I was born with the ‘Not to Queue’ gene. I found this out only recently when I went for a routine life insurance medical. They accepted me at standard rates, but with an exclusion clause that the policy was null and void should I ever go to Disneyland.
But when you have a five year old daughter whose whole life policy is to meet Mickey Mouse… you try explaining to her the exclusion clauses on your life insurance.
So last week MOL (Mother Of Lily) and I surrendered to a Higher Power…and went to the Land that is Disney, Paris.
(We took Lily with us. It seemed the right thing to do.)
I of course only went along for the culture, the language, the food,… the characters.
I am not talking about waiters called Francois, Jean-Claude or Philippe here…we’re talking Mickey, Pluto and Goofy.
Mickey and the other Characters had their own security guys (complete with crew-cuts, shades and those little curly wire earpieces) wherever they went, to protect them from their tiny fans.
The message came across loud and clear. ‘KIDS…DON’T MESS WITH MR.BIG
( -EARS’, that is)
Now I know where old White House secret servicemen wind up; they move on to guard someone far more important to the American Dream… they do security for Mickey Mouse.
These guys would take a bullet for Mickey any day of the week and regard it as a privilege, just like a fully paid up member of Hizbollah regards blowing himself to smithereens as a positive career move. After watching them for three days, let me tell you there’s no way these guys would EVER have let Mickey and Minnie drive through Dallas in an open car. (“Where were you when you heard the news that Mickey Mouse was shot?”)
Looking back, it’s easy to mock the security… but if you have never been chased through a restaurant, dressed as Mickey Mouse, only to be cornered at the buffet, with your back against the king prawns, by a lynch mob of five year olds wielding les biros and autograph books, shouting “Mickey !! ..Mickey.!!”…you don’t know the meaning of the words ‘nervous breakdown!’
One slip and you are Salami…these kids mean business and, think about it, if you added them all up, 100 kids have the combined knockout punch of Tyson when he is out of his medication.
After three days of non-stop queuing for Dumbo (six times), Pirates of the Caribbean (four times). and five consecutive rides on my personal favourite, It’s a Small World, Lily and I were walking down Main Street on our last day.
Suddenly the cry went up: “Mickey! Mickey!”
I ran in the direction of all the other parents and kids…with Lily on my shoulders.. hanging on for grim life. Mickey was making one of his surprise Personal Appearances by the Candy-floss queue. ( I had waited in a line there for over an hour the day before …only to get to within one kid of the candy-floss maker, who was clearly doing a Ph D in advanced solo candy- floss making and zen meditation techniques…when he ran out of floss for the day.)
Lily and I had queued for Mickey 30 minutes, when a woman dressed as Marie- Antoinette said. ” I am sorry. Ee is Finished No more Mickey today.”
Lily immediately started to cry.
“Excusez moi , Madamoiselle. Not so vite.” I said
“This is Lily Rosengard from London,” I paused. “She is a personal friend of Mickey…Eisner…votre Disney Chairman in L.A… Please let us passez.”
She looked down at Lily, who was looking like she had just been told she would never see her Mummy again, and said “OK I am sorry… I did not recognize her.. entrez!” Believe me on this one.
I lifted Lily over the rope, and propelled her past all the other kids and parents to the front of the queue, talking all the time into the Walkie Talkie I had bought in Tottenham Court Road a week earlier…”OK SHE is here now.. I repeat SHE is here… The Rose Garden has landed….secure the perimeter…over and out, Rogere”
I saw Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard.
I then unwisely attempted a 360-degree leap I had once seen Bruce Lee do, and landed on my back at exactly the moment Mickey arrived with his security detail.
As usual his henchman, Goofy, was with him.
I got up by grabbing Goofy’s tail.
One of Mickey’s bodyguards picked Lily up and said to her “You cannot come to the front of the queue. You have to go.”
Lily started to cry again.
I pulled her out of his arms and in doing so… I ACCIDENTALLY bumped into Mickey .
The next second my arm was half way up my back in an iron grip. Mickey Mouse had me in a half Napoleon.
And that’s when Lily came to my rescue…she kicked Mickey in the shins
“Leave my Daddy alone!” she shouted..
“THAT’S MY GIRL!” I thought, as he let go of my arm.
The Mouse’s security then jumped on Mickey and shouted into their headsets
“The Mouse is down!…The Mouse is down!” He was… but they had knocked him down!
I didn’t lay a finger on him, I swear!
We were taken round the back of The Magic Castle… through the gates of the park, and escorted into the hotel lift.
As the doors closed, Lily looked up at me, and gave me The LOOK.
“He started it!” I said.
The Saturday Column April 28th 2001 Copyright Peter Rosengard 2001 Weekly on www.rosengard.com All back columns including those that first appeared in The Independent 1993/1995, are now up on the site. Please see The Saturday Column Archive.