Ahhh it’s our first Super Special! I’m so excited! I love the Super Specials for two main reasons: 1) usually the gang is doing something exciting outside of Stoneybrook and 2) we get the book from multiple points of view and perspectives, with the switching-off-narrating-chapters thing. In this first BSC SS, the girls accompany the Pikes and the Thomas-Brewers on a four-day cruise through the Bahamas and then three days at Disney World. Lucky eighth-graders, I’d say!
Turns out Mr. Pike won a contest at work and the prize is this trip – all-expenses-paid – for his whole (huge) family. Since the Pikes have forty-seven children, they call the BSC to see if Mary Anne and Stacey can go along like they did when the Pikes went to Sea City. Of course the remaining members of the BSC are jealous as hell, and when Kristy mentions it to her millionaire stepfather Watson, he books the same trip for Kristy’s whole family – and invites Claudia and Dawn along, too.
“Watson said he couldn’t leave any members of the Baby-sitters Club behind.”
If I were the Pikes I’d be like, “why you gotta bite my style?” But I guess, what’s the point of being rich if you can’t take your family and their friends on a cruise, right? (This also seems unfair because now Kristy, Dawn, and Claudia get to go chill on the cruise while Mary Anne and Stacey are working. But anyway.) So now twenty-one Stoneybrookers are en route to their cruise/Disney vacation. Right after take-off Margo Pike throws up, of course. #BarfBag Kristy has never been on a plane before so she’s like “WHOAAA” and Dawn’s like, “Kristy, I’ve been on literally millions of planes”. Shut up, Dawn. Go eat a carrot.
The gang lands in Florida and arrives at the dock where their cruise ship, the Ocean Princess, is waiting for them. They’re in awe of its size and the fact that on deck are pools, a beauty parlor, a health spa, a barbershop, a cafe, a disco, stores, and restaurants. The ship is huge, but the rooms are tiny – and Kristy, Claudia, and Dawn have to share one for a week. This wouldn’t be such a problem is Dawn and Kristy didn’t have an Odd Couple thing going on (Kristy’s messy and Dawn’s neat) and if Claudia didn’t bring seventeen suitcases (one is probably just filled with quirky earrings made of forks and feathers).
On their first day on board, Dawn manages to fall butt-crazy in LUV with a gorgeous boy who seems nice but evades her question about who he’s traveling with and runs away. Whoops. Mary Anne sees a girl who looks about her age but way more sophisticated (more in Stacey’s league) who’s traveling alone – she implies she’s an orphan and she’s at the beauty parlor getting ready for a date she has that night. Her name is Alexandra Carmody. Mary Anne is impressed, as Mary Anne tends to be. Mary Anne, Nicky, and Vanessa also see a stowaway – a sandy-haired boy hiding in a life raft who runs away when he’s spotted. HIJINKS! ADVENTURE! STRANGERS!
Meanwhile, Mallory has just read Harriet the Spy and carries a notebook around the ship with her. In it she writes observations about the strangers on board – like Alexandra Carmody, who is apparently an actress (that’s what Mallory overhears, anyway). She also makes note of a sad-looking old man who seems to be alone, and of a boy named Marc in a wheelchair who has people behind him carrying oxygen tanks and medication. But THEN the most exciting thing happens – she sees Spider, a member of her favorite band The Inspects. She almost faints and doesn’t quite have the courage to ask for his autograph. And then before she gets a chance to recover from that, she too spots the sandy-haired stowaway. Holy ship! It’s gonna be a spy-worthy vacation.
Karen wanders around and gets a manicure and overhears Alexandra Carmody saying her aunt is a countess, which is why she’s paying for things with $100 bills and not asking for change. Karen also charges her manicure and drinks to Watson’s cabin without permission – I really respect that. Work, Karen Brewer, work. When I stayed at the Ritz once my favorite thing was “charging it to the room”. That being said I have $0 compared to Watson Brewer, so… ouch.
Dawn and Kristy are causing some tension and annoying Claudia with their messy/neat argument, but she can’t be bothered because at breakfast she gets a note from a Secret Admirer that says “I think you are beautiful”. (I hope it’s not from Watson…) The ship stops in Nassau for the day and the girls split up to explore the island. Claud’s on her own, but every time she goes to take a photo she sees a “mysterious figure” jump out of the way. Is someone following her? Is it her Secret Admirer? Apparently! Because after Claudia shops a bit, she sits down to rest and finds another note: “I still think you’re beautiful”. Then, when she goes to the Seafloor Aquarium, she’s told that her admission has already been paid by “the young gentleman”. Her S.A. strikes again!
She goes shopping again and wants to buy a beautiful pair of mother-of-pearl earrings, but they’re much too expensive. Later, though, she’s at a restaurant and her Coke is delivered with the earrings and a note that says From Your Secret Admirer! Whoa. Who is this guy, and can he please stalk me for a while? (Provided he’s not just gearing up for full-on murder.) Back on the ship, Kristy makes the BSC hold a meeting (really?) but there’s no club business, so everyone has a free few hours ahead of them. Stacey heads up to the top deck to watch the stars and meets Marc, the little boy in the wheelchair.
“It’s just impossible for me to ignore anyone who’s sick or hurt or handicapped.” – Queen Stacey
Marc tells Stacey he can walk just fine, but that he has a heart problem and can’t do anything that gets his heart rate up too much or leaves him out of breath. She hangs out with him until his parents come back and then she returns to Claire and Margo. There’s a storm coming, so the boat is pitching side to side a little and Margo barfs in the trash can. Poor Stacey. But she and Claire have fun watching objects fly around the room, and when they wake up the weather is fine. The tension between Kristy and Dawn still exists, though, so Kristy heads to the pool to literally and figuratively cool off.
At the pool Kristy ends up talking to a grumpy old man named Rudy Staples, a widower who isn’t really having fun on the cruise because he doesn’t fit in and he misses his wife. He is, however, reading Kristy’s grandmother Nannie’s favorite book, so she strikes up a conversation with him and confides in him about her family and her tiff with Dawn. She teaches him how to play video games and he teaches her how to play shuffleboard. Kristy doesn’t think it’s weird to become besties with an old man, but she does think it’s weird that Dawn tidied up their cabin, and she’s furious enough to cancel their daily BSC meeting. (But I mean, who needs a meeting when you’re on vacation anyway?)
The Pike triplets (Byron, Adam, and Jordan) and Nicky Pike, along with David Michael Thomas, are all obsessed with finding treasure on one of the islands or the ship or even at Disney World. Byron finds what he thinks is a treasure map and they’re all wound up. He tries showing Dawn but she couldn’t care less because she’s DTF that gorgeous boy she saw on the ship and she’s been following him around like a zombie the whole trip. They hadn’t spoken since the first day but they’d been making googly eyes at one another. Then, when the ship docks at Treasure Cay, he comes right up and asks her to take a walk with him. They finally introduce themselves – his name is Parker Harris – right before Parker asks to hold Dawn’s hand. These kids move quickly!
Parker and Dawn decide to spend the next day – their last on the Ocean Princess – together as well. They win a tin loving cup in a ping pong tournament (beating Kristy and Rudy) and Parker says Dawn can keep it. They eat, swim, and talk about their families. Parker bitches about the fact that his dad remarried and now he has two little bratty step-brothers. BSC warrior Dawn is like, “erm…” but Parker is too gorgeous for her to get annoyed at how entitled and selfish he sounds. They go to the arcade and the movie theater, and take photos in a photo booth. Dawn decides – without asking Parker – that Parker is her first boyfriend and that she’s in love.
Mary Anne is stuck following the triplets, Nicky, and David Michael around while they search for treasure on the Ocean Princess (yeah, good luck, guys). But while she’s hanging out waiting for them, Alexandra Carmody – glamour girl orphan actress with the countess aunt – strikes up a conversation with M.A. She says she’s unhappy with her haircut and that her brother said it looks like someone took a hacksaw to it. M.A.’s Spidey senses are tingling and she finally puts two and two together: in the salon, Alexandra had said she was traveling alone. But now, she was with her brother? M.A. asks why she’s not with her parents and Alex says because they were killed six months ago and she’s an orphan. M.A. explains about her mother and thinks they bond a little. But why had Alex lied about her brother? (Probably because she’s a shitty person, Mary Anne. Life isn’t all rainbows and teddy bears.)
Stacey spends the day with Margo and Claire Pike, and they end up running into and hanging out with Marc, the boy in the wheelchair. It’s good for him to have fun with kids his own age. They also run into Claudia and Stacey gets a glimpse of Claudia’s Secret Admirer paying for her ice cream, but he gets away! Claudia, however, is determined to find him. She runs outside and smack into a blonde guy who claims he saw a boy run out of the ice cream parlor and away. She’s frustrated and tells the boy about her Secret Admirer and how she wants to meet him and the boy – his name is Timothy – is like “maybe he’s shy and wants to do nice things before he approaches you?” and she’s like “yeah!” but isn’t like “HEY- ARE YOU HIM?” Turns out Timothy is from Connecticut, too, somewhere not too far from Stoneybrook. And he wants to spend the next day at Disney World with Claudia and she’s like “DUH OKAY” cause Timothy’s a stone cold fox. She’d like to meet her S.A., but maybe it’s fate that she met Timothy instead (or maybe he is your S.A., Claud… sweet dumb Claud). After Timothy walks her back to her cabin, Claudia lays down the law with Kristy and Dawn and tells them to stop their goddamn fighting. TELL EM, GIRL!
Dawn decides to spend her first day at Magic Kingdom with Parker. She’s blasé about the whole thing because she’s from California and she’s been to Disney Land so many times, but then she almost barfs on Space Mountain. HA! Serves her right. Luckily, Parker is a total gentleman and gets her some flat soda to settle her stomach and takes her shopping. Dawn buys a glass unicorn charm from a souvenir shop and fastens it to her antique gold bracelet. Then they run into Parker’s family and his dad asks them to watch the two boys for an hour and a half – the boys Parker called brats. Dawn, however, thinks the boys are sweet. She and Parker have fun with them – until Dawn realizes she lost her bracelet and the charm. Parker buys her a new unicorn charm but unfortunately the bracelet can’t be replaced. Dawn is still pretty stoked, though, when Parker kisses her on the cheek at the end of the day. PRIORITIES, DAWN.
Mallory, meanwhile, goes off on her own to do more spying. Some of her entries are just… really?! “A big group of people goes by. They are wearing matching t-shirts. They are very loud (the people, not the shirts). I think the people are retarded.” Finally she finds something interesting to do – follow Alexandra Carmody, who’s walking around with a boy close to her age and an older couple. Mallory eavesdrops and finds out that Alexandra is with her parents and her brother – which is weird since she told Mary Anne she was an orphan traveling alone. Mallory also finds out that Alex’s parents are a famous singing duo named Viv and Vernon Carmody. TWIST!
Mallory informs Mary Anne, who is disappointed – how awful to lie about your parents being dead, to someone whose parent is actually dead. When Mary Anne sees Alex again she confronts her by saying “You are a liar!” and ignores her the rest of the day, even though Alex follows them from ride to ride… until Margo throws up all over her shoes. Hahahaha. Stacey is tasked with watching the triplets, Nicky, and David Michael as they search for treasure at Disney World. Byron finally finds some treasure – but it turns out it’s Dawn’s lost bracelet. Karen Brewer steals my heart again by lying and saying it’s her birthday at the breakfast with the Disney characters so everyone will sing to her. “I loved being right in the middle of things, with everyone thinking about me.”
Stacey spends her last day at Epcot with Margo, Claire, and Marc Kubacki and his parents. The kids have a blast but Mr. and Mrs. Kubacki tell Stacey that Mark is having a very risky heart surgery soon and might not survive. It’s bums her right the fuck out. For a happier moment, everyone on the trip gathers back in Magic Kingdom for the parade and fireworks. Claudia is there holding hands with Timothy and who should pop up? Alexandra Carmody. Who, by the way, is Timothy’s sister… meaning his parents are Viv and Vernon Carmody, too. Of course Claud went on vacation and managed to bag an Osmond/Bono-type offspring. Killin’ it. Then Alexandra drops the bomb that Timothy is Claudia’s Secret Admirer too (duh). Mary Anne is like “why do you lie so much?” and Alex is like “to get attention, duh”. (Fair enough, grown-up Karen Brewer.) Oh yeah, and turns out it was Timothy who was hiding in the raft that everyone thought was a stowaway. (Honestly… stowaways? In the 80s?) S’all good, though. During the fireworks Timothy plants a big ol’ kiss on Claudia.
Finally it’s time for the BSC & co. to head back to Stoneybrook. Everyone says goodbye to their new friends and boy toys and flies back to Connecticut. Oh and P.S.: the boys’ treasure map was a Dutch photocopier diagram, and Marc Kubacki’s surgery was difficult but he survived, and as a gift the BSC gave the Thomas-Brewers and Pikes an annotated photo album.