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Fanfic / The Happiest Place

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Written by tumblr user penwarrior11, The Happiest Place is a Darker and Edgier take on the concept of a massive Disney character crossover set in Disneyland.

The story begins with Cinderella forming an uneasy alliance with Captain Jack Sparrow in order to get to the bottom of a deal brokered between Hook and Barbossa. What she discovers is the just beginning of a far darker, far more sinister plot: The Villains are forming a coalition, bent on taking the park for themselves. As popularity for the characters directly contributes to how much power they wield, Mickey tasks the Princesses with stopping them before they can cause serious harm.


In a perfect world, this plan would be easy, but “the happiest place on earth” is far from perfect. Character fights with character over petty squabbles. The members of the Council put in place to oversee the park use their status to play for power. Those that seem the most trustworthy hold secrets. There is even a deep rift between the Princesses, fueled by misunderstandings and old rivalries. Cinderella herself has been living a lie for nearly half a century: her title of “Princess” no longer applies. While the war against the Villains escalates, Cinderella discovers a part of herself that she never dreamed existed. Pressure from all sides to choose who she wants to be finally forces her to make some drastic decisions, with fatal consequences. As the darkness closes in, the ever-present light Walt left behind threatens to go out.


What follows is a Decon-Recon of Disney Animated Canon crossovers. Tackling the concepts of love, death, corruption, and how much control we really have over our fates, it isn’t afraid to take the darker elements the films have to offer and run with them.

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This work contains examples of the following tropes:

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  • Accomplice by Inaction: The rest of the princesses when Ariel vocally tears Cinderella down in front of everyone, directly leading to the latter succumbing to the sleeping curse only minutes later. Earlier, Little Leota calls the characters of the Disneyland Council out on this when half the ghosts vanish.
  • Action Girl: All of the Princesses by the ending. Special mention goes to Cinderella who climbed a mountain to face Maleficent in a one-on-one fight.
  • All-Loving Heroine: Snow White. All the animals in the park fawn over her. This includes the crocodile from Peter Pan.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Cinderella seems to fall under this here, although this may partially be due to the fact that things didn’t work out with Charming and she’s looking for something totally different.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Cinderella, by a lot of the characters.
  • Amicably Divorced: Cinderella and Charming. Even though they haven’t been married for years, they’re still shown as working together and generally getting along.
  • Amnesiac Lover: When Jack is resurrected just before the final battle, he doesn’t remember anything of his time in the park, including Cinderella. She is understandably distraught.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: By the final chapters, the Villains have taken over large portions of the park and are using it to trap and kill good characters.
  • Animal Motifs: Cinderella is referred to several times throughout as a mouse or being “mouse-like”. Come the final battle, it’s revealed that this trait is the reason why she is the only one who can pull the sword from the stone and fight Maleficent in Mickey’s stead.
  • Back from the Dead: Any character who dies over the course of the story is resurrected by Disneyland’s magic, the catch being that all the memories they gained in the park are erased.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After getting a cryptic message from the Tiki Birds and interrogating Honest John and Gideon, the princesses think the Villains’ plan is to get the “eat me” biscuits from Alice in Wonderland to change Kaa to the giant size seen in Fantasmic! It turns out that this whole plan was a trap, with the end goal instead being to get Cinderella out of the way through the use of the poison apple.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: It seems as though Barbossa has shot Cinderella… until Jack goes down instead.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Disneyland itself tries to automatically correct for this, It’s also why Mickey refuses to take part in the final fight. If he’s in the battle, the park will let Chernabog out as well, which is almost guaranteed to result in everyone dying.
  • Battle Couple: Cinderella and Jack, especially in Chapter 15.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The original three princesses. By the end, Snow led an army of animals into battle, Aurora got powers stolen from the Villains’ side, and Cinderella faced down Maleficent alone and won.
  • Big Bad: Maleficent
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Chapter 34
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Cinderella and Jack get one after their risky escape from Constance in chapter 31, and another to close out the story.
  • Big Good: Mickey
  • Bigger on the Inside: Disneyland itself, as the places shown in the various attractions all exist as pocket dimensions. Referred to as such word for word by Cinderella at the beginning.
  • Birds of a Feather: Cinderella and Jack. While they may not seem as such at first, they are both after the exact same thing: the freedom the park is currently denying them. As Jack himself says at one point, “We must be the two most miserable people in this bloody place.”
  • Blue Is Heroic: Cinderella’s glass armor at the end is described as having a blue tint.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Haunted Mansion
  • Broken Bird: Cinderella. Fifty-six years of accusations, compounded with losing several people who she was close to, has definitely taken its toll. Jack even refers to her as one fairly early on.
  • The Cameo: Walt Disney himself makes a brief appearance in Chapter 28 after numerous mentions by the characters throughout the story.
  • Character Development: Cinderella in the beginning is shown as downtrodden, depressed, and unsure of where she belongs in the grand scheme of things. By the end, however, she singlehandedly defeated Maleficent and has carved out a new place for herself in the park.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The entire park functions off of this premise. Characters are fueled off of the believe of guests, with the more popular characters wielding proportionally more power. The Villains’ surge in popularity also seems to be one of the main reasons they were finally able to launch a full-scale attack.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: While the characters can change their clothing at will through magic, it always has to hearken back to their original designs.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jack, unsurprisingly. Cinderella herself becomes this later on.
  • Crossover Shipping: The main pairing in the story is Cinderella and Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: When several of the princesses go to the Tiki Birds for information, the macaws all speak in vague, poetic phrases.
    “Don’t blame us; we just work here.”
  • Dances and Balls: Three are featured over the course of the story.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than most of its source material, although it plays on many of the darker themes present in the original films.
  • Darkest Hour: Chapter 34, both figuratively and literally. When the Villains launch their final attack on the remaining forces of good in Fantasyland, Walt’s Lamp finally goes out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cinderella herself, especially during banters with Jack.
  • Deal with the Devil: Cinderella makes a deal with Maleficent to let the Hatter go in exchange for her taking a bite of the poison apple, and therefore removing herself from the coming fight. It doesn’t quite work out as planned.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Cinderella finally reaching the breaking point in Chapter 27.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Belle calls Ariel out on this for pushing Cinderella over her breaking point by accusing her of no longer being a real princess, and therefore not belonging.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After being shot, Jack finally disintegrates in a distraught Cinderella’s arms.
  • Disney Death: The whole concept of “death” in the park revolves around the characters being automatically resurrected upon their demise. A straight example of the trope occurs with Jack at the ending.
  • The Dreaded: Chernabog is described as being this, although he never actually appears in the story.
  • Driven to Suicide: The scene in which Cinderella takes a bite of the poison apple can be interpreted as such.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Ariel, both with an Indiana Jones rover and one of the locomotives on Big Thunder Mountain.
  • Duel of Seduction: Jack and Cinderella for most of the first and second act, with both of them using the other in order to get what they want. This ends up backfiring spectacularly when they actually fall for each other.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Cinderella, and boy did she ever.
  • Easy Amnesia: Played with. While the characters post-film memories can be restored after resurrection, it doesn’t always work.
  • Enemy Mine: Implied to be the only reason some of the characters are working together.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Subverted. While the golden pixie dust does appear when characters are undergoing Transformation Sequences, it’s also what the characters disintegrate into upon death. As such, the more sparkles are in a given scene, the more violent and grim the previous events tended to be.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Averted. It’s made clear in one of the early chapters that the Villains working together is a big deal because they’re usually all too focused on their own goals to get along.
  • Eye Scream: Cinderella stabs Barbossa in the eye with the heel of one of her slippers.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Backed against a cliff face, Cinderella is determined not to let Barbossa see her weak when he shoots her. It doesn’t quite work out as she thought.
  • False Utopia: Disneyland itself is described as this by several of the characters throughout the story. The reason most often given is their “happy endings” being stripped away.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The characters in the park fall under this. At the top are the “Mains”, major characters from films in the Disney canon. The “Minors” are either minor characters from films, or park-only characters. The Disneyland Council is mainly run by the former, especially in recent years, a fact that Little Leota points out in Chapter 23. The characters can also be split into “Officials” and “Unofficials”, with the latter being characters not actually owned by the Disney company (e.g. Indiana Jones).
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Sleeping Curse seems to be one for the characters. Since they’re all subject to Resurrective Immortality, actually dying sometimes ends up being more of a hindrance than anything. Because the curse only puts them in a coma, however, they’re trapped in that state. And if there’s no one to wake them up
  • Fighting the Lancer: Cinderella and Ariel have a massive argument in Chapter 27.
  • Five-Man Band: The main princesses:
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Cinderella is in the crowd during Fantasmic!, she’s startled by the sound of a gunshot going off accompanied by the pirates passing between her and Big Thunder Mountain as part of the show. Exactly ten chapters later, Jack is fatally shot by Barbossa on the attraction.
      • The Big Thunder Mountain attraction is only ever referred to in the context of Cinderella and Jack before the part where they actually attempt to escape through it, hammering this home.
    • When its revealed that the Villains have the poison apple, everyone is worried about them targeting Snow White except Aurora, who thinks they’re probably planning to use it on someone else. Later, it’s revealed to be how Maleficent plans to remove Cinderella.
    • Ariel tells Peter at one point that if he’s not careful, the fight against the Villains will get him killed. He’s downed by cannon fire during the final battle.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Astro Orbiters once Belle gets her hands on them.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Belle, beating the live action remake to the punch. Over the course of the story, she creates a gauntlet that fires off steel bolts and makes over the Astro Orbiters to fly on their own and fire lasers.
  • Genetic Memory: Resurrected characters come back seeming to be a blank slate, but the memories of their previous incarnation seems to be “hard-wired” into the park itself, and can sometimes be tapped into.
  • Genius Loci: Disneyland itself. Many of the characters mention how it twists and changes the characters to suit its purposes.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many of the conversations between Cinderella and Jack might qualify as this.
  • Gilded Cage: Jack refers to Disneyland as this at one point, since none of the characters can ever leave Disney property.
  • Glory Days: Most of the older characters think of the days when Walt was still around like this. Snow even laments that things were easier and people argued less back then.
  • Go Through Me: Cinderella does this with Maleficent at the end.
  • Good Is Not Nice: While many of the characters are technically “good”, they’re often not above tearing each other down to get what they want.
  • Happy Ending Override: Their lives in the park serve as this for some of the characters.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: In the attic of the mansion, this time coming from Hades’ potion vial rather than one of the brides. Again a little later when heralding the reappearance of Aurora, complete with what the characters think is a darker version of “once upon a dream”.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Cinderella, with the idea that she’ll only ever be “the girl who waited and did nothing” eating away at her for years. It extends beyond guests, and even into interactions with the other characters. Ariel suffers from this a little as well.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: The rules of the park require that the characters appear happy while in front of guests.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Aurora herself learns to do this by the end.
  • Hope Spot: When Rapunzel fails to heal the gunshot wound Jack sustained in Chapter 32, Cinderella realizes the others have left the Genie’s Lamp behind with one last wish intact and attempts to use it to save him. By that point, unfortunately, he’s already dead and the Genie can do nothing.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: True to form, Aurora is hypnotized twice by malevolent forces over the course of the story. Once by the idol of Mara in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, and again later by the vial in the Haunted Mansion.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: What Cinderella wants most at this point.
  • Improvised Weapon: Cinderella smashes an unnamed pirate over the head with a bottle in Chapter 3.
  • In-Series Nickname: Several of the characters get them. Cinderella is referred to as “Cindy” or “Ella”, depending on the character in question. Mickey is often referred to as “The Mouse”. Ariel gets “fish girl” pretty early on from Tiana.
  • Inspiration Nod: Much of the main plot and other elements are directly inspired by Fantasmic!. Many nods back to the original throughout, with the show itself having a crucial appearance at one point.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Maleficent is in her dragon form for the last battle.
  • Invisible to Normals: When in “guest” form, the characters go unnoticed in the park. Jack seems to be the exception.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Tiana and Cinderella’s goodbyes before the final battle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jack, although this is to be expected.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: To be expected of a story focused around Disneyland. Most of the characters present in the park, even minor ones, make an appearance at some point.
  • Locomotive Level: Two separate occasions. A fight with dinosaurs occurs on the Disneyland Railroad in Chapter 9, and several of the characters escape from Villains using the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Chapter 32.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Constance Hatchaway. When many of the ghosts turn unexpectedly violent, she’s the first to make the change. Jack Skellington explains that they had to quarantine her in the mansion’s attic to keep her away from the other spirits and the park guests.
  • Magic Compass: Jack’s compass is brought up many times throughout the story.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Maleficent, especially in Chapter 27.
  • The Masquerade: The characters all try to keep this up, with the use of “guest” forms and most of the story taking place after the park closes to keep guests out of the mess. Which is why everyone’s shocked when the Villains begin their assault in broad daylight.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The main characters are all leads from different Disney films, both animated and live action.
  • Must Be Invited: For the characters to cross into any of the pocket worlds they need permission from one of its characters. The story kicks off with the characters all knowing that something is going down in Pirates, but being unable to do anything about it until Cinderella is invited inside.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When the Cheshire Cat mentions the phrase “there’s always my way” when directing the princesses, a flamingo with a noose falls from the tree. The cat’s response? “Whoops. Wrong ride.”
    • No one can understand a word Donald says.

  • Never My Fault: Ariel blaming Cinderella for nearly losing the box containing the grow biscuits/shrinking potion and getting the Hatter captured, when she was the one that dropped it in the first place.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: It’s explained that, if a version of the character from one resort met their counterpart from another, park magic would automatically kill both in order to right itself. This has happened to Stitch, apparently.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified in universe as the park’s way of giving characters without actual combat experience a way to survive the coming fight with the Villains. It tends to pull the powers from symbols present in their films, so Cinderella is understandably confused when she discovers she has a knack for using guns and sword. This is because she’s almost accidentally stepped into the conceptual, unfilled position of Pirate Princess, while the latter is also due to her being Mickey’s designated alternate for the fight with Maleficent.
  • No Body Left Behind: The characters all disintegrate into pixie dust upon death.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The default state of the Disneyland Council. Little Leota calls them out on this.
  • Note to Self: The Wills
  • Off with His Head!: Happens to the Hatter in Chapter 27. Then becomes the Queen of Hearts’ form of attack during the final battle.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cinderella when she realizes at the ball that she has actually fallen for Jack.
  • One-Winged Angel: Maleficent in the final battle.
  • Opposites Attract: The clean-cut Cinderella with wild trickster Jack Sparrow. It turns out, however, that their surface-level differences aren't quite the whole picture.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Every single Disney character in the story fulfills many of the archetypical features of vampires – they survive off of/gain power from some sort of mortal lifeforce (the belief of the guests), they never age, they must be invited into the attractions to gain entry, and they turn to dust upon being killed. Word of God states that they were meant to be seen as such.
  • Parental Substitute: Walt seems to have served as one for Cinderella, contributing to her breakdown at his passing.
  • Pocket Dimension: The worlds within the rides. Most of them are isolated, with only one or two entrances/exits, and don't intersect.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Cinderella not telling her friends, especially Mickey and Tiana, about the nature of her forays into the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction almost directly leads to the Mad Hatter’s Death and Cinderella herself falling under the Sleep of Living Death.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: “Oh, don't you know? It all started with a mouse.”
  • Really 700 Years Old: All the characters, but especially the ones present on opening day. Cinderella herself is actually 75 (19 as a base age + 56 years in the park at the time of the story).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mickey Mouse
  • Reality Warper: Aurora in chapter 31
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Nothing gets a couple back together quite like running from an Ax-Crazy ghost while trapped in The Haunted Mansion.
  • Resurrective Immortality: All the characters
  • Robot Soldier: The dolls of It’s a Small World have been trained to be this by the time the story rolls around.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The princesses
  • Rule of Symbolism: The park practically runs off of this.
  • Second Love: Jack to Cinderella after Charming. A portion of the romance arc is devoted to the idea of no two loves ever being the same.
  • Shout-Out: Many, many examples. Just to name a few:
    • Many of the chapter titles are a reference to the attraction/characters that are prominent in it. “Plenty of Sunshine” takes place in Splash Mountain, for example, while “For Better or For Worse” is in the Haunted Mansion. “This Is My Dream” is a reference to Fantasmic!, which served as the main inspiration for the story. Finally, “And Yet So Far” is a somewhat stealthier reference to the song “So Close”.
    • Jack tells Cinderella that he understands why she did what she did in her original film because she “waited for the opportune moment.”
    • When the princesses show up at the Indiana Jones Adventure, Indy mutters, "Princesses... Why'd it have to be princesses...?"
  • Shown Their Work: The author is a big Disney fan, and it shows in her attention to detail.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Most of the princesses get a different outfit during the climax. Before this, there’s a shift in Cinderella’s wardrobe throughout, going from her wearing her ballgown most of the time, to changing back to her peasant clothes, to finally donning a suit of glass armor.
  • Slave to PR: All the characters, but especially the good and evil ones. The neutral characters are noted as having less restrictions, which is why some of them swapping to one side or the other comes as a shock.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The animal characters all appear as they did in their respective films, which results in some of them being more anthropomorphic than others.
  • Stepford Smiler: Cinderella of all people, of the depressed variety.
  • Taking You with Me: Cinderella implies before her fight with Maleficent that, even if she does manage to kill her, she’ll make sure the evil fairy won’t make it out either.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Surprisingly, the princesses. Specifically, Ariel and either Cinderella or Tiana depending on the situation.
  • Temple of Doom: The Indiana Jones Adventure.
  • The Chosen One: It’s revealed at the end that Cinderella is the only other character who can fight Maleficent.
  • True Love's Kiss: Jack wakes up Cinderella from the Sleep of Living Death with one. They're both pissed.
  • Villain Team-Up: A central theme established near the beginning.
  • What Could Have Been: The author stated Aurora was originally meant to be the central character in the story, but the concept worked better with Cinderella as the protagonist, so the latter becomes the main character.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Cinderella tends to see being The Ageless this way. Even Jack admits this isn't exactly what he wanted.
  • World-Healing Wave: Implied to happen offscreen when the good characters win the final battle against the Villains.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Cinderella’s whole character arc.

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