For the faint of heart
Disney trip provides opportunity to exorcised 40-yaer-old ghost
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.
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.)
“Steve, I told myself, you are going to stick this out no matter what, to finish the unfinished business of your childhood.”