In order to tell this story, I must first give you a bit of back story.
It was a few summers ago, and I was visiting my best friend of at the time sixteen years (making me twenty-three at that time) who lives in Orlando Florida. He worked for Disney as one of the characters you see walking around Disney World, and had been asking me for quite some time to visit him. We'll call him "Cloud" even though that isn't his real name.
So I schedule a week of vacation (ironically it was the week before my last day at that job; I was about to start a new one), and fly down to see him. The first couple days are fun; he gets me into Disney World for free, sticks a "First time visitor" pin on my shirt so that all the staff and characters will go out of their way to be nice to me (*gag*), and sends me off to explore Disney World on my own while he plays his character. For the record: I don't care how old you are or how much of a hardass you think you are, at twenty-three years old I saw Mickey for the first time and smiled like all the kids you see in the commercial.
But the story I'm about to tell you takes place on the Saturday of that fatefull 5-day trip, when we visited the MGM Studios park.
Once again, Cloud got me in for free with his special ID, along with a friend of his roommate's that was staying with them for a bit. We'll call him "Cid." But Cloud has to work today, and as a result leaves Cid and I to explore the park by ourselves. However, as he's getting ready to leave us, he gives us some advice.
"Yeah, my friend Tifa (obviously not her real name) works on the Big Movie Ride (I forget what it was actually called), so mention her name and they should let you right on." Cid and I look at each other, shrug, and say, "Sure, alright." That being said, Cloud strolls off and we are on our own.
An hour or two passes. We walk around, we see the Indiana Jones show (awesome), we eat at Pizza Planet from Toy Story, I silently curse the gift shop for not having an Indiana Jones hat in a size that would fit an adult. Then, we walk past the aforementioned ride . . . We stop walking. I turn to Cid.
"Wanna give it a shot?"
Cid shrugs. "Sure, why not? Worst case scenario they just make us wait in line."
So we approach the entrance. There's a girl working out front. We approach her calmly and politely, and Cid lets me do all the talking.
"Hi, um . . . we were wondering, is Tifa working? We came to see her."
The girl, who was very polite as well, says "Tifa? Um . . . I think so. Let me check with my supervisor."
At this point, the panic begins. Cid and I look at each other, and I can tell we're both envisioning the same thing: this girl we've never met denying our existence, and the park supervisor throwing us out into the parking lot for trying to cut in line. But lo and behold, after a minute a guy in a tie comes out and says, "Tifa's friends? Yeah, come this way."
Relief was not afforded us, however, because the tie guy leads us past what we easily estimated to be several hundred people waiting in line, all of them glaring daggers at the two of us for getting special treatment. It quickly became apparent we were getting some sort of V.I.P. treatment, because they stuck us in a short line behind what appeared to be some sort of royal ambassador from India and his wife, judging by their regal looking garb.
Cid and I are freaking out. We shouldn't be here, but it's too late. At best, we can hope Tifa doesn't find out about us and accost us. The way the ride works, you basically get in this little roller coaster car that tops out at about 5 miles per hour, and ride through all these awesome looking movie sets. They had stuff from Aliens, mobster movies and all kinds of classic stuff. Of course, we were on edge the whole time, because not only did they stick us in the FRONT seat with the Indian Ambassador and his wife, but guess who we get operating our car and within arms length of us, narrating the ride? (Hint: the one girl we were trying to avoid)
All in all, I have to say the ride was pretty cool. At one point, Tifa disappeared (it was part of the ride, an act of sorts), and was replaced by another girl who talked in a crappy 1920's mobster dialect. But we couldn't be off the hook that easily, because she reappeared later and resumed her post.
Which means . . . she's going to be right there when we get off.
The ride is almost over. We can see the docking bay where we'll have to get off, and are praying this girl doesn't know we used her name to skip in line. As SOON as the car pulls up, we practically mow down the Indian ambassador to get away from the cart, and are practically jogging to the exit.
Needless to say, we got away with it. Later on in the day, once we met back up with Cloud after his shift, we told him the story. He called Tifa, and told her we were there, and she laughed about it. Turns out she wouldn't have minded, and even asked what we thought o fher performance (we couldn't have said nicer things if our lives depended on it, we were so relieved). But I'll never forget the suspense of being stuck in that car, sitting next to the Maharaja of India with Tifa looking right at us and not even realizing we just got in on her name.