We went to Disneyland Monday for Valentine’s Day and because the girls had the day off. We bought annual passes this year and have been going quite a bit. Since we’ve been going more, we’ve been branching out of our usual merry-go-round, meet the princesses, It’s A Small World loop and trying a few new things. A couple visits ago, Sammy wanted to try the Matterhorn.
If you’ve never been, the Matterhorn is a roller coaster. It’s the kind where one person sits in back of the seat and the other person sits between their legs. (Lots of teenage couples on that ride for some reason.) It doesn’t have a lot of really steep drops. It spirals down the inside of a fake mountain and jerks around the corners. There’s a Yeti that jumps out at one point, some Yeti roaring, and it’s dark inside. Maybe not the best idea for a four year old, but she loves the smaller coaster in Toon town, and she easily met the height requirement (Ella meets it at two), so we thought, why not?
She went the first time and loved it! I was so excited. There are times in parenting where you feel a new chapter opening and some of the restrictions of having very small children going away. That was one of those times for me. My oldest, on a roller coaster, and enjoying it.
Then she went for the second time. Immediately after the first time. (Can you imagine my excitement? She wanted to go again!) She didn’t like it so much. She got nauseous. No puking, but she felt gross. But still, maybe we could ride one grown up ride with her on occasion.
The next time, she wanted to try Space Mountain. It’s a more typical roller coaster with steep drops and fast turns. It’s also completely in the dark. Again, she easily met the height requirement and there were plenty of kids smaller than her going on. So we tried. That one did not go over so well. She started crying as we were going up the first hill. I have never been on a longer roller coaster ride in my life. Sean was sitting with her. I was in front of them. All I heard was her crying and crying. It was too dark for me to see anything, even if I had been able to turn around and was not holding on for dear life myself. (I think they made it faster since the last time I rode it.) By the time we finished, her face was tear streaked and my hopes of having a roller coaster rider were dashed.
I assumed she’d never want to go again. I was wrong. As soon as she saw the Matterhorn in the distance yesterday, she started asking to ride. So did Ella. We went on the merry-go-round.
“Can we go on the Matterhorn now?”
We went on Snow White.
“Time for the Matterhorn?”
We went across to California Adventure for a show. We got there a little early, so we rode a couple rides.
“Now can we go on the Matterhorn?”
We went to park the strollers for the show. She wouldn’t get out. Had a temper tantrum. Because we weren’t at the Matterhorn.
We ate lunch.
We went to another ride.
We went to the next show.
Hand clapping and excited squealing ensued.
It took a while to get there and the line was over an hour long. So we said maybe later. More pouting. The afternoon was the same as the morning. Every time we finished one thing, she asked to go on the Matterhorn. Finally, right before dinner, we walked by and the line was really short. We got in line. But it broke before we got to the front, so we went to dinner with a disappointed little girl.
After dinner, the ride was working again. We could see it from where we sat for dinner. She started pestering, so off she and I went.
She was skipping and dancing and chanting, “Matter-Horn! Matter-Horn!” with appropriate fist punching to accompany her chant.
We waited in line in front of some teenage boys. She was chanting and jumping around, running circles around me, kicking up her heels. The boys were duly impressed by my little dare devil.
We got buckled in. She raised her hands like a pro for the guy to check our seat belts. I showed her where the handles were to hold on if she needed.
“Ready?” I asked as we stopped right before going up.
“Matter-Horn! Matter-Horn!” came her reply.
And we moved, into pitch blackness. I felt her tense.
“It’s only really dark at first,” I said into her ear.
Up we went, the clicking of the track as is pulled us up the only sound in the dark. Until the Yeti roared. Sammy jumped in her seat and we plunged down. I screamed, the people in front of us screamed.
We jerked to the right. To the left. Dropped down. Took a tight turn. Short drop. More jerks. More drops. Tight turn. Tight turn. Tight turn.
I was scream-laughing. The people in front of us were doing the same. When I finally caught my breath, I leaned down close to her to see how she was doing.
Her shoulders were shaking. She was softly crying.
I stopped scream-laughing and stayed bent down close to her. I looked ahead as we went and served as lookout.
“Here’s a little drop. You’re okay. We’re going to turn quick. It will be done soon. A bigger drop.”
The ladies in front of us heard me. They stopped scream-laughing too and joined me in reassuring her.
“It’s okay. It’s almost over.”
Finally, we were done. I fiddled with the seat belts. As soon as we were free she wrapped her arms around me and buried her face in my neck. She sobbed and sobbed.
“Poor thing,” said one of the women. “That was a bumpy ride, huh?”
We went back to Sean. He looked expectantly, “Well?”
She looked at him and cried more.
It was time for us to leave, so we got the girls into their strollers and headed out. I recounted the story to Sean. And we laughed. From brave little daredevil chanting Matterhorn to sobbing mess in two seconds. Also, we laughed because we’re bad parents. Matterhorn! Matterhorn!