Book Jeff

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Advance

Half-a-billion bucks! That’s how much Disney’s newest roller coaster, located just inside Epcot, cost.

Let me rewind for just a second…half-a-billion bucks!

For a single stand-alone attraction. Five-hundred-million dollars is approximately half of what Epcot in its entirety (all 300 acres) cost to open forty years ago this month.

It’s a stunning amount of money, even for a stunning E-ticket type attraction. To be fair, Cosmic Rewind is receiving rave reviews, with some even referring to it as “Space Mountain 3.0.”

Space Mountain 3.0?

Where exactly is 2.0?

I have no clue. Cosmic Rewind is such a leap in technology that it made the jump from 1.0 to 3.0 without needing anything in between!

Walt Disney himself originally envisioned Space Mountain 1.0. In fact, it started showing up on Disneyland Park maps as early as 1968. Unfortunately, the technology did not exist in the late ’60s to allow for multiple roller coasters on the same track, at the same time, in the dark. As a result, we didn’t get our first Space Mountain until it opened at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in January 1975.

Just like Cosmic Rewind this year, I had the opportunity to ride Space Mountain when it first opened. My grandmother took me to Walt Disney World that summer. She wanted to ride the Swan Boats (in her defense they did require a D Ticket), but I couldn’t wait for Space Mountain. We discussed both over lunch upstairs at Cinderella Castle…a story I recently recounted to my girlfriend, Lyndsey, as I mistakenly told her I was “75 that year” versus it being “1975.”

Forget Cosmic Rewind. I just invented Cosmic Advance…advancing time by sixty-plus years. Absolutely free!

I thought about that story while we were in Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago. I even paused while in Fantasyland to look up at the second-story windows at Cinderella Castle and reflected on my Royal Table lunch all those many years ago. My grandmother has been gone for decades now, but if I’m being honest, so has the twelve-year-old boy who dined with her that day in 1975.

Ten years later, I would be graduating from college (where I arrived with all of twenty dollars), getting married, and preparing to move from Southern Mississippi to Northern California for graduate school. Ten years after that, I would be a dad and graduating with my PhD. Jump ahead another ten years and I was living in Southern Arizona where I was working as a Campus Dean/University Professor, having started both with zero experience. By 2015, I had survived the first of two brain tumors and would be publishing the first of two best-selling Disney books based on Walt, Disneyland, and Walt Disney World.

Every Disney attraction tells a story. The story behind Cosmic Rewind is that guests are sent back in time to witness the Big Bang and defeat the Celestial Eson, AKA, The Searcher. In truth, you are just hoping for a great song (we got “One Way or Another” by Blondie) and that you don’t toss your cosmic cookies as you spin and sway through a backwards launch and experience speeds that reach 60 mph.

Every life also tells a story, including yours. If I could make the jump and do the Cosmic Rewind, what would I tell the little boy in the window way back in 1975?

  1. One way or another, you are going to be okay. In fact, you are fine just as you are. You don’t need to do anything to prove your worth and value to anyone else.
  2. Guard your galaxy. Trust yourself before you trust others. Be open to the wonders of God and the universe, but have boundaries. You are a good person who is going to make mistakes. We all do. Remember what Rocket tells us on the ride, “Yeah, well, nobody’s perfect!” Regardless, don’t allow your good heart, good nature, and generosity to be exploited by those who, like The Searcher, don’t have your best interest at heart.
  3. Launch everything earlier. Don’t wait to write your books. You have no way of knowing it when you are only twelve, but at 60 mph, five decades can fly by fast and life really is short. There is wisdom in knowing that “the days are long, but the years are short.”
  4. When getting up on December 24, 2021 to go downstairs and grab a Cosmic/Christmas cookie, use the handrail….

What’s your story? If you could rewind time ten, twenty, or even fifty years, what would you go back and tell your younger self?

-I am Jeff.

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