeletons and a creepy gargoyle only to catch up to the hag as she brews a potion with her pet raven. We go on, but she follows us and offers us an apple. Grabbing my hand to stop me from taking one, Dark Rider turns and we dash the other way. We end up in the scariest forest I've ever seen, and we try to find Snow White as we dodge bats and trees with evil grins on their faces that grab for us. Once again the hag tries to sell us on an apple, but we know better. "You know, that's a really shiny apple, but I see that it's only an illusion," Dark Rider says, noting the special effect. "It must be because the apple was being stolen so often that they changed it to a hologram."

"I used to think that too," I inform him, "but it's not so. Contrary to popular belief, the hologram was part of the ride design before the problem of apple-napping. The apple that is frequently stolen is the one that the hag is holding in the boat. Disneyland simply took to tighter security methods to prevent the thieving. We can't worry about that now, though; we must try to get ahead to cut her off!"

As we turn the corner, we see that the dwarfs are one step ahead of us. They have followed the hag up to the top of a cliff. Oh no! She's trying to roll a boulder over them! No! I can't bear to watch, and turn my head away.

GWARCKKK! Suddenly a bolt of lighting streaks through the stormy sky and strikes the hag! She's gone, we realize together. That's the end! The Dark Rider and I exchange nods and follow the dwarfs just far enough to see them out of the cold storm.

"Well," the short superhero says to me, "Looks like my work here is done." I didn't have the heart to point out to him that it was actually the dwarfs who saved Snow White.

"Shall we enjoy some cotton candy?" I ask the quiet-looking boy. But before he can answer, the pager hidden in Dark Rider's sock vibrates.

"Hold that thought," he says, before adding, "we're on our way!"

Tune in, or rather, log on next time to see the cause of this urgent distress call.



Jewel's FastFact: The Matterhorn was the first roller- coaster to run on steel tubes. One advantage of these is the smooth ride we enjoy on the Bobsleds.

Reader mail is the stuff dreams are made of! If you've got any questions, comments or suggestions for future columns, email me at I'd love to hear from you!

The Dark Rider Chronicles - Chapter One


My name is Jewel.

I am 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.

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