Terror at Disney World! (Or why I don't do water slides any more)
Have you ever experienced genuine terror while on a theme park ride?
I have, and I'm not talking about the fun "fear" you get on Disney’s “Tower of Terror” or the vertical drop on “Oblivion” either. I’m talking about real, honest to goodness, "Sweet baby Jeebus, I am about to die!" terror.
I was with some friends at Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World, Orlando and after some lazing around in the tubes and riding some of the easier slides we decided it was time to tackle Summit Plummet, one of the tallest, fastest, water slides in the world.
After queuing in the heat for quite some time my friend and I got to a point where the path in the queue forks into two, one fork for Summit Plummet branches off for the less scary looking “Slush Gusher”, a bumpy water-slide. Here was where we made a huge mistake; as the Slush Gusher queue was far shorter and so foolishly we decided to ride that instead.
In hindsight, I should have realised my mistake just from the way the people in the other queue were looking at me as if I was insane for switching to the “lesser” looking slide.
A very short queue later it was my turn to ride, and I was guided into the top of the chute by the cast member (ride attendant). I gave myself a shove down to start my descent as instructed and for the first few moments all went well "Wheee" I thought as I began accelerating down the chute, quickly reaching a brisk pace.
Then, my world turned upside down as I hit the first little bump!
I am sure anyone reading this is now thinking "big deal", however let me explain... By the time I had reached this bump I had accelerated to about 35mph and was completely blinded by the spray from the water, also I had not realised that as I gained a little air from the bump a great deal of water would get under my body, significantly reducing my body friction and giving a pretty good impression of weightlessness (bear with me here). On reflection this is all pretty obvious, however, to me, on my ass, blind, and hurtling down a fibreglass chute at speeds which now felt like I was approaching 100mph it felt like I had been launched completely out of the chute! (picture the effects of a ski jump).
At this point blind panic took over. As far as I was concerned I was mere moments away from being ripped apart on the (fibreglass) rocks and scenery. My martial arts discipline took over and I immediately did what my instincts demanded…
I'm not talking about a little "eek" either; this was a full on, horror movie, blood curdling, "I have just seconds to live before meeting a hideous and bloody end", bottom of my toes to the tip of my head SCREAM! Here I was flying through the air, arms and legs flailing wildly; I was determined to make sure my last moments on earth would be noticed. As such, my scream was probably the loudest noise I have ever made in my life.
Apparently at the sound of my death shriek, silence spread over the park and everyone within a few miles shuddered at the unearthly howl of pure terror, mothers gathered up their children and held them close, while flocks of birds took to wing and fled the area.
Or at least that's how I remember it.
Needless to say, a few moments later I just slid to a stop at the bottom of the slide (and felt a bit silly). I did however require a very long sit down.
I also think I had the ultimate wedgie.