We're on this crazy ride, we've been here several times before—the kids love it. The lights go out, they know the good part is coming—they're delirious with anticipation. I remind them to adjust their safety belts super-tight (The Husband smirks—has anyone EVER in the history of the world been injured on this deceptively simple ride?). We're all grinning, especially me, because the last time we came here this ride was inexplicably closed.
Here we go!
Eight thousand giant octopus arms lunge towards us, giving new meaning to the term “3-D”. Even though the rational part of me realizes that we are protected and safe, I feel like I could almost reach out to touch the components of the ride—a feat in engineering. Whoever came up with this concept is a genius (and probably a multi-millionaire to boot).
Thump-thump-thump! Whoooooosh, whirrrrr! Damn, they have great sound effects. (Truth be told, even though I remember this classic from my own childhood, I had blocked out the sounds—was it always this loud? or am I just getting old?) Now the water part (or should I say, the “appearance” of water). It's so life-like, I can practically feel the rain. First a quiet storm builds. Suddenly a Category 3 Hurricane! The ride is bumpy. Metal screeches (is it supposed to sound like that?).
I look at Short’s face: he alternates between having the time of his life and sheer terror. I'm relieved—no tears yet. “Mommy! Listen,” his face nothing but two giant blue orbs reflecting drops of "rain", every time here the first time.
The violent hurricane is over, now we're entering the loud wind tunnel (the sound is deafening, forcing me to contemplate ear plugs for the next adventure here). Tornado! We experience every version of the weather firsthand. I feel like we are being pushed to another dimension.
Like all wonderful amusement park rides, this one's over way too fast. Tall and Short say in unison, “Again!” and The Husband and I both laugh, because we know we'd have to wait in that long line all over again. Once I complete this ride, I don’t feel compelled to go back right away. Maybe another time.
The Husband runs his hand through his hair as if the “water” really did get him. He shakes his head, then reaches for my hand. He leans in to me and says conspiratorially, “Hon, they sure do love that, don’t they?” I nod.
Secretly, this has always been my favorite, too. (I had always hoped the boys would like this even though they were small. I used to try to take them on it, telling myself that this time would be different: please, God, no tantrums! Complete strangers loved to offer their unsolicited opinions—it might scare them, they're not old enough yet. These nosy people would stare at us, judging me for ignoring their well-intentioned warnings—it’s too loud, they’d scowl, or you’ll be sorry—it’ll just make him cry! Ha! If they could see us now. The risk has obviously paid off.)
The Husband whispers, “No one cried this time. I think they might finally be ready for Disney World. They’re old enough now, they could handle Disney, don’t you think?” He is reading my mind.
Our car wash days are over.
(“Magical Otherworldly Vehicle”)