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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 IV
As Dark Rider and I discussed where to go for lunch, we heard a high voice yell for help. He whirled around and ran. I followed him, hoping our job would be done quickly so we could finally sit down with a couple of burgers. As Dark Rider slowed under a canopy of vines, I finally caught up with him.

Mr. Toad

We walked to the far wall of a secluded area to the left of Toad Hall, which is used as a queue on busier days. There we found stone likenesses of Angus MacBadger, Mr. Mole, J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq., and Mr. Rat's heads. Each had a short statement underneath it about the character, and I began reading. "What are you doing?" asked Dark Rider very impatiently.

"I want to read this!"

"C'mon! There will be plenty of time for that later. We have a rescue to make right now. Apparently a 'Mr. Toad' is driving his car out of control. We've got to stop him before he hurts somebody!" Dark Rider scolded me.

Mr. Toad

He grabbed my wrist and dragged me closer to Toad Hall. As we neared the door, a statue of Mr. Toad--I knew it was him from the plaques on the wall--stood in front of a huge bay window. Entering Toad Hall, I looked up at the tall ceiling. Mr. Toad's face was everywhere: in the stained glass, a mural depicting the adventure we were about to have, and chandeliers. The inside of Toad Hall was so beautiful, I didn't realize that a car was waiting for us until Dark Rider pinched me on the shoulder. He hopped in and took the wheel.

Dark Rider drove us into the library and immediately we had trouble. He spun the wheel to keep from knocking the librarian off his ladder. We flew through the fireplace and turned. The car sped down a hallway where we were almost crushed by a tipsy coat of armor. Dark Rider gained speed on the straightaway. "We must catch up with him if we are to help him!" Dark Rider's eyes were ablaze. It appeared that he'd caught the speed bug, too! Weasels hung from the chandeliers, and soon a frantic policeman yelled at us to stop. The car sped past him and on into the country, where we encountered more policemen searching for us over a bridge.

Mr. Toad

"Hey dude, slow down!" I tried to grab the wheel from Dark Rider, but he was determined to find Toad and help him out. We slammed through a sign reading "KEEP OUT. " I didn't want to watch, but I was so scared that I couldn't even close my eyes! Almost hitting a fisherman, we drove over a rickety old dock and through a pile of boxes labeled "EXPLOSIVES. " "What are you doing?" I screamed.

Dark Rider ignored me completely. "BOOM!" I didn't want to know if we had made it or not.

We must have survived, because we zoomed by a "SLOW DOWN" sign, and nearly collided with a delivery truck. As we turned a corner, I saw the blur of an English city, pub and all. Before I knew it, we were in court and being found guilty. "Snap out of it!" I shook the boy next to me. That didn't seem to work, and he had left me no choice. "Sorry, man," I said as I slapped him hard alongside the head.

Mr. Toad

Dark Rider instantly awoke from his daze and he blinked his eyes. For a moment it seemed as if he would hit me back, but then he saw our situation and he grabbed the wheel once again. Just as Dark Rider was shaking the goof from his head, he screamed. We had broken out of prison and were on the railroad tracks. The problem was, there was a train coming our way, fast!

It did not look like we could survive this one.

And we didn't.

Rather abruptly, we found ourselves in Hades. It was hot and there were demons jumping about all around us. I nearly fainted for the second time that hour. Just as I was swaying back in my seat, we saw the light of day. Both of us were overjoyed. We quickly hopped out of the car and left the building.

Mr. Toad

Looking back we saw that Toad beat us out and was happily back in Toad Hall, right where he belonged. "Wow," I said, catching my breath. "What an adventure."

"That was wild!" Dark Rider was excited, and sounded as if he might do it again, given the opportunity.

"That was craziness if I ever saw it!" Then something very important came to mind. "Hey, do you think we could get lunch now?" I asked. "There's a nice little place nearby," I added with a smile.

"Alright." Dark Rider grinned slyly. "If you buy."



Jewel's FastFact: On "The Top-Grossing Movies of All Time at the Worldwide Box Office" chart, The Lion King is number 6, bringing in $767,700,000!

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!

Mr. Toad


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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