In honor of Father’s Day being yesterday, I’d like to share one of my favorite (and most terrifying!) bonding moments with my Disneyfied Dad.
It was on my 7th birthday trip when I dared to board a most uncommon elevator for the first time. 😉 I had heard about Tower of Terror for a while now. I decided 7 years old meant I was a big girl, and I too could ride one of the biggest thrill rides WDW had to offer.
When I was very little, my Dad took my family on a business trip that just so happened to have at Disney World. After Hollywood Studios shut down, his company got to experience the park after dark. He and his coworkers got to ride Tower of Terror, and I believe this was his first time ever riding it! When he got back to the hotel, he raved about it and told me all about how I’d like it when I was older. I didn’t believe him-ghosts and a dropping elevator? That ride sounded like a nightmare! However, I promised him I would go on in a few years and we made a pact that we’d ride it together
Fast forward to our annual Disney vacation 3 years later, and I was ready…or so I thought. After multiple Disney trips where I would stare up at that large bustling “hotel,” I finally dared to enter it with my Dad. I’ll never forget hugging my mother goodbye (yes, I still am this dramatic) for fear I’d never see her again. My heart was thumping harder than I’ve ever felt and my palms were sweaty. I remember my Dad asking me if I was really scared because he’d never seen me this way before for anything like Big Thunder or Haunted Mansion. There was just something about a freefalling ride that sounded TERRIFYING. However, I am always up for adventure, and I wasn’t backing out.
The music in the queue gave me chills, the statues sufficiently creeped me out, and by the time I smelled the must inside, I could have ran right back to my mom. But I didn’t. I waited to be checked in by the first bellhop who stared at me all the way to the library. These CMs weren’t fooling around!
My Dad tried his best to prepare me with what would happen, but the library SCARED me. It was dark, I thought it really was lightening outside, and the movie was intense. I remember at one point during the movie, I whispered up to my Dad, if we were just going to drop right then. I still feel like this was a valid question considering the Tower of Terror is marketed kind of like a freefall ride with no seats in some early promotional material from a few years back. Anyways, I was terrified already so when I learned we then had to wait in the dusty old boiler room, my almost seven year old self was almost ready to use the chicken exit!
However, I made it to the loading platform. And before I knew it, I was tugging on the yellow strap and bracing myself for impact. I’m not kidding. I was absolutely shaken by everything leading up to the actual drops. I actually kept my eyes open to see the ghosts and all of the detail, because I had heard so much about it. But by the time our cart was magically shifting itself to the other side, I was not just holding my Dad’s hand or arm, but actually squeezing his neck. I’m not quite sure why I thought that was a good idea, but I did. In my mind, I needed something substantial to hold onto, and that did the trick.
I proceeded to scream my heart out, all while accidentally wringing my Dad’s neck. The families around me were laughing, but I didn’t notice. I was just told this afterwards…and am still reminded to this day. And yes, we bought the photo from this ride, because it is absolutely hilarious. It really deserves to be framed on the wall. The whole cart has their hands up, smiling, laughing, having a ball…except for little me, who is not only squeezing her eyes shut, but squeezing her Dad’s neck. He is just laughing in the photo with one hand up, and one hand trying to stabilize me.
After ride #1 though, I was hooked. We rode more times that day and it has become my favorite attraction in all of WDW. I am actually OBSESSED with watching old Twilight Zone episodes, and that is another thing my Dad and I bond over. 🙂
Happy Father’s Day Dad-I’m sorry for causing you lack of oxygen on our first real thrill ride. I’m glad we have had many more successful visits to the Tower since then. Here’s to many more!
The Pixie Dusted Princess