I remember always thinking to myself when I went to Universal's IOA that I would NEVER ride the Hulk. I would rather have died that rode it. It terrified me. However, on a 5th grade field trip to IOA, I forced myself on it and then it easily became my favorite roller coaster.
Then it just moved on to a fear of big drops, (not curving drops, but large, steep ones) which formed when my mom tricked me on IOA's Jurassic Park River Adventure. I wouldn't ride anything that had a steep drop, like Kraken. I was even scared of Splash Mountain and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. The feeling in my stomach bothered me a ton. I would still ride them, but I dreaded the drop. However, with the help of Mystery Mine, Tower of Terror and Sheikra (my true testament), I began to love giant, steep drops. And the "stomach feeling". But now I'm used to that stomach feeling, and I don't really get it anymore... :(
I had never ridden a Flyer, regardless of manufacturer, until my first visit to SF America. Probably late 90's, early 2K's. I had seen footage of and read about Stealth, the first Vekoma flyer, and it held a lot of appeal to me. It seemed a really cool concept.
Then I got on the damn thing. Batwing at SFA, to be specific. I was shaking while riding, sweating, scared half to death. When I got off the ride I was disoriented, shaking..I really felt like the ride had done a number on me not only physically, but psychologically as well. I felt..well, I felt broken. I had to sit down for a half hour before I could get my legs under me. I've only felt that way on one other coaster since...another Vekoma flyer, X-Flight at Geauga Lake. That was a few years later, and my reactions were exactly the same.
In 2007, I was gonna make a trip to the midwest to visit a number of parks and meet a woman who was a coaster enthusiast. I didn't want her to see me in that state, so before I went to meet her and share a ride on FireHawk at Kings Island (which WAS, in fact X-Flight's new existence)...I made myself do a half-dozen rides on the B&M flyer at Great Adventure (Superman: Ultimate Flight.) I got through those rides, enjoyed FireHawk a lot more than I enjoyed the company of the person I was with, and I like flyers now. I hear Manta and Tatsu are among the best, but I haven't been on those. I won't always ride flyers because of the horrendously, excruciatingly slow loading procedure. But I certainly don't have those reactions anymore when I do ride.
Psychologically, my attitude towards coasters and big thrill rides has changed over time, especially having kids who depend on me. Before I was married and had kids, I would take a lot of risks that give me pause now. When my boys were really little, I was super careful with everything so nothing could ever happen to me because then the kids would not have a mom. I know rationally and logically the coasters are safe because the parks would not stay in business if they weren't...but I did not want to take even a one in a million chance of being taken out of the picture when my boys were little.
My older son is now 12 and my younger one is 9 and I am starting to get over some of this fear. They are testing the waters on riding coasters, but my husband takes them on the junior versions. I think maybe when my boys are in their teens and I've ridden some of the little coasters with them that as a family we might all graduate to the real thrilling coasters.
But I need baby steps to get there. It's fun thinking of myself at 60 and being a grandmamma who has white hair and rides all the big coasters in a leather jacket or something. That's a fun future to imagine 20 years from now for me.
"I liked them before, but not now."
Roller coasters seem to have lost their way. I do not see a reason to try them anymore. Instead of being fun or thrilling, most are BLAH. Boring.
1. Too nauseating. They drain the rider with constant looping, drops, and spirals. Each one trying to top another.
2. What might be consider thrilling isn't really. They scare the heck out of me. Or maybe they just go much too fast for me to notice.
3. Many don't take advantage of their height or speed. They don't work with the environment for emphasize the vistas and the land or hills.
4. They focus on stats that are meaningless. If one more theme park brags on a slightly higher, faster, or number of loops, number of drops or something else, I guess I will just have to roll my eyes.
5. Many rides are hard to experience with the uncomfortable seat belts and lap bars. Lets try passenger comfort for at least one time folks.
6. One place that roller coaster makers haven't mastered is the length of time on a ride. Let's try a roller coaster that lasts at least 5 minutes.
7. Ride theming is another problem waiting to be solved. Can we take it to the next level? Maybe Universal will do it with Diagon Alley. I'm less hopeful with Disney's Dwarf coaster.
Roller coasters should be fun. It should not be a fearful ride. It's a stereotype that needs to be fixed for good.
The older one doesn't like rides with big drops, including flume rides like Splash Mountain or the Timber Mountain Log Ride, but is willing to ride them together as a family. 90 percent of the time when I encourage them to try something new, they end up liking it a lot. Next up will be Indiana Jones at Disneyland.
Right now they would not ride anything that has an inversion ("goes upside down") or looks too extreme, like Xcelerator or Ghost Rider, even if they could. I'm going to let them decide when they are ready for those kinds of thrill rides. I probably used more persuasion on the classic Disneyland thrill rides like Space Mountain or Splash Mountain because I wanted our family to enjoy the ride together (so far, no signs of need for therapy).
I liked thrill rides as a teenager but now in my thirties I don't enjoy being slung around and seeing how much I can push my limits so much. I still love theme parks, but I appreciate parks like Walt Disney World a lot more now that are not totally focused on what is the highest and fastest thing we can build.