When Disneyland announces a contest with the prize an apartment in the Tower of Terror, a group of junior high school friends, the Disney Pros, embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the park, pursued by their villainous principal and a pair of psychotic classmates.
In this young adult adventure novel, written by a young adult (author Costa Pappas was in eighth grade when he started the book, and in ninth when he finished), the action never lets up as the Disney Pros hunt down clues left by the Imagineers throughout Disneyland.
From Main Street to Space Mountain, from Pirates to Pinocchio to Peter Pan, our junior high heroes race against time, and struggle to overcome their own emotional hangups and hormones, while struggling to stay one step ahead of their foes and solve the most devilishly clever Disneyland riddles this side of a Jim Korkis book.
Chapter 1: I Just Can't Wait to Win
Chapter 2: Poor Unfortunate Video Announcements
Chapter 3: Be Our Guest
Chapter 4: Route 66
Chapter 5: Ryan’s Got No Strings
Chapter 6: It’s a Small World
Chapter 7: Find Your Laughing Place, Sam
Chapter 8: Someone Says They’re in Love
Chapter 9: Disney Roller Coaster Ride/Life is a Highway
Chapter 10: Let’s Go Start a Fight
Chapter 11: Second Star to the Right and Straight On
Chapter 12: Shake It Up, Disneyland
Chapter 13: Come and Get It
Chapter 14: What Happens When You Wish Upon a Star
Epilogue: Happily Ever After
Costa B. Pappas was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, making up stories and dictating them to his mother since he was too young to write. Upon moving to southern California in August 2009, Costa had his first Disneyland experience. He quickly became hooked on the Disney magic.
His inspiration for his first novel, Disney Pros: Unite, occurred while walking down Main Street, U.S.A. With each entrance into the park, he would exclaim to his mother and sister, “I wish I could live here!” Random outbursts of wishing to live at Disneyland still continue. Some things will never change!
Costa completed his first novel when he was 14 years old and continues to develop further adventures and stories to this day. Visit Costa’s Instagram page, DisneyPro, for Disney fun facts, and make sure to follow his photography account, C.osta, to stay up to date on more news.
The Disney Pros seek shelter in Splash Mountain from their sinister middle school principal.
The boys took off sprinting toward Critter Country, a land beside the Haunted Mansion. Critter Country was one of the most magical lands in the park. Held together by a forest vibe, it was often empty, allowing for great photographs to be taken late at night.
Overwhelmed and terrified, the trio glanced sideways at the line for the Winnie the Pooh ride. They saw a stern, fake blonde woman with a walkie-talkie in her hand marching up and down the land.
“Vice Principal Sol,” Alex whispered.
Vice Principal Sol had a bored expression on her sulky face as she lounged around. The three boys, and the school, considered her the meanest woman known to mankind. She enjoyed setting up fake bullying stories to mess with her least favorite students. She was always backed up by Principal Hamenos. Between the pair of controlling adults, the school felt under constant supervision.
Vice Principal Sol turned her back to the boys as she marched toward the entrance to a hat shop by the entrance to Critter Country.
“Quickly guys! Head to Splash Mountain!”
Costa sprinted past the gift shop, covering his face with his hand as they entered the short line. “Let’s just stay in here until Vice Principal Sol leaves Critter Country,” Costa said.
Splash Mountain was a log-styled attraction, also known as the wettest ride inside Disneyland. Consisting of a deathly-looking final drop, it was not the ideal ride for a child with claustrophobia. Nonetheless, the wood interior of the line added a homely feel.
Costa’s phone began chirping, sending the bug-eyed Sam and Costa ducking into the wall.
“Guys, it’s a call, breathe,” Alex said.
“It’s Trishna,” Costa said, answering the call. “Hey Trish,” he said into the phone.
“Hello? Costa… I can’t hear you too well—I have two bars!” she yelled into the phone. “Ryan and I translated the Morse code…it was easy! The next clue says to ‘Find the dark ride with a fox that is no friend, then wait for…the end.’ It’s talking about either the Pinocchio ride because of the unfriendly fox in there, or it’s talking about Br’er Fox on Splash Mountain. I bet the next clue is in Splash Mountain, but Ryan and I will head over toward Pinocchio just to play it safe. Text us after!” Trishna shouted into the phone, unaware that Costa could hear her perfectly fine.
“Looks like we have to go on this ride. Good thing the line is short, right?” Costa asked.
“Where is the clue?” Alex asked, filled with excitement over the fact that he was minutes away from riding one his favorite attractions.
“I am 100 percent sure that it’s somewhere near the final drop,” Costa said. “The final drop is called ‘The End’ because people think that it’s going to end their lives.”
“That makes sense! And looking at this line, nobody is onto the second clue yet!” Alex cheered. “We’re in the lead!”
“That’s great!” Costa said gleefully. Costa turned to Sam to get his input on it when he saw Sam’s depressed face. “Wait… You are scared of heights.” Costa said to Sam. “I totally forgot. I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry,” Sam said, peeking his head out of the barn to see if Vice Principal Sol was nearby. “I just can’t go on it. I’m really afraid of heights.”
“I’m really afraid of heights,” Alex mimicked.
“He’s here!” Costa exclaimed, snatching Sam’s shirt as he yanked him back into the barn-styled room just before Principal Hamenos darted by, missing the trio by a second. “He’s getting closer to us.”
“We need to head up to the ride,” Alex said. “Sam can talk to Principal Hamenos while Costa and I find the clue.”
“This isn’t funny, Alex! I’ve been scared of heights ever since that airplane incident over LA!” Sam said, trying to stay positive and happy, but dying of fear inside. “I just don’t want to go, simple as that. You go without me.” Sam was not the dramatic sort; he was laid back with the things he said, and for him to be frightened meant a lot.
“I’m kidding,” Alex said. “You know we can’t go without you! “Principal Hamenos is gonna catch and suspend you if you stay right here. So hurry up and get over this phobia!”
“Good pep talk, Alex!” Costa said sarcastically. “You’re going to be that one parent who throws their kid into the ocean to teach them how to swim.”
Vice Principal Sol talked with Principal Hamenos in the small passage between Splash Mountain’s entrance and the Winnie the Pooh ride exit. Both were speaking madly into their walkie-talkies, clearly alerting all school officials that Costa, Sam, and Alex were somewhere in Critter Country.
“And I am going to be that parent who makes their kid get on each and every scary ride,” Alex said. “The tears will dry off, the regret of not going on it won’t.”
“That made no sense whatsoever,” Sam said.
“You make no—”
“We need to be nice to Sam so we can get him through this phobia quickly,” Costa interrupted.
“What we really need is to get on this ride fast and get off of it faster!” Alex yelled.
Continued in "Disney Pros: Unite"!
A figure from behind Ryan shoved her forward, once again moving the group into the crowd fighting to enter the park.
“Next person who pushes me is getting a punch in the face!” Ryan yelled, turning around angrily to see an elderly lady staring at Ryan in panic. Ryan didn’t say anything, but gave the lady a glare before turning around again.
“We need to get into the park!” Costa said, checking his phone for messages from Sam and Alex. “We are going to be late!” Sprinting toward the gates with both of his hands wrapped around Ryan and Tina’s wrists, he skimmed the crowd for any sign of Sam or Alex. “Sam? Alex?” he called out. “Maybe they are already inside?” he thought out loud, pulling out his Premium Annual Pass.
“This way, Costa!” Sam shouted by the front of a line, waving Costa forward frantically. “Disneyland’s almost to capacity I heard!”
Trying to hurry, Costa lunged in front of an old lady riding along in a wheelchair. The rude senior shoved him into the side of the turnstile and let out a torrent of German words as she rode past Costa without another word.
“What’s your rush, lady, heading back to Leisure World?” Costa hollered, watching packs of Disney fanatics run past him.
“Fight later!” Trisha begged as she yanked Costa away from the wall with one hand and tossed him into the turnstile with the other.
Costa had to hold onto Trishna’s shoulder as he stumbled into the park. The crowd had filled up every inch of the hub, blocking all sight of the colorful flower bed that was designed to look like Mickey. All Costa could heard was the train as it blew its horns, the conductor waving to the crowd below.
“We did it!” Costa exclaimed, giving Ryan a hug. “We did it!”
“Hold your horses, Disney Pro,” Ryan said. “Celebrate with the hugging stuff after we win the big prize.”
Costa nodded. “Now where’s that group?” he asked. He held onto Ryan’s hand, making absolutely sure that she would not disappear again.
“Not again,” Ryan moaned. “I can’t take this hide-and-go-seek game any longer.”
“Costa!” a familiar voice yelled from within the crowd.
Costa moved to the left of Disneyland, chasing after the familiar voice. Guests, shoulder to shoulder, all slowly moved as one into the hustle and bustle of Main Street, U.S.A. Everyone was chattering away, wondering what the first clue was going to be when they saw a tall, lean man in a hot air balloon above the flagpole.
Sam pulled Costa and Ryan toward him into the street outside City Hall. The group all looked relieved at the sight of each other.
Mr. Anderson, dressed in a fancy suit, greeted the crowd. “I see we have quite the assortment of guests,” he said, waving hello to everyone. “I have some very important information to tell you. First, here is the entire backstory behind the contest. As you know, we have found a document that Walt Disney wrote. In the document, it states that Walt wanted a contest where Disney fans could compete and solve codes and mysteries that would eventually lead a winner or winners to a prize,” Anderson said, the crowd dead silent. “Furthermore, the Imagineers and I have decided that the scavenger hunt will lead to a room key, and the room key will open your new home inside the Tower of Terror. The crowd’s eyes widened at the words “new home”.
Costa stared up at the hot air balloon with his mouth hung open, absorbing the information like a sponge.
“To accommodate the winners, Disney has constructed a penthouse suite inside the tower. The winner or winners will be given the suite.” Suddenly, a man began to awkwardly cheer by the Penny Arcade, causing people to glare at him. “In addition, Disneyland will be different today. Every ride, attraction, restaurant, and store will be open until nine, when the contest ends. The only exception is Mickey’s Toontown, which will close at its regular time for the fireworks show. You must all remember that the contest ends at precisely nine, when the last firework vanishes.” He gave the crowd a mysterious wink, adding, “Choose your words wisely when you get the finish line, and try to live up to Disney standards.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ryan asked.
“Finally, turn on your video cameras because I am going to tell you the first clue.” He paused, allowing everyone seconds to get their devices ready. The clue is…”
Continued in "Disney Pros: Unite"!