The Viking boat has always been a favourite, so Elf, Emperor and I went there right away while Patrick and G rode the bigger rides. No sooner had we gotten onto the ride than Elf started screaming and shaking in terror. Thankfully, he didn't try to get OUT of the ride while it was in operation.
I was wise and had a chat about that "just in case" before we got to the park.
The thing with Elf is, he's ok sometimes and not other times. I don't feel ok letting him on a ride alone when there is a possibility of his freaking out and doing something foolish. We've had the talk wherein I advise Elf that I am not scared of the ride when I put him on, but what he might do while he is ON the ride. And that the rides are all short and will end soon no matter how scared he is.
But he was terrified! I had to, in anticipation of the big hill at the end of the ride, remind him through his screams of "make the ride stop" and "I want to get off this ride!" that the big hill was coming, and it would then be over and he would be ok... that Mom is here, and Emperor is here, and he's safe if he sits still...
So. We get off the ride at the end. Emperor has been waiting all year for this trip and is disappointed. He is nearly eight. I tell him that if he hangs on properly and is good and still, that he may go on alone.
There was much screaming and begging from Elf.
"PLEASE don't let him go on that ride, Mom! PLEASE don't do that to him! Emperor, don't go!" and similar screamings. You know, as a mom, that's how I feel inside to begin with, and here I have an uber-uber-mom next to me worrying way more than I ever could. After a talk and some hugs that didn't help at all, I got on line with Emperor and Elf so that Emperor could ride the boat alone. Elf is still crying and screaming. Emperor and I discussed that he was just very worried and needed some time to get used to the idea. I could tell that Emperor was feeling guilty about going on the ride, and tried to assure him that this was just Elf worrying, and Mom isn't worried... and go and have a good time. Elf will get used to it! (And Emperor needs to have as normal a life as possible, don't you think?)
Elf watched Emperor get on the boat and screamed a grief-stricken, "Good-byyye, Emperor! *sob* I will miss youu!"
Yeah, the staff loved us.
I brought Elf over to the exit ramp where we could see the big hill and explained to Elf that Emperor would be ok, and we will watch the hill and see him. He had a terrified look as Emperor came down the hill... but was very relieved to see his brother again.
Emperor wanted to ride again. Elf was still a bit upset, but the begging and screaming had stopped. Now he was just resigned. By the time we finished waiting on line and Emperor's ride was over, he seemed very calm. We even looked at some of the pics of Emperor going down the hill. Elf seemed to be a little glad for Emperor, even if he was unable to go on the ride just then.
Puzzling, as he used to love that ride.
Well, off to another ride. The Fjord Fairlane, with little cars that go in a circle about 20 feet in the air. Tame. Elf has loved this ride. So on we go. Looks like they changed the ride so only two people can sit down at a time. No way I am leaving Elf up there without his mom. Emperor must be ready to go alone, and I will sit with Elf.
But when the ride began, the screaming started from Elf. He wants the ride to stop! It's too scary! He doesn't remember it going this high! or this fast! And I had to hold onto him and remind him that the ride only lasts about three minutes... (but that's too long! Elf says.) I keep him talking about how we can see the trains later, etc.
Emperor wants to go on the ride again!
Bye, Emperor. Come over here, Elf, and we can watch. Elf calms down a bit while Emperor rides this, and contents himself with reading the legal notices on the sides of the ride. Well, until I explained, in answer to his question, what the "inherent risks" of riding the rides might be.
I thought we would be in for a doozy of a bad time at that point. We could all at least agree that getting an ICEE was a good idea, though, and we all participated in that. Next off to the trains.
I thought this would be a steam train, and it sure looks like the old steam trains used to. Until you get up close. No coal box. No fireman shoveling the coal into the furnace. The engineer brought the boys up to see the workings. It looks like the steam is heated by propane or something... it's still run by steam, but not like I expected.
Elf was happy on this ride. Emperor was happy on this ride.
The boys did the Merry-Go-Round. Elf is going on to the horse and hanging on. Yep, I'm the worried mom of an almost nine-year-old kid shouting from the sidelines that "You can do this!" and "Go, Elf!" while all the other moms have let their two-year-olds on alone without that much fanfare and are hardly paying attention.
LOL... yeah, and we get quizzical looks. This lady named her kid "Elf?" I'm at the point in my parenting career where I don't explain anything to anybody unless I absolutely have to. Whatever.
Emperor and Elf have agreed on this ride and get on it again and again. They scream at each other about who can't catch up and I'm beating you in this race... Once Emperor sat in the little sleigh seat and screamed, "HO HO HO" through the whole ride. Ok, I guess the sleigh does kind of look like Santa's.
Emperor wanted to do the Kangaroo hopper ride next. Elf said it was way too scary. I sent Emperor over while I took Elf to the bathroom.
Poor Emperor returned in tears! That lady said (sob) that I'm too big and (snuff) not allowed to ride this ride, ever!
Really? You're only seven! Let's go look and clear this up.
Sure enough, Emperor towers over the 54 inch stick they use to measure the biggest you can be to get on the ride. And a closer look shows me his legs wouldn't even fit inside anyway. Emperor is in tears, so I let him decide what we will do next. Ok?
He decides it's time to go to the Camp Snoopy section of the park. (I knew it was a bad idea to let him decide!!) Guess what the height limit is to almost every ride in that park?
The rides are very tame there, and frankly made for toddlers. Elf LOVED this place, and he is small enough (being an elf and all) that even at almost nine, he can get into all the rides. Yes, he was on the kiddy plane, waving to Mom with a big, "Look at me! I'm on a plaaaane!" while Emperor was crying his eyes out and blowing his nose on a napkin.
Charlie Brown and Snoopy saw him and came over to hug him. Emperor was snuffling about how unfair it was... he's still a little kid... A staff member came over in the commotion and suggested the Wacky Worm ride.
It was perfect.
It wasn't a crowded day, and the worm ride is a mini-roller coaster. Tame, but enough fun that Emperor enjoyed it. Elf went on a couple times, but they allowed Emperor just to sit for every ride since there wasn't a line. I think he spent an hour just going round and round on the Wacky Worm ride while Elf did the mini-kiddie rides 20 feet away.
By the end of the day, I was pretty tired. We looked at the prices for food ($3 for ONE cookie!) and decided to forego souvenirs and go to a good dinner at Longhorn. Overall we had a great time, though Patrick was drenched because he stood (on purpose!) on a bridge where the water rides splash with great regularity.