Ever wonder what happens to all those beloved (and not so beloved) characters after the movie ends? Well, they go their separate ways, living happily ever after in their respective realms until they're needed for another day. That is, Quasimodo and his friends go about their daily routine in 15th Century Paris. Ariel is enjoying her life with husband Eric and daughter Melody. Belle and her prince are doing fine in magical 16th Century France, as are Jasmine and Aladdin living happily ever after in Agrabah. As for the non-human characters, Simba is still king of Pride Rock, Bambi is still Prince of the forest, and Aladar has settled into domestic bliss with Neera at the Nesting Grounds. And what of my former charge, Pinocchio? He's being the model son; Gepetto is one proud papa.
Now, you're wondering, what ever happens to the villains after they're defeated? Well, they're still with us but live in a world apart from the heroes where they can't hurt another living soul ever again. Hmm, how can I put this? Ever read the Superman comics? You know how Superman's birth planet Krypton put criminals in the Phantom Zone? Well, that's almost like the place where the Disney villains go. That's right: All the great baddies – Cruella, Maleficent, Frollo, Scar, Jafar, Ursula, Madame Mim, and the rest of the ne'er-do-well's –
are locked away in an eerie, mysterious void known only to us Disney folks. The only way they can get out is if somehow the void is breached. Well, you guessed it; someone – make that two someones – made it possible for three dastardly villains to escape their prison and wreck their havoc on this peaceful little town.
Now, let me tell you about this town: Walroy, USA. It's a small town, with a population of less than 1500, and like most towns its size, it has its quirks and habits. Nice folks live here. Good families with kids, great neighbors. The town square teems with activity now, with kids off to school, grown-ups off to work and shopping, but not long ago things got out of hand. Everything was not all joyous.
You're thinking, "Walroy...isn't that a play on the names...?" Well, I'll tell you: You're right! Walroy is a Disney loving town, so much that the very name is derived from Walt and Roy Disney. That was the town's founders' idea when they bought
the tract of land that once served as the set of one of the old animated shorts. The founders, Aurora and Phillip Briar, wanted a place where Disney characters could come visit any time they like, where the great Disney movies can play continuously at the sole theater in town. And those characters have made many an appearance. All the mainstays: Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto have visited here. Even a few human characters such as Pollyanna and Mary Poppins have dropped by to say hello.
Walroy is not just any old town; it's magical. Hidden away in City Hall's clock tower, in the town square, is an enchanted communicator, which if used properly, can summon any Disney character on the spot. This is operated by only two people: the mayor and police chief. But if it should fall into the wrong, or in this case, inexperienced, hands, it can spell trouble. And that's what happened a few weeks ago when a brash kid dared another to sneak into that tower and steal the communicator. Of course, things got out of hand, and...Well, let us find out what exactly happened that fateful day when the entire town was turned all "topsy turvy"!
Andrea, a tall gangly twelve-year old tomboy with a pale freckled face, big blue eyes, and a shock of reddish hair, jerked at Ben's jacket as he slipped up the tower steps. Ben and his sister Kristen decided to separate from their school group at Ben's urging. He bragged all the way to City Hall that he could gain access to the clock tower and steal the communicator without anyone noticing. Of course, Andrea, being the ever obedient and sensible child, tried to stop the boy from doing something that would surely land him in hot water.
"Oh great! The first cool field trip of the school year and you have to mess it up for everyone! If Ms. Barone finds out we're missing, we're toast! My mom will ground me 'til I'm 21!"
"Aww," whispered a swaggering Ben, a cute-faced, dark-haired smart aleck of ten winters, "are you girls chicken? Ain't no one gonna catch us. Come on! I want to see how the thing works."
"No, Ben," said seven year old Kristen who just tagged along because, at first, she wanted to be with her big brother. In fact, she worshipped Ben, always trying to emulate his supposed fearlessness and audacity. This time, however, she saw through her brother's scheme. If Mom and Dad ever find out what they were up to, "They'll ground us until we're 30! And that's real old!"
Andrea echoed, "Yeah, Ben. They'll miss us downstairs. Now, listen to your little sis and let's get back with our class."
Ben sneered at the girls then, without thinking of the possible consequences, bounded up the long winding stairway. He didn't even look back as he continued his journey. The girls, out of fear that the boy might do something stupid, dashed up after him, begging Ben to stop.
"Darn it, Ben!," hissed Andrea, smudging her shirt against the dirty walls of the tower staircase, "now I've gotten myself dirty."
At once Ben rolled his eyes and said, "Like if you ever care about getting dirty. Now, are you coming with me or are you chicken?" He tucked his hands in his armpits, flapping and making squawking sounds as if to taunt Andrea. Ben knew she was just as fearless as he, and she hated being told she was scared.
"OK, Ben. We can at least look at it, but we can't touch it. Just a few minutes then we really got to get back or they'll come looking for us."
Kristen kept looking out the tiny window in the clock tower, praying that no one would discover the kids missing. Surely by now, Ms. Barone has already called roll and has everyone looking for three "lost" kids. It's not as if the kids hadn't been to City Hall before; it's always the first field trip of the year. Besides, Andrea's Uncle Lee is the mayor, and Kristen and Ben's mom, Tina, is on the town council. The kids know this building inside and out, so it piqued Ben's curiosity about the communicator. He saw Mayor Lee work the thing before last summer when the town invited the entire cast of The Lion King, sans Scar, for a special celebration. That was a blast, thought Kristen blissfully. Imagine, a baseball game umpired by Timon and Puumba! That was hilarious, with Timon and Puumba arguing over "Who's on first?" Kristen fondly remembered Simba and Nala admiring her Persian cat Bungee. "You know, Kristen," Nala said to her, "Bungee may be 'just a housecat', but he's every bit lion inside." Huh? Pampered and spoiled Bungee? A cat who routinely snubs his food and just lays around all day? Kristen never looked at her cat the same way after what Nala said.
How she wished Nala was here now, giving Ben the business about snooping where he wasn't supposed to. Nala had a reputation for telling it like it is, and she would tell Ben to cool his curiosity.
"Come on!," said Ben, "it has to be here somewhere."
It was almost noon, and the kids had no time to spare as the clock will "bong" right at twelve o'clock, and the last thing they wanted was their ears assaulted by the resounding bell. Also, it was almost lunch time, and they had to return to their group as soon as possible.
"Ben," said Andrea warningly, "if we don't get back before the clock goes off..."
"Yeah, yeah," replied Ben exasperated, "we won't get caught. Hey! I think I found it!"
Lodged behind the massive gears was a curious little box. Ben had seen it before; he knew it contained the communicator. Amazingly the box wasn't locked this time, an unusual circumstance since Mayor Lee always made sure the communicator was secure in its container after every use. Maybe it was an oversight this time, a boon for Ben – no combination lock to break open.
Ben opened the box and removed the magical device. It was rather curious, but looked like any other radio. There were the usual buttons and dials, and an array of switches of which Ben knew nothing.
"You don't know how it works," said Andrea with a sneer. Ben sneered right back, "Oh yeah? Watch this."
The boy indiscriminately pushed buttons and turned dials, not knowing who would respond on the other end. A very nervous Andrea warningly said, "Look out, Ben! You might break it!"
"I'm not gonna break it. Hey, maybe I can call Esmeralda on this thing. Yeah! She can show me some cool tricks I can try with Amby." Amby was his lovable mutt, a smart dog who performed all kinds of amazing tricks.
Andrea rolled her eyes and said, "Ben, she doesn't have a dog; she has a goat. Goat tricks might not work on dogs."
"So?," said Ben as he got curious about a red switch on the side of the radio. He flipped it, not knowing what it did. "Wonder what this does."
Without warning, a hot red bolt of light shot from the radio and sped out the window. Kristen had to duck to avoid being hit. Out the window and across the sky it went, landing somewhere far away. A small explosion could be heard in the distance, sending folks out into the streets to see from where the conflagration came. So much murmuring and alarm!
"Now you did it!," screamed Andrea as she and Kristen sped out of the tower and down the stairs. Ben was not far behind them, saying, "Hey, wait up! And don't tell 'em what we did!"
All through lunch, the kids said nothing and were relieved they weren't missed. The rest of the day didn't go well as Andrea and Kristen kept worrying that someone would discover the disturbed radio, or that mysterious flash of red light. Ben, on the other hand, remained somewhat calm, but he was a jangle of nerves. Oh wow, he thought with a shudder, and especially after overhearing Ms. Barone say to another teacher, "You think the void was breached? I hope not. Can you imagine what could happen if one of them gets loose?"
What did she mean by "one of them"? Oh man, thought Ben, are we in big trouble. Poor kid didn't know the half of it.
To Be Continued...Go to Chapter 2