5/8/2005 11:04 AM
In case you somehow missed it, Ben made his 1000th ride on Snow White's Scary Adventures back on April 16th. It was a gala event that featured a meet-and-greet with Snow White herself, who then actually went on the ride with Ben.
The week after the big event Ben and I were in the park when we were stopped by one of the regular CMs we see, and she asked me when Ben was going to hit the big 1000. I told her it had already happened, and told her about how it went off, and she said that the Fantasyland cast members still wanted to do something special for Ben. She asked for my phone number, and told me to expect a call in the next few days.
Early last week I received a call from Theo Porter, the manager in charge of Fantasyland. He told me that all of the people in Fantasyland were very excited to hear about Ben's acheivement, and wanted to do something special for him. We agreed that Ben would stop by City Hall on Main Street yesterday at 1:30 for a special treat.
So yesterday Ben, Kris and I arrived at City Hall and introduced ourselves. We were quickly escorted into a private room where Snow White, Dopey, and three of our favorite regular cast members were waiting to greet us. Many pictures were taken, and many gifts were given. Snow White presented Ben with a prince's crown, and then a certificate to commemorate his 1000 rides. Then Dopey presented Ben with a bag of pixie dust. When shown the dust, Ben very carefully put it back into the pouch for safe keeping. They also gave Ben a very nice picture frame to put his SW1K photo in.
Finally, they gave him a genuine Walt Disney World cast member nametag. It is one of the brand new ones with the "Happiest Celebration on Earth" theme, with Benjamin proudly engraved on it. For anyone not familiar with how important the nametags are, this is a big deal. During the course of the afternoon Ben was stopped by at least a dozen cast members, asking how he got a real nametag. One cast member pointed out that having a real nametag means that Benjamin is allowed to go backstage, although I doubt we will be attempting that particular feat. As a matter of fact, on the way out of the park Ben sat down on a bench to rest for a bit, and we were approached by a very large, solid, security-looking cast member who very politely shook us down to find out why Ben had a real nametag. When I explained that it was a gift from the Fantasyland castmembers to commemorate his riding SWSA over a thousand times, he seemed more than a little surprised. First he was surprised that a CM would make that gift, but then you could see the number click in his head and he asked, "how many times did you say?" When I replied that as of today he had been on the ride 1036 times, all he could say was "wow...."
Anyway, after Ben was given all of his presents, he of course made off like a shot to actually go on his ride. After only going on the ride twice, he had the same delayed response that he had back on the 16th - he asked to go take a monorail and go home. We got back to the Main Street Confectionary where he chilled out in his favorite little quiet bay window, and after about fifteen minutes he was ready to actually spend some time in the park. We took the train from Main Street around to Frontierland, then he took a walk over to watch the big drop at Splash Mountain (and promptly left after the first big splash). From there we took a stroll up through Frontierland and Liberty Square, looked at flag-themed shirts in the Heritage House for a few minutes, and then went and got some luch at the Columbia Harbour House. From there it was a pretty standard Saturday afternoon at the Magic Kingdom for Ben; a total of eleven rides on Snow White's Scary Adventures, plus rides on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's PhilharMagic, The Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and Buzz Lightyear. We spent a total of 4 1/2 hours in the park, and a grand time was had by all.
Ben went to sleep last night holding his new picture frame with the SW1K picture in it. Honestly, I think he'd marry that girl.
The CM's promised to email me the pictures they took, and Kris took two rolls of film from the big meeting which she will be dropping off for processing today. I should have a photo gallery posted around the middle of the week.