I love a scary ride as much as the next person. Scary roller coasters, plunging from great heights, I’m there. But it wasn’t always like that.
When I was little, I was terrified of going upside down on a roller coaster. I was fairly convinced I would fall out and die. My parents never pushed me to ride anything that scared me. They let time and peer pressure do the work. And for that, I am very grateful.
A year or two ago, I saw a mother who was not willing to let time build that courage.
We were in line for the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and there was a woman who was a marine with her children just in front of us. The boy was totally psyched for the ride, but the little girl was terrified. Once you get into the “Hotel,” you are taken into a side room where they show you a little Twilight Zone video. It’s not really that spooky. It’s just a way to set up the experience.
But the little girl thought it was real. As soon as the video ended, the little girl started screaming, “don’t get on the elevator!” We all filed into the line to get on the actual ride, and she was pulling on guests, begging them not to get on the elevator. She was crying to her mother, begging her not to get on the ride. That little girl legitimately thought that everyone who walked through those elevator doors was going to die.
Her mother picked her up and, rather than trying to explain that it was all just pretend, told her daughter she was going on the elevator whether she liked it or not. For ten minutes this girl screamed in terror, until they got to the front of the line.
The mother growled, “get in the elevator,” and the Disney line attendant stepped forward and said very sweetly, “Oh no ma’am, she’s not getting on the elevator.”
The mom growled. “She’ll be fine, she’s riding.”
The line attendant smiled and said, “she’ll be waiting on the other end of the ride,” took the screaming child by the hand, and walked her through the escape door.
But I really have to respect that little girl. She tried to save hundreds of people from a demon elevator, even though no one believed her.