As I perused a Universal Studios Orlando guidebook in advance of our recent spring break vacation, my stomach started feeling queasy. Just the descriptions of the rides, which I figured my sons would love, made me stop and ponder the wisdom of trying to enjoy myself in a theme park.
It made me think back to when I was eight or nine years old, riding the venerable Tilt-A-Whirl for the first . . . and last . . . time. I screamed so loudly at those first couple whirls that the operator stopped the ride and escorted me off. It was extremely clear to all—especially everyone else I traumatized—that going around in circles was not my cup of tea (as well as heights and sudden accelerations).
Since then I’ve been understandably wary of amusement parks. But when you have two boys who got their father’s love-those-thrills gene instead of my totally-chicken one, it’s important to take one for the team every now and then.
I present for your humble consideration Exhibit A above. This was the Test Track ride at Disney World, our 2003 spring break vacation. I wanted to put my (obviously bogus) bravery literally to the test (track), agreeing to go on the ride one time. As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed it (ha ha!) and never rode it again (but the boys did, going on it six more times).
So why in the world did I think I could actually go on a ride at Universal? Because I foolishly figured that the one I chose, Men In Black: Alien Attack, was like the innocuous Buzz Lightyear arcade ride at Disney World. I loved that one! I went on it multiple times with nary a whimper.
Know what? It wasn’t the same at all.
The guidebook said that there were several spins during the ride. However, it did not describe them in their more accurate term: Death whirls! Oh, my goodness! The devil must have designed this torture trap.
As my head went one way and my stomach the other, I remembered something that C.J. had told me. He said that when he started screaming during the ups and downs, roller coasters weren’t as scary. So guess what I did. Yep, I screamed through every revolting revolution.
I definitely felt better. However, certain other occupants of the car were mortified! But just for awhile. Since then they’ve teased me about my bellowing bout many, many times.
At least it made for a great story for them to tell . . . probably forever!