Snow White was just too scary, and Mr. Toad left my little girls shaking in their click shoes.
Pinocchio reduced my daughters to a sloppy pile of tears.
It was a summer of fright, capped off with a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, aka the depths of toddler hell.
I never realized Disneyland was so scary.
I had thought our visit would be an opportunity for them to escape the pressure of growing up too fast and be kids in kidsville.
So here was the formula for virtually every enclosed Disney ride.
Happy, cottage-style house attracts kids and mother to long line. Mom tells kids how much fun she had riding the ride as a kid and assures children "it's not scary."
Kids quit biting fingernails as soon as they approach the carts to get on ride because the carts are cute and cheerful. Plus, the start of the ride is cartoony, with bright colors and smiling faces.
Then as soon as we get in the cart and round the corner, a big door opens and closes - and behold! We are now in toddler hell. Everything is dark, scary and loud. Trees jump out, and a skull and crossbones hangs on the wall.
Carts thrust you inches from the wicked witch illuminating in a sickly green before jerking you in front of a snarling tree with claw-like branches.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride actually takes kids to "hell" as the cart goes down, down, down into a glowing red room and the heat turns up to 80-plus degrees.
When we rounded the corner on the storybook boat ride and went into a whale's mouth, I was afraid I'd be sentenced to riding It's a Small World and the carousel for the rest of the day. Fortunately, my girls just held their breath and let out a loud exhale once we were in the sunshine again.
I relaxed and my thoughts drifted back to the good old days.
What fun it would have been to have a great pirate fight inside that whale - if only I were 6 again and not sheltering the eyes of a shaking 3-year-old.