Canada’s “Woeful-land”

Canada’s Wonderland… a place to go with friends when you feel like testing your courage against Canada’s tallest roller coasters. It’s a place of fun, a place filled with roars of excitement, and a place that is hell for someone with celiac disease.

The day began great: my friend and I arrived at the park gates before open so that we could get first dibs on any ride that we chose to conquer. Luckily they let us in early (a special treat for season’s pass holders and their guest) so we decided to grab some breakfast before we hit the rides. For him it was easy, cream cheese bagel from Tim Horton’s – for me not so much… I wasn’t too hungry so I thought I would peruse the fridge at Starbuck’s, leaving with an incredibly over-priced cup of fruit. I nibbled away as we walked towards Flight Deck, our first choice of ride.

Because we were there so early there were no lines. I tossed my empty fruit cup and hopped on the ride. Here we go, I thought to myself, I hadn’t been to Wonderland in awhile so I was a little nervous. Flying through the twists and turns was exhilarating, and a little scary at certain parts, but we made it through and were off to the next one in no time.

One ride after the next, Psyclone, Sledge Hammer, Behemoth… I began to feel a little nauseous. My body was telling me that I needed more food. My friend and I decided to do one last ride before we went for lunch – Backlot Stunt Coaster. In the middle of the ride I thought I was going to pass out, this is a bad idea, my head screamed. In a few seconds it was over – finally time to eat… or so I thought.

Because I was feeling so nauseous (and incredibly weak) we headed to the closest restaurant – Coasters, a 50’s themed diner. Once inside I collapsed into a booth, looking up at the menu that hung above the counter. Two girls behind the counter eyed us, one looked worried, the other, annoyed. The annoyed girl yelled from behind the counter, “we’re not open,” she clearly wanted us out of there. I asked her what time they would be open, no one responded, my friend asked again. “We open at 11,” someone from the kitchen replied. My friend looked at his phone, it was 2 minutes before 11 o’clock… After those 2 minutes passed the worried girl asked us if we wanted to order, I asked her if they had anything gluten-free to which the annoyed girl responded with an abrupt “no.” We were told by another gentleman that gluten-free options could be found at the Backlot Café. I had to muster up all my energy to walk there.

Once there we discovered a few people hanging around outside the door, looking in. By this time it was past 11 am, the time it was scheduled to open. My friend pulled on the door handle, it was locked. I squatted on the ground so that I wouldn’t topple over, time to wait… again. A few minutes went by and I thought I was going to faint – I headed over to one of the outdoor tables and rested my head on my arms so that I could conserve my energy. A few more minutes passed until a lady came to open the doors.

I went straight to the counter where a man was making pizza and asked him what gluten-free options were available. He told me there was gluten-free pizza or chicken fingers and fries, I decided to go with the latter. I moved to the next counter where the chicken could be ordered, there was no one there. Finally, a man came out from the back to take orders. The woman in front of me asked if she could get chicken fingers and fries to which he replied “the only ones that we have here are gluten-free, but I’m not sure if we have any left.” He went to check and didn’t come back, the lady left. I was next in line when a woman appeared from the kitchen, I asked about the chicken fingers and she said that they had some. Finally, I thought, finally some food. She put in my order and I walked to the wall across from the counter and sat down on the floor.

It was about 5 minutes later that I heard my name being called – my food was ready. I tried to respond but she couldn’t hear. I slowly helped myself up off the floor and shakily walked over to the counter. The girl held out my tray of food, and as I reached for it my vision began to go hazy. For a second I couldn’t see and I felt shakier than before. I gripped the edge of the counter for support until my vision recovered. I took the tray and walked to the cash register, slowly, so that I didn’t drop my food. I didn’t even have the energy to get my money from my purse without feeling like I would faint. My friend paid for my meal as I went to sit down. The second I reached the seat I dug in, pacing myself so that I didn’t get sick. Slowly, my energy began to return and the nausea subsided – I felt so much better, but still not 100%.

The rest of the day I snacked on gummies to keep my energy up until dinner – I didn’t want to feel like that again. The sugar rush was nice, but not satiating and my body yearned for proper food. Sadly there wasn’t really anything else that I could eat. In the end I decided to have pizza for dinner before embarking on my trip back home. A steady migraine and three buses later I was finally home. I collapsed onto my bed, never again, I thought, I am never going to Wonderland again. 

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