On Gravity, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Letting Go

If I could be really honest for just a minute, if left to my own devices, I can be a bit of a control freak. Insert the eye-rolling and not-so-subtle groaning of my husband and kids here. But it’s true, and I think there are more of us who lean in the direction of control freakness than care to admit. I’ve gotten much better at letting the control freak side of me take the backseat over the years, but it still rears its ugly head from time to time.

I mentioned last year on an episode of the Best and Worst of Walt Disney World that my favorite attraction is Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Tower’s background music loop is my very, very favorite, and I find it best listened to at the end of a long work day. I like to walk down Sunset Boulevard just to visit the Hollywood Tower Hotel gift shop, or to simply sit outside and soak up the overall atmosphere. The theming, the architecture, the overgrown landscaping, the whole nine yards…it’s one big beautiful, gothic, creepy, glorious package.   

For years, when it came time to ride Tower of Terror, I did so holding my breath. I enjoyed the ride, but I feared the drops, and the growing tension during the attraction, of course, did nothing to dissuade my fear. I would take my seat, buckle the seat strap, tug on it when asked to by the cast member, and then wait anxiously throughout the rest of the ride. It was fun, but there was a price to pay. 

Everything changed one random park day when I decided that, instead of white-knuckling the grab bars next to my seat as I always had the tendency to do, I would just let go. The drops came, and, instead of wincing and bracing against the drops, I just went with the gravity. I let the physics of the attraction do their thing, and I loved it. 

Before I made the change to stop fighting the forces on Tower of Tower, it wasn’t my very favorite attraction. I loved the aesthetic of it, but other rides ranked higher on my list. These days, when I visit the Tower, I get strapped in, savor every detail, look up when the car reaches the elevator shaft (seeing the gears, pulleys and wires intrigues me), and put my hands up. And I let gravity take me where it wants to. 

So, now? With everything happening in our world today, I’m thinking I need to dust off my tactic for getting the most out of my favorite ride and apply just a bit of it to this for-now normal. I could hold my breath and brace against what’s occurring, or I could let go and just be. There are moments to be enjoyed here – even here – if I take a moment to take a deep breath and just let go. 

Deni loves all things Disney, and, in 2013, moved to the Magic from Maryland. Walt Disney World is her happy place, and she loves getting to share it with others. Deni and her husband of almost 26 years have 2 grown children. Her favorite WDW snack? A Mickey Bar, of course. Is there any other?!


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