Theme Park Ranger
10:41 AM EDT, May 9, 2013
Moms are almost invisible at our theme parks. No, not the ones wielding double-wide strollers and juggling a bambino or two plus a little princess. Those I see a lot. But what about fictional mothers built into the stories of individual attractions? They're practically an endangered species.
When I made a list of my favorite theme-park moms I included Marge Simpson (Simpsons Ride, Universal Studios) and the mother figures from Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom and then … got stuck. The dashing-out mom of latchkey kids on the Cat in the Hat ride at Islands of Adventure? The Fairy Godmother in Magic Kingdom's Celebrate a Dream Come True parade? Mrs. Potts in the "Beauty and the Beast" show at Disney's Hollywood Studios? Sigh.
To be fair, the source materials are low on strong moms. Belle, Ariel, Nemo and others float along in single-father situations. Peter Parker swings through the Spider-Man ride and Harry Potter completes the Forbidden Journey without motherly concern.
So where did all those "it's a small world" kids come from?
When you read something on the Internet that sounds too good to be true, isn't it usually false?
That was the result of last week's Disney World rumor du jour, which would have us believe that Walt Disney Co. Chairman Robert Iger and "Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas were at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Saturday and prepping to make a major announcement.
That would have folded in nicely with Disney's Limited Time Magic promotion of the day at the Studios, a salute to "Star Wars," capped with special fireworks.
Dan Turk, an annual passholder from Largo, had claimed his spot early for the fireworks when he read the Iger news on Twitter. He didn't buy it — he thought the timing was unlikely on a Saturday night — but quicker than you can say "Star Wars Land," speculative posts filled the Twitterverse with reports of multiple cast members spotting Iger, hopes of casting news for the upcoming "Star Wars" film and general Disneyphile excitement.
Turk says he decided to have fun with it via Twitter, suggesting fans come up with faux news and marking it with the hashtag "igerwatch." What followed was a slew of humor somehow incorporating Jar Jar Binks, Starbucks, Duffy the Disney Bear and the so-called Avatarland.
"I was cracking up. I was almost in tears reading some of them," says Turk, whose Twitter account is @AtDisneyAgain.
Eventually, #igerwatch reached Twitter's "trending topic" list, ahead of Kentucky Derby, he says.
At the end of the day, there was no Iger, no announcement, no coronation of Princess Leia as an official Disney Princess. But it was all good with Turk, who remains a Twitter fan.
"I love how accessible it makes everything — good news and bad news," he says.
And no news.
I've been watching the happenings around Universal Studios' meet-and-greet area for Transformers characters. It's a fun spot, but frequently there are fewer people in the line to get photos made with the tall, menacing robots than there are amateur photographers outside the barricade.
The beauty of this is that the line moves quickly. Folks don't pull time-consuming stunts like hugs with Megatron. And Optimus Prime doesn't do autographs or get down to a 5-year-old's level like other characters such as, oh, say, princesses. So, get in line. It's bound to go faster than when the queue forms for Transformers: The Ride — 3D, which is set for a June 20 grand opening.
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