"Man, that noise did not sound good." I thought to myself right before my coaster came to a screeching halt.
Yesterday Jamie and I went to Disneyland. If you follow my Instagram (@MattBates) this probably comes as no surprise. We are first time annual pass-holders and since we purchased the passes we have already be to Disneyland 12 times...in 10 weeks. That's roughly about $2,000 if we would have purchased regular tickets every time instead of getting annual passes...I think we're getting our money's worth.
We grabbed a beer as we walked through the park after eating a quick burrito dinner. I am getting good at reading the crowds of zombie-like, fatigued out-of-state vacationers trying to cram in as much as the park can offer on their yearly vacation. We strolled passed California Screamin'. Although it looked packed and would take an hour to get on the ride; it was just the crowd traffic around the area. The real wait time to get on the ride was only 10 minutes. This is very unusual for a Saturday where ride lines can take up to an hour and a half. I turned to Jamie excitedly, "We have to get on! You almost done your beer!" As it turned out she didn't want to get on a roller coaster 15 minutes after eating a burrito...followed up by a beer. I could see her point, but I have an iron stomach. She encouraged me to go my as a solo rider and we would meet up after. Taking advantage of the opportunity I kissed her forehead, downed my beer and ran off like a 5-year-old flailing my limbs around jumping for joy.
I quickly got through the line and when the cast member asked me how many were in my party so he could get me on the ride I told him I was a single rider. I also told him I would be willing to wait until the next ride went if I could sit in the front which he didn't mind. The ride I was suppose to be on shot off and I was next to sit front seat for this roller coaster. The coaster pulled in and the riders filed off. I shot Jamie a quick text before stepping on the ride to let her know I was about to go if she wanted to see me off. My phone back in my pocket I stepped on the ride, pulled down the safety bar and waited to be launched.
The ride released and we moved forward. California Screamin' stops right around the first corner so you can see the first incline you'll be flung over. This also gives you family members a good photo opportunity. Jamie stood looking over as I waved or gave her a thumbs up for the front row. The countdown started and I heard an awful metal screeching sound followed by a booming thud. Not normal. And not what you want to hear right before your roller coaster takes off. "Okay Screamers! Ready in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!" Echoed over the sound system as our coaster stayed stationary. I looked over to Jamie and shrugged. "Okay Screamers! Ready in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!" Again over the sound system and nothing. I started to look around as if I was being punked. "Okay Screamers! Ready in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!" Nothing again but more horrible metal grinding sounds. On-lookers stared at us on the ride as we all tried to play it off like we weren't kind of scared in a Final Destination kind of way. This was starting to worry me but we all remained in good spirits. The suspense was started in the build. In my head I started to think what if this thing really is broke? How the hell are we going to get out of here? I mean, I am sure we will be fine right? This is Disney. They know what they are doing? Right? Besides, I am kind of like Macgyver, I can fix this.
Although it was probably a routine maintenance problem for Disneyland it scared the crap out of me. We probably only sat for a few moments before the ride finally released but it felt like an eternity. I did enjoy the ride when it took off and will continue to go on it...repeatedly. But if I am being honest, I held on for dear life this time around. Even still, through a brief moment of uncertainty...you can't pass up giving the camera on the coaster a goofy face if you know where it is.