All this talk of theme parks and rides lately reminded me of a story that happened a few years back. But, to tell it, we’ll have to step into our handy dandy wayback machine. So…gather your belongings, keep your hands and feet inside the wayback machine and please…no flash photography.
The year was 2004. Lance Armstrong won his 6th Tour de France, the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918 and The Great Laxey Mine Railway of the Isle of Man is re-opened (thanks Wikipedia!). The kids and I (and their mother (eye roll…puke)) took a trip to Walt Disney World. Sarah was, at the time, 7 years old. And your friendly neighborhood jman? Well, I was 33 years young. Awwww…those were the days. Painful, painful days. Before the caffeinated bliss of coffee.
Anyway, we had planned a trip to Walt Disney World that year. One of Sarah’s friends visited the world’s happiest place right before we did. She talked incessantly to Sarah about the Tower of Terror, and how much fun it was. Of course, Sarah wanted to go on it in the worst way. I had been on ToT several times years prior, and knew just how much “fun” it was. None at all. I’m no fan of drops and that’s all the Tower of Terror is…drops. Multiple drops. Multiple, multiple, horrible drops.
The days leading up to the vacation, I tried talking little Sarah out of it. I talked that girl up and down about the horrors of the ride. But, nope! She still wanted to go on…
Are your seatbelts still fastened? Good. Cause we gotta fast forward a bit in the wayback machine. And…you! In the back! I SAID NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!!!
Lets fast forward to the day the kids and I went to the then named MGM/Disney studios. Sarah and I headed to the back of the park where the Tower of Terror stands. I tried reasoning with her as we walked to the ride, cause God knows, I didn’t want to go on it. But, still…Sarah insisted.
There wasn’t much of a line for the ride that day, we moved through the outside of the queue pretty quickly. The thing with the Tower of Terror’s queue is the further you get into it, the more ominous the tone of the ride becomes. Sarah started lagging a bit behind.
“You sure you wanna still do this, honey (honey? Yea…I was nice back then)? I asked, waiting for her to catch up.
She looked around at the queue, the pipes and such that lead you to believe you’re in the boiler room of a huge hotel. “Yes, Fadder.” Sarah eventually spoke up. Not very convincingly, I might add.
We continued winding our way through, until we finally reached the “loading dock” and the “service elevators” that make up the actual ride. There were a few people in front of us waiting to get on.
I looked down at Sarah, who’s expression was clearly not one of excitement. We watched as the “service elevator” doors opened, and the cast members ushered the people in front of us inside. The elevator doors closed and off they went…into the Twilight Zone.
It was just about our turn to go through the turnstiles and meet our destiny, when I spoke up. “You know” I said, looking around the place. “We don’t have to do this.”
“I know.” Sarah replied after a moment of consideration.
I continued examining the room, looking at everything but her. “We can just tell everyone that we went on it. They’d never know the difference.” I suggested with a shrug.
“Yea?” Sarah offered, unsure.
I shrugged again. “Who’s gonna know?”
“No one.” She paused. “I guess.”
The next service elevator pinged and the doors opened, ominously. The cast member started herding people into the empty elevator.
“What do you want to do?” I asked, finally looking at her.
She shook her head. “I don’t think I want to do this.”
“Next!” The cast member called out to us.
“Yea?” I asked, trying to hide my glee.
“Yea.” Sarah nodded taking a step back.
I didn’t wait. I jumped right on her hesitation. “Let’s get out of here!” I said grabbing her hand.
“Next!” the cast member called out again.
“Never mind!” I called back to him. “We’re just gonna…” I trailed off, nodding my head to the ride’s entrance.
“Good thinking!” The cast member scowled behind us.
“Excuse me…”I said as we parted the line. We quickly made our way back through the serpentine we only moments before walked through. It wasn’t until we were outside that I spoke up. “It’ll just be our secret.” I said with a laugh.
“Ok.” She giggled. We stood at the entrance to the ride, laughing at each other.
After a few moments, I took her hand. “How about we get ourselves some Tower of Terror T-shirts, anyway?”
“Yea!” She agreed excitedly.
And we made our way to the little shop at the ride’s exit…
Sorry, Sarah. Guess our secret’s out now!
And that concludes our trip in the wayback machine. Ummm, I’ve used up a lot of words here. I don’t have any more to spare to get you back to present time. So…good luck getting home!