Splash Mountain is one of the coolest rides at Walt Disney World. There’s a catchy soundtrack, the audio-animatronics inside are delightful, and the foreboding ascent and steep drop down Chick-a-Pin Hill give the attraction its “E-Ticket” status. However, there’s a risk one must take before accepting to embark on this ride of a lifetime:
You May Get Wet.
Despite the attraction’s name, the numerous warnings posted throughout the queue, and the fact that water canons visibly shoot jets of the wet stuff on the descending log boats, there are always people who exit the ride mad that their pants are soaked through and their shoes and socks a bit squishy. So many people, in fact, that Disney recently made some changes to the ride which eliminated the excess blasts of water.
Unfortunately, the next big attraction headed our way cannot be calmed by a few mechanical adjustments and an extra verse of “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da”:
Welcome to Hurricane Irene. You may get wet.
When I started writing this post yesterday, Irene was predicted to hit New Jersey as a Category 2 hurricane, something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime (it’s since been downgraded to a Category 1, but still–it’s a hurricane! They’re closing the New York City subway for crying out loud!!). The last major hurricane I remember coming our way was Floyd, in 1999. I was a sophomore in college then, living in youthful ignorance on the university campus. The storm was fun; it was something to get excited about. A bunch of students stood out in the torrential rain, mud-diving into the slosh pit that had formed by a small creek. However, now I’m a homeowner in my 30s. I live in a house surrounded by huge trees. My husband and I have two cars sitting in the driveway under said trees. We have a refrigerator and freezer full of expensive foods from Wegmans and Whole Foods. Our precious sump-pump, which has always saved us from any basement flooding, is at the mercy of working electricity.
I was filled with anxiety yesterday morning, not sure what “to do” about the impending storm. We had a once-in-a-hundred-years earthquake just days ago; it was frightening at the time, but it was completely unexpected and caught everyone by surprise. There was nothing “to do” beforehand. With this hurricane, though, there is the gift/curse of foresight, and being able to watch that churning mass of weather off the Atlantic coast made me feel like I had “to do” something. Mostly, worry.
Just like the dozens of “You may get wet” signs posted along the Splash Mountain queue, the news stations are posting all kinds of warnings and precautions.
On Splash Mountain, yes, even though you may get wet, there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself from the threat of the water jet. You can tuck your camera and phone into a plastic bag. Remove your watch so it doesn’t get damaged. Perhaps change into sandals before embarking instead of wearing socks and shoes that could turn into mush. Some people don ponchos throughout the whole ride.
Here in New Jersey, we’ve taken similar precautions for Hurricane Irene. We stocked up on nonperishable foods; we have plenty of flashlights scattered all over the house. Our basement floor is cleared of anything that could be damaged by water. My husband cleaned the gutters yesterday and adjusted the downspouts. We’ll be charging our laptops and phones and iPods one last time tonight, cranking the refrigerator temperature down to its coldest setting. I’ve already decided we’re sleeping downstairs tonight so we’re as far away as possible from the tree limbs that hang near our bedroom windows.
We have no choice; we’re riding the ride now, so we just have to follow the rules and prepare for splash-down. Of course I am still worried, but I am trying to let go of the things I cannot control. I don’t particularly like getting drenched on Splash Mountain, but that doesn’t mean I skip the ride entirely or spend the first 6 minutes of the ride whimpering, oblivious of the animated storyline unfolding around me. With Irene, even all the worrying in the world can’t stop electricity from going out or tree branches falling–we’ve put on our metaphorical ponchos and just have to enjoy the ride, I suppose.