Friday, June 2, 2017

Thrill Rides

INGRID THOFT

I consider myself to be pretty brave, not one to shrink from a physical challenge.  I've been scuba diving with enormous manta rays at night, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, gone to Costco on a weekend morning.  However, one area in which my nerves seems to fail me is roller coasters.  I like amusement park rides as much as the next person, but I've learned that roller coasters aren't what they used to be.
 
While cooking dinner recently, I happened upon a Travel Channel show called "America's Scariest Roller Coasters."  It's a wonder I didn't chop off my finger given how distracted I was by the ascents and plunges.  My curiosity piqued, the next day I fell down the roller coaster rabbit hole on YouTube, and I emerged later needing dramamine and marveling at the feats of engineering.  The names alone are enough to keep me rooted to a bench underneath them: Intimadator, Sky Scream, Banshee, Goliath, Steel Dragon.  The details are equally intimidating: speeds of up to 150 miles per hour; 418 foot drops; and 14 inversions.

I attempted to break out of my comfort zone many years ago by boarding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney World.  My husband suggested it wasn't for me, but I really wanted to prove to myself that I could handle the experience, including the upside down portion (inversion) of the ride.  The attraction starts by accelerating from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds.  "It's going to go really fast," my hubby kept warning me as we strapped into our seats.  "No worries," I assured him.

What happened next?  I'm not really sure because I think my heart stopped briefly.  According to Wikipedia, on that first inversion, riders of the Rock 'n' Roll Coaster experience 4.5 G "more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch."  It was terrifying and sickening, and the only redeeming quality of the ride was that it was over quickly!  I think Dumbo the Flying Elephant is more my speed.


Do you love roller coasters?  Hate them?  Want your thrills confined to the page?



And if you want to sample the latest thrill rides, check out this video: World's Scariest Roller Coasters


38 comments:

  1. Oh, no . . . I am the queen of chickens when it comes to amusement park rides so there will be no roller coaster rides for me. My idea of a great ride is the carousel . . . period.

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  2. Can. Not. Do. Rollercoasters. The last time I went on one with my high-school-age sons, I knew it was a mistake to be upside down but it was way too late to get off. Just...no thanks!

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  3. Me, neither. I am NOT a thrill seeker when it comes to amusement park rides so I will pass on the scary roller coaster rides. My priority there is to go to the festival food stands (ice cream sandwiches, Tiny Tim mini donuts etc.).

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    1. I like the fried dough at carnivals, and I always crack up at the enormous turkey legs people eat at some parks. They're huge, but I've not tried one so I shouldn't knock it. It looks like something the Flintstones would eat!

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    2. The turkey legs are delicious, hard to eat a whole one, but even if you do, no guilt is served.

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    3. My sister had a friend who was in phenomenal shape, and the only thing she would eat at Disney was the turkey legs. She said they were the healthiest option. You were on to something, Ann!

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  4. No, no, no...Most of those rides make me sick to my stomach - I and the other riders do not appreciate that. I learned a long time ago not to ride anything more than the bumper cars or the merry-go-round.

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  5. I can handle the roller coasters at Disney World, including Rock 'n' Roller Coast (the inversion was over so quickly I almost didn't realize it had happened). Other than that, forget it.

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    1. I thing Big Thunder Mountain is the most perfect ride ever, Cathy. I don't even mind Space Mountain (although I think my back would.) I tried Splash Mountain once and did not enjoy it. That drop at the end was too much!

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  6. Rappel down a cliff? I'm in!!! Ride a monster rollercoaster? NO. And I live 20 minutes away from world-class rides at good old Cedar Point Amusement Park! Just trying to park there makes me nauseous! ;-)

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    1. Flora, we used to vacation at Cedar Point when I was a kid. We stayed in that grand old hotel there, swam in Lake Erie (which was so nice and clean then), and visited the amusement park. I have fond memories.

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  7. Joan speaks for me, too. I've ridden a few tiny, tame roller coasters, but even they were not experiences I'd care to repeat. The big ones must surely cause brain damage. I have contemplated flying across the country to ride an antique carousel though. I live within an easy drive of the original Six Flags, and have met the kid who helped his dad design it, but any time I feel like dropping a few bucks to amuse myself, I head for the thriller section of the bookstore, not the thrill rides at the amusement park.

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  8. I never met a roller coaster I didn't like. Or want to ride. My idea of perfection is to spend a day at Six Flags with my grandchildren and NOBODY else in the park. Because I hate crowds, despise standing in line, and if I find a good ride, I want to go on it again and again.

    At least all the above used to be true. These days I fear I will hurt myself brushing my teeth, so no more amusement parks for this old broad.

    Gigi, antique carousels are about my speed now, although I'm not sure I could get on a horsie. We have a beautiful one in Rochester, up on the Big Lake. Just listening to the music soothes me. We also have an old fashioned amusement park there, much like that one that used to be at the fairgrounds in Dallas. So if you want to spend a few bucks, I'll clean the Red Room. And we can ride the merry-g0-round all day.

    Ann in Rochester

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    1. https://rocwiki.org/Dentzel_Carousel

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    2. That sounds like a deal to me, Ann!

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  9. I'm not good with heights, so I'm not much of an amusement park fan.

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  10. Grew up going to Palisades Amusement Park. Coasters hold no mysteries for me. Loved going upside down, not sure I could handle those vertical drops though coasters they have now though. I've never seen one, so I haven't had to make the decision. Like Flora, I tend to prefer brake bars on my vertical descents! One form of coaster I could not handle, Wild Mouse rides. They would stop short with a jerk before they turned 90 degrees. The short stop and the jerk hurt. Didn't seem to bother other folk, though. Anyone else remember them? Are they still around?

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    1. I've never heard of the Wild Mouse ride. We're these in traveling carnivals or part of permanent amusement parks?

      I'm trying to picture what adventures a wild mouse might have...

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    2. Kait, have you read the fiction book Palisades Park by Alan Brennert? It's a fantastic book!

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  11. Those Mouse things were more painful than fun

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  12. That Costco part IS brave of you, Ingrid! When I realized I was spending a minute in line for every dollar I spent, I stopped renewing my membership. My back thanked me!

    Roller coasters are NOT for me! I was on on only once, having been talked into it by friends on our eighth grade class trip to Playland in Rye, NY in 1963. I was sure I would fall out. To this day I still occasionally have a nightmare that I'm beginning to fall out of a roller coaster.

    Give me a good thriller any time. At least I can put the book down for a few hours if things get too intense!

    Deb Romano

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  13. I love amusement parks and I used to take the kids on the "up and down"rides... garden variety roller coasters. Like Thunder Mountain at Disneyland. My husband took them on the 'round and round' rides because they make me throw up. But I do not do "upside down" rides. Newp. Got to draw the line somewhere.

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    1. Do you remember Tilt a World? My sisters and I used to love it as kids, but one of them went on it recently and said it was completely sickening. Kind of like swinging on swings at the park. We used to think it was great fun, but now it just makes us sick to our stomachs!

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  14. I live 5 minutes from Busch Gardens in Tampa. The closest I will come to a roller coaster is watching it from the street outside the park. On the other hand, I love the wet water rides. They are necessary when it hits 90 degrees, with 95% humidity.
    I draw the line at the spinning tea cups when I am at Disney. Deb said it well, thrills and chills are best found between the covers of a good book.

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  15. If Joan is the queen, I am surely the princess. Even as a kid I was too chicken to ride the roller coaster, and there were no inversions on that old wooden one. We live a mile and a half from the nearest amusement park, and the only rides I've ever been on there were the teacups and the paddleboats. That's my speed. Hey, somebody has to take the littles, right?

    I'll never forget one of my daughters begging to go on the small coaster at Kings Island, the first summer she was tall enough. I didn't want to go, so my brother volunteered. She was white as a ghost when she got off! She's also the one who bungee jumped off a bridge in Australia. Twice.

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    1. Karen, are you too young to have gone to Coney Island, the park before King's Island?

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  16. I used to love roller coasters. In fact The Girl and I rode that Rockin' Rollercoaster when she was 8 and we both loved it.

    Then the benign positional vertigo set it and no more rollercoasters--or indeed any kind of thrill ride--for me. =(

    Mary/Liz

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  17. When I was a kid I loved roller coasters. Back then they were all the "classic" wooden ones. Either in high school or college I found myself on a tall one at Ponchartrain Park in New Orleans. My girl friend and I were at the very top of the first climb and I found myself asking what in the hell was I doing up there? I don't think I got on any more after that. The Matterhorn at Disney doesn't count! Or Space Mountain. I don't do upsidedown and I don't do any ride I consider a throw up ride. Usually ones that spin. Now that I think about it I don't think I've been to an amusement park since we went to Cedar Point 20+ years ago. Wait. I take that back. I've tagged along in the past ten years to a couple of American Society for Industrial Security annual meeting. One year it was in Anaheim and the big dinner was at Disneyland in Frontierland. So the park was closed but Frontierland was open to ride all the rides. That was cool. And then the same in Orlando. ASIS was at Universal (?) and we could ride rides and do all the Harry Potter stuff. Double cool. Although the simulated ride on Harry's broom made me ill.

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  18. Love them. I wold go on any rollercoster, any time. The are l4ss scry, I think, when you re ON them than when you are looking up at them. I will go on any ride, actually. EXCEPT in one of those traveling pop-up shopping lot carnivals. Nope nope nope--done too many stories about those.

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    1. Ooh, do you have time to tell one of those stories? As a public service?

      Deb Romano

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    2. Hank sounds like she just got off a roller coaster!

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  19. Count me on the side of those who love roller coasters. It did take me a while to get up the nerve to go on my first upside-down coaster, but I did it many years ago at Great America in Santa Clara CA (close to home). Among my favorites are those where the passengers are hanging from a track above. But I do have my limits. When our children were young, we went on a coaster called (I think) the Viper at Magic Mountain. Something about the motion got to me--it seemed there were several weird sideways turns in the middle, up in the air. When I got off, I had to look at the ground to keep myself from getting sick. And, of course--what did the family want to do? Have lunch! I sat outside the restaurant for a few minutes, then felt good enough to go inside and have some nachos with them. But I declined to ride the coaster the following day, along with my older son. I know when I'm licked.

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  20. Coming in here on this Saturday afternoon, what an appropriate topic! I just returned from a trip to Universal Studios Florida with my daughter's family of herself, her husband Eli, daughter Olivia (16), and daughter Isabella (7). I am a chicken about roller coasters or any rides that jerk, drop, tilt, or swing you around. But, I was determined to try some of the rides at the two Harry Potter sites, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I wanted to enjoy the fun with my granddaughters. Interestingly enough, the sixteen-year-old is quite the chicken, too, but the seven-year-old is fearless. Isabella is the one who wants to sit in the front row and loves the drops and speed. Olivia and I sat together during the rides and held hands and screamed. Isabella sat with her parents, and all three were those people who hold their hands in the air from time to time. So, I did the Forbidden Journey, the Gringott's ride, the Hippograff (which was falsely advertised as mild), the Jurassic Park water drop ride, King Kong (which I surprisingly enjoyed), and the Transformers (worst one, jerked my head off). Of course, one of my favorites was The Cat in the Hat in Seuss Land. It told the story with the ride going through scenes of the story, and it was adorable. Oh, and the Minion ride and a ride in Simpsons' Land were also good. I would not sit foot on The Mummy's Revenge, which the rest of the family loved, even scaredy-cat Olivia. The Mummy was intense, from what they described and the pictures I saw. My son-in-law is a roller coaster junkie, apparently, and rode the big one called The Rocket Ride (I think that was the name). No thank you please. No upside down for me, loop after loop. My daughter and he also loved The Dragon Challenge in Hogsmeade, which were dueling roller coasters, with that horrid upside down stuff. I think the youngest like Gringott's best, but the Mummy was a close second. I think Gringott's was my favorite. The teenager liked the Mummy best, which I thought was a real betrayal to our pact of not riding the really fast coasters.

    So, I rode more rides this past week than I had in years and years. I survived, but I'm in recovery mode now. Walking miles and miles every day and riding those physically punishing rides takes a toll on those of us older kids. It was a vacation that we all enjoyed and will remember for a lifetime. I'm so glad that I pushed myself to go on as many rides as I did. I want my grandgirls to remember the rides with me as a part of them.

    Oh, I should throw in that the amusement park for when I was growing up was Coney Island right outside Cincinnati. It was the precursor for King's Island. The roller coasters at Coney Island were The Wildcat and the Wild Mouse. It seems like there was another one, but I can't remember the name. I did ride The Wildcat twice, but even growing up, I didn't like roller coasters. I did love the skee ball there and the milder rides, especially the log ride that went into the water. When we took our kids to Disney World, it was my husband who went on Space Mountain with them.

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    1. What a fantastic trip, Kathy! Your granddaughters are so lucky to have such an adventurous grandmother! I'm sure they'll cherish the memories.

      I rode a Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios in California, and that was a huge mistake! There was a final drop that was incredibly steep, and we ended up soaked at the end! Of course, there was a small child in front of me who was cut from the same cloth as Isabella: he had his arms in the air and was loving it.

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    2. Oh, Ingrid, the end drop on the Jurassic Park ride at Orlando was a big shock, too!

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    3. Coney Island is the one at the end of our street! They brought back a lot of the rides awhile after KI opened.

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  21. LOVE them but I have noticed I don't get my equilibrium back as quickly as I did when I was younger.

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  22. Loved the Flying Dumbo ride at the happiest place on earth. I remember going on wild rides too. Something about pirates of the carribean? My cousin and I went on Alice's tea cup ride, which was dizzy, though it was so fun! I think the roller coaster is the only one I would not ride on, though I did like the Indiana Jones ride. It was not really a roller coaster, right?

    However, roller coasters is a different story. Never wanted to go on one. I think I would get a better thrill from NASA gravity testing room than roller coasters.

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