LOMPOC, Calif. - There is growing interest in a Disney attraction that you won't find inside the theme park but you will find inside a book store; It is a series titled the Hidden Mickey Adventures.
"The first one started off in 2008, Sometimes Dead Men DO Tell Tales," said the author, Nancy Temple Rodrigue.
To date, Nancy has written two series consisting of nine published novels and is currently working on her tenth, Unfinished Business. The premise of the books, which are written mainly for the adult reader, are all based on Walt Disney's diary, hidden in a special spot in the park, for 40 years.
Rodrigue and her husband and publisher, Russ, told NewsChannel 3 that they received Disney's blessings years ago.
"We paint them in a good light," Nancy said.
However, the Lompoc couple is restricted from using Disney's characters, costumes or images of Walt Disney.
NewsChannel 3 was invited into the Rodrigue's Lompoc studio, filled with thousands of Disney keepsakes.
"We actually bought this when we went to the park for the first time in 1962," Nancy said while holding an empty snow globe containing a small replica of the Jungle Cruise ride. "I've kept it all these years."
A batch of employee name tags hangs near collectible posters, including one of the old keel boat ride.
"Keel boats aren't there any longer, but they were a wonderful way to get around the river when they were," Nancy said. "It was supposed to be for an emergency vehicle. Walt goes, 'Well, make a ride out of it while you're there, you know, get people going around the island!'"
The majority of the room is packed with wall-to-wall themed sections of Nancy's favorite Disney characters, but we quickly learned that a posted map of the Disneyland park has guided the Rodrigues on the ride of their lives.
"There's the little Silhouette Studio, this opened up in January of '56," Nancy said as she ran her finger up the map. "It's one of my places that has a hidden clue in the novel that I'm working on right now."
Our next stop, the Rodrigue's stockroom.
"This is all our books," Nancy pointed to a wall stacked with boxes of published books.
"I focus on different rides in different books. Each book has its own clue, search."
A time-traveling wolf who doubles as the park's security guard is a man character found on many of the book's covers. Nancy infuses minute, factual details in the elaborate treasure hunt.
"I might know a lot about the park but a lot of my readers know everything about the park," Nancy said. " If I say this ride is over here in this year and it was over here in this year, I'd get called on it."
Nancy fills in with clues left behind by Walt, himself.
"When his two friends Wolf and Lance find a clue in a part of Disneyland on the Jungle Cruise that had fallen -- Switzer Falls actually did collapse one time -- so, I put that into the book."
Nancy is full of factual tidbits.
"For instance, I say Walt Disney went to London in 1951 to look at a special train. He actually was in London in 1951, but what did he and Lillian talk about?" Nancy pondered. "I can build up whatever I want around it, as long as I keep the facts straight and the outcome is the same. That train was shipped back to the U.S., it was ruined by saltwater before it got there and it never saw the light of day. Until now."
Read all about it in Where You Wish.
Revenge of the Wolf has readers looking for clues on Snow White's Ride. Here's a clue: what's on the other side of that little door behind one of the dwarfs?
In Book 3, Legend of Tom Sawyer's Island, what if someone actually lived in that cabin?
Mystery, adventure and time-travel for the ultimate Disney fan. Their books once sold in the Main Street Compass Bookstore and the Rodrigues were invited inside the park for book signings. More recently, the couple was invited to Walt Disney's Barn in Griffith Park for another book signing. Their next event is slated for the weekend of July 14 at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim.
NewsChannel three was curious, will their success lead to another clue?
"Any chance of this (series) becoming a movie?" NewsChannel 3 asked.
"Oh, wouldn't that be nice!" Nancy said. "I can neither confirm nor deny the fact that there will be a movie," Nancy laughed. "No plans but so many of my fans have thought it would make a wonderful movie. As I'm writing it, I'm seeing it as a movie playing in my head."
So, think back to that map in the Rodrigue's studio and the secret place where Walt Disney hid his diary so many years ago.
"It's never been proved that it hasn't happend so, it might be out there," Nancy said, with a big smile and a twinkle in her eye. "Or, might not."
Watch the story tonight on KCOY at 5:00.
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