For one family, Disney’s virtual boat ride becomes a nightmare.
HOUSTON, TX — Jason and Michelle Hawkins, like so many other parents, had to cancel their family’s Disney vacation due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But their attempt to reclaim the magic for their kids using YouTube ride videos went awry. They discovered the dangers of virtual park visits when their ride got stuck.
The Houston couple found the Disney Parks YouTube page and found virtual ride-throughs of several rides. They parked their three children in front of their 80-inch Smart TV and started the videos playing.
Almost like being there, kind of
Each YouTube video, like the attraction or experience it represents, is usually short, once you get past the queue line – or in this case, the ads.
“We’ve worked out a deal with YouTube,” said Disney (the company) spokesperson Jun Disney (no relation). “To help people to recapture their time in queue lines, we have them watch five or six advertisements before they finally get to the Disney (the company) Parks video they want. At first, YouTube hesitated. When I told the execs that they were dealing with a captive audience of rabid fans, they got excited. It’s been a win/win scenario.”
“It seemed great at first,” says Jason, “We watched Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Dapper Dans from Home, The Disney’s Magic Happens Parade, a ride on the Disneyland Monorail, and even Summit Plummet. Everything was great! But then, disaster struck.”
The unthinkable happens
It happened in the middle of the it’s a small world ride video.
“Everything was going fine, but then, suddenly, the video stopped,” Hawkins says. “We sat there for several minutes, expecting them to make some kind of announcement or something, but it never came.”
After about fifteen minutes, Jason finally stepped over to his Wi-Fi router, where he discovered that the internet service had gone out and was attempting to reconnect.
“So there we were, sitting and staring at this creepy fishing Eskimo kid doll. He wasn’t moving; nothing was happening. I think it’s scarred the kids for life. I know I’m still pretty shook up about it.”
The Hawkinses are seeking a virtual refund of their virtual park admission, but at press time Disney (the company) had not responded.
Do you trust virtual ride-throughs of Disney attractions? Let us know in the comments below!
Cover photo: The Hawkins family, desparately trying to unpause the video. Photo credit: Shutterstock.