Speaking at the SCBWI-Florida summer conference in Disneyworld meant that I had one morning to go a park before my flight home. I picked the Magic Kingdom, because . . . well, come on, isn't that the one you have to choose? I had been to Disney as a kid, but the last was when I was fourteen, so it's been a while.
I walked around a lot, went on the rides I remember loving (despite the occasional odd look when, yes, it was just me, with no kid or companion). And I was going to conquer an old fear: Space Mountain.
In my mind, every time the phrase "Space Mountain" is said, I hear that ominous "dum dum dum" music of peril. Because when I was seven, I went into Space Mountain and honestly thought I might never come out. At seven, I was quite small--technically not quite tall enough to ride alone, but my mom had my younger brother, and the guy running the ride wanted to be nice. So I climb on in, all excited, but the seatbelt doesn't quite fit. No problem: there are little handlebars on either side of the car to hang onto. The ride starts.
It was the most terrifying experience I've ever had. I was convinced I was going to fall out of the car, and very distinctly remember thinking, "If I fall out, will I fall forever, like in space?" My mom also must have thought I was going to fall out, because she reached back from her seat in front of me and held onto the top of my foot. (Because, you know, that totally would have kept me from danger.) By the time the ride ended, and I tried to stand up, I was shaking so much, I couldn't. One of the poor workers (I think the same one who let me on in the first place) had to carry me out to where my dad was waiting for us with my younger sister.
I walked over to Space Mountain yesterday morning, fully intending to face the terror again. But it's closed for renovation. I guess I'll have to conquer this particular fear another time. . . .