For the faint of heart

Dis­ney trip pro­vides op­por­tu­nity to ex­or­cised 40-yaer-old ghost

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL - Steve Bartlett is an ed­i­tor with SaltWire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and bank in­ter­est. Reach him via email at steve.bartlett@thetele­ Steve Bartlett The Deep End

We re­cently took the kids to see The Mouse.

Well, truth be known, the Dis­ney trip was planned for my 50th birth­day. (Don’t feel bad that you missed or over­looked my big day. It’s never too late to send gifts or money:)

The va­ca­tion was my idea. It seemed like a fun place to cel­e­brate with the kids — and to fin­ish a chal­lenge I failed some 40 years ago.

Yup, as a kid in Grade 4 — while vis­it­ing Dis­ney with some of my fam­ily and my amaz­ing Aunt Dianne’s clan — staff had to stop the Haunted House tour and let me out the side door.

I was scared mouse­less.

And that I couldn’t make it through the Haunted House re­sulted in lots of teas­ing from my cousins and older brother Wayne — the great­est ag­i­ta­tor of our time.

The in­ci­dent has al­ways haunted me, to the point where I’ve al­ways felt a need to prove my­self when it comes to macabre en­ter­tain­ment.

I go through ev­ery haunted house pos­si­ble, even once vol­un­teer­ing as an adult hockey mask-wear­ing, chain­saw-wield­ing spook­ster in a Hal­loween fundraiser for Easter Seals.

I’ve also read most of Stephen King’s nov­els and, be­fore kids, watched hor­ror movies reg­u­larly. (Now, that time goes to films like “Sing,” “Trolls” and “Frozen,” which I’ve seen 17.1 mil­lion times. Let it go, al­ready.)

My favourite haunted house has been in Nova Sco­tia’s Up­per Cle­ments Park.

“You were ac­tu­ally scared there,” my wife re­cently told me.

“Not at all,” I replied

“Yes, you were,” she said with cer­tainty.

Tak­ing a les­son from many scary politi­cians I’ve dealt with in my jour­nal­ism ca­reer, I’m not go­ing to con­firm or deny that.

Any­way, at Dis­ney re­cently, we braved a line longer than the pro­posed Trans Moun­tain pipe­line to go through the haunted house.

“Steve,” I told my­self, “you are go­ing to stick this out no mat­ter what, to fin­ish the un­fin­ished busi­ness of your child­hood. Be­sides, what would the kids think if their now 50-year-old fa­ther wimped out and the Dis­ney folks had to stop the ride?”

“Un­cle Wayne,” they’d say upon re­turn­ing home. “Dad couldn’t make it through the haunted house again and they had to stop the ride.”

Wayne: “Scaredy, scaredy, scaredy Steve, saw a fake ghost and had to leave.”

So, re­gard­less of how fright­en­ing it was, even if a real vam­pire bit my neck or ghost took over my body, I had to stick this out.

They stuffed our group into a dark room and then the lights went off.

I screamed so loud they had to turn the lights back on and send in paramedics.

Just jok­ing.

In all se­ri­ous­ness — and I don’t want to give away any de­tails be­cause my reader might go to Dis­ney next year — the haunted house was in­cred­i­bly well done and turned out to be a lot of fun.

All of Dis­ney did.

From the Magic King­dom to An­i­mal King­dom to the Bl­iz­zard Beach wa­ter park, we had a tremen­dous time.

And I had fi­nally ex­or­cised the ghost of not mak­ing it through the Haunted House 40 years ago.

But back home, Dis­ney gave me an even big­ger fright, one that will also last for decades – with in­ter­est! My credit card bal­ance! (In­sert slasher movie squeaky sound.)

Ah­h­h­h­h­hhh …

“Steve, I told my­self, you are go­ing to stick this out no mat­ter what, to fin­ish the un­fin­ished busi­ness of your child­hood.”

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