Saturday, January 30, 2010
Mission: SPACE - The day I almost died at Disneyworld.
I guess Disneyworld would have been a pretty cool place to die. At least Cathi would have had a great story to tell.
Mission: SPACE almost killed me that day. When I say it almost killed me, I mean just that: I was hanging by a thread, ready to become a stiff version of my former self. The Grim Reaper was sitting next to me, asking if I would be needing the complimentary motion sickness bag hanging over my head.
I almost got off the ride, crawled through the corridor into the gift shop, curled up in the corner, next to the $30 plush Goofies and the $8.00 lolipops and went the way of all flesh. Almost.
I should have known better.
Several people have been taken to local hospitals for chest pain and nausea after riding. Most who complained of these symptoms were over 55 years old. Two people have died after completing the ride, although due to pre-existing conditions - one, a 4-year-old boy, with an undiagnosed heart condition, and the other, a 49-year-old woman, from a stroke due to high blood pressure.
It could have been three. It SHOULD have been three. I closed my eyes and could see my beloved wife telling me that she would be okay, just walk toward the light, she would find another lover.
But death would not be taking me that day. I emitted an aura of Yospe bravery previously unseen by mankind. No, not during the Great Depression, the World Wars, and the Y2K bug has any Yospe shown the great bravery that I showed that day.
Warnings throughout the attraction caution that people who do not like enclosed spaces, spinning, or are prone to motion sickness should not ride. Signs also warn that the ride may cause nausea, headache, dizziness or disorientation, and that people prone to motion sickness, or who have a headache or an inner ear problem, or who have a history of migraines, vertigo or elevated anxiety also should not ride.
I refused to give up the ghost. I could feel my lungs crushing in on themselves. Sweat dripped from my brow as I gripped my control panel. Every fiber of my being seemed to become mushy, like the fiber in Malt-O-Meal, not the fiber in fiber-rich bread. That fiber would have been the fiber in my being BEFORE the ride.
The attraction exposes riders to forces up to 2.5G, more than twice the force of gravity at the earth's surface (effectively multiplying a rider's weight by 2.5). A few months after the ride's opening, motion sickness bags were added within easy reach of riders.
As the craft accelerated, I could feel the skin start to peel off my face. I like the skin on my face. This is probably my most favorite skin on my entire body. I began to wonder, is this really Disneyworld? Where are the cute, singing robotic animals?!
No one responded to my call for help. I cried louder. Could the ride operators not hear my plea for life? I wanted to live and my calls for living went unanswered.
Several people have been taken to local hospitals for chest pain and nausea after riding.
I glanced at Lincoln sitting next to me and his expression was one of fear. This was not Space Mountain or even Jet Star II. This was a Disney-ized torture chamber and we were the lab rats.
I could see Walt Disney hovering above my head, eerily laughing at my extreme anguish. Why was he laughing? And why was Neil Diamond rubbing his back? He hasn't even died yet. My hallucinations continued.
There are also signs which instruct the rider to keep their head flat against the headrest; if one ignores this, the centrifugal motion acting on one's head can cause undesirable effects such as dizziness and/or headaches, or possibly even more serious effects.
Our craft landed on Mars, my heart palpitating through my chest, no blood left in my face and the banana smoothie I had just eaten making it's way up my esophagus. If there would be a return trip to earth, there would also be a return trip for my banana smoothie to earth.
Also featured on the attraction are various labeled buttons and switches which the rider may play with but do nothing; they are only there to add to the realism aspect of the ride.
Trust me, there is not a button that stops this ride.
I held Lincoln's hand and whispered him a sweet goodbye. I told him that he was now the man of the family. I told him to tell his mom to remarry. She could do much better than me anyway. However, I am not sure he could hear me as it looked like he was about to pass out. I ask him about that day now and he just nods his head and says, "I don't want to talk about it dad." I don't want to bring any more harm on the poor boy.
At long last, there would be no return trip to Earth. The hatch doors opened and my harness released. I rolled out of my seat and onto the cold concrete floor. EPCOT had gripped my throat in it's cruel, cold hands and squeezed.
The nearest garbage can became the new home of my old smoothie. It did not taste as good the second time.
I grabbed Lincoln's hand and we headed to meet mommy. Much to my chagrin, she had not remarried or even dated during the time we were gone. I thanked her for her faithfulness and then fell into her arms, weeping with joy. I told her about the Grim Reaper sitting on my left, about the vision of her telling me to go toward the light and about Neil and Walt's torrid affair. I told her that she had to go on it just to see what it was like, but if she did not make it, I would not remarry.
I had escaped death that day. The ghosts of Disney would not be fetching my soul, for I wast brave and I wast a survivor.