We practically ran down the service road to the backstage area of Tomorrowland. We checked our costumes out in the ubiquitous full-length mirror placed near every onstage entrance. It was then that I looked at my set schedule.
Peter sat down at an empty stool between Merlin, who was busy putting on his beard, and Mary Poppins, who was pinning up her wig. The Princesses were played by beautiful girls with clear skin and perfect white teeth, and their charming and princely consorts were played by pretty boys who also wore makeup and were affectionately referred to by many in the Zoo Crew locker room as "The Queens."
I was trying on my Smee feet when Jake came over to me in Captain Hook and said, "Hey rookie, I hear you're in my unit today. Let me give you a little piece of advice: stay out of my way." And he went over to clean his head out with rubbing alcohol.
It's the fourth of July, 1988. Monday, 4:30 p.m. There are about a hundred thousand people in the park. And I'm about to be fired from the Happiest Place on Earth. This is not going to look good on my resume.
Being Pluto in the A unit was cool. I was one of the Fab Five. An instantly recognizable celebrity. It meant a steady, if monotonous, schedule each day on Main Street. The mice were both played by very short women. Long gone were the days of the old "Mr. Mickey" who'd been hired by Walt himself. This Mouse was played by Polly, a veteran and mother of three who was the sweetest Mouse the park had ever seen. Minnie was played by Cate, a twenty-something tomboy with close-cropped red hair who always wore flannel, even on the hot days. Fred was our Goofy. A real character in and out of costume. He was about as flaming as it was possible to be, without actually swishing in costume. A cross-dresser of long standing and well-deserved reputation. He affected an elongated drawl when he talked that made Truman Capote sound butch. He had been around the park since they had changed over from the old costumes. Back when they were allowed to talk. On occasion you could still hear him "H'yucking" for the guests. With Harry as our Donald, the five of us were one big family. Eight sets a day, everyday, rain or shine. In the same place. Doing the same things, over and over again.