Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Toto, we're not in Disney World anymore

Eight trips to Walt Disney World in five years...and yesterday we went to Six Flags over Georgia. What were we thinking?? Well, DD and I got free tickets from school, so we only had to pay for one ticket, gas, and food (which is as expensive as WDW and not nearly as good). Now, we live less than an hour from Six Flags and seriously NEVER go. DH and I went about 5 years ago, just the two of us. I sat and waited for him to ride roller coasters most of the day. I don't do roller coasters. Well, I didn't....

I do have to say that Disney World has both spoiled me and done me a favor. The favor first...I have always been scared -- no, terrified -- of heights, and roller coasters were never in the picture for me. I had no desire at all to ever get on one, even "small" ones. When DH and I first took DD to Disney World, she was not quite 3, so there was very little that she could ride -- we spent most of our time in Fantasyland. But DD and I also waited for DH to ride Space Mountain. He offered to keep DD while I rode. NO WAY. I WILL NOT RIDE A ROLLER COASTER, especially not one in the dark.

The next year when we went, DH wanted us to ride Splash Mountain. He told me how much I'd love it, given that I have an old Uncle Remus book and grew up reading the stories since I was little. We read them to DD and we knew all the characters It sounded good...we walked up and I saw that 45-degree, 50-foot drop and NO, NO, NO I AM NOT GETTING ON THAT!! For heaven's sake, people are screaming going down that thing. NO!!

He finally talked me into it by reasoning that the ride is many minutes long with a beautiful story and the drop is over in a few seconds. I became convinced that I would love the ride. Long story short, yes, it is a BEAUTIFUL ride, and it was very meaningful to us. The first little drop spooked me. The second one scared me. When we started going up the hill for the big drop, I started screaming, wanted desperately to climb out. I yelled at him, "I'm going to beat the S*** out of you when we get off this thing!" Needless to say, he was laughing. Which didn't help. I was terrified out of my mind. We splashed down, got wet. I was okay -- ALIVE, BREATHING, CONSCIOUS, NOTHING WAS BROKEN. I said I would never get on THAT THING again. Let's see....in 7 visits since, I've ridden it probably 50+ times.

Over the course of much conniving and cajoling, I have by this time ridden -- and grown to love -- every ride at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, including Tower of Terror, California Screaming, and my all-time favorites Expedition Everest and the much-too-short Rock 'n Roller Coaster. A friend of mine on a Disney message board convinced me: Disney will never hurt me! Lessons learned from that have carried forward so that I was able to ride the Scream Machine, Ninja, and Mindbender at Six Flags. The verdict? Scream Machine: not too scary, way too rough, jerky, and bumpy. HATED IT and couldn't wait to get off. Ninja: Smoother ride, but jerked my head from side to side into the not-very-well-padded headrest. My ears hurt. Nope, not for me. Mindbender: there we go! Smooth, easy, not too high, just right. Loved it!!

So, that is the favor that Disney World has done me in regard to simple amusement parks -- enabled me to enjoy them as more of a participant and less of an observer.

Part II, How Disney Has Spoiled Me, will come later.