I’m Going To Disney World, Part 7: Beating My Roller Coaster Phobia

So I’m going to just jump right in here and go out of order. When we last left off, we had made our way to Magic Kingdom at opening time, we had taken cute photos in front of the castle, and then we had booked it to meet Elena of Avalor.

Imagine beating your lifelong phobia of roller coasters at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. And then imagine it as a full-fledged adult when it happens!

The thing is, there are two significant things that happened (to me) that day, and it was beyond the usual magic, glory, and making your kids’ dreams come true. Even when you’re hot, you hate crowds, and you’re really darn thirsty. That aside, I’ve been telling my travel story in chronological story but I want to combine two stories that took place that day – one in the morning, and one in the evening. I don’t want to split them up. I want them together because otherwise, we all know I take long in between stories. It might be another week or two! Or more! Until you can hear the second story – which is needed.

Am I rambling? Of course I am. It’s all about this:

roller coaster

And sometimes even this:

I’ve never been a rides person. When I was a kid, I’d stay behind with a book, an adult, or a snack, while my siblings went on all sorts of rides. As an adult, it was more of the same. I’d stay behind with Des or a snack, or I could hide behind my camera and be the family’s “memory keeper” instead of joining in all the fun. Then over time, Des became more ready for rides.

It was three against one now!

That’s my friend’s dad (above) – taking Scarlet on the Wiggle Worm. Yes. My adulthood ride phobia was SO BAD that I couldn’t even set foot on a kiddie “roller coaster.” I used to go on more rides as a kid, but I’d start to get panicked on even easy rides. You see, phobias aren’t rational. Maybe FEARS are, but phobias speak to innermost demons and depths. We’re not as qualified to get rid of them as we are with fears. And granted – it’s not always a phobia. It can also be a lack of interest or dizziness:

It’s always amazing when your kids DON’T inherit your fears, hangups and potential phobias, and it’s even better when they’re the ones to make you change – slowly at first, and then almost.. nonchalantly. Like.. “I got this, guys.”

As if you haven’t spent over 30 years in fear.

It truly started three years ago at Universal Studios. Scarlet wanted to ride with me on Pteranodon Flyers. On the ride description, it clearly states “Canopy Flyer Coaster” and I saw that last word and got so scared! I was shaking. Still, I rode it AND in style. It made my stomach tickle and I was happy it was over, but points for riding! The relief at the end was fantastic.

It sways!

That was followed by years of inactivity at fairs and Disney World, though. I wouldn’t budge! Over time, when I learned to work through panic in other areas of my life, it seemed to bleed into this one. I felt less phobic. I went on two kiddie “coasters” at two local fairs over this past summer. They were nothing scary but I felt a deep sense of accomplishment. It was more than that, though. It was the way I nonchalantly got on them with the kids AFTER OVER 30 YEARS OF NEVER BUDGING!

There was no struggle or fanfare. I just.. did it. And it didn’t go unnoticed by my family!

The pressure was ON for this year’s trip to Disney World, especially since we had had a FastPass to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train last year and I had chickened out! Scarlet and Cassidy enjoyed it. This year we had an evening FastPass to Mine Train, just so I could think about it all day! We had a rigorous morning and then headed to the Storybook Circus section of Magic Kingdom. Maybe we had a Dumbo Fastpass – I don’t remember. Scarlet and Cassidy wanted to go on The Barnstormer and Des said he did too. Cassidy said he’d have to go on it twice, with each kid, and I just blurted out, “I’ll go too.” I felt like this:

(This isn’t The Barnstormer, obviously. This just evokes an emotion I had.)

Why did I say that? It was too late to take it back. Cassidy praised me for stepping up and taking one for the team.

I was shaking in line. A man behind us told me it was scarier than Mine Train, mostly because it hurts his back! The kids and Cassidy held me and comforted me. We got on. It started. It was kinda awful! I knew the minute it started that I had never REALLY been on a roller coaster. I thought it was a stomach tickling feeling. This was beyond that. This was brain bending and whipping around and insanity. It ended, quickly, and they asked me my favorite part of it and I said, “When it ended!”

I was so relieved to be off of it, that I took an hour or so to bask in that. We did other rides and my stomach and brain came right back to earth, although it wasn’t motion sickness. Just phobia-related stuff! We had such a fun day, but it was always looming in my head that we had to do the Mine Train. I asked Cassidy if I could chicken out, because I had already paid my dues and didn’t have the interest in a repeat, and he looked at me incredulously. Why chicken out at this point in time?

This was the chance of a lifetime!

Scarlet and Cassidy went on Big Thunder Mountain Whatever, twice, after a family ride on Pirates of the Caribbean – and YES, even that small drop in that one makes me nervous. You’re probably thinking, “What drop?” Right? Right. I’m telling you – phobias are LEGIT. I was nervous. I let them pull me through the FastPass line to Mine Train. Scarlet wanted to sit with me, and Des with Cassidy, so the two of us newbies could have a Mine Train veteran next to us. Cassidy tried to put us in the front row. I glared at him. We sat in the second row. I felt like I was walking to my doom and destruction. I did NOT feel good.

The ride started..

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Holy cow! I screamed and laughed the whole time. It whipped me around, this way and that, so fast I thought I’d get dizzy – or die – but neither of those things happened. When we were coming out of the mine for the biggest drop – the most gorgeous sunset greeted us and we all gasped. Then it was over and I was sad it was over. I can’t WAIT to go back. There’s a lesson here – about phobias and trying something twice to be sure. There’s also a lesson about doing the Mine Train around sunset.

And that, is freaking THAT! What else can you say? Amen!


I’m Going To Disney World, Part 7: Beating My Roller Coaster Phobia — 40 Comments

  1. We never went on the Mine Train last year, because we had a Fast Pass, but it was cancelled due to lightening in the area. When we were allowed to use the Fast Pass after lightening passed, we couldn’t get another Fast Pass for the Mine Train sadly. So this is one I am hoping we get to do this time out. I have two chances July and November though and hopeful to get to it at least once if not twice. Fingers crossed 😉

  2. OMGoodness, the Barnstormer, the baby of rollercoasters that Madison made me go on at least 3 times lol. I’m not big on roller coasters myself but my kids, especially the oldest are adrenaline junkies. The higher, the faster, the crazier the better. I prefer to stay on the ground. We had fast past to the Dwarves Mine Train in February and Madison said at the last minute she didn’t want to go, you could have felt my relief. 🙂 Might do it when we go back in July and we’ll also be there again in October.

    • I didn’t think it was a baby coaster! It didn’t feel good! Especially for adults. Although the Mine Train felt fabulous. I miss that!

  3. The guy I’m dating wants to take me to an amusement park; he loves roller coasters… me not so much, I have a hard time catching my breath. But for the sake of facing some fears I said Yes, even he was surprised. Wish me luck Tamara; I hope I can channel a little of your braveness. I love all of your pictures, the kids look so happy.

  4. What an incredible story, Tamara. And you know what? I’m so proud of you for going! There’s a weird thing there with phobias, and you’re right–none of them make sense, but all of them stretch deep, and sometimes there’s no rational understanding of WHY something fills us with nerves. GOOD ON YOU for facing your fears and getting on that Mine Train and showing it who’s boss 🙂 PS: For a frightened woman, you sure do look adorable!

    PS: I don’t like the motion-sickness inducing rides. Did a few of those at Universal and damn near lost my lunch. NO THANKS! lol

    • You’re so right. Saying things to me like, “It’s just a little coaster and my three-year-old likes it!” doesn’t actually help at the park. (one guy did say that) Phobias don’t make sense. Beating them DOES make sense, though. It feels pretty awesome!
      (Thanks about the photo! When it was taken, I think I was actually ok and not scared anymore)

  5. I’m able to do the Mine Train as well! But I refused any others at Magic Kingdom. My kids did Space Mountain on their own.

  6. Oh I had no idea. I have a mild form of ride anxiety, as in I will never ever go on the tower of terror or any more six flags style roller coasters. I’m too old to do something I don’t enjoy. But the mine train looks so fun. It must have been a huge deal for you to do that zip line in Alaska. What you did here was amazing and I am proud of you.

    • It’s really fun! And to be honest, it was easier to Zipline because I haven’t had a lifelong phobia of that! And heights aren’t a problem. It’s something about loss of control. In a zipline, you have more control than a roller coaster. Or maybe you think you do..

  7. Amen for sure! I could have written almost this exact story, with my husband playing the part of you. He has such a phobia of rides. On our last trip to Disney he rode Mine Train and loved it. I’m so happy for you!

  8. I’l bet you thought you weren’t going to see me today. ;0) – but I saw this one and I had to click. I’m sooooo proud of you. Imagine how much fun it will be next time you go!

    • Darn, now I can’t remember if I would have been surprised to see you that day, since I’m over a month behind in comment replies. But.. I’m always HAPPY to see you here, so there’s that!

  9. Woohoo, good for you for looking your phobia dead in the eyes! I don’t mind heights or rollercoaster, but they’re more difficult now than when I was a kid. Like, I seriously got a little nervous when I was going up that ramp with your children on that mine ride last summer!

    • aww! I can’t believe how much I chickened out. I was so up in arms because of my upcoming Alaska trip that I didn’t totally feel well that day. And traffic. AND, I got to spend time with Eve during that! Maybe one day we’ll all go on it together.

  10. I like the giant swings and any flume. I’m not a roller coaster girl, but my daughter and I rallied last year and went on an old wooden one at a park up near us. We felt like we’d conquered Everest we were so proud of ourselves! Too funny….

  11. Good for you!! I’ve been on several rides, but the day I rode the tilt-a-whirl was when I realized my dreams of being an astronaut were not likely to happen.

    • Thank you! I had no idea at what point in the ride they were going to take the picture, but I probably would have looked at the camera!

  12. I don’t think the rides at Disney are that bad. But ever since I turned 40, something about the motions really wig me out. I rode with the kids last summer in Vegas, the roller coaster on NY, NY. I almost threw up. I am officially retired!!!

  13. I was with you on taking one for the team next time the opportunity presented itself until the man said it hurts your back. I had no problem with rides until I was older. Now the “fear” is that it will hurt, I’ll get a back spasm or a major headache.

  14. I agree that phobias are legit and irrational!! And I even tell people that you don’t have to be diagnosed to really say you have a phobia (although I don’t know if that’s true, lol). I love rollercoasters though. The more challenging, the better. I’m happy you did it! It isn’t easy but I find it liberating.

    • I think it’s true! Phobias don’t require an official diagnosis, do they? I don’t even know if I ever had an “official” diagnosis of PTSD although I certainly have it!

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