Disney Ride Terror: Amusement Parks Should Be Renamed 'Stress' Parks

Cynthia Dermody
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disney's twilight zone tower of terror

Had I heard about the man who fell off a tower at a Disney park before I took my 5- and 7-year-old to a local amusement ride/water park yesterday, I might have made up an excuse not to go, like "the park is broken today" or "we need to stay home so burglars won't come in and steal all your toys."

But we went, and we rode, and we had fun in the sun ... even though the day still ended as I predicted it would, with me popping ibuprofen and crashing for 12 hours last night to recover from all the stress. Those rides scare the s**t out of me.

The guy falling 25 feet while waiting to get on Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Anaheim, California, yesterday was not due to any ride malfunction or safety lapse. This 20-year-old was a drunk fool who was messing around and fell off the stairway leading up to the ride, a drop thrill ride in a haunted elevator through a formally elegant hotel. He's a little banged up, but he'll be just fine. Heck, his inebriated state probably helped him not to shatter every bone in his body.

But what of my 7-year-old, leaning over the railing, at least 25 feet high if not more, of the stairs leading to the water slide ride that requires you to be at least 52 inches tall, meaning I had to wait for him down below with my daughter, who was not tall enough? All those bigger kids, pushing and messing around, I wanted to go up there and scold them all, but my son said he was old enough to wait by himself and didn't want Mommy around.

And what of the "Flying Dragon," which screeched and squealed its metal parts every time it 'flew" 20 feet up, giving me palpitations. I'm pretty sure most rides are not supposed to sound that way. And those twirly teacups spun so fast I thought for sure my 5-year-old slip of a thing daughter was going to fly right out.

Luckily, I did a good job of hiding the fact that I was a nervous Nelly all day and my kids had a great time. But next time, my husband is definitely coming along with us to bear some of the worry. And I'm staying home.

Does it scare you to let your kids ride amusement rides without you?


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