Land of Mickey reminds of dreadful horror experience

Tis the season to have your pants scared off you, but this time of year, I’m never in good cheer.

Sorry if the Christmas jargon is confusing, I only write what I observe in Wal-Mart and Target, and this time of year, usually St. Nick is seen sneaking in the back door of retail giants.

It’s only appropriate to weave the yarn of the worst scare of my youth. It didn’t even happen around Halloween, but rather a much deadlier place: Disney World.

I was around 7 or 8 when my parents first took me to the land of giant mice and the like. And, much like most children, I had a ball. I distinctly remember having an adorable little autograph book that I would shame the Disney characters into signing for me. I never ran into Donald; the pants-less fowl was probably busy gracing the table of a Chinese buffet.

Disney World’s rides were so kid-friendly, too. Bright lights that shone like stars made Space Mountain a dazzling memory instead of a rollercoaster nightmare.

But unfortunately, Tomorrowland, where both aforementioned rides are located, held by far the greatest terror I had ever experienced.

I can’t even remember what the ride was called but I can describe the experience like I’m still there as a terrified second-grader.

The ride was science fiction-themed, something about scientists transporting a live alien into the glass pod at the center of the circular room. Theater seats sat in a circle around the tube, and each seat had some kind of harness.

The room went dark as the center of the room stayed lit. A narrating voice described the process of transporting live species, blah blah, and then the dials buzzed and lights around the glass tube flashed.

The beast could have looked like the xenomorph species from the “Alien” films, but I honestly don’t remember in the least.

Suddenly, the lights went out and the room was in complete darkness. I heard banging and crashing noises, along with the triumphant scream of the alien. The lights flicked on long enough to show the glass tube shattered.

To make the ride even more terrifying, the theater chairs had speakers right by the occupant’s head and a hot mist that sprayed on your neck to simulate the alien breathing on you.

I screamed like a kid who had seen Ronald McDonald morph into the clown from “It.” Some teenage girls in front of me screamed just to scream, so I screamed louder.

My mom, sitting next to me, reached out to comfort me, “Daniel, it’s OK, I’m here!” As she tells the story, right after she did that, I yelled, “Ahhh! It’s the alien!”

I couldn’t tell you how the ride ended. Apparently there were no warnings posted outside the ride, and other parents were as angry as mine were.

I’ve been back to Disney World since then, and as far as I know, that scary alien ride doesn’t exist anymore. It’s been replaced with a Lilo & Stitch family friendly experience.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall during the emptying of that suggestion box.



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