The Kingdom Keepers

Infobox Book |
name = The Kingdom Keepers


image_caption =
author = Ridley Pearson
country = United States
language = English
series = Kingdom Keepers
genre = Thriller Fantasy novel
publisher = HarperCollins Publishers
pub_date = 1900
media_type = Print (Paperback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 0-7868-5444-8 (first edition, hardback)
oclc = 61356453
preceded_by =
followed_by = (2008)

"The Kingdom Keepers" is a fantasy thriller novel written for young readers by Ridley Pearson and published in 2005 by Disney Publishing Group. A sequel was released on August 26, 2008. [cite web | last = Pearson | first =Ridley | title = Wild Ride:Answers to Questions| date = 2007-03-28| url =http://www.ridleypearson.com/2007/03/answers-to-questions.html| format = html| accessdate = 2007-06-03] According to Pearson's blog, The Kingdom Keepers was submitted to Walt Disney Pictures for a film in August 2006 and was resubmitted again around July 2008.

Plot summary

Five carefully selected Orlando teens (self-confident leader Finn Whitman, smart-mouthed Terry Maybeck, gorgeous yet timid cheerleader Charlene Turner, genius and historian Philby, and quick-thinking yet creative Isabello Angela (Willa)) are chosen to become DHIs at Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom. DHIs are holograms, and these holograms of the 5 kids will guide guests around the park, reciting memorized words from scripts. Finn and the others are given lifetime passes to Disney World for having themselves projected as DHIs. However, the 5 are unaware of a little, "technical glitch" in the technology.

Many nights, the kids find themselves appearing in the park in the form of their DHIs, as actual holograms, while they are asleep. Finn realizes that these are no dreams, and are actually happening. While in the empty park one night, he meets an elderly cast member and original Imagineer, Wayne. Wayne tells Finn that he must find the other kid hosts and they must arrive at the park at the same time the following night. He tells Finn that the park is in danger, of a mysterious group called The Overtakers, who plan to take over the parks... and maybe the world. Finn doesn't believe Wayne, and Wayne sends Finn back to his real body using a black fob with a red button.

Finn thinks the whole ordeal was a mere dream. However, the next night he finds himself back in the empty dark park as his DHI. This time, he sees Charlene and Philby, and to make matters scarier, a group of pirate animatronics from Pirates of the Caribbean ride around in cars from Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and they shoot lasers at Finn. Finn wakes up and sees the laser burns on his real body, and realizes this is really happening.

During the day, Finn and his strange new friend, Amanda, track down the other 4 hosts, as they all attend different Orlando schools. Finn tells them they're not alone in appearing to the park at night, and they must all go to sleep at night at the same time and appear in the park at the same time. Finn and Amanda also decide to do investigating of their own, and head to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon where security guards see the real Finn and chase after him. After Finn and Amanda reunite at The Haunted Mansion, the two decide something is wrong in the park.

That night, the five DHIs unite at the park and meet up with Wayne. Here they discover that the park comes to life after hours, and Wayne explains to them that something is going wrong in the parks- rides closing, costumes disappearing, animatronics coming to life, Maleficent winning in the nightly show Fantasmic!, and padlocks stolen. Wayne takes them into the Country Bear Jamboree, where he reveals that the Magic Kingdom and the world outside its walls are endangered by a mysterious group of characters called the Overtakers.

After showing the kids a secret passageway through Cinderella's Castle, called Escher's Keep, to a secret apartment to escape the DHI world, Wayne explains that the DHI system was created especially for this purpose, as they needed 5 teenagers to unravel an old fable by Walt Disney himself- The Stonecutters Quill. The fable concerns a stonecutter, who wishes to be: the sun, the clouds, the wind, and the mountains. Along with the fable came a quote- "I have plans to put this place in a different perspective." Realizing that all four subjects of the matter are in multiple attractions around the park, and must be what Walt meant, the five kids decide to set out to find clues to stop the Overtakers around the park.

The plot unfolds as the group searches through the park's attractions for clues as to what can stop the Overtakers. The kids look up information about Walt Disney, the parks, and research DHI technology. In the day time, the kids keep in touch through the online game VMK, and at night they meet up in the park as their DHIs and search. Unfortunately, as they search, they hit some road blocks; they can't find anything in the attractions, no matter how hard they look. Another problem is the Overtakers getting in the way- the kids ride in its a small world, and the animatronic dolls come to life and attack and bite at the kids. The ride ends up broken at the end of the night and closed. Another problem is the suspiciousness around Finn's friend Amanda. She follows Finn around, begging to know whats going on, and appears out of nowhere. Finn notes that when she runs, she seems to float. Another problem following the kids is one of the Overtakers, the evil fairy Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty". Maleficent seems to have powers over cold- she can blast ice, freeze people, and create ice wherever she goes and whatever she touches. The kids seem to get colder than normal when she appears.

The kids also (coincidentally) play separate sports at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. At the sports games, Finn meets a girl named Jez. She seems to take a liking to Finn and follows him around, and she and Amanda seem not to like each other. Meanwhile, Finn deciphers the quote from Walt Disney in the 50s, and realizes by "different perspective", he meant things being in 3D, as they were wildly popular in the 50s. Supposing that Walt planned this whole thing out, Finn gets 3D glasses, and the teens go around the attractions across various nights, looking for clues and letters:

-Finn and Philby float through the water of Splash Mountain, only to have Maleficent activate the ride. They go over the final drop and almost get killed, but manage to climb into an upcoming log and, using the 3D glasses, find letters on the walls in the cloud reference at the end of the ride.

-Charlene and Willa visit the park during the day and ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for the wind reference. Maleficent gets their honey pot car alone in a scene, locks the doors, and sets off the water system, almost drowning and suffocating the girls to the ceiling. The two break the door foundation, and escape, but getting the clues on the ride along the way.

-At night, the girls and Maybeck recheck It's a Small World for the sun reference and find the letters.

-Finally, Finn and Philby, looking for the mountain reference, climb the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. However, Maleficent brings the attraction to life, bringing to life a giant skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. While gaining the clues, the two boys outrun the dinosaur on the track and the skeleton breaks apart over the attraction.

Another problem in their journey occurs when Maybeck's DHI never returns one night. In real life, Maybeck is trapped asleep, as his DHI is still in the Magic Kingdom. Finn and Philby (as DHIs) realize that the Overtakers must've put Maybeck in a dark place where his screams cannot be heard- Space Mountain. Finn and Philby use a rope from Wayne's apartment over the Main Street Firestation to climb the building and scale the catwalks and tracks until they find him tied up in a closet. Using their DHI powers, Finn becomes light and rescues Maybeck. Maybeck reveals that it was Maleficent and Jez- he had agreed to meet Jez on a date, but she was really Maleficent's evil slave. This scare seems to make the kids stop coming back at night for very long, and the five resume their normal lives.

While riding bikes with Amanda days later, Finn catches a glimpse of Maleficent on a motorcycle, going after them. Riding through a skatepark to escape, Amanda seems to create some sort of magic to help Finn escape, and leaves him speechless.

Eventually, the five kids return to the park at night again to get the rest of the letters on the attractions, which seem to spell out "MY FIRST PEN". They soon learn that the secret weapon they need is Walt Disney's first pen, which is kept at the One Man's Dream exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Finn infiltrates the exhibit after closing to get the pen. However, he grabs a whole handful of pens and pencils and tries to escape, when he hears security coming, and realizes he's been ratted out. Finn escapes and discovers that it was Amanda. Finn thinks Amanda is an Overtaker and has been setting him up. Finn leaves her in anger.

One an evening school field trip to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where everyone is in a costume, Finn (who brought the pens and pencils from the One Man's Dream display) meets up with the other four DHIs. While meeting up at the party, Amanda, Willa, and Charlene suddenly faint at the same time. Finn spies Maleficent spy Maleficent and Jez descending into Pirates of the Caribbean. Finn, Maybeck, and Philby follow the two into the corridors and underground passageways of the attraction and discover large jail cells, with brand new padlocks, reported to have been stolen only recently. The three realize that the witches must be planning to lock all the Cast Members in the cells below the ride. The three continue, only to be cornered by Maleficent and Jez, who purposely led the three down below. Using Walt's pen, Finn realizes it has some sort of powers, and stuns the witch and electrifies her with it. Maleficent faints and the three girls at the party revive. However, before the three escape Maleficent and Jez, Maleficent has stolen Walt's original plans and designs for the parks.

Now knowing Maleficents plans and what must be done, the kids and Wayne realize they must catch her and retrive the stolen plans. However, when the kids and Wayne meet the next morning at the Transportation and Ticket Center, Wayne has brought along Amanda. Wayne has the five kids dress up as costumed cast members found around the park, and sends them into the utilidors for cast members beneath the park. While the two girls (and Amanda) man the park overhead, the three guys head for the coldest room of all in the utilidors- the computer room, seeing how Maleficent is all about cold. Luring her out of the computer room by pretending to give her the pen, Finn electrifies the witch again, grabs the plans, and the 3 boys rush off into the park with the plans and the pen, and Maleficent after them. Philby and Maybeck meet up with Charlene and Willa and ecape back to Wayne.

In a battle outside Tomorrowland (which is believed to be a show by park guests), Finn becomes his DHI and knocks over the witch and spins around Jez really fast, slowly transforming her to a brighter girl, a girl identical to Amanda. Finn realizes the two are twins, twin witches, and Jez had been under a spell by Maleficent. The two joyfully reunite and thank Finn, who escapes down a garbage chute with the plans and the pens, and Maleficent giving chase. Finn ends up in a large bin of trash and escapes, while Maleficent lands in a giant net, closed and captured by the Disney Imagineers. Finally, the witch has been caught and peace restores.

Hours later, Maleficent is locked up in her own jail cell beneath Pirates of the Caribbean, and the kids rejoice in Wayne's apartment that Amanda and Jess have reunited, the riddle has been solved, Walt's first pen has been found, and everything has restored to normal around Walt Disney World. Finn touches Walt's first magical pen to the recovered plans of the park, causing the Magic Kingdom to illuminate, and the park becomes more magical as the rides magically become fixed, everything returns to tip-top shape, and fireworks go off in the night sky. The five kids watch the park and the plans illuminate as they celebrate a happy end.

Ridley Pearson has announced that there will be several Kingdom Keepers books coming out sometime in the future.

Trivia and mistakes

*When the four kids are searching for the missing fifth and they run up to the apartment it says "the five kids ran" but there are really only four at that point
*The book said Finn saw a wolf in a hat holding a rabbit on Splash Mountain, but this is actually Brer Fox, a fox
*The DHIs in the novel are comparable to Pal Mickey, a computerized plush toy of Mickey Mouse that is sold in certain stores at Walt Disney World, which, by way of infrared transmitters, knows its location in any of the four parks at the resort while being carried around, and can thereby share fun facts about the area and its attractions, thus making the toy a programmed tour guide of sorts.
*The layout described for some of the rides in the park are incorrect.
*The rules of VMK are incorrect, but make sense for the book. VMK had a limited chat dictionary so the kids couldn't have said things like Overtakers and Wayne. There also is no proximity rule in VMK - you can see any chat that goes on in the room. This feature might have been taken from Habbo Hotel, whose developers also created the game software for VMK. There were also no soda machines in VMK, and even though there are water machines, you cannot raise the cup by your control. These mistake can be attributed to the fact that the book was being written before the initial release of VMK. When Ridley talked to Yavn about the game so he could write it into the book, Yavn explained that the game was similar to Habbo Hotel (Yavn's other game).
*In the book, there is mention of pushing a certain stone on Cinderella's Castle to open a secret passage. However, Cinderella's Castle is not made of any stones whatsoever, it's made mostly of fiberglass.
*The traditional way to write the ride "it's a small world" is in all lower caps. The book writes it as "It's a Small World".
*There is no access to the Utilidors by Big Thunder Mountain. The closest access point would be at Pecos Bill's Restaurant located quite a distance away.
*The cover of "The Kingdom Keepers" isn't Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it is actually Tokyo Disneyland. Evidence of this are the support columns of the covering for The World Bazzar, TDL's answer to Main Street USA, and the buildings themselves. WDW's Main Street USA does not have a building with a staircase on the right side of Main Street.
*Chapter 27 confirms that Finn and Philby search Big Thunder Mountain on a Saturday night. However, the next day described is a Monday. Amanda explains to them that "You saw me in the park "last night" because I followed Jez there "after school". Orlando schools do not hold classes on Saturday, and Sunday was completely skipped over.
*The book refers to a show called "Fantasmics." It is actually called "Fantasmic!" The book also refers to the show's dragon as an animatronic figure, but it is actually a large puppet. Also, Fantasmic! is not at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. It is in the Disney's Hollywood Studios, in a specially designed stadium. At the Disneyland Resort, in is actually in the main Disneyland Park.
*The book mentions that the paved area in front of the Haunted Mansion is divided into three sections, one being for holders of the Fastpass. Haunted Mansion does not offer Fastpass anymore.

Characters

The Kingdom Keepers/DHIs

*Finn Whitman--the leader and protagonist (although it is not made clear why he was chosen as leader). He was brought up to be very self-confident and plays soccer. They don't meantion which middle school he is from.
*Isabella Angelo (Willa)--a vaguely moody person who is extremely intelligent and slightly geeky. She is the "creative" one in the group. She is described as having heavily lidded brown eyes and dark hair.
*Terry Maybeck--the tallest of the group and an aspiring actor. His stage name is Donnie, but he goes by Maybeck. He has a suspicious nature and distrustful of people. Maybeck plays as the computer freak.
*Charlene Turner--Blonde, blue-eyed, and 'knockout gorgeous'; she's also a basketball athlete. Has a tendency to whine in bad situations. She is often the most reluctant but she gains confidence as the story progresses. Seems to have a problem with Amanda.
*Philby-- Red-Headed, Seems older, but is really the same age as everyone else. Hails either from Australia or New Zealand, and you can tell by his accent. The group's resident genius. His first name is unknown.

Overtakers

The Overtakers are known only to be the Main antagonist of the series. Not much is known about the Overtakers, other than their intentions of ruling the park and the world outside. The one thing that seems to have the potential to defeat them is Walt Disney's first pen, for a reason not yet revealed.
*Maleficent, the dark fairy from "Sleeping Beauty" who acts as the antagonist in the story. She gives off a large chill wherever she goes and possesses abilities of a high caliber. While the park is still open, she is derived from the Fantasmic! show. Despite her power and reputation, there other Overtakers more powerful than her.
*Blackbeard, A minor overtaker, he and his crew of pirates serve Maleficent in their goal to rule the world. They were first seen by Finn, salvaging carts from the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin ride to help with their cause. They came from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

It is not depicted whether or not the 'good' Disney characters are Overtakers or not, and fans hope to get more on that in the third installment.

Additional characters

*Wayne Kresky, an elderly Imagineer who acts as the group's mentor and guide. He speaks in mystical clichés. He helped come up with the idea of DHI's to save the Magic Kingdom. He is in fact a real cast member at Walt Disney World, and was put into the novel after he showed the author Ridley Pearson around the Magic KingdomFact|date=May 2007.
*Amanda Lockhart a girl of the same age who helps Finn locate the other four DHIs in their real life aspects; seems to have a few secrets of her own. She is very good with people and seems to be interested in Finn. She is described as having "Exotic eyes, a deep, natural, tan, and freckles on her cheeks. She is about an inch taller than Finn. CAs she is interested in Finn, Finn seems to have a slight romantic interest in Amanda as well, though the topic isn't discussed much in both of the KK books. Charlene and Willa are obviously jealous of her and Finn's liking to Amanda, Charlene more open about it than Willa.
*Jez, another girl who seems to be interested in Finn, but has it in for the other DHIs. Later in the novel, she is revealed to be a servant of Maleficent, with similar magical abilities. After she was defeated by Finn, she is later revealed to be named Jess and is actually Amanda's twin sister. In KK2, though, she is always referred to as 'Jez', or Jezebel when the author is referring to her in thought.
*Dillard Cole, Finn's best friend, although Finn begins pushing him aside as he gets drawn further into his adventures as a DHI. Somewhat fat or overweight. He always questions Finn's adventures, offering the logical explanation of a dream. He isn't referred to whatsoever in Kingdom Keepers 2.

Footnotes


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