The gang steps off the ride, wondering where to go next. Hiro checks the screen on his way out, displaying their picture right at the pinnacle of the drop.
Fred taking charge, trying his best to make a cool and unamused pose but ends up looking silly anyway. Wasabi hugging Baymax, Honey's hair whipping behind her and in Gogo's face while Gogo herself has an arm bent over the side of the log. Hiro clinging onto both the side and the bar like he's about to lose his hat (even though he wasn't wearing one) and a screencap right before a typhoon hits Cass, water captured in mid-air.
It's all a worthy memory. They all take the same picture with their phones. "You know just one of us could've done it then sent it."
"Or we could've paid for it and had physical ones." Wasabi shrugs.
"Not all of us have Fred's budget." Gogo claims. But Fred was one of the first ones to pull out his phone. Hiro is a computer genius after all, he could just do some editing to make the quality a bit nicer.
"Let's go! Let's go! Let's go!" Honey cheers as she rushes away.
They head South until they reach a tee, all of it starting to make sense even without a map. The middle of the park again, the Walt statue at the center of everything, it doesn't really sink into Hiro's brain until he sees it that once he turns his back, it'll be over, he won't have the pleasure of passing the statue again. He's dragged down Main Street, his feet moving but his mind focused on other things, looking at all the shops and restaurants and people. He's heading against the current, people just coming in after buying their Mickey and Minnie hats. It's all so sudden.
He thinks what he'd be doing at home, probably modelling on his computer or drawing a concept for some weird new invention or coding a program for said invention. Aunt Cass would be closing up the shop, Hiro would help put the donuts away.
Hiro snaps out of it, reaching the entrance. California Adventure. He almost forgot.
They take it all in, running down Buena Vista Street. A lake on the right and on the other side-
A Ferris wheel? The pods aren't big enough for six people, let alone seven. The ideal version would be *gulp* two per pod. The question is, who does Hiro take? Who does he feel that way about? He could take someone neutral but it would be a missed opportunity for sure.
"We have time for one more."
"Ok, but we need to make it quick." Honey spurts. It almost annoys Hiro, what's the big idea? He guesses she's never been kicked out of a place before, besides, they don't close until late.
They follow the path to Pixar Pier, a sign with Luxo Jr. on top and a Pixar ball hanging below. Hiro stands under the entrance, waiting to see if they programmed the lamp to jump, lighting on and off and moving around.
"Come on!" Wasabi urges. Hiro keeps looking back, watching, eventually giving up to meet with the gang.
There's a huge roller coaster blocking the sky, encircling a logo that reads 'Pixar Pier' again and in front of it, Toy Story Mania. Lightbulbs dazzle the night creating a perimeter around the buildings. It matches the aesthetic of Toy Story 4 and its amusement park setting. Blue trim, grey roofs, red outlining and white walls that color tan in the sodium light. Inside the Pixar logo is a smaller roller-coaster that loops around. Hiro has to look twice to even see if it's real. It almost looks like a projection ahead of the yellow background.
White decals line the windows with engravings of the characters. Before entering the line, he sees a couple wearing face masks. They're holding hands. Just two people. Something about the idea just seems like such an escape. It's easy to get lost in this mess of a crowd and to have the constant hum in the air within a group but for a moment, he could see what this couple was seeing. They didn't hear the noise, like they're in their own little bubble, only listening for each other. Having their hands intertwined keeps them from separating so that there isn't a crowd to worry about, just the one at your side.
He'd never been on his own vacation, alone, or even with Aunt Cass. The only person he's been alone with was-
A kid runs past the couple, nearly bumping into them but they're aware, lifting their arms to create a gate, never letting go.
As they enter the queue, Hiro recognizes the theme to Woody's Roundup, seeing the posters from the movie. 'I want you to join Space Rangers' and 'ABC Round-Up' being most recognizable. A carnie dressed Potato Head stands at the head.
'He talks and sings. Mr. Potato Head. Boardwalk Barker.' If that were ever a job title to have.
He sings a little tune along with it. "Midway Maniaaaaaa!"
'Folks, I'll give you a hint. This is the part where you clap.'
Hiro just smirks and shakes his head.
"It was nice to meet you!" Fred says at the front of the line, waving back at Potato Head.
'Travel from game to game. No two are ever the same.'
What could that mean? Hiro thinks to himself. Did it intend more than the arcade shooter experience? It just works to hype his nerves up. Anything that's more than he bargained for is a thing worth being excited about.
"Will this line ever end?" Honey asks. This is the most impatient Hiro's seen her.
They appear from beyond a stage curtain, or at least, a hard cutout of one. This room switches it up to 'You've Got a Friend in Me' but the instrumental version. They reach the end of the line, gaining the affinity of distorted yellow 3D glasses.
The glasses fall right off Baymax's face. "His eyes will adjust." Hiro sheepishly assures them.
Four per car. "Aww, we can't all play together." Honey squeaks.
On the side of the car is Hamm. Cass takes the blue, Wasabi takes the green and next to him is yellow which means Gogo will-
"Come on, you're riding with me." Gogo takes a seat on the next car as Hiro stands over her for a second, taken aback by her offer. He finally sits down, self-conscious about what's transpired. Is he sitting too close?
Fred ends up taking the open yellow one. "Pew, pew pew." Fred creates his own sound effects.
"The game didn't even start yet." Wasabi says, unamused.
Baymax adopts the space behind Hiro and Gogo.
The ride spins around, getting geared up, bringing attention to everyone's hair whishing around.
"Those glasses look good on you." Hiro comments. Yellow is her color after all, whether she got the gun of the same color or not, she still found a way. She ends up handling the blue blaster, leaving Hiro to rock the red.
A stack of cards with blocks that spell 'FUN' in a blue painted room. The light accents similar to a black light but with a blue tint. The music is the same tune but played differently like it's a steam pipe organ.
'Hey, Partner! Welcome to the practice game.' Woody speaks.
Everyone picks up very quickly, immediately firing their weapons like they've been waiting to do since they entered. The targets light up all colors of red, green, yellow and blue. You can at least tell who's who. The ammo comes up as pies, being activated through a pulling lever at the back of the cannon.
"So, we can play together." Wasabi declares, looking over at Gogo and Hiro's cart.
"Wee-ha! Keep 'em comin!" Jessie squeals.
Hiro tests the grounds, seeing if it's like Splatoon and his points only count towards covered area and not targets but no points are awarded as it's still the practice round so he just continues shooting aimlessly.
The imaginary curtains fall.
"Now get ready to score some points." Jessie marks as the wagons move again to the next arena. Passing a box of crayons, they head into a farm, rolling hills of hay. The side bar reads 'Hamm and Eggs' labelled with Buttercup.
Where Wasabi and Fred gain the lead, easily identifiable by the sheer amount of chaos on their screen.
"Knock down the animals." A voice instructs, assumingly Buttercup's. Just like the gallery in Frontierland. Paper animals pop out of the hills, each assigned point values ranging from one to five hundred, the closer, the lower the score. This time, the ammo is presented through eggs.
At the bottom are moving ducks, Gogo aims for those, fixing her position so that the ducks come to her rather than the other way around. Hiro focuses on the horse in the barn along with the goat above it, each given the highest points. His attempts are wasting his time though.
"Hurry! You're running out of time!" Buttercup informs.
The ducks start mixing in mallards with 500 points attached to them. 'Did she know?' Hiro asks himself. The countdown begins, forcing Hiro to give up on his prize and attempt to just get some petty points before the round is over. This makes Gogo shift, finishing off her row of ducks and lasering in on the barn animals that Hiro was aiming for. She nails each of them with ease.
"Time's up!" Hamm signals the animals falling down. They slide and spin into another room.
"Think of it as a grid." Gogo tries to tell Hiro over the noise.
"Dino darts!" Rex yells, being knocked over amusingly. The environment is filled with a volcano, the layers of bubbling lava blowing up balloons around it. Dinosaurs walk past the top, carrying the heavier weighing points.
From raptor, to stegosaurus, Gogo dominates the board. Nothing can stop her at this rate.
Hiro aims his gyro right down the middle, using the mouth of the volcano as a reference and working his way down. He zig-zags over to the trees whose leaves net 200 points each. The total isn't displayed yet though, it's a mystery until the end of the game but Hiro would prefer it that way rather than get nervous during the game.
The countdown starts again, two derp faced dinos taking the foreground. A quick 500 for each, a nice split in the prize. Tiny balloons pop out of each with even more points.
"If I used all my energy for that round, so be it." Fred sighs. He has to represent his reptilian nature.
Hiro grips the pulley differently, putting his top two fingers over it and bottom two under it, then balling up his fist. All he has to do is let his arm do the motions, like a punch through the wind.
Giant pencils, highlighters and markers line the way across a wall of puzzle pieces. They spin ad then keep spinning. This makes up for Hiro's loss at the Mad Tea Party. Into a new zone with blocks spelling 'Fun House'. Inside, a storybook map that says 'Slinky's Corny Dogs'.
Green army men fly over the screen in their helicopter. "I am not your mother — break those plates!"
The darts are replaced with bouncy balls flying over a mountainous region. Golden plates appear on the sides. Hiro targets it on Gogo's side but she catches it first. Little army vehicles carry the plates on and off the screen.
"Aha!" Hiro hears from beside him. In the next car, Cass and Honey bump each other, trying to throw the other off.
"Running out of time." Sarge briefs. This round went by much faster than any of the others but it also seems a lot more populated.
"Mission accomplished. Move on out!"
The direction is taken back so they get a view of all that came before it.
"Throw the rings to infinity and beyond!" Buzz introduces. It's a space theme now, a rocket holding the middle with the aliens housing it. This one is a bit tougher, not only having to hit the alien but to get the ring over top it. A successful run would see the aliens dropped, lighting up the hole behind them to be replaced.
Gogo actually has a hard time with it, shooting them out faster than she can aim. She once helped him, so maybe he can help her since the style of game has changed. A normal game of ring toss would see strategy in how you throw it whether it be in the wrist or how hard you throw it. Since this one is virtual though-
"You're TOO SHORT OR TOO FAR" She takes his advice, alleviating her shot to hit ratio. They're given higher hit points so you can lock on to where you want, a far cry difference from the previous round.
"Thanks, now I can crush you a bit easier." Gogo jokes, punching Hiro in the arm.
"You won't recover this late in the game."
They pass a dart board. 'Woody's Rootin' Shootin' Gallery'
Plunger arrows. Air puffs back into Hiro's face, the more he pulls back, the more resistance he gets.
"Bullseye!" Jessie yodels.
This time the vehicle starts sliding early, moving over to the next screen like a panorama.
"Send 'em down the mine car." Woody says, the scene changing to inside the mine with rail tracks and tiny animals approaching through them and towards the players.
Two targets appear with lights around them taking up two halves of the screen.
"What'd you do?" Hiro asks.
"I was hitting the animals too."
"You can't do that!" Honey leans over.
Gogo lets loose, shooting as fast as she can because the target never goes away. Hiro sees her whole body moving but there's no breath, she holds it. A barrel of TNT in the middle acts as their timer. Hiro keeps up the pace.
But Gogo's target raises higher and higher. 500. 1000. 2000. Every time she hits that platform, she's banking those points, while Hiro loses confidence, his target still stuck at 1000.
"See you all at the prize pool!" Stinky Pete appears before his own cart sends him backwards like slipping on a banana peel.
"Way to play everyone." Woody says one final time. The characters pull down a drawstring to reveal the scores. Each car is given an overall score between the two players. Bo Peep even makes an appearance.
Wasabi: 40,000 (Bird prize)
Fred: 65,000 (Rabbit prize)
Honey: 180,000 (Cat prize)
Cass: 110,000 (Beaver prize)
Hiro: 275,000 (Deer prize)
Gogo: 300,000 (Bear prize)
Baymax: 25,000 (Gopher prize)
Then they reach another, smaller screen ported on a Game-Boy.
Best this Hour: 300,000
Best Today: 397,000
Best in Month: 400,000
"Four Hundred? How do you get four hundred?!" Honey exclaims with shame. How many animals must suffer? Though to her, numbers don't matter as much as what cute animal she was rewarded.
They walk out onto a giant balcony, reminiscent of a white mansion. Furniture like lamps, desks, chairs occupy the space, making it feel lived in, a cardboard toy stage taking up the floor like Andy just got done playing. In the middle of the two wings is a bin to drop the glasses in. They sneak through the right and down the stairs, passing by the gift shop.
Outside, a barrel of monkeys bridges over to a box of Legos. The flight of stairs makes Hiro feel small once again. Beside an array of K'Nex is Woody's Lunch Box, headed by a thermos that he could've sworn he saw with the Woody's Roundup merch in Toy Story 2.
"Uh, guys, wait-"
Beside the menu are giant animal crackers, the tables and chairs are slices of cheese. Even the garbage cans are dressed up like their own version of Happy-Meals. 'Trixie's Treats' and 'Lotso's Beary Bites'
"S'mores French Toast?" Cass says. Cass once again has something to compare to her own pastries and use as inspiration.
"Lunch Box Tarts." Hiro points out.
"That's a great idea!" Cass says.
"What flavors do you have?"
"Uh, well we usually keep some special for special occasions..." She spots Hiro's badge. "But it looks like it is."
"No, wait, wait, no. Give us all a different flavor. A mystery. I want to see if we can guess it." Here she goes again with her games.
"Alright." The cast member surprisingly goes along with it.
Hiro is handed his with red icing. "Pop-Tarts?"
Fred is handed his with blue icing and a Pixar ball. "Toaster Strudels?"
They both take a bite then look at each other.
"It's blueberry." Fred reveals.
"And lemon." The cast member adds.
"Apple." Hiro says.
"And cinnamon." The cast member corrects.
"Me next. Me next." Honey asks. She's handed one with pink icing. "Raspberry."
Down the line is Wasabi, given one with green icing and candy corn. "Aww, I hate candy corn." He picks them off before proceeding to take a bite. "But I do like pumpkin."
Gogo is next with her yellow icing. She licks the icing beforehand. "Banana. Tastes like a smoothie." She takes a nibble. "Peanut Butter?!" She sounds, the last thing she was expecting.
White icing with brown sprinkles. Cass doesn't even need to taste it to know- "It's chocolate hazelnut." She continues, proving her point.
"You all did well." The cast member congratulates.
"Not filled as much as I'd hoped." Hiro reviews with his mouth full. It has a strip of icing in the middle, taking about a third of the dessert.
"How much time?" Cass asks again. Everyone pulls out their phone in response, except for Hiro. Baymax displays a digital clock on his belly.
"It is eight-thirty." Baymax looks down.
Gogo takes a deep breath. "We're going to run."
"Can we do that?" Wasabi asks.
"I didn't ask for rules." Gogo retaliates, rushing off. Everyone follows her lead.
"Do we know where we're going?" Cass worries. Gogo ignores her, certain she's just hearing Wasabi again.
They circle the bridge around the body of water, fountains shooting up. They reach the true pier where the boats dock, taking the forked path that leads right.
"You think they catch actual fish here? It looks like where they filmed Kentucky Kaiju." Fred observes. A nice place for a night punk setting like the vibes of Good Luck Alley but with actual friendly people minding their business. The night life is an understanded campground, one that Hiro has dabbled in himself.
While restaurants inhabit this place, it's not as distinguishable from any other place. It's like a level in a video game, if you explore the same environment for too long, it gets boring, a theme park is the same way, hence why Epcot is the way it is in Disney World and why Disneyland mostly recreates that purpose.
Not everything has a clear view as to routes they can take.
"Ahgh!" Gogo exerts, frustrated. She lifts her legs over the railing.
"We're going to get kicked out." Wasabi warns.
"This part's dry, we just need to get to right there, that's it." She never needed a map, she makes her own boundaries. People stare at them from the decks above. Wasabi runs neck and neck with Gogo, more motivated not getting caught than anything.
They end up on the other side of the wharf, just outside Cars Land. This is the most open spot of the park, yet it's packed with people. "Great." Gogo remarks sarcastically.
Hiro pulls the remote for Sky-Max out of his bag.
"No, I told myself we wouldn't use suits today, It's our day off." Gogo yells back. She's looks at Baymax, curious how he managed to keep up. She quickly runs behind him, everyone following and forming a line. They're using him as a shield, pushing each other to gain momentum, allowing the people in the way to just bounce right off.
"Hey!" A man says angrily, looking up from his phone.
"Watch it!" A woman pulls her kid's hand closer.
"Why don't you be more careful?!" An older gentleman swerves out of the way on his handicapped scooter.
Baymax slowly ceases while Gogo continues pushing endlessly.
"That mountain's shaped like a bear." Cass identifies, looking to the South East. Everyone gawks at it.
They finally reach a familiar circle ahead of Buena Vista Street. Elias and Company, a flag and a fountain. All the little landmarks fleet by as they continue forth.
"Hot Dog!" Fred says, breathless. "Pushing...is a little bit...tougher...than running."
"No way!" A red trolley appears from behind. The sunglassed crowd moves without question or suggestion, a natural flow of order. All seven climb aboard.
"Just like home." Wasabi adjusts his hair, getting frizzy from the humidity.
"Does this thing go any faster?" Gogo complains, hanging off the side rail.
"It's for sight-seeing." Hiro's logic corrects her.
They reach a curve heading North but the mob only grows, something must be popular on this side of the park.
"A bit late but I said I'd get us there." Gogo hops off, expecting the others to do the same.
Hiro looks around, confused. Fairfax Market, Schnoozies, Turtle Talk with Crush-
"Frozen Live..." Hiro admits unenthusiastically. Frozen was a worldwide phenomenon, it'd make sense to be a blockbuster...in 2013. And a show would have to start at a certain time explaining all the rush. 'It's alright,' he assures himself, 'Just because the ending would be subpar doesn't mean the day would be.'
"That's good...but there aren't any shows playing right now." Cass awkwardly smiles for once giving Hiro a wave of relief.
Everyone takes a seat, right along the sidewalk. A rest then, it only seems fair after all the running they did to get here. Hiro lets his knees buckle to the ground, seeing everyone else seemingly waiting for something. He looks up, the sky darkening by the minute, their trek such a strong dampener of their time that he didn't even notice despite Baymax's time analysis.
Suddenly, around the corner comes a light, something large enough to cast a beam that everyone stands up for.
"What is-" Hiro starts.
"Shhhh-" Honey shushes him.
Cast members run from the same general direction, roping off the sidewalks, carrying light bars. A voice comes on the loud speakers that usually play music.
"Attention boys and girls, Disney proudly presents-" A girl's heavily autotuned voice says "-our spectacular nighttime pageant of magic and imagination. Dazzling-lights!"
The streetlights as well as the buildings dim and flicker randomly.
Tinkerbell appears from around the corner, sitting on a drumset. On the side in big neon glowing letters-
'Paint The Night.'
Tink points to her right, a streetlight reaching its full brightness. Then to her left, a candle in a nearby window does the same thing. She playfully kicks her feet on the drum, the speakers synching her sound.
'Boom.' 'Boom.' 'Boom.'
Fairies follow her float, swinging light ropes and wearing glittered wings. They perform a dance number like a squad of cheerleaders, zigging and zagging past each other in delicate movements. But the crowd grows too big for Hiro to see properly, sending him into a frenzy, bouncing on his tip toes for a better view.
A shadow is cast over Hiro, making him turn. It's Baymax. He lifts him into the air. "Bay- What are you doing!" Hiro squeals, flustered. He lifts him higher like he's a baby Simba on Pride Rock then places him over his shoulders. The seat is nice and cushioned.
Normally being on someone's shoulders would give him an inferiority complex, being shorter than the rest of the group and needing a robot-shaped stool to see but something about it is scarily comforting, like being on his brother's shoulders.
"You need to give Baymax some hair, then you could play Ratatouille." Fred interjects.
"Friend Like Me" introduces a giant Genie moving in the style of a Chinese dragon. People separately controlling the arms, head and legs like a marionette. The darkness hides the people well while the lights draw attention to the figure above them.
They space a gap in between the next shows, Sulley moving down the road in an explosion of doors. The base of the float itself is lit up like an EDM machine, bars frantically hopping up and down, arrows following a DDR routine. The doors become screens, projecting different monsters inside of them at the sound of a creak. Twisting and turning, Boo appears as they line up as well as different scenes from the movies. In the back is a pile of scream canisters, Mike holding the power cord.
The music transitions into a remix of 'Life is Highway' and Mack from Cars appears, bulbs outlining his carriage as the side itself is a visual display of bubbling colors in the shape of speakers, passing cars, fireworks and finally a lightning bolt. The lights flicker once again to a thunder. The back gate is dropped. It's Lightning hanging out of the rear.
Dancers walk ahead of the next stage.
Spinning jellyfish. Ornamented versions of Marlin and Nemo. They swim close to the crowd of either side, flapping their fins and blinking their eyes bashfully. The excitement rises in Hiro, Fred embellishing a cheer for him. A shark dorsel waves behind them, recovering the rest of the lights like it's emerging out of water. Bruce stands, jaws full and teeth bared.
The music becomes light and bouncy like xylophones and pianos. Dishes swivel around, a giant mirror and a rose. In front of it is Belle, almost like an entirely new person, a new illuminated yellow dress that you could never miss and a poignant hairdo. She sees Hiro, waving happily. Hiro smiles, waving back. The mirror displays a silhouette of the Beast transforming back into a human. Behind the mirror is Prince Adam himself, dressed in blue.
She found him.
But that's not all, attached are various wagons with the other princesses. Hiro gawks, it's like Belle's leading them. Cinderella surrounded by blue candles and a glass slipper on display; Rapunzel with her orange lanterns; Aurora with green candles; Snow White with red candles, cherishing an apple; Ariel with pink candles and a fork in her hand; Jasmine with a lamp, purple candles and steam.
Next, the big finale.
Mickey in his sorcerer getup rises on a crane, using his hand to move himself like the waves in the water. Behind him is an optical illusion simulating the very waves, a trick of lights and mirrors. Lines of Christmas lights shower below Mickey, creating mini fireworks. Sound effects follow his movements, making it seem like real magic, sparkles flying all around.
That's when he crouches down, as low as he can go on the platform.
"Here it is! It's time!" Honey says, prancing her feet and biting her lip in anticipation. All she's been waiting for all this time was the parade?
POOF! Mickey stands up, fireworks popping into the air behind him. Honey frames one into her phone, about to take a picture of it in full bloom when the fires change direction. The sparks shift towards the parade. They keep blasting, rocketing overhead, a small gust of wind sent downward.
"Woah!" Can be heard over the audience like a gasp of breath.
Hiro looks Honey's way, her eyes still glittering from the works above but there's no sense of awe in her face, no smile, the excitement is gone. All that she shows is panic.
The fireworks spread out in bursts, each heading different directions and the more they divert, the more are produced. Some form too much, others too little.
Kew! The sound of sparks can be heard misfiring like a shorted generator. Hiro jumps off of Baymax.
Honey slides under the rope lining the sidewalk. A cast member with a light stick stands in her way. "For safety reasons, I need you to step back!"
"No! You don't understand, this is my fault. I can fix it." She begs desperately. Her body shakes with uncertainty, clearly she doesn't know what to say and whatever she had planned, backfired.
A large balloon craft is hit by one of the fireworks, sending it crashing downwards.
"Where, Honey?" Hiro isn't so much concerned with the 'why' right now as to how to stop it before anyone gets hurt.
"I didn't account for when they kept shorting the electricity." She's in a state of disarray, she's not her hero counterpart or 'Tall Girl' as Karmi would put it- she's just Honey right now. Human. Vulnerable. Scared.
"It's done now." Gogo creeps up behind.
"What?" Now Hiro's the one in disbelief.
"I fixed it. See?" She puts her hands behind her head then looks up at the stars. Clear. No sign of wild fireworks, just smoke.
"I'm sorry Hiro. I, maybe, tried to make you a gift as the grand finale of the show." She nervously points her fingers at each other. "It was going to be fireworks. It was going to be grand. And then I was going to say something like 'Now we can write our names among the stars.' or something like that."
"Uhh..." Hiro is at a loss for words. A crisis just started, was averted, it was a birthday gift and now he's suspended somewhere in between relief and confusion.
"You really oughta planned it better if you did all that. You're a scientist!"
"I know, I know."
"What would you have done?" Gogo pushes.
Instead of answering, Honey redirects with a suggestion. "Instead of ending it like that, why don't we hit one more ride?"
"And that would be?" Gogo asks, annoyed. Honey extends her arm in return. Back to the Ferris wheel.
"Gah! All the way back there?" Wasabi complains.
"My feet!" Fred exaggeratingly grabs his foot.
"You want a stroller, crybaby?" Gogo challenges.
"Isn't there something a bit closer?" Cass pinches her fingers together.
"No, I think it's a good idea." Hiro uses his birthday power to override. That was the thought in his head before this all arose, he just has to overwrite that thought.
Gogo is clearly annoyed with something but she refuses to bring it up. There's a lot of walking before it gets to that point too, Hiro could feel the tension the whole way.
Pixar Pal-A-Round Swinging Gondolas otherwise known as Mickey's Fun Wheel.
Umbrellas with Pixar ball patterns on top of them. Rather than go through the line, which is increasing behind them but bare in the front, Fred jumps the red painted fence. But finally, it's enough, someone had to poke the bear.
"What's wrong, Gogo?" Honey asks, innocently.
"Wrong? You ruined my gift to Hiro."
"My gift! Hiro's gift!"
Honey's not the type to retaliate, especially with a friend. She just doesn't get mad enough then ends up blaming herself. While the whole situation could've spiraled out of control, it ended up being contained so Hiro doesn't hold a grudge, he just feels bad for her. Somewhere he feels pity but he doesn't feel the place to show it.
"I'm sorry!" Honey exclaims. "I'm sorry." She says more calmly. "I might not be able to pay you back now, but I will." She turns her attention to Hiro. "And Hiro, I'm sorry, I know now is your birthday, not tomorrow, not- whatever but I can-"
"No, Honey, just quit. Everyone's alright." He assures, feeling a sort of obligation.
"Well, I reject your apology." Gogo adds with disdain.
"Come on, Hiro." Honey says.
"Why would he want to ride with you, especially after what you did?"
They both aggressively look at Hiro. "Who do you want to go with?"
He looks at Honey then at Gogo then back at Honey. A wave crushes over Hiro's chest. A sense to run away.
The cart plays carnival music as the doors shut. Hiro grips the seat below him, his viewpoint ascending. All that's outside is lit, a spinning circle of bulbs around the back of Mickey's face but inside is all darkness, had there been someone there with him, he wouldn't be able to see them. The wheel stops, sending the gondola swinging like a gyro wheel, flipping between the two metal rods. Hiro's lips part, opening the gates for everything to break loose at once. His teeth lose grip as well, allowing for words he thought he swallowed to leak out.
"All this- without you."
He sobs, the veins in his eyes burning to hold on. He breathes heavy, a mysterious determination to get the next truth out.
"Why am I so ungrateful?"
His stomach curls, holding in the lost air.
"You were all I ever needed and now I have your friends. You should be here, not me."
"I know it's coming; I'll go home and you won't be there but I'll have to act like nothing's different. How can I celebrate that?" He pulls his voice back together. "I don't have the courage for it." He says reluctantly.
Some hero he is.
He sounds pitiful with his voice cracking whines, lucky that no one can hear. They already did two of the cakes today, just leaving a third. The most painful one. It was never about leaving this place, it was about leaving the distraction and facing reality.
Hiro finally parts his fingers to open his eyes. A red light glows in and out of his cage, illuminating his face. He can feel his tears drying up, stiffening his cheekbones. He rubs them with a balled fist to finish the job. Back to reality. He looks out of the window for the first time this ride.
Spinning attractions. Tall buildings and vibrant colors over the horizon. Water below. Life.
Even if they saw him crying, they wouldn't get the wrong idea. They'd be there for him. So, why hide it? Is it the constant need for independence to fix his own problems? Or is it something else?
He feels that more than anything, he needed some time away. Nobody to tell him that it's going to be okay. Those are just words. No need to keep pretending.
The hydraulics swish as the cart descends but the lower it goes, the brighter it gets. He partway enjoys the last few swings, just to get it out of his system. Stepping his feet back on the ground again is unsettling though. He feels shorter, crouching, trying keep balance and make up for loss of gravity.
He was the first one on so naturally, he's the first one off but it isn't long until his party members join him. They all hop off, pumping fists and enjoying the fact that it's the last ride. Celebrating the life over the death. But the thing that catches his eye the most is that Gogo and Honey took the same cart.
"Sorry Hiro." "Sorry Hiro." Hiro waves his hand at them, it's in the past already. They made up.
The gang boards the bus, ready to go home. Music still haunts the road as they depart like they just left a never-ending party. Hiro looks out the window one final time, seeing the castle get smaller and smaller until he's left twiddling his thumbs.
"Favorite Disney movie. Go!" Gogo asks.
"Lilo and Stitch! There's aliens!" Fred is quick to answer first.
"Chicken Little." Honey corrects.
"Well yeah but-" Fred is cut off.
"Mars Meets Moms." Wasabi brings up.
"No-" Fred frantically relucts.
"Treasure Planet." Gogo suggests yet another example.
"I see your point, but Lilo was the first! I'd collect the experiments too, if they ever finished them." Fred mumbles. All the comic nerd but a newb when it comes to animation history.
"The Incredibles." Hiro takes the spotlight.
"Yeah, I could see that." "Makes sense." "I kind of agree."
"Mulan." Gogo answers. "I like the idea of proving people wrong."
"Fox & The Hound...or maybe Zootopia. Both have foxes!" Honey holds up her fox themed phone case. "Nick Wilde, cute animals, Shakira, yeah, Zootopia sounds right."
"But you look like Rapunzel!" Fred wrings his hands.
Honey blushes. "Aww."
"Umm." Cass contemplates. "Princess and the Frog. I love her restaurant, could never quite replicate her gumbo though."
"Come on, guys! No one said The Lion King?" Wasabi says. "We should at least be able to agree it's up there, right?"
A resounding 'Yeah' concludes the discussion.
"Top three, at least!" Fred adds.
Honey grabs Hiro's attention. The tension now broken.
"I did manage to get one picture but it's kind of blurry." Honey shows Hiro her phone, on it a purple firework.
"That's so cool, you even got it to change direction. Normally you'd need drones to do that kind of stuff."
"That-was-an accident?" She says awkwardly.
"Well, I was impressed." Hiro attempts to make her feel better.
"That was fun. The lightsabers from Star Tours even gave me a pretty nifty idea for my suit." Wasabi devises.
They arrive back at the Lucky Cat Café. The lights off almost brings a soothing aura to it, like a sense of familiarity turned new. Cass unlocks the door and turns on the lights, fans start their spiral in the power's wake. All day in the heat to come home to a cool breeze, Hiro can't help but close his eyes. The clatter of Cass tossing her keys on a spare table wakes Hiro out of it and draws his attention towards the counter.
Cass reappears from behind the paw-printed curtains with a cake. Red icing, something different than Hiro's had before but not unpleasant. He doesn't feel the need to fake it anymore, the façade is over, whatever he feels, he feels and he'll allow himself to do such.
"Baymax helped make it. Though, I had to teach him a thing or two about candles." Cass lays it out on one of the tables, everyone gathered around it. They all lift their eyes to Hiro, trusting that he knows what to do.
A wish for the rest of the year.
It's gotta be- yes.
Hiro blows out his candles, this time with meaning.
After the party, everyone goes home, letting Hiro retreat to the garage. He pushes back in his computer chair, letting it swivel as it pleases. He allows himself to decompress for a minute before grabbing a cord off his desk. He turns around to see Baymax.
"Hey, step on your charger for me, will you?"
Baymax follows suit, posture like an arrow. Hiro plugs one end of the cord into the charger base then the other end into his monitor. On the screen appears some diagnostic information before giving him a command board to get set up in. He taps the down arrow on his keyboard until he reaches the 'Archives' option.
An assortment of photos and videos process one by one, labelled with time stamps. He scrolls until he reaches the end of June 3rd's entries. The first video is of Hiro settling in on the bus, looking confused. He scrubs through until he reaches a dark patch. "Pirates." Hiro says. He watches himself lean out of the boat to watch the cannonballs, a warning appearing on Baymax's visor with a sign he took a picture of earlier about keeping all hands and legs inside the vessel. Hiro didn't even realize he was leaning so far, but somehow Baymax managed to ignore this authority, he never even brought it up.
"This must not be very fun for you."
"I will try to have fun."
Gogo getting squirted by Aladdin's camel. She smiled, making Hiro smile. The point of having Baymax record everything was in partial due to safety if anything were to ever go wrong but the other part was to catch things that Hiro couldn't, otherwise reactions that he may have missed. Now that he thinks about it, it's sort of Baymax's gift.
He spots the preview of after Splash Mountain when they saw their picture and continues from there. Hiro scans through the videos until he reaches the most recent chunk, the parade. Baymax caught a lot of good angles, allowing Hiro to zoom in at his convenience. He finally gets to the part where the fireworks start. Hiro sets the speed to half, inspecting Mickey's jump then slows it even further to tap through it frame by frame. He watches the fireworks blast out and create a small image in the sky, this time clearer than Honey's picture. A chibi Captain Cutie.
Hiro smiles, knowing that's the only one that was able to be made out. Hiro whips out his journal and writes down 'Flares'. The fireworks reminded him that they've never needed a flare in their suits before, but adding one would make them seem more like a rescue squad.
He then finds the video of the balloon crashing, unfortunately it's heading towards Baymax and the writing is on the side. It doesn't help that the sky was pretty dark by that time. A nice addition would be to give Baymax a 360 camera with night vision. If he really tried, he could stay up the night and recreate the space in a VR or even AR field to see a simulation of it but seeing as the day was as busy as it was, he lets out a yawn.
"Wait, a minute." Hiro gently nudges the time bar back to Mickey's float. The jewel at the bottom is reflecting the lights. A mirror. "Oh, tell me you got this!"
He moves forward to where he was and then some. "Good thing you're taller than me." He zooms in. The reflection shows the side of the balloon.
'Happy Birthday Hiro'
"You know what Baymax; I'm going to tell you my wish."
"Do you wish to record this one?" Baymax inquires quizzically.
"No." He shakes his head, wishing that he hadn't been interrupted. "I wish that we can do this again. Maybe not Disneyland but being genuine with friends. Nothing lasts forever but just this year, that's all I ask."
"And what about after?"
"After? Not sure. But I know it'll be alright now. I can rely on them for happiness but I need the power to do it myself too. And the power to make other people happy."