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How to Respond to Theme Park Guests Who Want Advice About Rides?

Edited: November 13, 2015, 8:28 PM · On numerous occasions I have been approached by strangers at theme parks who wanted to know whether they could cope with specific rides. At Carowinds there was a woman in the queue for Fury 325 who said that she was planning to ride it for the sake of her daughter but was clearly a nervous wreck. She approached me and said: "I can handle Intimidator. Can I handle this ride?" What do you say to someone who asks you such a question? I obviously didn't know her and was in no position to say what she could or could not handle. She asked the same question of a dozen other people and I did not hear the responses. The most I could say is that Fury 325 is more intense than Intimidator. Someone at Great Adventure whom I met on the loading platform asked me whether Nitro was scary. How do you answer that? My idea of scary might be completely different from hers. I don't feel qualified to respond to enquiries of this nature. What would you say if approached by someone who wanted to know whether s/he could handle the ride or whether the ride was scary?

Replies (16)

November 13, 2015, 8:57 PM · It's hard for me because I don't think rides a scary. "How scary is Kingda Ka?" Not scary at all for me, but some people can't handle it.
November 14, 2015, 5:57 PM · I've never run into this at Disneyland, but have had it happen with some frequency at thrill parks, almost always relating to a roller coaster. Usually, I will try to find out what other coasters the guest has experienced that day (or in the past) and then describe the coaster relative to those rides or relative to sensations they might know. For example, if in line for Tatsu at SFMM I might say something like this: "You ride under the track like on Batman, but it feels like you're flying. Since you're looking down, it will feel super tall but it's really about the same height as Riddler's Revenge. The ride is super smooth and graceful, though there is one moment with a lot of force, similar to the helix on Goliath. If you can handle any of the other big coasters here, you're probably fine on this one."

The generic "Is it scary?" question is a whole different animal. For this one, I usually will ask what else they've been on, then ask if they thought the closest one was scary or not. If not, I'll usually say no. If they thought it was, however, I generally will ask what scares them and make relative comparisons. Another SFMM example...

Guest: Is Full Throttle scary?
Me: It depends. What else have you been on today?
Guest: Twisted Colossus, Apocalypse, Scream...
Me: Did you find those scary?
Guest: A little.
Me: Well, the loop is just like the one on Scream, only a little big bigger, and the drop is just a larger version of the one on Twisted Colossus. Those might be a little scary, but the rest of the ride is really fun.
Guest: What about the launch?
Me: It's a little surprising, but it's fun, not scary.

I never reply to the scary question with a simple yes, especially if the guest looks like they are actually scared. Whenever someone is in doubt, I usually will encourage them to try the ride. You never know if you'll like something unless you try it, and if you don't like it you don't have to do it again.

November 15, 2015, 8:17 AM · @AJ
I hope you don't mind me stealing your technique!
November 15, 2015, 10:36 AM · AJ that is actually some of the best advice I've seen on this site. It keeps the conversation positive and encourages the person to experience the attraction.

Now how about when that person asks if the Halloween Scare maze you just exited is scary? ;)

November 15, 2015, 11:55 AM · Tell her to go on it and say that it isn't scary at all. Then enjoy her reaction.
November 15, 2015, 2:59 PM · Jaiden (and others), definitely borrow from it if you think it's a good idea. I wouldn't post something about helping others enjoy a theme park experience and then not want it to be used.

Court, I've never been asked that question at a haunt maze, but if I was I'd probably wait until I heard screaming and then tell them it wasn't scary at all just to mess with them.

November 16, 2015, 12:08 PM · AJ's approach is a very good one. Wish I'd thought of it myself! Although I've never hesitated to tell strangers at a theme park where to sit on a roller coaster to get the best airtime, making pronouncements about how someone is likely to react to the ride experience is a different story altogether. And this is all so subjective. I love disneyversal's comment. Maybe I should tell the next person who asks me about Kingda Ka that it's a moderate ride and nothing to get excited about.
November 16, 2015, 1:35 PM · AJ said - I've never run into this at Disneyland - I say hahahaha since there are no rides at Disney that could possible be Intimidating... Thanks for the laugh on a Monday..


Edited: November 16, 2015, 2:06 PM · Umm...Tower of Terror at night anyone?
November 16, 2015, 3:01 PM · Jurassic Park in the dark with Guns N' Roses anyone?
November 16, 2015, 3:03 PM · I assume they have this one chance to go on the ride. It is better they make the decision. So the responsibility is on them.

"I can handle Intimidator. Can I handle this ride?"

'I have no doubt.'

"Is the ride scary?"

'Yes. All rides are scary, but I can handle it. Your daughter can handle it.' Then run away. Refuse to answer directly.

Edited: November 16, 2015, 4:30 PM · Brian, while I would agree that Disneyland doesn't have anything that would be intimidating for most people above early elementary school age, I have seen teenagers and adults get scared away from Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and California Screamin' over at DCA. Based on that, I'd say Disney does have a couple serious thrill rides after all.
November 17, 2015, 8:00 AM · AJ - are you saying some elementary school age person would ask you if (a random person) if a ride is scary... hahahaha you are killing me.... Killing me Smalls...

Sorry not Sorry:
Disney does not have Thrill rides... all of them are mild and tame... I am not a thrill seeker but lets be honest... TT is almost - yes almost a thrill ride..

November 21, 2015, 1:16 PM · I'm not big on roller coasters that sling you around, so on a first time visit to a park I have asked people going into a queue if the ride is rough. Once you get a baseline ride in, you can ask people how a particular ride that you've been on compares to to an unknown ride.
December 6, 2015, 8:27 PM · My suggestion is to compare the ride that person is going on with other rides that person went on the same day. Or if this ride is their first ride of the day (or their first inverting coaster) then explain to them calmly what happens during the ride. If the person knows what's going to happen, then they tend to calm down a little more.
December 13, 2015, 10:32 AM · Yes, I usually compare the attraction to another one in the park (or rival park). I actually did that yesterday with Spiderman (compared it to Star Tours...at least in concept).

Youtube has been a good savior as well since somebody can "ride it" while standing outside of the attraction.

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