What Was Your First Time...
...On an upside down roller coaster?
Busch Gardens Williamsburg just uploaded an official POV video for its oldest coaster, the Arrow double interlocking-loop classic, Loch Ness Monster.
This coaster stands 130 feet over the park's Grove Creek... as well as very close to my heart. Nessie was the first roller coaster that convinced me to trust my life to the laws of physics. I was visiting Busch Gardens - The Old Country, as the park was known then, with my Boy Scout troop, so I had no parents or little sister there to comfort me had I decided to continue my tradition of only riding coasters where my head stayed about my feet at all times. No, my only companions were a few dozen other teen and pre-teen boys, who wouldn't hesitate to tease any fellow scout who showed the slightest fear of anything.
Taking a look at Nessie's unique design, I figured that since the loops were over water, should laws of physics fail me, I'd simply drop into the water, where I had a much better chance of surviving than if I'd plopped down onto hard concrete. So I climbed aboard... and enjoyed the best ride of my life. (Cue Homer Simpson: "
After my ride, I didn't hesitate as I bolted through the exit and ran back around to the entrance for another go.
I didn't visit the park again until a few years ago, when I brought my family to Busch Gardens Williamsburg on one of our cross-country summer roadtrips. And on that day, the Loch Ness Monster became the first upside-down roller coaster that my daughter ever rode, too.
When we finished, she didn't hesitate in grabbing my hand and pulling me toward the entrance to ride again.
What was the first upside-down coaster you ever rode, and what convinced you to put aside any fears and ride?
Nessie's tracks stood far above the tree line back in 1979, when I first rode it, making the ride seem all the more intimidating. And I still miss the in-tunnel effects, including the illuminated monster. Please, SeaWorld, show Nessie some love and come up with the cash to restore the Loch Ness Monster tunnel!
Shockwave Six Flags over Texas summer of 1978. I was scared to death of those double loops but oh what fun it was!!
I was the same exact way about my feet staying below my head, but my love of rock music and everyone telling me how cool the control room of Aerosmith's Rock n/ Rollercoaster was enough for me to face my fear. And I was thinking not being able to see would help my fear. Later in life I realized I really do prefer to see what's about to happen to better brace myself for what's to come.
I was 8 or 9 years old when I first went head-over-heels. It was on Boomerang at Knott's Berry Farm, which means I logged my first six inversions in quick succession! I don't think I needed very much convincing, either! My older brother was very knowledgeable about physics and centrifugal force and I trusted his expert advice that there was no chance of me "falling out" in the loop. Of course, after that I never looked back.
Coincidentally, my first time on an upside down coaster was also at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, on Alpengeist. I hated it, as this was early on in my coaster journey and going through inversions was torture until I got used to them and actually began to enjoy them. I'm confident that were I to ride it again I would love it. I may have an opportunity to revisit BGW at the end of August, re-ride Alpengeist and ride the Lock Ness Monster for the first time
Riverside Amusement Park (Massachusetts) - There was this coaster that you had to climb many stairs, then there was this push cart that sent the train down the hill, did a loop, up a hill, stopped, sent you backwards down thru the same loop...And it was all over in 30 seconds.
For me it was The Mindbender at Six Flags over Georgia. When the ride opened, it was off on its own at the end of a trail beyond the park's Rail Road. That long walk to the entrance gave a person plenty of time to think about what they were about to face. I remember being pulled down during the first loop because of the forces, and knowing to sit up with more strength in the second loop. When it was over I wanted to go again. I still think it is one of the best coasters anywhere.
I think it was American Revolution, at Magic Mountain in California. Boomerang might be a close second.
Mine was Scorpion at Busch Gardens Tampa, and I was hoping that would by my son's first too. However, he was bouncing between 41.5 and 42" on our trip to Florida last fall and didn't quite measure up on the day we were at Busch Gardens. His first looping coaster ended up being The Demon at Six Flags Great America in May, and he couldn't get enough of it. I know that he would get on just about anything right now if he were tall enough.
My first was Lightning Loops, Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey.
My first was the Great American Revolution at Magic Mountain (not yet purchased by Six Flags). It was also the first modern coaster with a loop, I think. That was in the summer of 1976. I was 10 then. I'm old.
Like Rob, my first time on a looping coaster was on Mindbender at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1979. Totally exhilarating. It seemed so odd to look up during a loop and see the tracks above you. Tried to re-ride as many times as possible but it was the new, big coaster at the park back then and the lines were considerable.
My first big coaster was GhostRider, and when I rode that I was only 7 years old and had ridden less than 15 coasters. That ride terrified me and I refused to ride another big coaster after the experience. Therefore, my first inverting roller coaster ended up being the Windjammer Surf Racers at Knott's Berry Farm back in the year 2000. The ride looked cool, wasn't very big, the loop was above water, and I knew that the ride had been operating for several years without incident, so I decided to give it a try. The loop didn't bother me, but the rest of the ride did due to constant headbanging on the shoulder harness. At the time, I had been on less than 25 roller coasters and even then I thought the ride was terrible. I rode twice (so that I could try each track), and I wasn't disappointed when the ride closed a few months later.
White Lightnin' at Carowinds
Corkscrew at Cedar Point, 1976. It was the first coaster with three inversions, and is still running. It's still fun to walk under the corkscrew portion and look up at riders looking down at you.
Batman at Six Flags Great America. It used to hold a special place in my heart as a result, but because management has let the queue produce ghastly odors and maintenance has not been kind to the actual coaster (have not been to Great America this year so I don't know if it's still like this), I usually don't bother anymore. Tragic
Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa! I'm afraid of heights but I was determined not to let that small detail stop me from any rides no matter how scary they were to me. I got into the front row and I was terrified and in ecstasy at the same time. Montu will always be special for me!
For me, my first upside-down coaster was the Orient Express at the Worlds of Fun in Missouri
First upside down was Dulling Dragons. I was afraid until recently, now I love them.
Nessie was my first also. I was there for it's second year. The queue was really ahead of it's time back then. Yes, the tunnel experience was fantastic, as was the whole ride, looking over the world's most beautiful park. Busch Gardens the Old Country was really great in it's early years, as it captured the old Europe theme very well, and with their army of streetmosphere period costumed actors, made up largely of drama students from William & Mary, it seemed like you were transported back to that time period. It would be great if Sea World would loosen the purse strings and restore the Loch Ness tunnel & queue to it's early glory and bring back the large actor troupes.
1976, Turn of the Century at Marriott's Great America in Santa Clara, CA. And while the corkscrew element that flipped riders upside down twice was the main draw, it was the second and third airtime hills (replaced by vertical loops when the ride became the Demon in 1980) that really got my blood pumping. Great ride at a really great home park back in the day.
Like many on the East Coast, my first upside-down coaster was Hershey's Sooper Dooper Looper, on a class trip in 1977...seventh grade. My second and third were in 1978, the first years for Loch Ness Monster and Lightnin' Loops at Great Adventure. Not sure which one I rode first...
My first looper was also Nessie.
Off topic just a bit, but, Robert Niles was a guest on yesterday's Orlando United podcast and he was terrific. An hour of excellent theme park observations. Listen to it if any of you have the time.
My first loop was the same as my mothers years before me, Revolution in Six Flags Magic mountain during the mid-90's. Fitting as it was the first looper ever as many of you guys have indicated, and was probably a first for many southern Californians during the 70's and 80's.
It would have been in the late 1970's at Kings Island. It was their first looping coaster, The Screamin' Demon, which required riders to climb up five stories to reach the launch area. It would drop straight into the loop, go up the other side, stop briefly and then launch backwards back to the station.
California Screamin at Disneyland Resort! I loved roller coasters, but I was nervous about loops. After my run on it, I've been Hooked since!
American Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure, but sadly they tore it down. :(
My first roller coaster was Poltergeist, at Six Flags Fiesta Texas back in 2000 or 2001, and it just happened to go upside down - a lot. From pictures, it appears to be very similar to the Battlestar Galactica attraction at Universal Studios Singapore.
My first upside down coaster was the Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds (an arrow that was the first coaster to have 4 inversions apparently).
Mind Bender at Six Flags Over Georgia. I loved it so much I made my parents ride it over and over.
Interestingly enough, one of the parks that I grew up on was Busch Gardens Tampa, and yet, my first inverted coaster was Rock n Rollercoaster at DHS. A few years prior, my dad tried to make my first inverted coaster the Scorpion, but once I saw that loop, I chickened out. And by chicken out, I mean I broke down and started crying. Then came Rock n Rollercoaster. As a really biased Disney fan, I of course had to give this one a shot. I knew this one would go upside down, so I was scared to death. And when I saw that launch at the queue, I nearly peed my pants. The one thing that kept me moving forward was that I really didn't wanna dissappoint my dad. When I rode, the loops were my favorite part. It was a new sensation that I had never felt before. A few months later I went on a field trip to IOA and rode Hulk and Dragon and enjoyed those too (this was about 3 weeks before Harry Potter opened). The following year we got the annual pass for both BGT and Seaworld and went on all those fun roller coasters... including Scorpion. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the making of Rock n Rollercoaster for expanding my roller coaster horizons and introducing me to what would become my most favorite musical genre, rock n roll.
Great article, and some great comments.
My first was Knott's Berry Farm's Corkscrew in the old Roaring 20s area of the park (now the Boardwalk). I was 6, a little bit apprehensive but I was riding with my Dad and my older cousin, so I figured if they're not scared why should I be? It was fun and a great coaster. I still miss it now that for years its been replaced by the (IMHO) far lesser Boomerang.
My first inversion was on California Screamin'.
The Super Dooper Looper at HersheyPark. 1 Loop...that's it. For years I went with my family and watched them all ride while I stood at the fence and watched. I was certainly old enough but didn't have the backbone for it. The line for it was often 2 hours or more so someone was always told "your turn to stay with Sarah!" Finally around the age of 11, I got in line to experience "The First Looping Coaster on the East Coast!" With my eyes tightly closed and skin ashen white, I am amazed I am here today to tell the tale!
The Demon, Six Flags Great America, a wild steel coaster for its time, first rode it about 1982. Was scary at first (its demonic motif and cave didn't help a little kid) but soon got into it and been loving looping coasters since.
I think I'm going to have to register here, as I'm commenting more and more! But for now, my first upside down coaster was The Corkscrew at Alton Towers in the UK. To be honest, I really didn't want to ride it, but my Uncle was in our party, and he was 'the cool relative'. Didn't want to look like a wimp by saying no, so I just sucked it in and went for it. Haven't looked back from that day on!!
My first was a Demon.... The Demon at Six Flags Great America that is. This was back when there was a water fall within the Demon face mountain structure. Great picture spot. When Splash Water Falls left, I'm afraid that area just wasn't the same again IMO. It was a perfect first upside down coaster. Not too fast so you can actually enjoy the loops.
My first loop was also Lockness! I watched my older brother do it first then I was brave enough. I liked it but I really fell in love with the big bad wolf. Still have a stuffed animal wolf somewhere I the attic ;-)
The Incredible Hulk Coaster at IOA. Awesome experience, remember my dad saying the trip from Cancún, México to Orlando was worth it due to that coaster!
Shockwave at Six Flags Over Texas. I was about 7. My mom convinced me that I would love it and took me and my little brother up the ramp to the platform. Upon arrival she told me I'd have to ride alone so she could take Matt. I ended up sitting with a stranger who told me if I scream or throw up do it on the other side so I didn't hit him. Changed everything. Made me the thrill ride junkie I am today!
Shock Wave at Six Flags over Texas! Which was the tallest roller coaster in the world when it opened and seemed thousands of feet high to my young eyes. For years I was able to avoid riding it with a litany of excuses. That is until high school when I visited the park with a very pretty German exchange student named Susan who wanted to go on it. How could I say nein?
Super Duper Looper at Hershey Park circa 1983. Couldn't get enough. OOOps I guess I am dating myselft here....
My first loop coaster was also my first coaster -- Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg when it opened in 1997. Growing up as an only child with parents who didn't ride rides, it was just never something I wanted to try.
THE Cockscrew at Knott's Berry Farm, followed almost immediately by the park's Montezuma's Revenge -- 1988
Kraken at Seaworld Orlando was my first every upside down coaster! I was roughly 11 I think? Maybe slightly older. My mum convinced me (read: DRAGGED ME) on. But i'm so glad she did :)
Mine was DHS's Rockin Roller Coaster!
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