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Scared at the Studios!

Friday, October 31, 2008

 Happy Halloween everybody! I’m sure we’ve all been brushing up on our Nightmare Before Christmas, and wishing we were at Walt Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. So in keeping with the season, I present to you some of my scariest moments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

How Much?!? Sure, I’d done the math before getting to the counter, and I was sure that Annual Passes were the best value for my son and me. And yes, I knew it would mean we might be able to afford a couple more Disney trips that year. But still, when the Cast Member slid the credit card slip over for my signature, I thought I’d have a heart attack. Damn.

Protecting precious cargo! When my son and I visited Star Wars Weekends last June, it was a foregone conclusion that we would be accompanied by a dearly-loved friend: His plush Ewok, Paploo (pronounced ‘Pablo’, for reasons I will gladly explain to you over coffee). Paploo’s been a member of our family since my dear child was about 6 years old, and given how cherished he is, I do not let him out of my sight lightly. Anybody who’s ever parented (nay, anyone who’s ever met) a young child has no doubt heard the horror stories of a lost toy, right? And in fact, at this point I’m sure if Paploo were lost, my son would handle it far better than I, who still lament the loss of a beloved childhood plushie.

So, resisting the temptation to tote Paploo in a Baby Bjorn, I instead rigged him up in a cinch-sack for my son to wear, and kept an eagle eye out until he was back in our room. I’m surprised I didn’t stash him in the hotel safe!

Jedi Footrace Challenge! Also during Star Wars Weekends….my son wanted to participate in the Jedi Mind Challenge, for kids under 12. Given that his twelfth birthday was coming up soon, this would be his only chance, and I’d heard that even showing up at rope drop doesn’t ensure that your kid will be at the sign-up table before it’s full for the day. So, we were well-prepared. We arrive 90 minutes before rope drop, sought advice from friendly Cast Members on the best starting-line position, and determined the most efficient trajectory from the rope to the sign-up table. But my stress level didn’t really ramp down until after my kid had sprinted past the others (yes despite the warnings of Cast Members that everyone should walk not run), and had his name right on that list. (And I felt really badly for the other families we saw trying to sign up later in the day...good lord, since the event is so popular couldn’t they add a few more showtimes?)

Avon Calling? I don’t generally answer my cell phone in restaurants, let alone on the Tower of Terror. But there it was, buzzing at my hip, and the caller ID told me it was my kid. Could it be an emergency? I quickly told him where I was, and that I’d call him back in 90 seconds…much to the amusement of the other Guests! And yes, for the record, my son later chastised me for answering the phone on an attraction.

Hmmmm, I can’t help but notice what all these stories have in common: Parenting! So, what will scare me at the Studios this December, when I’ll be at MouseFest on my first solo trip to Walt Disney World? Probably social anxiety about all the new people I’ll be meeting….but I guess that could just be fodder for next year’s column!