Sometimes it is eerie how normal everyday events can confound you when they feel so much like a moment from a trip to Walt Disney World. Take, for instance, an exchange I had with one of my preschoolers on the playground this morning. From across the playground I hear an overly excited, “Mr. Ryan, Mr. Ryan.”
I expected an injury to the child or a friend. I was prepared for an argument over a scooter or dump truck. I was even tempted to think that perhaps there was a bird, rabbit, or some other critter on the playground. What I turned around to see however, was a four year old boy waving a worn paintbrush at me. Besides the fact that I don’t know where this paintbrush, clearly intended for a preschool art center, had made it onto the playground, the next words from the child’s mouth sent he into a full on spin. While jumping up and down he was shrieking, “I found the paintbrush, I found the paintbrush, I found the…,” well, you get the idea.
We were not missing a paintbrush from our classroom, nor were any of the other classrooms, and we hadn’t had a classroom talk about toys coming outside recently, so the only thought that immediately entered into my mind was, “Okay, Thunder or Splash?”
For those of you on the outside of this fantastic free, for all intents and purposes, Fastpass, let me elucidate. As the tale spun by Mark Twain goes, Tom and Huck gave up white washing the fence and hid their paintbrushes in order to run off and partake in some tom foolery. Well, true to the tale that inspired its creation, there are paintbrushes hidden around Tom Sawyer Island. Should you be lucky enough to stumble upon one of these paintbrushes while exploring the island, or if you should actually find one as is your sole purpose for visiting the island, then you should return it immediately to the pilot of the raft. Once back on the mainland side of the Rivers of America, the raft pilot will present you with a certificate that will enable you, and your party, for priority entrance at either Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Priority entrance, incidentally, is easily translated as Fastpass entrance, only without the time window.
These paintbrushes are not easy to come by as this little activity has move from undiscovered to a must-see on everyone’s itinerary. However, if you are on one of the first rafts over in the morning, or visit later in the day, after the paintbrushes have been returned to the island, you odds of finding one of the concealed brushes increase.Meanwhile, back in my bewildered state on the playground, I couldn’t understand how this child knew about this great little secret of the Magic Kingdom. Finally I cut my way through the fog of my consciousness and realized he had just found something that had excited him, and we went off to discover what we could use the brush for today. But, in my Disney drowning and addled brain this child thought that we were indeed going to have some fantastic adventure in Frontierland. Truth be told, if I had my way, I’d take all of them with me on an exciting journey there, and I suppose that is part of what I do every day. I enable their adventures, and they keep me young, exceedingly young, marvelously young, young by hundreds of years, younger than I will ever be again.