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Thread: DCA's Tower of Terror vs. Acrophobia

  1. #1

    DCA's Tower of Terror vs. Acrophobia

    If this looks familiar, it's becuase I was train-of-thoughting in my Trip Report (for my future trip to Disneyland California) and I've decided to ask the question here that I talked about asking there.

    I'm acrophobic, which is to say that I'm excessively unfond of heights. For my particular variation of the phobia (your mileage may vary), Disney coasters are perfect for me because Matterhorn and Big Thunder are themed to be part of a mountainside, so my brain doesn't think I'm up high. Space Mountain? Dark. Can't see that I'm up high. (I will die a horrible death if Space Mountain breaks down while I'm on it, and they turn on the lights.) But stuff like the Astro Orbiter, the DCA roller coaster, Ferris wheel, or even the Dumbo ride are right out.

    Interestingly, when I was in WDW in 2000, I loved Tower of Terror. There was a big roll bar that I could hang on to and it was just scary enough. (I looked like a little old lady clutching her handbag in the photo, but that's ok.) I went back to WDW a few years later, after a redesign, and the rollbars were gone. Everyone had seatbelts. And I didn't have anything to hang on to, so I ended up desperately grabbing a random bit of metal under the seat and closing my eyes throughout the dropping bit. It was unfun.

    So, how does the Tower of Terror in DCA keep you in your place? Rollbars that you can hang on to? Seatbelts that you can't hang on to? Or something else entirely?


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    Just the lap belt and I know how you feel. I have a fear of falling. If I am secure I am fine such as Dumbo and Astro Orbitor but I totally freaked out on Orange Stinger as I did not feel secure. I can actually sit on my seat edge and lean over on Soarin's as I am secure.

    I have had a few attacks on Tower of Terror because I am not secure enough. Tighten the lap belt really tight, sit in the middle of the row and back one row from the front at least so you have people surrounding you and making you feel safe, and if you do not feel secure and snug then tell the CM and they will let you out. The major problem for me is the fact that they sit me in the front usually as I use an ECV. I am better off in the back.

    The key is feeling secure that you are not going to fly out of the lift. Disneyland repeats the sequence and uses the same lift shaft and never moves to the side like WDW. WDW can randomize the ride so each ride is a bit different but not at DCA. Over time you kind of get used to the DCA version in theory.

    Tell the CM that you need to sit away from the aisle and the front row and they will do that. If you have a panic attack make sure your group knows the symptoms so they know that you are not joking. My mother when riding in my car never spoke to me on bridges after she saw me freak out on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. She learned not to say "look at them itty bitty boats down there". Friends can clearly explain you need off NOW. It is better to not ride than end up like me on the Orange Stinger freaking out in total panic.

    I think you can do it if you do it at WDW but you should do like I said about sitting away from the front so you have a seat back and away from the aisle so you have people surrounding you.


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    Ready for MA World Explorers! Drince88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BippityBoppityBu View Post
    I went back to WDW a few years later, after a redesign, and the rollbars were gone. Everyone had seatbelts. And I didn't have anything to hang on to, so I ended up desperately grabbing a random bit of metal under the seat and closing my eyes throughout the dropping bit. It was unfun.
    I'm not sure about the DL design, but there ARE handles at WDW - you just have to know where to find them (you may have found one with your 'random bit of metal' - they're not huge) and you have to have an understanding with the person next to you, since you have to share.

    I did like the lap bars better, myself - but I think I get better air with the belts.
    Cathy

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    Quote Originally Posted by BippityBoppityBu View Post
    So, how does the Tower of Terror in DCA keep you in your place? Rollbars that you can hang on to? Seatbelts that you can't hang on to? Or something else entirely?
    It's been a while since I've been on, but I do think it's individual lap belts. One trick if you can maneuver it when you get assigned your space to go to your seat - the sides have a metal grill as the wall, and the spaces are usually big enough that I can fit my fingers through, so I can grip them, which makes me feel better, so sitting in a side seat might help you. I think the arm rests are things you can hold on to as well. You might also not want to be in the front seat, because you'd get a better view of "down" (to the extent you can), which might not be good for you.
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    There is a fairly obvious handle on the seat furthest away from the center (like the handle on the side of a car seat, under the window). To get one of these, you need to be the first person of any row heading into the ride.

    It's not a grab bar, but it's not bad.

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    Bewaaare the grooove... bigrockstar's Avatar
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    I rode it yesterday. I seem to recall seeing metal hand-grips between every seat (I've never used them... hands in the air). Also, I recommend riding at night. That way, you can focus on the beautiful lights off in the distance instead of the height. I also feel more secure when I sit right by the wall (chain-link fence).

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  8. #7

    Yep... we were just on it in early July. There are definitely handle bars on each side of the seat to grab onto. I know this, because I gripped mine so tightly that my fingers were still in the white knuckle,fist position when the ride was over. I loved it though. It was my first time on TOT and it was my favorite ride of the trip! I think you will be fine. I know that the handle bars made me feel better. I felt like I had something really substantial to hold on to. I am by no means a "hands in the air" kind of gal!


  9. #8

    This is my own quirk, it might not work for you.


    I won't ride the freefall rides anywhere. Not maliboomer, not those things at fairs, etc. I have ridden them in the past, I know what the feel like, and I wont' do it anymore.

    But with TOT, you're not falling; you're being pulled. To me, I can feel the difference. I like the feeling of being pulled down with TOT, where I don't like the falling feeling of the others.

    So that's what lets me ride TOT and enjoy it.


    Also, and this might also be different b/c for me it's a fear of falling from a height, not the height itself...the fact that there's so much room in front of even the front people on the ride, so much stuff between the car and the actual outside...really helps me. I'm not going to fall out *there*, not at all. If the mechanism has a problem, since it has to pull us down, I bet its "default" setting is to just sit there, not just let the car go on down. So if I'm not going to fall *out there*, and most likely the car will just be on autobrakes if something goes awry...I'm OK!

    And I'm a person who once had a half hour panic attack, while climbing down a 10 foot wall. I could have jumped down and not hurt myself, but instead I clung to the wall while my then boyfriend slowly fell out of love and even like with me, b/c I was freaking out so much (wow, had forgotten that day until now) and Would Not Move. But TOT? No prob.


    And yes there are handles to the side of your seat, but it's only lapbelts. Don't bring anything on to the ride with you, if you go, so you don't have to worry about things floating up, and can just hang on to the handles.


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    Definitely go for the seat furthest from the center aisle. There is a handle attached to the wall of the car, and being next to the wall will also make you feel a little more enclosed.

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  11. #10
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    I have the same issue but none of the rides really bother me. I love Tower of Terror and like everyone else there are handles. Maybe it is okay because there are straps, belts handles ect.. I feel safe but get me in a car on a one or two lane roads with slopes on either side and I am a wreck! Especially in the mountains!!

    The WDW and DL are the same safety wise you should be fine.

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  12. #11
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    There are metal arm rest between each seat and you can securely hold on to those!

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  13. #12

    Based on all the helpful responses I've gotten here, I'm going to go for it.

    Tower of Terror, I'm ready for you!


  14. #13
    Blow me to Bermuda! wvnative's Avatar
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    I'll be curious to hear how you fared. I too am "unfond" of heights. I can do most any roller coaster, even a wooden one as long as it's not one of those drops you just about straight down kind of things. I love Screamin' and only panic slightly on Soarin'. I ride them both seeral times every trip. I cannot do Astro Orbiter or Dumbo. Ferris Wheels are not even a consideration.

    I've done ToT once and although I had bruises on the inside of my palms when we were done, I survived. There are handles. Once was plenty though. I think I'd have actually enjoyed it had it just been one drop. The doors opening for a view didn't help me any either.

    That said, I think you should try it at least once. Good Luck!

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  15. #14

    There were handles for every seat until about 10 days ago. Just make sure you don't sit in the same seat I did because those handles are no longer on TOT at DL, I had to have them surgically removed from my hands and DL let me keep them as a souvenir


  16. #15

    I'm acrophobic myself. The ferris wheel nearly killed me the one time I tried it, and I also have issues with tall things that sway - walking up steps to get to the top of a slide at a water park comes to mind. Or the St. Louis arch.

    But I have never had a speck of trouble on Tower of Terror. The fact that it doesn't sway at all, even when it's windy, certainly helps, as does the fact that I'm sitting down. Since my natural reaction to heights is to get as close to the floor as possible and hold on for dear life, being securely seatbelted into the ride makes a big difference. And once it starts, it's really fun, so that takes my mind off it, and it's a pretty short ride, so by the time my brain registers how high we were, it's already over.


  17. #16
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    Tangent: This discussion reminds me of my visit to the Space Needle in Seattle. I don't really have a fear of heights, but when you enter the elevator and start going up, it is enclosed, but it is a glass elevator which I didn't realize, and as it leaves the ground it pops into the open. Well, I made the mistake of standing near the doors, and that freaked me out a bit. I had no problem being on top or going down since I knew what to expect, but wow, that was an experience. Oh, and Tower of Terror is nothing at all like that. Even when you get to the top and the window opens, you feel like you are secure in a room. Hope I didn't scare anyone.

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  18. #17

    It's been a while, but I thought I'd report in.

    There are handles, although there is only one between two seats. They are roomy enough for someone with large hands to grip, but they are at seat level, barely raised from the seat at all.

    The exception is that there is also a handle on the side, that a person who is sitting in one of the side seats can hold on to. This one is also higher up, maybe 12" above the seat level, fastened to the side of the car.

    I am a fairly wide person, and the gentleman sitting next to me (friendly guy, who I met in line for the ride) was also fairly wide. I did not feel socially comfortable putting my hand on the grip between us when our legs were already pressed against each other. However! I got lucky and got one of the side seats, middle row, so I was able to hold onto the side grip with my right hand and cross over myself and hold the same grip with my left hand. My fingers overlapped, but I felt like I was holding on to something.

    And ... it was great! The fun overcame the fear ... I had a few twinges of actual fear, but mostly I was too busy enjoying myself. I'd do it again, but only in one of those side seats.

    And thank you so much for the advice from the previous posters, I don't think I would have done it without your helpful tips.


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    Thank you for the update and I am so glad you had fun.


  20. #19

    Bippity, your post reminds me of the funniest thing that happened on our trip last year. DH and I rode TOT, and on the drop, DH totally grabbed the thigh of the very suprised man seated to his right. Fortunately, the fellow was a good sport about it! I laugh every time I think of it.

     

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrockstar View Post
    I rode it yesterday. I seem to recall seeing metal hand-grips between every seat (I've never used them... hands in the air). Also, I recommend riding at night. That way, you can focus on the beautiful lights off in the distance instead of the height. I also feel more secure when I sit right by the wall (chain-link fence).
    Its been awhile, but I believe there are handles by every seat -- similar to what we call "Oh shoot" handles in a 4WD vehicle.

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