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 6: When I was 11..

When I was 11, I was in sixth grade.

You are getting a picture. Oh, how you are getting a dang picture.

When I was 11, all of the elementary schools were spit together into one school and it was like everyone was tossed up in the air and then landed on a different side. Sixth grade was the year I faked sick so much that by November, I had hit the allotted number of days you’re allowed to take off for the entire year. I’m pretty sure I was not really sick even one of those days.

When I was 11, and in sixth grade, I once flushed the toilet with the door open and then ran to drag my mom back to the bathroom to show her (the lack of) evidence that I had just thrown up. When anyone who knew me, and very much my mom, knew that I don’t throw up. It was also the year I prayed to the gods and goddesses that I could just break my ankle or my wrist or something drastic but not too drastic. Nothing as bad as throwing up but something that could make me miss school.

When I was 11, I decided that sixth grade could really kill you, but I didn’t die. I didn’t die.

When I was 11, I knew for sure I had lost my childhood best friend, but..

When I was 11 I made new odd duck friends like me – floaters and free spirits.

When I was 11, I had the most awful perm, and the chemicals were in my top three worst smells of all time (don’t ask what the other two were because I don’t want to remember). Also, the perm didn’t grow out for THREE LONG YEARS.

When I was 11, the hit song on the radio was “Tears in Heaven” and while I knew it was about the loss of Clapton’s son, that was a pain I couldn’t wrap my head around. (still can’t) I thought it was about my father. Would he know my name?

Would he help me stand, if I saw him in heaven?

When I was 11, my grandfather took three of us (mom, older sister, me) to Disney World and it was my first time staying at the resort there. It was my first time staying past dark – to see the electrical parade and the fireworks. It was my first time having tear-inducing rides fears, and it has stayed with me for a long time. You may say that I broke that curse recently.

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

I LOOOOOOVE breaking curses.


When I was 36, I didn’t understand how on earth anyone survives being 11, or survives parenting an 11-year-old, because my kids are so young and seemingly unruffled, and dear God, if you thought I was bad then at fighting injustice, inequality, intolerance, and bullying. (and I was BAD. I have stories that come out in therapy..) Well. You didn’t yet meet the Mama Bear version of all of that. 11. I’m glad I’m not there anymore/yet. I’ll work my way there, slowly and surely, if you don’t mind.

When I was 11


Now, where were we? This day. THIS day.

I know it’s been awhile since Part 5. We had a really terrific time at Hollywood Studios – getting autographs, watching the light show and fireworks, and falling asleep in an exhausted heap at our “Lightning McQueen Hotel.” It rocked! The big prize for most of us is Magic Kingdom, though. We slept through the night and woke up to another beautiful day in Orlando. We had a decent breakfast at our resort and headed to the park! We were early and it was delightful! The train was under construction, so after we passed through friendly security (somehow) we could stand near the castle until the gates opened.

There was a good morning show, and we switched cameras with other families to get complete family pictures.

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

Then we were IN! We had a few things for FastPASS, but all scheduled in the afternoon. This was by design. We got to the park before the gates opened, and we’re fairly fast (most of us), so we had a goal in mind after our walk through Main Street.

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

..all to make it to our destination! Who is Scarlet admiring?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s not this one, although there was mutual admiration there too:

When I was 11.. is the Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF) prompt on this wonderful #StPatricksDay. Link up and read about our annual trip to #WaltDisneyWorld

Next up, I’ll give you a hint. Actually, I’ll just tell you because I’m good like that. It’s Elena of Avalor! Next up – princess meetings, clamshell bras, admiration, a first roller coaster for at least two of us, and TONS of MAGIC.

Link up!

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “When I was 11 years old…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.