How Walt Disney World’s “If You Had Wings” Traumatized my Nana
"If You Had Wings" used to be this attraction at Walt Disney World that had its doors open from June 5, 1972, all the way up to June 1, 1987. This spot was basically a two-person ride situated in Tomorrowland, and guess who was sponsoring it? Eastern Air Lines. The main theme of the ride revolved around the concept of travel and proudly showcased a bunch of cool places that were conveniently covered by Eastern Air Lines. Now, let's talk about the 1980s for a moment – that's when the ride's lines were really short. So, whenever my family and I would visit Disney, I would make a beeline for this one. Tomorrowland was the place to be!
Speaking of visits, there was this one time when I managed to talk my Grandmother into joining me on the ride, despite her having already experienced it once before that day. We were cruising through the ride, soaking in about 90% of the experience, when suddenly things took an unexpected turn. Malfunction alert! The ride came to an abrupt halt. You know what didn't halt, though? The music. It just kept playing, going about its business like nothing was wrong. And there we were, stuck in our seats for a whopping 40 minutes. Now, I was in my element – I used that time to absorb every tiny detail and belted out the tunes along with the music. But my Grandmother, well, she wasn't quite sharing my excitement. Let's just say she wasn't having the best time. Once the ride eventually wrapped up, she practically bolted out of that attraction and wasted no time finding a bench to rest on. Oh, and let's not forget the cigarette she lit up. My mom gave her this look, and I knew it was time to find another ride. "Nana needs her space," my mom said.
The journey back home to New Jersey was another chapter in the adventure. My Grandmother occupied the back seat with me (she had flown down to join us), and I would randomly burst into song, “If you had wings…had wings…had wings”. Each time I did that, it was like a signal for my Grandmother to reach for her cigarettes. Looking back, I'm pretty sure that ride left her with a sizeable amount of trauma. The following year, when we made our way back to Disney, she gave the ride a hard pass – no more "If You Had Wings" for her.
Hey, if you're interested in diving deeper into the world of "If You Had Wings," there's this cool tribute video you might want to check out. It's a neat exploration of the attraction's history, complete with a virtual ride-through. Quite the time capsule!