Vote of the week: Getting over a fear of roller coasters?
Written by Robert Niles
As a parent and a theme park fan, I love going on thrill rides with my kids. But the feeling hasn't always been mutual. Okay, before you jump to any conclusions about my relationship with my kids, it was the thrill rides that my children didn't always like, not me. (At least, that's what they're telling me….)Tweet
These days, my kids are teenagers and they demand extreme thrill rides that make even me raise my eyebrows when we get to the queue. But I've met many Theme Park Insider readers over the years whose kids haven't yet gotten over their fear of big roller coasters and other thrill rides. Heck, I've met plenty of adults who still won't get on a coaster with inversions, huge drops or even high-speed turns. Earlier this week, our Bobbie Butterfield wrote about how she overcame her fear and skepticism of coasters, as an adult.
How do you feel about extreme roller coasters and thrill rides? Are you game for anything a theme or amusement park can throw at you? Or would you rather not take a ride in the jiggle box or on the runaway train when you're on vacation? Were you once scared of big thrill rides, and eventually overcame that? If so, how did you do that? What helped you make that switch in attitude?
Limitations in engineering, budgeting and even human endurance have slowed the Coaster Wars that once seemed to bring a new "world's tallest" or "world's fastest" roller coaster in the United States every year or so. But creative roller coaster designers, such as Switzerland's Bolliger & Mabillard, continue to devise new combinations of track elements, seating arrangements and train configurations that deliver original thrill experiences — for people will to give them a try, that is.
Some people just never have cared about thrill rides. They come to parks for the story, the music, the setting — something other than physical thrills. And some fans couldn't imagine anything other than simply loving big thrill rides, from even before the time they were bid enough to ride the. But plenty of theme park fans have had to confront their own, or their children's, fear of roller coasters and thrill rides. They want to go, but that height, those speeds, something, intimidates them and keeps them from getting on board.
What then? It's one thing to force yourself to confront a fear, but would you force a child to ride? Some parents do that, and their kids embrace the experience, becoming lifelong thrill fans. Others? Well, if you thought theme park tickets were expensive, try therapy bills.
I've tried to let my children decide what to ride, on their own terms, not mine. I'd explain the ride, make a case if I thought they'd enjoy it, but then tried to be quiet and accept their decision if they said no. Yet I understand the longing that many parents have to share one of their favorite experiences with their children, and the frustration that ensues when the kids don't want to do it. Heck, some kids do seem to respond best when they're told what to do. It's an individual judgment call.
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