You Are The Person In The Donald Duck Costume At Disney World. Can You Find One True Friend?

You’ve just arrived to Disney World for another day as Donald Duck.

Every morning you report to work in your Donald Duck uniform, ready to bring Disney to life for guests. Since Walt Disney created the park in 1950 to destroy the swamp of an alligator he thought might be Jewish, people from all over the world have come to see their favorite Disney World sights: beloved characters, Cinderella’s Castle, and unhinged adults getting engaged.

But even though you work at the Happiest Place on Earth, there’s something missing in your life.

A friend. A true friend.

You used to be friends with a trash can that kind of looked like it had a nose, but then it ditched you for a trash can that kind of looked like it had eyes.

Being Donald Duck is lonely. It’s hard to connect with people when you’re trapped in a dark, stale costume with a 90-pound feathered ass attachment. And you’re practically forbidden from communicating with anyone in a genuine sense, because you have to follow the Behavior Code for Valued Members of the Disney World Family:

1) If you’re wearing a mask, no taking off your mask.

2) No talking to visitors. Especially no telling kids that they live in a Toy Story universe where every time they fall asleep, giant alien children are using them as action figures.

3) No withholding autographs from any visitors, even the teenagers who are desperately asking for the autographs of every single character because they learned that their long-lost birth father works as a Disney World actor and the only other thing they have is his signature on their birth certificate. This scenario unfolds roughly five to six times per day at the park.

4) No vomiting.

You want someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, someone who will have your back through thick and thin. But the code makes that hard. And to make matters worse, you’re stationed at one of the park’s most remote outposts: Pinnochio’s Old West Starvation Camp and Mini Golf, where guests can watch their favorite Disney characters fight over a tin cup of molasses. The only people who make it all the way out to your desolate slice of the park are history professors, church groups that are looking for a kid who’s been missing for 36 hours but don’t want to make a big deal out of it, and pioneers. You hate your part of Disney World.

You’re not supposed to leave your Old West Starvation Camp and Mini Golf area. It’s your job to bring the American frontier to life for visitors, so your boss insists that you spend your time riding a Conestoga wagon, feeding Native American relics to a horse, or building a railroad until you die. It’s significantly hampered your ability to make a new friend.

Your boss is irritable and demanding. Every day, you ask him if you can broaden your horizons and visit another area of the park. Every day, he says no. But last night, you watched the scene in Lilo & Stitch where best friends Lilo and Stitch grab coffee and catch up, and your desire for one true friend at Disney World is greater than ever.

This is Disney World’s Pinocchio. He is your boss. He has worked at the park for 40 years and was promoted to your supervisor for digging up Walt Disney’s body and dressing it in traditional Nepalese garb for the “It’s A Small World” ride.

“No. Go waddle around in front of that family outside and pretend that you just ran over an outlaw with your wagon.”

“No, I have way too many friends as it is, like gnats on a hog’s corpse. Now go waddle around in front of that family outside and pretend that you just ran over an outlaw with your wagon.”

You did not make one true friend. In fact, you made enemies of an entire Portuguese family, who immediately called the police when they assumed that you were confessing to a real murder you had committed with a wagon, and now you’ve been banned from the park for life.

“This turtleneck is wonderful already.”


“Go get me a brown one so that people think my neck is a branch.”

“That’s depressing. Leave.”

Now that you’ve finally convinced Pinocchio to let you leave this lonely outpost, you have free rein to explore the world around you for one true friend. Someone who cares about you. Someone who will make sacrifices for you. Someone who will defend you from the actual ducks that attack you because you’re their version of a Yeti.

Where do you want to look for your friend?

The Magic Kingdom. The crown jewel of the Disney empire. Home to Cinderella’s Castle, angry fathers, and so many white people. It’s the most popular theme park in the world and the Most Magical Place on Earth. If you can find a true friend anywhere, surely it’s here.

The Magic Kingdom. Here it is. The only place in the world where creativity becomes reality, heroes become way sweatier than you thought they’d be, and every nationality becomes a caricature. A Christian American wet dream come to life in a swamp. Your one true friend must be waiting here somewhere.

The Magic Kingdom. Every child’s dream and every pedophile’s dream a little more. A sunny, sweaty petri dish teeming with capitalism, sunscreen, and, just maybe, that one true friend that you’re looking for.

As you wrap your head around the splendor of the Magic Kingdom, you see a potential friend. She’s standing in a grassy area reserved for people who shelled out for a FastPass but who want somewhere nice to sit and marvel at the people who wait in line.

She looks toward you. She seems excited to be in a place where she can see a fake mouse and a real elephant on the same day, so maybe she’d be happy to make a new friend to enjoy them both with.

In a perfect world, you would strike up a conversation with this potential friend, but Disney laws prohibit the actors from talking to guests.

You never find out if she wants you to take a picture, because someone else just waltzed up and stole the attention of your potential new friend.

You never find out if she wants you to assassinate a nemesis for her, because someone else just waltzed up and stole the attention of your potential new friend.


Uh-oh. It seems like you have competition for your friend.

She didn’t even notice you coming closer. She’s too busy flooding Buzz Lightyear with questions and hugs.

“Buzz Lightyear, be my best friend in the whole world! Come everywhere with me! Come to my birthday party and to the store and to my piano teacher’s divorce proceedings!”

She still hasn’t addressed you at all.

“Buzz Lightyear, let’s do everything together! Let’s spill stuff and lie to substitute teachers and share every experience for years until one of us becomes embarrassed by the other in high school and slowly pulls away with no explanation!”

She hasn’t said anything to you.

“Buzz Lightyear, I would kill this duck if you asked me to!”

By taking off your mask, you broke the strict rules of your employment. As a result, you landed in Disney World’s makeshift version of jail, the Central Florida Correctional Institution.

You lunge at Buzz, but he’s much quicker than you because his costume doesn’t have an ass made of lead, and he skillfully turns the attack from you into a caring, supportive hug from him.

“Buzz Lightyear! You met anger with love! Come skiing with my family!”

This kid is even more won over by Buzz Lightyear now. Your chance is over.

Where do you want to go to get as far away as possible from that noble, charming spaceman and avoid any future comparison between the two of you?

Space Mountain is a Disney fan favorite, known for showing its visitors the wonders of the cosmos and the fact that a bunch of small lightbulbs in a dark room really looks a lot like space.

There’s an incredibly long line to get into the ride. But everyone in it is just looking down at their phones, cut off from the world around them, using a popular new app where users confide their deepest secrets in cartoon ducks dressed as sailors. No one wants to talk to you.

“Welcome. Are you interested in embarking on the challenging journey that is Space Mountain? Are you ready to test your character on this boundless adventure of planets and galaxies and some Star Wars shit that they recently shoehorned in? Are you prepared to see what old men in the 1970s thought would impress people forever?”

“I’m not a guest. You can talk to me out loud.”

“I’m Cristian, and my organization runs Space Mountain. Should you make it through the biggest drop on this ride without throwing up, you’ve passed the crucial test, and you’ll be inducted as a member.”

“We’re the Latin Kings. We seek to embody the kind of sacrifice, courage, and teamwork that once opened the door to the greatest frontier of all: outer space. We took over the sponsorship of Space Mountain after FedEx dropped out and we moved our headquarters here. We’ve been running it smoothly and acquiring members at a steady rate since 2004.

“This ride determines whether or not you’ll join our lifelong brotherhood. If you do, we‘ll have your back, and you’ll have ours. Our blood will be your blood, and your blood will be our blood. And you’ll have to wipe down the seats of the cars once a month, but we all take turns.”

“That’s okay. You’ll never have the kind of bond that we have with each other if you don’t get on the ride, but maybe you can buy a stuffed animal at a CVS and pretend that it would die for you.”

Where do you want to go?

“Great. Get in one of the cars and put on the seat belt, and I’ll start the ride.”

You are immediately murdered by Cristian. Motor safety is the biggest priority of the Latin Kings after educating people about space.

As your rocket leaves the start of the ride, you pass some Christmas lights wrapped around a disco ball, which is Space Mountain’s version of a supernova, and then you pass Bob Iger giving a trifold presentation on his favorite constellation.

Next, you start to climb the hill. An animatronic astronaut floats by and tells you that space food is so good that he plans on roving from museum gift shop to museum gift shop and stealing it from spoiled children.

You climb and you climb.

You get to the top of the hill.

The rocket plunges down into Space Mountain’s biggest drop.

You failed to pass the test that would earn you brotherhood. You were killed by the Latin Kings for vomiting on Space Mountain. You did not make a friend.

You passed the initiation test for the Latin Kings and joined a lifelong brotherhood that will give you support and companionship. You’ll spend the rest of your days respecting space travel, making sure that Space Mountain is operating properly, and slaughtering anyone who throws up on the ride.

You made true friends!

The sewer is only open to visitors between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., so going there during working hours won’t help you find any new friends.

You can tell you’ve arrived when you pass through a welcome archway made of fireworks and antelope bones. Where do you want to go first?

Dinosaur World is one of Disney’s most beloved roller-coasters. It teaches visitors about different kinds of prehistoric animals by taking them on a magical ride through the bowels of a giant whale that’s eaten every kind of dinosaur.

The only open roller-coaster car is the one with this boy in it.

He looks at you and says “It’s Gronald Goose!”

Just as you’re sitting down, you hear an announcement that the ride will be delayed for a few minutes while Disney engineers clear off a Super Bowl MVP who fell onto the tracks.

It looks like you’d better pass the time and try to communicate with your seat mate.

“No, it’s not my first time at Disney’s Dinosaur World. I’ve been here 12 other times, one to celebrate each time I got an expander.”

Okay, it seems like he didn’t quite understand what was going on with your gestures, but he’s talking to you.

You hear an announcement come on that says the MVP is still on the tracks but that they’re just going to go for it anyway. The roller-coaster starts to move.

“Yeah, I’ve been to Harry Potter World, but only 11 times, one to celebrate each time I wrapped my expander in a napkin and threw it away at a Wendy’s.”

He’s still not totally understanding what you’re saying, but at least you’re trying.

You hear an announcement that says the ride is too heavy to make it past the MVP and that it’s about to derail completely unless one person jumps off immediately.

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