As part of the most generous contest in history, Mr. Pike wins a prize at work to take his family on a four day cruise in the Bahamas and a three day trip to Disney World. Apparently, this contest did not have a disclaimer stating it was good for a trip for four. Nope. The Pikes cash in the tickets for their family of ten. And remember how the Pikes can't care for their own children? Yep--Stacey and Mary Anne get to come along, too.
But wait! Waston "The Real-Life Millionaire" Brewer can't be outdone. So add Watson, Elizabeth-Originally-Called-Edie, Sam, Charlie, Kristy, David Michael, Karen, and Andrew to the roster!
But wait! These are the residents of Stoneybrook! They couldn't possibly leave a member of the BSC behind, right? So Watson pays for Claudia and Dawn to tag along! (Strangely, there is no mention of Jessi being left behind. Jessi who?)
No one realizes how completely unrealistic this vacation is. Most of us non-millionaires don't get to take our four closest friends on a cruise and trip to Disney. Nope. My friends are lucky when I drive them to Meijer.
Our next brush with BSCland comes with the departure of the cruise. It's a four day cruise. Four days. But when the ship departs, people are crying and yelling. It was like it was 1754 and the ship was a one-way trans-Atlantic cruise and the people would never see each other again. Seriously, BSC. It's a four day cruise.
Of course, the BSC & Company are involved in various shenanigans and hullabaloo and brouhaha on the ship.
There's a kid, Marc, that befriends Stacey. Marc-with-a-C is in a wheelchair and has an oxygen tank for an unspecified heart condition. Kristy becomes friends with an elderly widow, Mr. Stapes. Claudia has a secret admirer and a vacation boy toy on the side. Dawn has a not-so secret admirer. Mary Anne befriends Alexandra Carmody--a charming girl that has told different BSCers that 1) she's traveling alone, 2) her parents are dead, 3) she's traveling with her brother, and 4) Oh, yeah! Do you want to meet her parents? Byron and the other-juvenile-travelers-with-penises think that they have a treasure map. And, of course, the BSC wants to make the perfect travel gift for the Pikes and Brewers.
Dudes, get ready for some spoilers. I know, you're pissed. You hate spoilers. You were waiting to read all the BSC books on your own. After twenty-two years, it was time to read! You were ready. You had the fourteen books published before this one at the top of your to-read pile. You had your BSC-readin' game face on. Well, tough shit.
- Marc-with-a-C has a post-Disney open heart surgery. He survives. Miraculously, he makes a full recovery and no longer needs a wheelchair or an oxygen tank. Huh.
- Without considering the fact that Mr. Stapes is on the trip shortly after his wife died, Kristy decides to hook him up with Nannie. Why? 'Cause they're both old. Age as a common denominator is the only thing people need to have a successful relationship. Kristy really should be a matchmaker.
- Claudia's secret admirer is really her new boy Timothy. He kisses her under the fireworks and it's magical.
- Dawn meets this guy Parker and makes a big deal about what-kind-of-name-is-Parker? Judgmental much? Yep. That doesn't stop her from following him around like a stalker-ish puppy until he becomes her vacation boyfriend. They complete their little family by baby-sitting Parker's two step-brothers at Disney.
- Mary Anne's new BFF Alexandra lies to make things interesting. Okay. Mary Anne decides she could never be friends with Alexandra because she could never trust her. Dude, you've spoken to the girl...three times? and you're planning your long-term friendship? And when did she say she wanted to keep in touch with you? Or be life long friends with you?
- Byron & Company never find their treasure. They do find the bracelet that Dawn lost at Disney the day before. On the plane ride home, they meet a Dutch man with a very stereotypical accent that suggests to me that Annie doesn't understand that many, many, many Europeans speak better English than we do. The Dutch dude tells the boys that their treasure map is---how you say---a diagram of the innards of a copy machine. Something tells me that a diagram of a copy machine looks a little different than a map of an island. Well, that's an embarrassing mistake.
- The BSC makes giant photo albums and travel diaries for the Brewers and Pikes to thank them for the trip. The trip that was free for the Pikes. The trip that Stacey and Mary Anne performed slave labor for.
- How has Kristy never left Connecticut? It's a teeny state. It's 1/50 of the size of Michigan. Seriously. You walk over to your neighbor's house and BAM! you're in a new state. And what kind of craziness for travel was her eighth grade year? The other Super Specials have her hitting Hawaii, Europe, New York, and a cross-country road trip.
- Dawn is a big, fat traveling know-it-all. She's flown cross-country eleven times. That's nice, Dawn. That still doesn't mean that anyone likes you.
- This book was published in 1988. The younger kids all get to go into the cockpit. Ah, how times have changed.
- Kristy took Karen into the airplane bathroom. How big is that bathroom? Any airplane bathroom I've ever been in has been uncomfortably small for just me. Karen is six. I think she's old enough that she could use the bathroom by herself while Kristy waited outside.
- It is definitely mentioned that Stacey and Mary Anne are working for their vacation while Dawn and Claudia are on an all-expenses paid trip. Impoverished bastards.
- Kristy: It was awfully nice of Watson and Mom and the Pikes to take us on this trip--I mean, even if two of us are along as baby-sitters and sort of have to work for it.
- Okay, why didn't the whole club rotate who was watching the mini-Pikes? Stacey and Mary Anne are only getting an hour or two off per day. Doesn't the BSC want to spend any real time together? Don't they want to baby-sit? Or do Kristy, Claudia, and Dawn enjoy going on vacation to watch their friends slave away for less than minimum wage?
- Did I mention that Stacey and Mary Anne's hour break is spent at a BSC meeting? Kristy is holding meetings everyday so they can talk about the kids. Uh, only two of you are interacting with any kids.
- And who is taking care of the kids in Stoneybrook while the BSC is on vacation? Are Stoneybrook parents actually...taking care of their own kids? Do they know how to do that?
- Everyone's reactions when the ship leaves irritate me. Did Annie M. ever go on a cruise as "research"? Did she really think that people would be hysterical over the departure of a four day cruise?
- Alexandra is obnoxious. Traveling alone is a "bore." Because then she hast to make appointments for herself and talk to the purser herself. Dude, you're on a four day cruise!
- Why would there be a stowaway on a four day cruise. A four day cruise that is returning to the same spot it left from!
- Stacey is pissing me off. (Imagine me saying that with the Brooklyn accent I reserve for being pissed off.) She compares her diabetes to Marc-with-a-C's heart condition. Hm. Watching what you eat and taking insulin shots...or sitting in a wheelchair, hauling around an oxygen tank, and having life-threatening surgery. Yep, basically the same.
- On board the ship, Stacey has a diet pop while Claire and Margo scarf ice cream.
- Some brittle diabetic she is. Your pancreas is conditioned to react to flavors, not sugar content. Stacey's pancreas would react in the same way for a diet Coke as it would for a regular Coke. She's not doing herself any favors by switching to diet. That's science, dudes.
- Spider, a member of the superawesome band Insects, is on board! Too bad a spider isn't an insect. It's an arachnid.
- Why would the salon let Karen, a six-year-old by herself, charge a manicure to her cabin? Why would they let her get a manicure without a parent's permission? Oh, how times have changed.
- Why does Annie M. consider "needlework" to be a normal activity for thirteen-year-olds? It's not that common of a hobby! Even Laura Ingalls hated it! The BSC is the only time I've read about a character that went, "Oh, gee! Needlepoint! Now that sounds like a great Saturday night!"
- Claudia's secret admirer is more like a stalker. Much like in BSC #2, Claudia is completely unconcerned about this. If I found out who a stalker was, I assure you that my reaction would not be to make out with him at a parade.
- Someone else will have to tell me if Disney World is really as magical as the BSC makes it out to be. Because I haven't been to Disney since 1990. At the time, I was so busy trying to crawl and mastering the art of consuming semi-solid foods, that I forgot to make any life-long memories.
- Alexandra Carmody's parents are Viv and Vern Carmody! Whoa!
- Apparently, they're a famous singing duo. I picture them as more of the Donnie and Marie (except married and not siblings...) type than Johnny and June type or Sonny and Cher type. I get a hokey country western vibe from them.
- Karen gets lost at Disney for like ten minutes. Sadly, the popcorn vendor helps her find Watson and Elizabeth rather than shoving her under the monorail.
- Elizabeth says something about how she thought Karen would find her way to the carousel. Really? You lose a six-year-old at Disney and you just assume she's going to find you?
- I don't like when fictional characters go to Disney World. Mainly '90s television characters. ABC, I understand that you're owned by Disney. Does that mean that you had to send Corey Matthews, Steve Urkel, Michelle Tanner, and those kids from Step by Step there? And now, the BSC has to go there, too? Aren't any of these characters running into each other?
- Okay. I was honestly surprised that Karen didn't end up being the princess of the parade or whatever it was that Michelle Tanner was.
- What is with Dawn and Claudia getting vacation boyfriends? Vacation boyfriends that they're getting all hot and heavy with for only two days? Clearly, that's the beginning of two long-lasting long-term relationships.
- Where the hell were Sam and Charlie during this whole vacation? I bet they were those teenage boys I remember from the cruise I took--Walking around and asking women in thong bikinis (eww!) if they could get a picture together. Classy.
- Oh, goodness. The illustrations. Later Super Specials have some cheesy drawings. This book's illustrations were supposed to be photographs that the girls take. We know this from the Click! that is thrown into the middle of random paragraphs. Apparently, the BSC does not share Claudia's talent. None of the pictures show anything. There is one that shows a "flying" banana. There's a quality vacation memory.
P.S. Thank you for your sweet condolences on the loss of my little pupperoni. I'm adjusting to sleeping alone and not chattering to her all day. She will definitely be missed.