I spent the past week — my kids’ spring break — in DisneyWorld. Long time readers will remember that we went there last year as well. 2012 was my maiden voyage. This time, we had our sea legs, though the circumstances were somewhat different. In 2012, the five of us stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and rode the Disney buses and ate the Disney meal plan. In 2013, we stayed in a large rental house with extended family and drove to the parks every day. This year was also much more crowded, because it was lots of people’s spring breaks. I saw signs for rides actually claiming the wait was 210 minutes. Who would do that to themselves?
We did a lot of FastPass-ing instead. This is Disney’s system where you commit to come back to a ride at a certain later time, and thus get to bypass the line. This is critical for the more popular rides. Some of the most popular rides? The roller coasters. I did not go on any last year. I had never been on any before, and I didn’t think it sounded particularly enjoyable to hurtle through the air, possibly upside down, especially if I had to wait in line to do so.
But this year? After two years of Disney, I’ve realized that all rides are short. A few minutes at most. I can deal with almost anything for a few minutes. I took my 5-year-old on the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom and realized it was billed as one of the more adventurous ones. It was really not that intense. So I started to wonder if other rides were doable too.
We were traveling with my almost 10-year-old nephew, who of course wanted to go on the rides 10-year-old boys want to go on. My sister-in-law took him on many, but on Tuesday at Animal Kingdom, my husband was supposed to take him on Expedition Everest between 4:45-5:45, before we were all supposed to go eat at Red Lobster at 6. Then he had a Really Important Work Call come up at 4:30 that went to 5:15. We’d set the ride time at 5:05 to make dinner. So, come 5:05 when he was still on the phone…I took the FastPass and my nephew and…
…I actually kind of enjoyed myself.
It was a sudden decision, so I didn’t have time to freak out about it. The ride was fast and we went hurtling backwards and up through the dark at one point. I realized that one of the things people love about roller coasters is that they give you sensations that you don’t normally experience. There is no other occasion when I would find myself hurtling up and backwards in the dark. So I whooped the whole time and found it over far quicker than I thought it would be. I got off laughing. My nephew was a bit scared, though he will deny that if questioned.
Having conquered Everest, I decided to tackle the Aerosmith roller coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This one goes upside down three times. But the inversions were fast and almost like you were spiraling up into orbit — not terrifying at all. And being in the dark looking at the ride’s version of Los Angeles street signs was a dazzling visual experience that was over far too soon. It didn’t hurt that we were rocking out to Aerosmith during the ride.
I can’t say that I will start seeking out roller coasters on any future trips. But the takeaway was that just because I haven’t tried something before doesn’t mean I won’t like it. I use the same line with my kids and new foods. Why shouldn’t it apply to me too? Life is better lived than avoided. To be sure, I didn’t like skiing all that much. But even if you don’t like something — and I wasn’t that fond of the Mission Space “intense” training I went on with my nephew at Epcot — it’s often over before you know it. Everything, pretty much, is.
Are you the roller coaster type?
That’s me in the back of the blurry photo somewhere in the middle of the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, starring Aerosmith