With the villains out of the picture, the town of Walroy could finally celebrate Founders Day as intended, complete with parade, pep rally, basketball game, and dance.
As expected, the entire Disney pantheon – sans villains – was there, including those seven special heroes who so wonderfully helped a town in trouble. Leading the parade was Quasimodo, not as King of Fools, but as grand marshall. Esmeralda danced, Ariel and Belle sang, and Stitch – well, Stitch was his usual crazy self. Performed a series fantastic wheelies on his motorcycle. Simba was there with the Pride Rock contingency, and Aladar led the Herd in an impressive procession through the town square. Now that was a sight I'd never forget: Simba and Nala leading their cubs and Timon and Puumba throwing out candy, along with ample jokes, to a grateful crowd. This was followed by several animals from Pride Rock, including herds of elephants and zebras. Aladar and Neera came next, leading their Nesting Ground citizens. Baylene and Eema brought up the rear.
Then the game: The Disney Toons vs. The Walroy Wonders. On the latter team, the high school basketball team plus a few adult volunteers made up the starting lineup. On the Disney team? How about Phoebus, Hercules, Eric, Goofy, Clarabelle, and Mickey Mouse for starters. The game, of course, was strictly for fun, and all proceeds went to charity. Who cared who won or lost? With Esmeralda and Ariel leading the cheer block, and Quasimodo and Phil officiating, and that odd assortment of players, it was one laugh-filled game of hijinks and good time fun. By the way, the Disney Toons won: 99 to 55.
So Founders Day went without a hitch. The parade was splendid, the pep rally inspiring, the game a rip-roaring laugh-a-minute success. Come the post-game festivities – the dinner, dance, entertainment, and presentation of a special award – no one would have guessed a sudden change in plans. That is, the presentation turned out to be something Walroyites would never forget.
Perhaps I should turn back the clock, and give you a blow-by-blow account so you can see what really went on during the evening's festivities.
"Wow, did you ever see such a spread? The whole town really went all out for this one!"
So said Timon as he helped himself to the "special buffet" – a glassed-in cubicle situated on the south end of the town square. And what was on that buffet? An assortment of edible insects, including "the little cream-filled kind" the rambunctious meerkat so loved. Of course, the town of Walroy didn't forget its other guests. There were mounds of meat for Simba and his pride, tons of fresh greens and fruit for the dinosaur and lemur crowd, an array of nuts and grains for Bambi. For the humans – both Disney characters and Walroyites – the usual foods one would find on a hot and cold buffet, plus goodies especially prepared by Blondie, the best caterer this side of Toon Town.
Uh...Yes, Mrs. Bumstead, although she is not of the Disney pantheon, agreed to provide the food, and tore herself away from her own anniversary party preparations. After all, she said, "We 'toon's have to stick together." By the way, Dagwood couldn't make it (poker night with Herb) and, for obvious reasons, thank goodness for that!
The weather was pleasant for early fall, not too warm or cool, perfect for an outdoor gala. The whole of the town square was decked out in red, white, and blue. Balloons and glowing lanterns, streamers, and colorful lights adorned the streets. In fact, for this festive night, by order of the mayor, all vehicular traffic was banned.
Everyone wore their best dress. After the game, folks changed from more casual, fun attire, to more the formal black tie. Of course, those characters who normally appeared in uniform, in their respective films, went for full-dress regalia. Phoebus glowed in his formal armor. Eric, Phillip, and Cinderella's prince were regally elegant in their well-appointed royal attire. The ladies' appearance was equally impressive, from Esmeralda's brightly hued purple satin gown to Mary Poppins' Edwardian formal of white and pink lace.
"So," said Lilo, before she hit the stage for the evening's entertainment, "I hear Stitch really put one over Frollo and Cruella. I wish I was there to see it."
"Oh," replied Ariel, "he was marvelous. Of course, you have to thank Tinkerbelle for suggesting Stitch join us in routing the villains. I understand he was in town all along, in cognito naturally."
Lilo laughed as Ariel recounted Stitch's antics: How he arrived in town all wrapped up; how he spooked Gaston and LeFou; how he helped trick Cruella ("She thought I was a rare blue-furred animal. What a maroon!"); and how he took an almost fiendish pleasure in giving Frollo and Cruella the ride of their lives on that torture harness. Actually, Lilo was grateful her alien lifeform friend was there to help rid Walroy of Frollo's iron grip. She beamed with pride as Stitch got on stage and treated everyone with his famous Elvis impersonation.
"Hmm...'Don't be Cruel' as sung by Stitch rivals the King's. He's really got this place rocking." That was Tina, now back to her laid-back, personable self. She was glad Founders Day went on as planned. No Frollo around to mess it up with his nonsensical "staid, formal affair" with no room for fun. Tina Lassiter also was grateful she had the courage to face down the man and show him that she wasn't the pushover he thought.
There was also one more reason to celebrate tonight. For Tina did not come to this affair alone. That handsome guy just arrived in town a day after the departure of Frollo and company, the one who took on the job as city attorney, encountered Ms. Lassiter during final Founders Day preparations. Sparks flew, and Ben hinted that, "Kris and I may get a new Daddy."
The attraction between Tina Lassiter and Kenneth Cavenaugh was not lost on the Disney Seven, who gathered in the center of the square to observe the presentation.
"Think she'll say 'Yes' when he pops the question?," asked Belle.
"Give it some time," replied Quasimodo, "They only met two days ago."
"But you can't," said Aladar, "deny true love. If they are meant to be together...Well, look at me and Neera."
Simba nodded, "As it was for me and Nala."
"And me and Phoebus," said Esmeralda.
"Sh!," said Ariel, "They're about to present the plaque to Aurora and Philip."
But something was different. Onto that stage two burly guys – Esmeralda and Clopin's pals from the Court of Miracles, one being the same man who helped carry a wounded Phoebus to Notre Dame – hauled a huge item cloaked in heavy black velvet.
Quasimodo watched the men move the veiled object into place, turned to Simba and asked, "What is that thing?"
The Lion King wondered the same, replying, "Maybe it's a framed portrait of the mayor or something."
Notre Dame's bell ringer shrugged as Mayor Lee walked onto the stage, evoking thunderous applause from the crowd. For nearly two months, the citizens of Walroy endured life without their beloved mayor and suffered through the villains' tyranny. Mayor Lee, having spent those weeks in exile, showed his gratitude as he began to address the crowd.
"Citizens of Walroy. Beloved guests. I welcome you to our annual Founders Day celebration. As you know, we've recently endured the most trying of days, what with the void breached, villains running amok and spreading their havoc in our fair city. Now that the communicator is secure in the bank vault..."
He cast his eyes on Ben Lassiter, the very boy who broke into the clock tower, fiddled with the communicator, thus setting the stage for Walroy's two-month ordeal at the hands of a trio of Disney's worst. He didn't hold any animosity towards Tina or her children. In fact, if it wasn't for the town council's president and her children's cooperation, Walroy could very well still be in Frollo's clutches. Then again, the mayor had to thank seven special Disney heroes who risked their lives for one special Disney-loving town.
Mayor Lee continued, "With all things set right again, it gives me special pleasure to present our town's founders: Prince Philip and Princess Aurora!"
The beloved couple from Sleeping Beauty came forth, ascended the steps to the stage, then faced the crowd. Everyone applauded and cheered as Mayor Lee commenced with the presentation.
"Aurora, Philip," he said loftily. "Without you, Walroy would not exist. We are grateful for your foresight and generosity. So it pleases me to present you with this commemorative plaque."
More applause as Aurora, touchingly beautiful in her famous blue gown and golden tiara, stepped forth to accept the plaque. She took the plaque, reading the inscription:
In Loving Gratitude and Esteem
We, the citizens of Walroy U.S.A.
Present this to our Founders
Princess Aurora and Prince Philip
This fourth day of October
In her acceptance speech, Aurora said, "Philip and I thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. We've always wanted to establish a special place for all those who love and treasure Mr. Disney's legacy. Walroy has always been a labor of love for us, those of us who do treasure positive values and time-honored tradition. However, a few weeks ago, Walroy's spirit was challenged. By an unfortunate accident, the town was plunged into darkness, and there seemed to be no hope. That is until Jiminy Cricket's ingenuity. He had the courage to summon the best of our heroes, those who had the gumption to stand up to the likes of Frollo and Cruella. These heroes risked life and limb to save the town of Walroy."
At her side, Prince Philip, noting the emotional quaver in his wife's voice, continued, "We accept this token of your appreciation. However, and Aurora and I talked it over with many of our great Disney family, it is not us who deserve special recognition. Rather, we want to take the opportunity to commend those seven heroes who risked everything to save this beloved town." His eyes were now on the seven Disney heroes who answered the call to duty.
"Aurora searched around for a competent artist, and once I previewed his rendering, I think you'll be pleased with the results. Mr. Mayor, we would like this displayed prominently in City Hall, for all to see and appreciate. So, without further ado, I give you...The Disney Seven!"
Down came the black velvet veil, revealing a large painting situated within a heavily ornate gilt frame. The subject was unmistakable. In that tenderly, expertly rendered portrait were the images of a dinosaur, a lion, a former mermaid turned human princess, a Gypsy dancer, a misshapen bell ringer, a French beauty, and an alien lifeform once known as Experiment 626.
"Whoa!," said Simba with awe, "is that us?"
"Not bad. It looks like you, Simba," said Nala.
"Did you know about this?," asked Neera. Aladar merely replied, himself taken aback with the artistic representation, "I had no idea I looked that good."
"Speak for yourself," said Stitch. "I see the artist put me in the front."
"He had to, Stitch," said Esmeralda. "You're the short one."
That said, all laughed heartily and each expressed his and her appreciation. "But why do this?," asked Quasimodo. "I know we enjoy all the veneration from fans around the world."
"That is right, Quasi," said Ariel, "but this is special. What we did will be remembered for generations to come. You know, we've all endured and overcome great obstacles in our own lives."
"Like standing up to Frollo at the Feast of Fools," said Esmeralda.
"And taking on the carnotaurs," said Aladar.
"And facing down Scar," said Simba. "I think we've all had our share of overcoming the odds. What we did a few weeks ago was quite possibly the most challenging. I was nearly killed by Cruella's henchmen. Belle and Maurice were almost caught as they set up the phony torture chamber."
"And," rejoined Quasimodo, "Gaston could have discovered a disguised Stitch long before the little guy did his 'Let's scare those guys' thing."
Mayor Lee took center stage again, this time addressing the seven Disney heroes.
"Friends, please be assured this fine portrait will have a permanent, prominent home within City Hall. Every citizen, from the oldest to the youngest, plus those who visit, will see this and be reminded of the courageous stand you took against those villains. Also I'm proud to announce that our newspaper, the Walroy Gazette will feature a series of special articles devoted to your exploits. We got photos, bios, the whole publicity works. Your response to our plight will never be forgotten."
And so friends, the Disney Seven was fully endeared to Walroyites' hearts. That portrait was hung in the main lobby, replacing a ho-hum landscape painting. The Gazette did its articles – a twenty-page commemorative insert to be exact – with dozens of photos, interviews with the heroes and citizens.
Mayor Lee resettled in his office and home. Ruth was grateful there were no more late nights typing up memos or edicts. The children resumed their own lives, without working those weekend sweatshops. Carl still served the best ice cream and burgers around. And Tina? Well, seems she and that new city attorney had more in common than they thought. Wedding bells will ring come June, and Ben and Kris are just too thrilled to have a new dad in their lives.
But what of the Disney Seven? As usual, each character returned to his and her domain: Simba at Pride Rock, Aladar in the Nesting Grounds, Esmeralda and Quasi back in 15th Century Paris. Ariel has returned to Eric and Melody, and Belle enjoys domestic bliss with her prince in their enchanted castle. And Stitch? He's back in Hawaii, helping out at home and just being...Well, Stitch!
So, all is back to normal, and, thanks to timely intervention by seven special Disney heroes...And so it ends in all our stories...
Everyone lived happily ever after!
Copyright © 2004, 2005 by PRP ("crazedwriter").