Julie Guyot Studio


Julie Guyot

It’s probably a good rule of thumb not to climb aboard amusement park rides when you’re recovering from the stomach flu. I’ve never said I have good judgment all of the time. Hence: Primeval Whirl 2017. Otherwise known as the only time I almost vomited during a roller coaster ride.

According to my companions (my husband who used to work at Six Flags Great America in his youth, our 7-year old niece, and her dad), to call this a roller coaster is a bit of an exaggeration. The description of the Primeval Whirl that is posted on the Disney Animal Kingdom website is as follows: “Sweep through a series of sudden dips and turns as your time machine spins on its own path. Whiz by cartoon-styled dinosaurs hastily preparing for their impending extinction and glimpse a shower of kooky meteors. Thrill to twists and turns and glide through a fossilized jigsaw puzzle of dinosaur bones before leaving the past behind and making your way back to the present.” In reality, it’s a Tilt-a-Whirl with a small roller coaster added in for good measure. So your car is spinning at the same time it’s going over these roller coaster like dips. I take full responsibility that I indeed am the person who looked at that ride and said, “I totally have to go on that.”

I don’t remember any of the visuals that they’re describing but maybe that’s because after the first “small dip”, as they refer to it on the website, I had to close my eyes to avoid losing my breakfast. I was also really focused on how to maintain my ridiculous screaming throughout the entire ride. As far as “leaving the past behind and making your way back to the present,” what they’re referring to here is the fact that your time machine car thingy continues to slowly move as they make you exit the ride. For me this meant that I was trying so hard not to puke that I had gone weak in the knees and this definitely made it difficult to pull myself out of that seat and exit the car while it was still moving. Making our way back to the present was a bit more difficult for some of us.

Perhaps my judgment was impaired by the stunning way that Disney has of using colors and facades to create awe-inspiring communities. The branding of DinoLand USA! I mean, those colors, that vintage flare. It was an Instagram filter that came to life. It was luring me in just like in Something Wicked This Way Comes. I heard the siren call of the dinosaurs and there was no turning back. At one point in the day I saw a Disney “cast member” (in all other parts of the world, a minimum wage worker) standing outside a souvenir shop, holding a stuffed tiger. She wasn’t saying a word but her hand was making the tiger paws move back and forth and her eyes were looking around to see which children would answer the call of the tiger and beg their parents to buy one. She was a caricature of a drug dealer, wearing a bonnet and dress with some sort of apron. It was as if she was Rob Gordon, the music snob record store owner from High Fidelity, and she was telling herself, “I will now sell five copies of The Three EP’s by The Beta Band.” I sometimes do this when I am having a slow day at a craft fair. “I will now sell five sets of nesting bird bowls.” It rarely works for me but maybe I just need a little more of that Disney magic. I just need to figure out how those damn dinosaurs got me on that ride and I will be a millionaire. Well, maybe not with nesting bird bowls but it’s something to think about.