Revisiting the Past at 37 and 63: Everest Isn’t Space Mountain

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If I didn’t look exactly like my father I might claim I was adopted. Why? Because no one in my family likes rides of any sort and I was born to conquer any and every coaster, spinner, or scrambler placed in my way.

This fact made our first family trip to Disney a bit of a challenge. I was 13 the first time we went and my younger brother and mom were definitely not ride people. After telling them Big Thunder Mountain was a lot like a train ride, I got them on it only to almost lose the rest of the day at the park because they didn’t feel well. Now I had a major problem. We had not yet reached the one ride I really wanted to go on: Space Mountain. And now no one in my family was going to be up for it. What would I do? I wasn’t brave enough to go on it alone. Would I have to miss it?

When we reached Tomorrowland I got my answer. My dad said, “Let’s go get in line.”

I couldn’t believe it but I didn’t dare ask if he was kidding. The two of us said goodbye to my brother and mom and joined the line.  I don’t remember all the details of that wait but I do know back in 1986 we had no entertaining video games to keep us busy while we waited and waited. I think it seemed especially long because I could sense how apprehensive my dad was about going on the ride. I was a bit nervous myself because at that time I was not the experienced coaster-freak I am now.  There were no Fastpasses so we stood for a good hour to ride Space Mountain. Looking back, I think the build up was a big part of what my dad didn’t like about the ride. That and the steep drops in the pitch dark.

When we finally reached the front of the line we tried to sit quickly in the awkward seats. It seemed so strange having to just sit between his legs and not have a seat of my own. That just bothered me as it didn’t seem safe, but I figured Disney hadn’t lost anyone yet. And then before either of us could have another worry between us, the fun began.

I remember darkness with flashes of light. I remember it seemed really bumpy and jerky. I remember being thrilled that I was getting the experience.

We got off the ride and I babbled non-stop to my dad. We found the other two and my dad said “Well, I’ve done that. I don’t know that I need to do it again.”

Flash-forward 24 years. This time it is my husband with me and my parents at Disney. It is the summer of 2010 and we are at Animal Kingdom for the day. My parents are trusting my expertise in the park. They come but not as often as my husband and me. Things have changed just a bit since I was 13. This 37 year old has realized that because she married a no ride guy but still loves rides she HAS to go by herself because I WILL NOT MISS OUT! So I fully expected that the only difference this time would be that Jim would have some company while waiting for me as I went on the rides.

That’s why I was shocked as we headed towards Asia and the Forbidden Mountain. I was going to do single rider line as it looked like I could walk right on (even though the wait time was 50 minutes).  The next thing I know my 63 year-old father was telling me he was coming with me! I said,  “Are you sure?” I looked at him checking for unknown head injuries.

After confirming that he wanted to try this we got in line. Even with single rider we were on the same ride, just a car or two away from each other. I don’t really remember much of the ride (I’ve been on it many times before) because all I could think the whole time was “I can’t believe he’s on this ride. What is he thinking? Please don’t let him get sick!”

Soon enough it was over and he appeared to be in one piece. We quickly exited and found the rest of our party. Dad said” By the time we were about half way through, I wanted to get off.”

I do believe his coaster days are behind him. I on the other hand, have another date with Everest on June 30, 2011.

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