I give you, the story of how I came to be terrified of dinosaurs and museums and dark amusement park rides, and various other ridiculous things.
Once upon a time, long ago in the 80’s, I was a young girl who loved dinosaurs and I loved museums.
Then, when I was 9 years old (this was not in the 80’s, mind you. I’m not that old), I got to go to Florida with my Gifted class because we had the honor of being invited to watch the space shuttle Endeavor make its inaugural launch into space.. While we were there, we spent a day at Disney World/Epcot center.
When we were wandering around Epcot I saw a sign for the Universe of Energy ride.
This ride seemed like a winner because A: there was no line and B: it was a long ride/movie inside an air conditioned building.
Upon entering the ‘ride’ (at this point I thought it was just a movie) you are seated in big long bleacher seats that are facing a giant screen. On the screen you are presented with an exceedingly boring video about the mechanics of fossil fuels and how they effect our lives every day.
Then, all of a sudden, the bleacher seats start splitting apart into three sections and begin turning to the right. As you turn, the ‘wall’ to the right opens up and reveals this
Please note the tracks at the bottom of the picture, that’s what our bleacher cars are traveling on. Also note the dinosaur all the way too the left. He plays a very large roll in this sad tail.
That smug jerk.
Look at the expression on his face? All “La Dee Dah. Just chewing on these weeds. Don’t mind me, I’m just a robot, I can’t hurt you!”
At this point I was mildly freaked out because I wasn’t prepared to be thrust into a prehistoric rainforest dripping with dinosaurs. And I do mean dripping. That cud hanging out of his mouth was oozing with robot saliva…I can still feel it dripping on my me as I scream in horror…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
As you can see in the picture below, the bleacher car travels right past this small flock of long necks. The bleacher car is to the far bottom left.
And this is when things went horribly wrong. Our car was in the exact spot as the car in the picture when all of a sudden it came to a screeching halt. But even though the car stopped, the robo-dinos did not. That dino to the far left kept bending down and slamming into my head with his dripping wet sea weed cud over and over and over and over. None of my friends had gone on the ride with me, so I was packed into my seat with strangers to my left and no room to scoot away from the dino assault. I have no idea how long this went on, but it felt like an eternity.
And when it was finally over, I left that ride a very different girl. Since that day, I haven’t been able to go to museums or amusement parks without suffering from overwhelming anxiety and full on panic attacks. Because I’m obviously the most rational person alive.
Incidentally, The Universe of Energy was revamped in the late 90’s and now your tour guide through the ride is an animatronic Ellen DeGeneres robot, which might just be more scary than the dinos.