Facing My Fears at the Happiest Place on Earth

I recently had the opportunity to go to Disneyland with my family for a weekend. This was by no means our first time going to Disneyland. It is one of our favorite family vacation spots, so we usually go there every two years or so.

A lot can be learned about life from a day at Disneyland. The long lines for the best rides remind me that sometimes we have to wait a while before receiving the reward. The spinning teacups remind me that sometimes life makes you want  to throw up. (Sorry for those who like the teacups, but they’re simply not my cup of tea… no pun intended). Space Mountain reminds me that we cannot always see the upcoming twists and turns that life will bring us.


Now, I don’t usually spend my time thinking about what Disneyland teaches us about life. I may be introspective, but even I am not that introspective. However, something happened during this past trip that kind of forced me to think more deeply about Disneyland’s role in my life.

Well, I guess it didn’t actually happen at Disneyland… it happened in a hotel. It was morning, and I was lying on my air mattress (we’re classy) waiting for everyone else to wake up, when all of a sudden, it felt like something was in my left eye. I tried a couple different ways to clear my eye–water, eye drops–but nothing seemed to work. In fact, if anything, my eye just kept feeling worse.

I tried to brave it and went to Disneyland with my family. We rode Tower of Terror a couple of times and then went on the California Screamin’ roller coaster. Both of those rides take pictures of you during the ride, and all my pictures consisted of me either winking or pretending to pray, as I could only open my right eye by this point. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), we did not buy any of these pictures, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Eventually, the pain became too much for me to handle. Basically, this was me:

I was now having a hard time even opening my non-injured eye–for some reason it hurt my left eye just to open my right eye–and my watering left eye was causing my nose to run like a waterfall. After stealing about half the park’s supply of napkins and covering my eyes with sunglasses, I decided I really couldn’t take it anymore. So my mom lead me to the park’s first-aid area… and I mean she literally lead me, as in I had to hold on to her arm because I could no longer see anything.

It turns out the Disney first-aid couldn’t do anything for me, so I ended up having to leave the park and go to urgent care. It took awhile before I got called out of the waiting room, and after that, I ended up waiting an additional 45 minutes or so before the doctor finally came in to see me.

Now, the thing you have to know is that I have this irrational fear of anything to do with eyes. They’re nice to look into and everything, but if anyone gets anything close to my or anyone else’s eye, I freak out. I can’t even watch someone put in contact lenses.

Therefore, when one of the nurses irrigated my eye for five minutes with a syringe, I was uncomfortable. When the doctor came in and put dye in my eye , I was starting to panic a little. But when she started poking at my eye and looking under my eyelids with a metal tool in order to search for a scratch or foreign object, I wanted to die.


What was more, as all of the waiting and eye-poking fun was happening, there was a talk show playing in the room–not just any talk show, but one where a doctor was talking about all the ways you could lose an eye. He even brought up the possibility of an eye rupturing, at which time I was truly starting to panic. I mean, seriously? What kind of sick torture was this?!!

Eventually, it was discovered that I had an eye infection, and I was prescribed a number of drugs and eye drops to ease the pain. Now a couple of weeks have passed, and all is well in eye land.

Still, I can’t help but question the timing of this whole thing. Was it really necessary for me to get an eye infection at Disneyland? Couldn’t it have waited until I was back in Provo, when I had nothing to miss but work? Did there really have to be a show talking about eye loss playing while I was having an eye problem?

I can’t help but feel that the universe is out to get me. Either that, or God really does have a sense of humor, and it can even be kind of twisted sometimes! Either way, I was owned that day.  Well-played.

So I guess Disneyland isn’t always just the happiest place on Earth. Sometimes it can be just plain scary, and I’m not talking about It’s a Small World because the fear associated with that ride really just goes without saying. My point is that I am convinced I somehow got that eye infection from Disneyland. Maybe I should sue!

I’m of course kidding (mostly), but I have to say I was getting pretty upset at missing so much quality Disney time. The good news is that, when all was said and done, I was able to at least go back to Disneyland for a couple of hours after my impromptu trip to the emergency room. Being upset about the time I missed wasn’t going to help anything, so instead I just enjoyed the time I had left.

I think that philosophy can be applied to life as well. Instead of feeling bad about what we’ve missed out on, we should enjoy the opportunities we do have. There’s no point feeling bummed about the past because that just wastes time and keeps us from enjoying the present.

And there will always be other Disneyland trips.