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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 Three

As we licked our lollipops and strolled through Fantasyland, we talked about where to go next. It appeared that all was at last peaceful. We headed toward the carrousel. As we joined others in the line, I heard a high, Beep! Beep! Nudging Dark Rider, I nodded toward his feet. He took his lollipop out of his mouth and looked down. Sure enough, he was being paged by a character in need! He turned around and pulled me by the hand out of line.

We passed by the Matterhorn, and were greeted by two peculiar birds with hammers for heads that were perched on the side of a small hill. "This is the place!" I followed Dark Rider into the queue where we waited for a short time.

Turning to a little girl, I asked, "Do you know what the problem is here?"

"Well, there's a girl, and she chased a white rabbit down a rabbit hole, and now she's in a weird place that she can't get out of." I thanked her, as Dark Rider and I got ready to hop into a car. As we pulled down our lap bars, we realized this really was an odd place. The cast member running the cars sat on a mushroom, and the cars we sat in were caterpillars. Dark Rider and I looked at each other and shrugged as our caterpillar started along its way.

Publicity Artwork © Disney
Publicity Artwork © Disney

We passed bushes cut into the shape of hearts, and followed the tracks of the rabbit down, down, down the rabbit hole, where we met a rather large, talking doorknob at the bottom. He let us through the door, and we turned right. Tweedledee and Tweedledum waited for us around the corner, and each told us to go a different way. No wonder the poor girl was in such great distress! We took another right - our caterpillar seemed to know what to do.

Before we knew it, we were in a huge garden of singing flowers. Or were we really small?

There was no time to concern ourselves with that. We spotted the girl-her name was Alice-and she hopped into the back of our caterpillar. As we rode past a purplish caterpillar, he asked, "Who-R-U?" We ignored his question and kept going. We spotted a flower with the head of an animal. Obviously, it was a dandelion. "That's how things are here!" Alice explained. Dark Rider and I now understood what we were in for.

Leaving the garden and music behind, we found ourselves in a forest where a dozen signs pointed us in a dozen different directions. The three of us were so confused! We told our caterpillar to take us to the White Rabbit, hoping he knew the way. The Cheshire Cat's smile then appeared before us, as he informed us that he didn't quite know where he was. He appeared again later, and we concluded that the Cheshire Cat was one of the most interesting characters in the place.

We entered the Royal Rose Garden. Dark Rider and I both were excited about this adventure! Would we meet a king? A queen? As we looked around, we noticed that black playing cards were painting white roses red, while red heart cards marched around in circles.

Next, we found ourselves passing under a bridge of black club cards. As Dark Rider looked around, he realized that the cards had arms, legs, and faces. "Of course," I said. "How could they have been painting roses without them?"

We were about to witness the Royal Croquet Game, which the White Rabbit announced.

"Stop!" we shouted to our caterpillar, but he kept moving on. We saw the Queen of Hearts start the game, and the king reminded us of rule #42: "The queen always wins."

Publicity Artwork © Disney
Publicity Artwork © Disney

As the queen took a swing at the ball, we realized it wasn't a ball at all: It was a porcupine! And that a flamingo she was hitting it with? We followed the little porcupine; Dark Rider hoped to catch him. Apparently the queen had other plans for us: we were headed for the courtroom. Carved into the doorframe were the words "Sentence first - Verdict Afterwards." We all moaned. This one was going to be tough for Dark Rider to explain to his parents!

As the queen sent the executioner after us, we blew through all the red cards guarding the door and found ourselves on a big leaf overlooking the surrounding area. We let out our breath for the first time since the adventure began. Dark Rider pointed out a tall mushroom over the ride operator. On top were six small shoes. "Looks like there's a caterpillar out there with cold feet!"

Our caterpillar carried us down the leaf and through another door. We rode through a tunnel of smoke rings where we once again saw the Cheshire Cat. Our multi-legged guide then took us to a strange tea party. One tea kettle seemed to be pouring tea out of a teacup! We were greeted by a strange man with large green hat. "A merry, merry unbirthdayyy toooo you!" he sang. At the last moment, we saw the White Rabbit standing near an unbirthday cake with a single lit candle. "Duck!" Dark Rider warned Alice and me just in time when he saw that the candle was a stick of dynamite.

Back outside, we appreciated the greenery and cute little shrubs. The happy little hero helped Alice out of the car, and we said good-bye before going our separate ways. Dark Rider and I looked at each other for a moment. Then, he broke into a smile, and we performed our secret handshake. "That was one psychedelic trip," he smirked, as we finished our routine.

"Indeed it was, my friend. Indeed it was."


Jewel's FastFact: Two men who helped plan the Watergate burglary worked at Disneyland when they were younger!

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 Two


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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