A Short Anecdote, and How to Build Reader Empathy Early On in your Story

Hey there, people!

We all know that Angela recently took a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Asia. This has made me just a teensy bit jealous. But I’m comforted by the fact that I’ll be riding the Small World ride today, which technically means I’ll be visiting, like, 40 countries. IN ONE DAY. Quite a feat, but anything’s possible at the most magical place on Earth. And since Angela had some interesting info to share from her trip, I thought I’d share an “international” story of my own.

Before the Incident

A few years ago on a trip to Disney, we waited twenty minutes in the Small World line, boarded our boat, and had just started the ride when my recently-potty-trained daughter uttered those four words no mother on a Disney ride wants to hear: “I have to pee.”

I spent the first ten minutes of the ride trying to distract her from the growing pressure in her bladder, but we all know how futile this is. Then she said something even more terrifying. “I have to poo.”

It was at that point that my daughter and I abandoned our boat and took a quick trip through Mexico to the nearest Salida de Emergencia. You know the signs they put on those doors that say Alarm Will Sound? They lie. No alarm went off.  What DOES happen (as I found out later from my husband, who was stuck in the boat with my son) is they stop the ride for approximately fifteen minutes until they can be sure that it was just a mom and child exiting the ride and not someone carrying explosives of the less stinky kind. I’m not sure who hated me more at that moment, the Disney employees required to follow protocol for this eventuality, or the people stuck in the boats while It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears played on, and on, and on…

Cute giraffes, or hidden camera receptacles?

I’m a little worried to return to Small World. I’m afraid our pictures might be posted on WANTED signs in 47 different languages. We shall see. Either way, the Disney machine seems to have been prophetic with its marketing slogan for the year, which is posted on signs all over the park: Let the Memories Begin!

Hopefully, today’s trip will be less memorable. In the meantime, the lovely people over at the Helium.com blog (who should in no way be associated with any part of the aforementioned anecdote) have agreed to host me. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on how to create reader empathy early on in your story, and the Helium blog as a whole has a lot of helpful info to offer. If you’ve got time, please stop by and say Hola.


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in About Us, Characters, Empathy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Short Anecdote, and How to Build Reader Empathy Early On in your Story

  1. Aww, thanks, guys! In hindsight, we think it’s pretty funny. 🙂

  2. This is a hilarious story, Becca, but then I wasn’t in your shoes or in the boat, so. . . Anyway, you’re an awesome Mom.

  3. It never fails, does it? What else can you do but risk setting off alarms in that situation. Great Mom!

  4. Ha Ha! I’d be afraid to return too. Though I bet people do stuff like that all the time. The wanted poster wall would be too big.

  5. Oh those poor people. I love the song, but to hear it go on and on and on for fifteen minutes would drive anyone insane. I bet no on went back on the ride. You scarred them for life, Becca. lol

  6. rofl, Leslie. My husband got kicked out for throwing pennies on the Peter Pan ride. He said they were bombing London.

    Some Disney insider should write a book; you know they’ve got a million stories, lol.

  7. Have you ever noticed all those Small World dolls have the same face? I had a friend who was told he was banned from Disneyland for making out on the Journey Through Inner Space ride back in the 70’s. Popping over to el otro blog.

  8. Ha!Now that’s one memory I am sure you’ll never ever forget LOL.
    Embarrassing? Yes. Priceless? Oh, yeah!

    Heading on over there. Great topic!

  9. Jackie says:

    Any parent understands this.

    Have a great trip!

  10. Linda A. says:

    Things don’t go always go as hoped, even at Disney!

  11. JeffO says:

    Oh, and that was a nice post over there.

  12. Well, we returned with no embarrassing memories whatsoever. Which is good. And something of a rarity for my family.

    T Drecker, that is so funny. I think we’ve all been there ;).

  13. JeffO says:

    Have a great time!

  14. Funny story. Hope today goes better.

  15. T. Drecker says:

    Hehehe – we actually ended up buying Micky Mouse sweats. I didn’t even think of hitting an emergency exit. Silly me. I’m SURE this trip will go better. Have fun!

  16. I hope you have a wonderful trip! Though without other incidents like the one you described.

  17. 40 countries in a single day? Dang you Becca, you and your talent for one-up-man-ship!

    Oh well, hearing about your last time on that ride made up for it! ROTF, I hope your kids make it a little less ‘memorable’ this time 🙂

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