The Star Tours Induced Claustrophobia Situation

Things have been…difficult lately to say the least. Work has been particularly draining this semester due to having more kids coupled with less help and a ridiculous schedule, and combining that with weird personal situations and general laziness has led me to quickly fall back into my “blog…what blog?” mentality, so imagine my excitement when one of my best friends, Josh, the king of all things Disneyland, invited me to get away this past Sunday to Disneyland with his two roommates and their girlfriends. It took me about 2.7 seconds to text back (in the middle of teaching, mind you) with a “YES” followed by a frightening number of exclamation points.

The day was going to be everything I needed – fun, relaxing, and line-free thanks to one of the girlfriend’s Disney disability pass which got us past almost every line in the park. (She assured me, when I mentioned feeling mildly awkward in a line with people in actual, you know, wheelchairs and such, that she needed a doctor’s note to get said pass and that she really did have a legit medial reason for needing it, and with that, I was satisfied.) We frolicked around both Disneyland and California Adventure, hitting up all my favorite rides – Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, California Screamin’, Toy Story – in minimal time.

It was, to use an overused word, epic. PLUS, I got treated to even more Disneyland trivia thanks to Josh and his years of reading every book about Disneyland, possibly ever. At the beginning of the day, we figured we should Fast Pass the new Star Tours ride, since the line was long, and we weren’t sure how much the pass would help. Thus, we spent all day getting more and more excited for our trip on the new Star Tours (now in 3D!), and finally, around 7, full of corn-dogs and fries (the only acceptable Disneyland dinner, obviously), we headed over to board.

After a quick wait in line (yay, Fast Pass!) we loaded in at Gate B, right in the middle of the car, as Josh always asks to get the best seats on a ride, which I highly recommend; they usually only make you wait like 2 or 3 more minutes and it makes the rides MUCH better. Josh let out one final plea to not get the Pod-Racing version – as every ride on the new Star Tours is differnt and thus there are some much cooler rides possibilities than others – as the Disney employee checked our seat belts and told us to enjoy the ride, adding, as they always do on this ride which is based on things on your Star Tour going horribly wrong, “I’m sure nothing will go wrong!”

We then waited for about 3 minutes during which nothing happened. I don’t know how many of you have been on Star Tours, but basically, it is one of those rides where you sit in a box with 20 other people with a screen in front. As the box moves around, the screen makes you feel like you are soaring around space, enjoying a Star Wars themed adventure. Unfortuantely, after three minutes in said box with nothing happening, I started to get a bit antsy.

I’m not super claustrophobic unless I start feeling trapped and in that moment, I definitely started feeling trapped…and started feeling that corn dog. Finally, the ride began – a non pod-racing version, happily – and it was pretty sweet. I was totally getting into the ride as we soared over some crazy planet – clearly, I terribly have never seen Star Wars- when suddenly the ride stopped.

We all groaned as the lights came back on, and we sat uncomfortably for another 2 minutes before ride attendants came back in to apologize. At this point, I kind of wanted to just get off and forget the 3D magic, but they assured us that they would just start the ride over. And, I mean..”I’m sure nothing will go wrong!” Again.

Oh…how naive we were. The ride began again. Sort of. It began in that the little box with 20 people started moving, yet the screen, the thing that makes you feel like you are moving and having and adventure and such, never came on, so we remained 20 people being jostled around in a large box…for about 5 minutes. It was, quite frankly, the longest ride I have ever been on. I ended up in the fetal position in my seat, closing my eyes, hoping that it would help me feel like the screen was actually on.

Kids behind us were yelling about the malfunction, but apprently the only place Disneyland doesn’t have cameras is on this ride. I felt nauseous and trapped and really really just wanted to get off of this stupid ride. Josh was partiuclarly upset that we were missing the Yoda laden version of the ride, apparently a cool option. All I could think of was not throwing up. It you have never shaken in a box after eating a corn dog covered in a solid inch of fried corn-breading before, then you don;t know what true ride-induced nausea is. I. was. Dying. After about three minutes, we stopped, and I thought I was home free, until Josh assured me that no, this was just the lull before something else crazy happened.

Finally, the second the ride stopped, I literally ran off, as everyone else yelled to stay on the ride, hoping, obviously, that we could go on again. I was having none of it. A Disney employee asked, not knowing what had happened, if I needed medical assistance. I assured her I just needed to sit down as my friends followed me and explained about the problem. Another employee then came and told us that if we went back to our seats, they would be moving us to another gate to do the ride again.

I hesistated, but eventually clutched my stomach and walked back into the box of shaking neasuea. By this point, everyone on the ride had bonded through our two rides, and we all collectively clutched our seats as our third attempt started. And of course…we got pod racing. Josh cursed. I was simply happy to have gotten through the ride in one piece with my corn-dog intact.

So, not entirely the relaxing day I was hoping for, but I happily never vomited (small wins!) and the rest of the day was magical. We even ended our day on the train with a delightful conductor who pointed out a secret armadillo in the dinosaur land you ride through between Tomorrowland and the front gate. (What’s that? You didn’t know there was a secret dinosaur exhibit on the train ride? You’re welcome for that magical tid-bit.)

The next day, of course, I was snapped back into reality by rear ending someone, because life can’t all be like Disneyland…well, the non-nausea inducing part of Disneyland.