Photo Credit: Expattravelmom

Photo Credit: Heather Barnard, Expat TravelingMom

Who doesn’t love Disneyland at Halloween? Smiling pumpkins greeting you at the main gates, kids dressed up as their favorite characters, even more pumpkins scattered throughout the park featuring your favorite Disney characters, and Jack the Pumpkin King being sighted around the Haunted Mansion. Kids are happy, parents are happy and Halloween, for one brief moment, isn’t scary at all.

Or is it?

Flashback to 2009, when my son was 5 years old. He had JUST become fond of roller coasters and he LOVED Disneyland.  We all loved Disneyland!  I was the mom/teacher who believed in traveling during non-vacation times just so Disneyland wouldn’t be busy!  Yes, I shouldn’t have admitted that, but Disney is kind of an obsession for me.

Photo Credit: Expattravelmom

Photo Credit: Heather Barnard, Expat TravelingMom

So, here we went, off to Disneyland, during Halloween theme time. The thrill for me was knowing this was going to be the first time my son would enjoy Space Mountain, just as I had when I was 5 years old.  I was so excited to take him on the ride and have it be one of his favorite rides for life.

A Scarier Space Mountain

As we approached the gates, we smiled as we saw all the characters in pumpkin form.  Disney really does go all out during the holidays.  It’s a magical place during the rest of the year, but if you haven’t been for Halloween or Christmas…you must.  Just trust me.  Go.  The kids were squealing our of sheer happiness, even though this was their fifth trip to the most magical place on earth.

We had an agenda.  Well, Mom had an agenda: bee line for Space Mountain.

Off we went, dashing through the park with our double stroller and my son running eagerly towards Tomorrowland.  There it was, Space Mountain. The ride that I always wanted to ride over and over as a kid, and now my son was going to do the same thing. I was passing the torch.

As we approached the entrance, I noticed the words “Ghost Galaxy.”  Hmmmm, I thought, Ghost Galaxy?  Surely it can’t be that bad, we’re at Disneyland!  Disneyland isn’t scary…ever!  It’s the happiest place on earth!  So after convincing my son that it couldn’t possibly be that bad, he stood in line and waited with a bit of trepidation.  I waited hoping I wasn’t making a huge mistake. All these emotions and my son could hear the screams coming from the people on the ride.  It was our turn.  We got in and were secured in our vessel.  Here we go.

Photo by: Karen Heffren

Photo by: Karen Heffren, Desert TravelingMom


A Terrifying Space Mountain

I cannot begin to express the fear and panic that shot through every inch of my son…and me!  A fright to remember on Disneyland’s Space Mountain is how this trip will forever be remembered.  I was thinking cute ghosts…like Haunted Mansion type ghosts.  You know, the tall skinny one, the short, fat, round one…not a fiery looking evil demon ghost!  And it wasn’t like an image here or there, he followed us through the twists and turns, scaring us at every possible moment!

Photo by: Karen Heffren

Photo by: Karen Heffren, , Desert TravelingMom

Never did the Space Mountain ride seem so long. My son was burying his face, I was wishing it was all over.

As we pulled into the space station landing zone, my son’s head lifted up. Tears were streaming down his face. He proclaimed that Space Mountains was NOT a fun ride and he was never going on it again.  It took us a LONG time to get him on another roller coaster after that.

The rest of our Halloween time at Disneyland, he wouldn’t go on Thunder Mountain nor the Matterhorn.  He even needing convincing to go back on the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion!

Since that 2009 visit, we have gone to Disneyland Paris, where he DID, finally, go on Space Mountain again.  We’re also heading to Disneyland Hong Kong this December, because Disneyland at Christmas is a happy time.