- The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark
The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark Author(s) Ridley Pearson Country United States Language English Series The Kingdom Keepers Genre(s) Thriller, Fantasy novel Publisher Disney Editions Publication date 2005 Media type Print (Paperback) Pages 325 ISBN ISBN 0-7868-5444-8 (first edition, book) OCLC Number 61356453 Followed by Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn (2008)
The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark is the first book in The Kingdom Keepers series set inside the Walt Disney World Resort, written by Ridley Pearson and published by Disney Book Group. It is set inside the Magic Kingdom. It features five young protagonists battling against villains known as the Overtakers for control of the parks.
Many nights, Finn has been appearing in Disney parks as a DHIs and a hologram, while he is asleep. Finn realizes that these are no dreams, and are actually happening. While in the empty park one night, he meets Wayne, an elderly cast member and original Imagineer. Wayne tells Finn that he must find the other kid hosts and arrive at the park at the same time or else Disney is in danger. There is a mysterious group called The Overtakers, who plan to take over the parks and maybe the world. Finn doesn't believe Wayne, and Wayne sends Finn back to his real body by pressing a red button on a black fob. The next night he finds himself back in the empty dark park as his DHI. This time, he sees two of the other DHIs Charlene and Philby, and to make matters scarier, a group of pirate Audio-animatronics from Pirates of the Caribbean ride around in cars from Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and they shoot lasers at Finn. Finn wakes up and sees the laser burns on his real body, his mom asks him what happened so he lies and says that a bully burnt him with a cigarette.
During the day Finn and his strange new friend, Amanda track down the other four hosts Willa, Philby, Maybeck and Charlene. Finn tells them they're not alone in appearing to the park at night. He said they must all go to sleep at night at the same time and appear in the park at the same time. Finn and Amanda also decide to do investigating of their own, and head to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon. Security guards see the real Finn and Finns DHI so they decide to chase after him. After Finn and Amanda reunite at The Haunted Mansion, the two decide something is wrong in the park.
That night, the five DHIs unite at the park and meet up with Wayne. Here they discover that the park comes to life after hours, and Wayne explains to them that something is going wrong in the parks- rides closing, costumes disappearing, Audio-animatronics coming to life, and padlocks stolen. Wayne takes them into the Country Bear Jamboree, where he tells them how Magic Kingdom and the world outside its walls are endangered by the Overtakers.
After showing the kids a secret passageway through Cinderella's Castle called Escher's Keep that is a secret apartment to escape the DHI world. Wayne explains that the DHI system was created especially for this purpose, as they needed 5 teenagers to unravel an old fable by Walt Disney himself- The Stonecutters Quill. The fable concerns a stonecutter, who wishes to be: the sun, the clouds, the wind, and the mountains. Along with the fable came a quote- "I have plans to put this place in a different perspective". Realizing that all four subjects of the matter are in multiple attractions around the park, and must be what Walt meant, the five kids decide to set out to find clues to stop the Overtakers around the park.
The plot unfolds as the group searches through the park's attractions for clues as to what can stop the Overtakers. The kids look up information about Walt Disney, the parks, and research DHI technology. In the day time, the kids keep in touch through the online game VMK, and at night they meet up in the park as their DHIs and search. Unfortunately, as they search, they hit some road blocks; they can't find anything in the attractions, no matter how hard they look. Another problem is the Overtakers getting in the way- the kids ride in its a small world, and the animatronic dolls come to life and attack and bite at the kids. The ride ends up broken at the end of the night and closed. Another problem is the suspiciousness around Finn's friend Amanda. She follows Finn around, begging to know whats going on, and appears out of nowhere. Finn notes that when she runs, she seems to float. Another problem following the kids is one of the Overtakers, the evil fairy Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" (1959 film). Maleficent seems to have powers over cold- she can blast ice, freeze people, and create ice wherever she goes and whatever she touches. The kids seem to get colder than normal when she appears.
The kids also (coincidentally) play separate sports at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. At the sports games, Finn meets a girl named Jez-(she says it's short for Jezebel). She seems to take a liking to Finn and follows him around, and she and Amanda seem not to like each other. Meanwhile, Finn deciphers the quote from Walt Disney in the 50s, and realizes by "different perspective", he meant things being in 3D, as they were wildly popular in the 50s. Supposing that Walt planned this whole thing out, Finn gets 3D glasses, and the teens go around the attractions across various nights, looking for clues and letters:
- Finn and Philby float through the water of Splash Mountain, only to have Maleficent activate the ride. They go over the final drop and almost get killed, but manage to climb into an upcoming log and, using the 3D glasses, find letters on the walls in the cloud reference at the end of the ride.
- Charlene and Willa visit the park during the day and ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for the wind reference. Maleficent gets their honey pot car alone in a scene, locks the doors, and sets off the water system, almost drowning and suffocating the girls to the ceiling. The two break the door foundation, and escape, but getting the clues on the ride along the way.
- At night, the girls and Maybeck recheck It is a Small World for the sun reference and find the letters.
- Finally, Finn and Philby, looking for the mountain reference, climb the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. However, Maleficent brings the attraction to life, bringing to life a giant skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. While gaining the clues, the two boys outrun the dinosaur on the track and the skeleton breaks apart over the attraction.
Another problem in their journey occurs when Maybeck's DHI never returns one night. In real life, Maybeck is trapped asleep, as his DHI is still in the Magic Kingdom. Finn and Philby (as DHIs) realize that the Overtakers must've put Maybeck in a dark place where his screams cannot be heard - Space Mountain. Finn and Philby use a rope from Wayne's apartment over the Main Street Firestation to climb the building and scale the catwalks and tracks until they find him tied up in a closet. Using their DHI powers, Finn becomes light and rescues Maybeck. Maybeck reveals that it was Maleficent and Jez; he had agreed to meet Jez on a date, but she was really Maleficent's evil slave. This scare seems to make the kids stop coming back at night for very long, and the five resume their normal lives.
While riding bikes with Amanda days later, Finn catches a glimpse of Maleficent on a motorcycle, going after them. Riding through a skate park to escape, Amanda seems to create some sort of magic to help Finn escape, and leaves him speechless.
Eventually, the five kids return to the park at night again to get the rest of the letters on the attractions, which seem to spell out "MY FIRST PEN". They soon learn that the secret weapon they need is Walt Disney's first pen, which is kept at the One Man's Dream exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM). Finn infiltrates the exhibit after closing to get the pen. However, he grabs a whole handful of pens and pencils and tries to escape, when he hears security coming, and realizes he's been ratted out. Finn escapes and discovers that it was Amanda. Finn thinks Amanda is an Overtaker and has been setting him up. Finn leaves her in anger.
On an evening school field trip to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where everyone is in a costume, Finn (who brought the pens and pencils from the One Man's Dream display) meets up with the other four DHIs. While meeting up at the party, Amanda and Charlene suddenly faint at the same time. Finn spies Maleficent and Jez descending into Pirates of the Caribbean. Finn, Maybeck, and Philby follow the two into the corridors and underground passageways of the attraction and discover large jail cells, with brand new padlocks, reported to have been stolen only recently. The three realize that the witches must be planning to lock all the Cast Members in the cells below the ride. The three continue, only to be cornered by Maleficent and Jez, who purposely led the three down below. Using Walt's pen, Finn realizes it has some sort of powers, and stuns the witch and electrifies her with it. Maleficent faints and Jez is forced to revive Amanda and Charlene. However, before the three escape Maleficent and Jez, Maleficent has stolen Walt's original plans and designs for the parks.
Now knowing Maleficents plans and what must be done, the kids and Wayne realize they must catch her and retrieve the stolen plans. However, when the kids and Wayne meet the next morning at the Transportation and Ticket Center, Wayne has brought along Amanda. Wayne has the five kids dress up as costumed cast members found around the park, and sends them into the utilidors for cast members beneath the park. While the two girls (and Amanda) man the park overhead, the three guys head for the coldest room of all in the utilidors- the computer room, seeing how Maleficent is all about cold. Luring her out of the computer room by pretending to give her the pen, Finn electrifies the witch again, grabs the plans, and the 3 boys rush off into the park with the plans and the pen, and Maleficent after them. Philby and Maybeck meet up with Charlene and Willa and escape back to Wayne.
In a battle outside Tomorrowland (which is believed to be a show by park guests), Finn becomes his DHI (during the day!) and knocks over the witch and spins around Jez really fast, slowly transforming her to a brighter girl, a girl identical to Amanda. Finn realizes the two are twins, twin witches, and Jez had been under a spell by Maleficent. Her real name is Jess. The two joyfully reunite and thank Finn, who escapes down a garbage chute with the plans and the pens, and Maleficent giving chase. Finn ends up in a large bin of trash and escapes, while Maleficent lands in a giant net, closed and captured by the Disney Imagineers. Finally, the witch has been caught and peace restores.
Hours later, Maleficent is locked up in her own jail cell in the queue of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the kids rejoice in the Cinderella Castle apartment because Amanda and Jess have reunited, the riddle has been solved, Walt's first pen has been found, and everything has been restored to normal around Walt Disney World. Finn touches Walt's first magical pen to the recovered plans of the park, causing the Magic Kingdom to illuminate, and the park becomes more magical as the rides magically become fixed, everything returns to tip-top shape, and the most elaborate fireworks the park had ever seen go off in the night sky. The five kids watch the park light up in the same path as they did on the map, and the plans illuminate as they celebrate a happy end. Wayne then returns to his desk, picks up the black remote and presses the button.
A film adaptation is being created under the name "Magic Kingdom"
-2008 SSYRA children's book winner, grades 6-9.<references
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