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Facing Your Fears…. Riding “Expedition Everest” for the First Time

Fears are an interesting animal…they can stop us so well that we can’t even begin to make heads or tails of what REALLY they are. Did I have a childhood trauma that can’t be recalled? Did I possibly have an experience in a past life that is just buried deep in my subconscience? I just wish I knew WHY I am terrified of heights, and even more so, big rollercoasters.  I know I have carried this fear all of my life because even in High School and Junior High, trips to Six Flags were almost depressing because I was the Sherpa for everyone. I held everyones coats and bags, quite sad when you think about it, or pitiful. They would run to the rollercoasters with excitement, while I tried to find the comfiest bench with a good food cart nearby. And I wonder why I wasn’t all that popular.


Then of course I move to Florida, Orlando to be exact, the Theme Park Capital of the World. But Disney was different, the rides were still exciting and thrilling without me being terrified. I could ride Big Thunder and Mine Train with no problems, but then I realized it was because they weren’t “open air” Coasters. They were land coasters, the track never left the ground like those gigantic ones at Six Flags. But then there was Everest, which was kind of an “in between” what I could handle. I would walk part it every time I was in Animal Kingdom and glance up at it, but nothing made me ever want to ride it. And then one time I was walking by, snacking on egg rolls from around the corner, and there was the train on Everest being evacuated right at the top where the track is exposed before you enter the top of the Mountain. It sealed the deal on me EVER trying it again.


And then the years went by, and I as I rode and experienced Disney over and over again, I started to wonder that maybe my fear was just plain stupid. Maybe that if I at least tried it once, I would know what I was so scared of, or, perhaps, even like it. So I had a friend, Kim, coming into town for a girls only Disney trip for her and I. And I got so excited that I declared online that I would FINALLY conquer my fear and ride Everest! 


And then I went to bed that night in a cold sweat….what did I just do? I lamented on it for the days that led up to her arrival, enjoying the magic before that day, but knowing it was like a stranger in a dark alleyway… just waiting for me to show up.  And so the day came, and I was shook. I plastered that smile on my face as best I could because when I say I am going to do something, darn tootin’, I give it all I got. I did a quick VLOG for Facebook, and then started walking a queue that was completely foreign to me. I had heard that Josh Gates donated his real Yeti footprint he had cast an discovered, so I found that…of course thinking the whole time “Well hey, you got to see a real Yeti footprint before your impending doom” Dramatic? Hell yeah! I was about to plummet down a Mountain…and FOR FUN! LOL


Lucky us we had fastpassed it, so we walked the line so quickly that I had zero time to chicken out. As we approached the train, I knew this was the moment I could change my mind. BUT I kept it together and hopped on in like it was no big deal, I mean I was a grown adult, what was I going to do, cry????? YES!! That is EXACTLY what I started to do the minute it started the incline into the Mountain top. Kim is trying to hold my hand, I am losing all rationality at this point. Maybe I can jump out at the top, maybe the ride will stop and they will let me out, or maybe I just pass out and forget I ever rode it and serenely wake up as we glide in to the Station.


Yeah, none of that happened. Instead I screamed, I cried, I begged God to take me off the ride ALIVE if possible, and I still found time to ask Kim “Is it over yet?”  HATED IT. It was bumpy and shaky and I just had ZERO love for that Mountain.  Once we did that final drop out of the Mountain, I had an adreline rush that it was finally over. I got off, every bone and muscle shook. I followed Kim into the gift shop, still shaking and trying to find some type of “I JUST FREAKING RODE THIS AND DIDN’T DIE” shirt. I did find a cool long sleeved shirt and a stuffed Yeti, while the Cast Members graciously made me a button to wear my triumph through the streets of Animal Kingdom….proclaiming to one and all, that I, Amy Joy, slayed the Mountain and lived to tell the tale.  Or something like that.

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Would I do it again? Heck no. One and done. But no one can say I didn’t try, and I think life in general is all about just trying new experiences…even ones that scare the crud out of you. I encourage you to face a fear today, you won’t believe how empowered you feel.

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