So I have decided that on this blog I am going to do a weekly feature called "The Creepiest thing". I will try to have a new edition up every Friday, and it will be just whatever random thing that creeps me out I feel like ranting about. So brace yourself for the first ever TCT!
This week The Creepiest Thing is:
Disneyland's "Dark Rides"
For those of you not clued into "amusement park lingo", a dark ride is:
"an indoor amusement ride where riders in guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sound, music, and special effects." Quoth Wikipedia.
I am native California girl, I grew up in Southern California. Like a good many other middle class, southern California based families, mine had annual passes to Disneyland for the majority of my childhood.
This, of course, meant many many many trips to Disneyland. And when your humble narrator, Spooky Pie, was but a Spooky Cupcake, I had a nearly masochistic relationship with said dark rides. They were fun and exciting to a child, most things that have happy music, bright colors, and things that move are. But as much I loved to go on the rides, they also pretty much scared the crap out of me.
Specifically the ride called "Snow White's scary adventure".
If you aren't from California, or have never been to Disneyland, or, whatever, here's a ride through someone on Ye Olde Tube of the Yew taped for your benefit. Yes, just yours, no one else's.
As a little girl I loved the opening with the woodland animals and the dwarfs celebrating, but when it degenerated into the haunted forest I was gripping onto the cart with white knuckles and trying hard not to scream, cry, pass out, or do all three. And that's the sort of thing that sticks with you. Even returning to Disneyland in my adult life, I still freely admit that I get heart palpitations riding that thing, because you just can't let go all together of something that scared you that badly as a child.
Also, like most children, I had a horrifically over-active imagination. And the moving audio-animatronics in the dark rides were just the kind of fuel I needed to get all worked into a tizzy. Young me was 100% positive that not only were those things alive, but that they were might want to come down from their displays and get me.
And let's face it, it isn't like the stories in these rides were all together pleasant. Hell, most of the Disney movie I've re-watched as adult have made me go
"wow... this is really messed up... I can't believe I watched this as a kid.
Oh Disney, way to go around traumatizing children.
Unfortunately, for me anyway, my latent phobia of these rides was made worse a few years back. My arch nemesis/love "Snow White's scary adventures" broke down. And I don't mean in the way that rides occasionally break down and a pleasant voice comes on over the music telling you that "The ride is experiencing technical difficulties and we will have you back on track momentarily".
No, no, it REALLY broke down. The had to turn the lights on and have everyone get out of their carts and walk through the ride to get to the exit. You don't fully realize just how nightmarish those rides really are until you see them "behind the scenes". They might be scary in the dark, but this is one case in which it is actually scarier in the light.
That traumatic experience coupled with my childhood issues with audio-animatronics made me start to really, really fear having the ride break down whilst I was still in it. Yes, I've been on the rides when they went down, The Haunted Mansion has "technical difficulties" all the times, and I have gotten stuck sitting in one section of it for a reeeeeeally long time. Long time in the sense that not only did I learn ALL the words to the Haunted Mansion graveyard song, but I thought I might weep openly if I ever had to hear it again.
(In case you might be wondering, I got over it really fast, and every time I go to Disneyland I still end up riding the Haunted Mansion at least twice in a day)
You see, it wasn't so much the stopping that bothered. Sitting in a faux graveyard full of unrealistic ghouls was not something that phased me at all (repetitive ghost song aside). It was the idea of being stuck next to one of those creepy doll/robot/things that made my blood go cold. If you're moving past them it's all well and good, it's when you are potentially trapped in with those nightmarish looking things that the phobia part starts to kick in.
Case in point, your humble narrator once in the not too distant past was on "Alice's adventures in Wonderland" when it broke down. My little pink caterpillar buggy, of course stopped right in front of the Mad Tea Party scene.
That was the point, gentle readers, in which yours truly (in true 'Fear and loathing in Las Vegas'/Hunter S. Thompson style) yelled:
"WE CAN'T STOP HERE!!!!!"
And then, of course, I proceeded to attempt to vault over the safety railing of my bug vehicle to run for glory. However, as I was starting to wiggle my way out the ride started back up. It was really for the best, I doubt the Disneyland employees would have looked fondly on my running out of the ride on foot, screaming like a madman.
Of course, for the rest of the day (and basically the whole time up to the present since the horrible 'mad tea party incident) my friends who were on the ride with me took great pleasure in making fun of me for my barely avoided hysterical melt down. There were/still are numerous "We can't stop here? Why? Is it bat country?" comments directed at me.
I stick to my guns though y'all. In the same situation all over again, I probably would have acted the same. Throw any horror movie you like at me, I'll be fine, they don't scare me. Those are things happening on a screen nowhere near me. Just don't make me sit next to one of those audio-animatronic nightmares.
And before you judge me on this one guy, think about how much you would like being stuck next to one of these horror-shows.
All images in this entry from Daveland Web