Space Mountain Didn’t Kill Me – Story Example

By April 5, 2017 July 21st, 2019 No Comments
inside space mountain ride at disney world, telling a personal story about the ride

Another of my favorite stories is from one of my students, Mary, at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. I am an adjunct professor teaching public speaking, communication, and business storytelling. The student final is a five-minute TED-style talk.

I use the story below as an example in my workshops, keynotes, and training. It is profound. It flows beautifully. It incorporates different figures of speech to increase the impact of her story. And her Better Tomorrow MessageTM, “Find Your Space Mountain,” is catchy and memorable.

When you are preparing your conference presentation, your training class, your report, your LinkedIn profile, your opening to your all-hands meeting/town hall, whatever it is, select experiences that are profound, that are meaningful to you. AND select experiences that will resonate with your audience. Ensure you have an inspiring message, your Better Tomorrow MessageTM (BTM), and a compelling call-to-action. Your BTMTM and your call-to-action are the cornerstones to engaging, memorable business stories.

“Space Mountain Didn’t Kill Me”

Every eight-year-old girl dreams about her first trip to Disney World. We think about all the characters we will meet and the rides we will get to ride. It’s supposed to be a place full of magic and happiness. That’s what Disney World is all about, right?

My worst nightmares couldn’t have prepared me for what I was going to experience during our holiday week in Disney.

It didn’t seem right to me the happiest place on Earth, could also be the unhappiest place on Earth.

Thinking to myself, “It didn’t seem right to me the happiest place on Earth, could also be the unhappiest place on Earth.”

The whole entire week I sat out of all the roller coasters, forcing my mom or dad to stay with me. My mom missed out on the “Rocking Roller Coaster” while my dad missed out on1b the “Tower of Terror.” When it was time for “Space Mountain,” they both had enough! The happiest place on Earth was about to get a little less happy.

I was dragged inside against my will. My screams and cries were deafening–not exactly what the people at Disney World want to hear. My parents pulled me through the pitch-black maze leading to the ride. Salty tears filled my mouth. The cold bars of the seat clamped around me, eliminating any chance at escape.

The ride charged on. My screams continued with every hill and bump. As the cart clanked, clanked, to a stop, I realized I was still alive! “Space Mountain” hadn’t killed me. Funny thing, it hadn’t even been that scary. It became again, the happiest place on Earth. And there was absolutely, no way, I was admitting this to my parents.


I had been too stubborn to open my mind, too stubborn to try something new, and too stubborn to admit I liked it. Although I had to be forced, getting out of my comfort zone ended up giving me courage.

I learned, my opinions can change. Now, I attempt everything with an open mind, no matter how scary it may seem. The quality of openness is important to growing as a person. It is important this openness comes from within. And it is important to realize others can’t do it for you.

There are experiences to be had, diverse people to meet, and life to be lived. With this openness, adventure can be around every corner. Life is about embracing adventure and thriving on it.


Within this story are a variety of figures of speech to improve impact, to help you be more memorable, and to inspire action in your audiences. Read our articles on these figures of speech directly below. Then analyze the stories posted on The Chief Storyteller® and other favorite sites of yours. Read and listen how others use figures of speech to strengthen their stories. Apply your new learning to strengthen your stories for narrative content, body language, and public speaking delivery.

Figures of Speech include Anadiplosis, Anaphora, Asyndeton, Epiphora, Epizeuxis, and Onomatopoeia.

Interested in (dramatically) improving your storytelling, public speaking, or communication skills?

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.