29 August 2011

A world of fears

We all have them, those attractions that churn our stomach at their very mention. It may be a deep seated fear of an attraction, you had a bad experience, or it really just isn’t your cup of tea. Whatever they are, there are those attractions that we scratch off of our touring plans and simply try to ignore when we pass by. But what are they, and why do we despise them so? Sounds like a question for those meddling kids at the roundtable!

Roundtable Topic: What is the one attraction you always avoid at Walt Disney World, and why?
Roundtable Contributors: Matthew Sedler (the geekTicket), George Taylor (Imaginerding), Fiona (DF’82), Melissa Loflin (Makin’ Memories), AJ Wolfe (The Disney Food Blog), Chris Fore (Adventure Veranda), D.J. Jones (The World of Deej), Eric Hoffman (Netmongrel), and yours truly.
Matthew – This is a really easy question for me. Mission: SPACE is by far the one attraction at Walt Disney World I will not ride ever again. I can get incredibly claustrophobic, and those cabins are like coffins to me. Add to that the fact I'm prone to motion sickness and Mission: SPACE becomes a nightmare for me. The one time I went on Mission: SPACE, I even opted for the Green Team. I've been on a gigacoaster that I almost blacked out on and I would probably ride that again before I step foot on Mission: SPACE.

Daniel – What attraction do I always avoid? This is an easy one. Sure, there are plenty of attractions that I never visit, like Mission: Space and everything in Fantasyland, but if I was at the park with someone dead set on going on these, I'd surely tag along. There is one attraction, however, that I will not visit under any circumstances....Stitch's Great Escape!

You may be asking yourself, "What's so bad about Stitch's Great Escape? It's harmless." Well, my aversion to this abomination of an attraction is not due to what it is, but rather what it once was...Alien Encounter.

Picture it....Family vacation, 1996. It's a cool March afternoon, and our entire family decides we should check out the still relatively new Alien Encounter. At nearly 15, I was at an age that I'd take on just about anything, but even I knew my own limits, and since I was scared of the dark (I still am) this ride didn't bode well for me. We entered the theater and I took a seat between my Dad and younger brother, thinking they would protect me from whatever horror we were about to face. The ride begins, I close my eyes tight, and spend the next 18 minutes of my life wondering if this is what hell really is like. The flap of the alien's wings, his breath against my neck, the guts of some poor soul being splattered on my face. It was all more than I could take, and were it not for the harness around my neck, I would surely have ran out of the room....

If I thought the ride was bad, however, it was nothing compared to the years of ridicule I have endured from my entire family. Imagine a 15 year old boy shrieking like a little girl, and holding his Dad's hand for support on a ride.....at Disney! Obviously, I still carry quite a bit of shame, but now that I'm twice the age I was then, I can find the humor in this story.

But not even a shop selling nothing but hot glazed donuts would get me to set foot in that building ever again....

George – This is going to garner some hate, that's for sure.

We don't do Kali River Rapids since our first visit to the Animal Kingdom in 2000. When we were exiting, people saw us and turned the other way. We were so wet, that we left puddles for the rest of the day. It is a ride that we don't find a lot of fun. Another attraction we skip is Dinosaur. It is too jerky and loud for us. If you have ridden the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, then you realize that Dinosaur is a poor man's copy. Our family is not very fond of non-traditional roller coasters, so we avoid Expedition Everest. It is the backwards part that does not agree with my wife and kids.


So, when we go to the Animal Kingdom, what do we do?

We like the safari. We like It's Tough to Be a Bug. For some strange reason, my kids love Primeval Whirl. Beyond that, we don't do much in the Animal Kingdom. I guess that is why we haven't been there, as a family, since 2008. We tend to want to spend our time at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

I guess, the short answer is that we enjoy the other parks at Walt Disney World and tend to not enjoy the Animal Kingdom, as a whole. For me, it seems like we spend more time getting to, parking and entering the park than we spend enjoying the park. Plus, we have one of the best zoos in the world in North Carolina. I know, the Animal Kingdom's early slogan was it's nahtazu!

Melissa – There is one attraction in all of Walt Disney World that I don’t ever plan to ride again. That ride is Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I hate anything that deals with water rushing at me, or being dunked under water, so this ride is definitely on my NO list. That’s not to say I’ve never tried it. I rode it, once, and it proved my point. I ended up on the side of the raft that went down the hill backwards, that got stuck under a downpour of water, and I came off the ride soaked. Not fun. I’m not a fan of walking around the park soaked to the bone. I’m really not a fan of panicking while the water is rushing at me. Ergo, I’m not a fan of this ride. At least it’s not a great ride that I’m bailing out on. I mean come on; this ride could be so much more than it is. It’s trying to tell a very important story, but I think it goes by so quickly that people who don’t already know the story just miss it entirely. I will admit that I hate missing the detail in the queue area, so maybe one day I’ll just walk through and then skip out on the ride. Is there a chicken exit for Kali??

Fiona – I can't say there is any attraction at Walt Disney World that I specifically avoid. I have had to think about this one long and hard. I can't really think of any attractions I don't like to do, or avoid. I thought about saying Snow White's Scary Adventures, mainly because ever since I rode this when I was 8 years old it has always been scary to me! But I think that I should focus on one that although I avoid, I don't do it for bad reasons.

So the only one I can think that I go out of my way not to do is the movie at the China Pavilion. I don't have a really good reason as to why I do this - except for the fact that it is the one attraction I have never done in all my visits to Walt Disney World! And the more I visit, the more proud I am that there is one attraction or show that I have never done in my life. Although I adore the pavilion, and I love looking around the buildings and the architecture, I manage to steer clear of the movie itself.

AJ – The first attraction to "slip my mind" on each visit is Alien Encounter. Or is it Stitch's Alien Adventure? Or Stitch and His Alien Friends? Or "Be-Strapped-To-Your-Seat-And-Watch-Stitch." Not sure what the *full* title is these days.

While this may be a Tomorrowland gem, I've never really been a fan. Stitch is not one of my favorite characters, and the humor in the show is a bit lost on me. Plus, unless I'm going upside down very fast, I don't like to be strapped into something I can't get out of quickly in an emergency.

I know I should give this one a chance once in a while, but I just keep bypassing it. And apparently so do plenty of other folks.

Eric – One attraction we definitely make a point to avoid is Stitch's Great Escape. This attraction, a revamped version of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter that came before it, re-uses much of the technology and sets of its predecessor. This ride just does not do it for our family. Your time in line is awarded by a pretty lame, predictable story line, your shoulders get pressed down as Stitch runs through the crowd ("oh gee Stitch, please stop walking on us, you are so crazy..." yawn), and a few puffs of smelly, "belchy" air blown in your face after the little alien consumes a chili dog.

I can say the audio-animatronic Stitch does boast some impressive, fluid movements. Oh, and it spits water too.

My family loves the Stitch movies. Well, some of them. We love the Stitch character too and make a point to get a picture with him every time we visit the parks. However, there is nothing in this ride that makes us ever want to return. When Disney decides to replace this ride, I for one will not mourn the loss one bit.

Chris – It has been a long time indeed since I found myself on the track at the Tomorrowland Speedway. It's not that I have anything in particular against the attraction, but looking back I can't remember the last time I queued up for it. I suspect the fact that I don't attend WDW with little ones is a big factor here. I think location also plays a role. With the Mad Tea Party on one side and the TTA PeopleMover on the other, I'm usually looking past the humble Speedway no matter which direction I travel. A Tomrrowland Speedway with all-electric (or fuel cell) cars would no doubt bring me back, but until then it is likely my only views of the track will come from the TTA.

Ryan – The one attraction I avoid like the plague? Well, I’ve mentioned it here and there throughout the years, but it is, in fact, Space Mountain.

When I was four, and my cowlick reached just above the height requirement line, my dad took me on Space Mountain. He had me pumped up for this attraction I had only ever seen the building for. We got in our rockets, back in the days when could sit in between someone’s legs and have one belt for the pair, and blasted off!

I spent the entire time dead silent with the words ‘why did I do this,’ running through my head.

Afterwards, after we got outside, my dad asked if I wanted to go again. According to my mom I gave an enthusiastic yes, with a look of sheer terror in my eyes. It should go without saying, she did not let me back on Space Mountain that day.

I spent the next twenty odd years avoiding any rollercoaster that called for more guts than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. These days, I’ll get on any rollercoaster and have a blast the entire time. In fact, I’ll even do Space Mountain, but if you happen to convince me to board those rockets with you, be prepared for me to clutch my seat and scream like a little girl the entire time, the mental anguish is buried that deeply in my subconscious.

It has often been said that every attraction is someone’s favorite attraction (I didn’t think this was true until the day I found someone who was upset to see that Sounds Dangerous was closed). The reversal of this logic is that every attraction is also someone’s least favorite. The question is, what attraction do you avoid, and why?


V @ No Privacy At All Around This Place! said...

I avoid Tower of Terror and Splash Mountain because I HATE the feeling of drops. I don't mind going fast or even upside down, but a big drop - no thank you! I know this is heresy and the theming of those rides are amazing, but it's not worth the fear and anxiety I'll experience before, during and after.

Ben from RI said...

It's hard for me to pick a specific ride I avoid, as I try and see as much as I can every time I go to WDW. However, when I was a kid The Haunted Mansion was a ride no one could get me to go on. I didn't ride it until I was 17 years old. Now I love it! But one thing I've never done is go to see the Hall of Presidents. I know it's an amazing attraction and a great line buster, but there is so much to do and see I can't imagine sitting and listening to politicians speeches instead of running around on Tom Sawyers Island. But other than that I'm game for anything.

prttynpnk said...

All I'm going to say is that Gary Sinise tried to kill me once and I won't let it happen again!

jonnyku said...

There is only one ride that I just will no longer do... not because its on the hallowed ground of Horizons... but because I should not feel that bad anytime I get off of any ride! barf bags on board... I know there is a green team line but what is the point! push a button while you sit 5 inches from a tv screen! So my most commonly skipped ride is Mission Space... err torture! NASA obviously is not calling me to join anytime soon!