An Epcot Puzzle – Part 1

I am on vacation for a week and so I thought I would do something a little different on A Goofy Idea. A few years back I wrote a children’s story for National Novel Writing Month. It follows three siblings as they solve puzzles at Walt Disney World. It is happy and clever, two words that I hope describe A Goofy Idea. So, for your reading enjoyment I am giving you the Epcot Puzzle in five parts. I hope you enjoy it and maybe you can share it with a kid you know. As always feel free to comment on my website. Happiness squared.

An Epcot Puzzle

by Jennifer Vandenberg


            Three children stood at a bus stop. One was twelve, one was eight, and one was four. But all three were equally excited because this was no ordinary bus stop. This bus stop was where they would find the bus that was taking them to Epcot at Walt Disney World. That’s right. These three children, Jim, Gus, and Misty Basset, were visiting Walt Disney World with their parents and grandparents.
            They arrived in Florida two days ago. Yesterday, they swam and splashed at the cool Doubloon Lagoon at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and walked around Downtown Disney. Misty, the cute one, loved the Little Missmatched store with its crazy colorful socks. Gus, the curious one, loved the Lego Imagination Center. Jim, the animal lover, loved having lunch at T-Rex. He wanted to take a dinosaur home. The adults loved eating at Raglan Road Irish Pub. Everyone had a grand time.
            Today is their first day going to a park and they were eager to get started. Plus, they got to enter Epcot an hour early and they couldn’t wait. Oh! Why hasn’t the bus come yet?
            Finally the bus arrived and they all climbed on.  After the bus dropped them off they went through security and the turnstiles. They were finally at Epcot.
            Before them was a large sphere that looked like a giant’s golf ball. That was Spaceship Earth and it had a cool ride in it that they rode first before the park got busy. Everyone enjoyed the story of how technology changed through time and what the future may hold. Afterwards they wandered through Inventions West and learned while playing games.

The First Puzzle

That morning the Bassets had sat down with a map and decided they would start at the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Jim wanted to see the animals. Gus wanted to talk to Crush in Turtle Talk with Crush, and Misty wanted to see the cute characters from Finding Nemo. They took the buggies into the pavilion and were impressed with how real Nemo and Dory looked. Once inside they stood in wonder at all the different tanks and displays. It was like being inside an aquarium. Just as they were deciding what to do first a Cast Member approached.
            “Good morning, are you by any chance Jim Basset?”
            Jim nodded his head. “Yes. I’m Jim.”
            The Cast Member smiled and looked at Gus and Misty. “Then you must be Gus and you must be Misty.”
            Gus nodded. Misty jumped up and down. “I’m Misty and I’m four. What’s your name?”
            The Cast Member pointed to her badge. “I’m Claudia. I have something for the three of you. It is very secret.”
            The three children looked around to see if their family was listening, but Mom and Dad were looking at the clown fish and Grammy Sammy and Grandpa Freddie were over by the push button screens. The children looked back at Claudia and leaned in closer. Claudia removed an envelope from behind her back. “Only very smart, curious, and cute kids can learn this secret. Do you think you can do it?”
            The three kids nodded and Claudia handed an ornately decorated envelope to Jim. “Remember this. The right question will lead to the treasure, but the wrong question will lead to the right question eventually.” Claudia waved as she left. “Have a wonderful day at Epcot.”
            The three kids looked at the envelope in Jim’s hand. As Jim seemed unable to move Gus took it and turned it over.
            “It’s ours all right. There are our names,” Gus said.
            In fancy scroll on the front of the envelope it read, “Top Secret. Only for Jim, Gus, and Misty Basset.”
            “Open it, Gus,” Misty said. “I want to know what’s inside.”
            “Do it carefully, though,” Jim said. “The envelope might be important.”
            Gus nodded and turned over the envelope. The flap was not sealed, only stuck down with a Nemo sticker. The envelope opened easily and a piece of paper fell out onto the floor. Jim picked it up and unfolded it.
            “What does it say, Jim?” Misty asked, bouncing up and down with excitement, her curls going in every direction. “What does it say?”
            Jim adjusted his glasses and slowly read the message. It was made of cut-up letters, each from a different type of magazine, so the words wobbled over the page. 
            “Dude, lots of creatures live in the ocean, but only I can talk. Find out my favorite pastime and the first secret will be revealed.”
            Before they could try and decipher the message their family came over to find them.
            “Are you guys just going to stand there?” Dad asked. “Your mom and I have been looking at all the fishes. Lots of them are from Finding Nemo.”
            Mom nodded. “I think clown fish are so colorful.”
            Grandpa Freddie chimed in. “Your Grammy answered all the questions correctly on a fun quiz so they are sending her a certificate. She’s so smart.”
            Grammy Sammy nodded. “Smart enough to see that our normally talkative grandchildren are awfully quiet. Cat got your tongue?”
            Misty stuck her tongue out. “No cat,” she mumbled.
            “We got a secret message inside this envelope,” Gus said, holding up the envelope. He showed them the front. “It has our names on it.”
            Dad nodded. “It surely does. What was inside?”
            Jim held up the letter. “It looks like a ransom note but it seems to be a clue to a secret.”
Jim read the note again. “Dude, lots of creatures live in the ocean, but only I can talk. Find out my favorite pastime and the first secret will be revealed.”
            Gus looked at the adults. “Do you know what this is about?”
            Grammy looked at the note. “No, but I know who says, ‘Dude’.”

Who says ‘Dude’? Find out in Part 2 of An Epcot Puzzle!