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Has Getting Older Changed the Type of Rides You Choose at Theme Parks?

Getting older has affected the way I ride attractions at theme parks. No more re-rides on coasters, and the spinner rides are definitely limited. Has anyone else noticed this?

From Tim Hillman
Posted August 20, 2011 at 2:44 PM
I just got back from a few hours of riding coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa, and I’m starting to feel my age. When I was a kid, I could ride the spinners at the traveling carnivals for hours without having any negative effects. When I was a teenager, I could spend all day riding coasters and spinners at a Six Flags park and leave wishing that I had more time. Today, I managed to ride 4 coasters in three hours.
The ride experience seemed to start changing in my forties. The spinners stopped being as much fun. If they ran too long, the exhilaration was replaced by nausea. I started to change the mix of rides by riding more coasters which forced me to spend more time in queues which gave me more time to recover. Now I find myself having to ration out the time I spend on coasters. A really intense coaster like Montu takes several minutes to recover from. A rough coaster like Gwazi Lion/Tiger is a headache waiting to happen. An older steel coaster like Kumba leaves me feeling like I’ve got Shaken Adult Syndrome.
So now, in my fifties, I find myself basically relegated to the upper tier parks. At Busch Garden, I spend a lot of time looking at the animal exhibits and landscaping in between coaster rides. At Universal, I find a good air conditioned show and chill out. At Disney, depending on the park, more of the same or a dark ride (except for It’s a Small World). The Six Flags parks, the Cedar Fair parks, and the other regional parks are pretty much off the radar. They either don’t have the dark rides, the air conditioned shows, or the relaxing atmosphere that I’m looking for in order to get my brain cells functional again.
So, I’m curious to find out if some of the other visitors (over the age of 30) to this site have noticed the same thing. Have you noticed a difference in the way the rides affect you as you have gotten older, or is everything still pretty much the same as when you were a teenager?


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From James Rao
Posted August 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM
I'll be hitting 43 in a week or so and I am definitely more selective in what I ride. Not because of nausea from spinning or backaches caused by old Dinn Corp woodies, but because I am looking for new experiences. Look, I've been riding scramblers and their ilk for so many years the thrill is pretty much gone. And honestly, how many times do I have to ride a Vekoma Boomerang to know it is a pretty lame half-coaster?

My real desire these days is to find those rare attractions that not only thrill me, but also immerse me in sights, sounds, and yes, even story. Unique attractions that transcend the limitations of the midway.

When I was a child, I did childish things, but there comes a time when I have to put away childish things and seek new experiences.

Farewell Eli Bridge Scrambler, it was fun while it lasted.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted August 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM
At 42 I still love all types of ride, however the more intense coasters I usually try to limit the number of times I ride them per trip.If i ride too often I start to feel the effects.

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted August 20, 2011 at 6:46 PM
I'll be thrity-two in a couple of months. When I was younger I could ride the spinning rides without any ill effects. When I took my son on the spinning tea cups, I almost didn't make it off of it without being sick. I was lucky to have some prescription nauseau medicine with me, or it would have been an early leave of the Magic Kingdom. I also found that I can not ride the motion simiulated rides without feeling sick. Roller Coasters, and such so far do not affect me, luckily.

From Robert Niles
Posted August 20, 2011 at 6:58 PM
I love this thread.

I'm 43 now, and have found that I have to keep my weight down and flexibility and strength up in order to be able to stand riding on the most intense amusement park rides. I never much cared for the carnival spinners, and won't ride them at all now, but even top coasters can be unpleasant for me unless I stay in shape.

Since riding top coasters is my job here, I try to do that, but I have to admit - for pure pleasure I select dark rides and flume rides over high-speed and high-G thrill rides, every time.

From James Koehl
Posted August 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM
54 here, and my problem is with the spinners. I warned my kids not to get the teacups at MK spinning too fast. Well, the next thing I knew, we were going around so fast that I swear we were starting to see the blue shift of approaching light speed. I was nauseous for about an hour. Other spinners aren't quite so bad, and I have no problem with any coaster (except for Mean Streak, which is just to the left of violent), and I will now do the drop rides(TOT, Power Tower) that I wouldn't consider doing a few years ago. I also find myself looking at the landscaping and theming more than I used to, but I tend to see fewer shows than I used to. I don't know if my tolerances are changing or my tastes.

From Dan Babbitt
Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:04 PM
Doesnt affect this 26yr old...yet. I have gotten over my fears so I can on all the rides compared when I was younger.

Although I cant eat candy after 10pm otherwise I will be up to 4am in the morning.

From steve lee
Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM
I'll still do a scrambler, but I keep far away from things like round-ups, tilt a whirls, and their ilk. I may start trying them out again, as I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the modified breakdance at Hard Rock/Freestyle park.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:45 PM
I enjoy a variety of ride, but I gotta watch my belly as well :)

I have found the older I get, the more I like EPCOT.

From James Rao
Posted August 21, 2011 at 7:39 AM
@Anthony: Agreed!

From Zackiel Marsh
Posted August 21, 2011 at 8:26 AM
I am actually worried this might happen to me when I am older. I used to be able to boast the strongest stomach in parks. I could ride anything without throwing up. Well I just went to my state fair and I felt nauseous getting off of a lot of rides. Never threw up but my stomach hurt. I hope this is a one time thing and it could be because I felt much better later on in the day but now I am scared that I won't be able to ride coasters and other rides when I am older.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 22, 2011 at 7:26 AM
I'm 47 three weeks from today. I ride more now than I ever did when I was in my teens and 20's. Back then, I simply wasn't as interested in rides, although I visited parks regularly.

Yeah, soreness comes with the territory now, but I'll ride all day if I can.

From Randy Stellar
Posted August 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM
I appreciate a park with character over thrill these days. I'll take Kennywood over Six Flags Great Adventure any day.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted August 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM
Not so far. I've never been a coaster person, but I do love a good dark ride, water ride, etc. I've always been big on atmosphere and eye-candy and a good sense of wonderment. Why I loved the old Epcot rides like Horizon. But I still enjoy Spider-Man, Test Track, and the like...just not the big scary coasters.

From duncan henny
Posted August 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM
i'm only 33 but a plan to keep riding roller coasters until they refuse me my dad did the hulk a few years ago and he was 70

From Adam Newman
Posted August 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Yup me too, since I hit 40 (46 now) spinner just kill me, and even the stupid pirate swing got to me this year a little grrrrr. I'm still a coaster freak, but appreciate the lines to recover lol.

From Andrew Mooney
Posted August 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM
When I was younger I couldn't ride much due to height :P It was the classic Pirates, Peter Pan and Small World for me. Spinners, simulators and roller-coasters have always given me sickness so no change there. However even now at 18 I feel old after riding Big Thunder at MK and feeling nauseous. Seriously after being ill on that ride, I must start looking into a pension. I used to be fine with it too.

From N B
Posted August 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM
I'm with the early 40 somethings... Spinners are awful, but I could be flipped summersault style backward or forward without issues. I still enjoy a great coaster. I think I enjoyed this last vacation much more because I am 75 pounds lighter than our last trip. I had all kinds of energy and looked forward to getting a lot of walk time in.

All I remember from our last trip is feeling exhauted and sweating all day, thighs chafing at the end of the day.... absolutely miserable. This trip was a joy and I was the one waking everone up at 5am for breakfast so we could hit WWOHP early.

My wife is becoming less fond of coasters, however. She loves the simuators and interactive rides more than anything these days. She lost about 50 pounds herself, so it was a completely different experience than past vacations.

From Christy Hall
Posted August 23, 2011 at 6:07 AM
I seem to be opposite than most people (go figure). I am 37 and just recently, within the past couple of years, have developed a love of riding roller coasters.

I have noticed that others around my age have begun to stay away from the big roller coasters as much. But not my mother-in-law. This year, at age 79, she rode the front row of Rock 'N Roller Coaster twice in a row, and followed it up at the Tower of Terror. I want to be like her when I grow up! :)

From Jeff Elliott
Posted August 23, 2011 at 6:43 AM
I am also 37 and have been on just over 200 different roller coasters in the last 5 years.

I have this theory that you can either do spinny rides or roller coasters, but not both at the same time otherwise you get sick......as a kid I don't think I was smart enough to figure this out.....

.....also as a kid there was a different mindset.....I could only go to amusement parks when my parents got around to wanting to go....which was rare.....now, as an adult, I can go anytime I want to.....therefore I am a little less excitable when it comes to amusement parks.....I have a good time, but it doesn't make my entire childhood worth living like it used to....

There is also something to be said for having your own strategy at a theme park.....as a kid I was dragged around the theme park doing what my parents wanted to do.....now, I am on my own program.....

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 23, 2011 at 8:25 AM
Jeff said: "...you can either do spinny rides or roller coasters, but not both at the same time"

No matter how hard I try, and despite my obsession with coasters and love for spinners, I just can't seem to ride both at the same time.
Maybe if I had a doppelganger..:)

From Robert Niles
Posted August 23, 2011 at 8:49 AM
Mike, might I introduce you to Green Lantern: First Flight? That's as close to being both at the same time as I've ever seen.

From Flavio de Souza
Posted August 23, 2011 at 9:32 AM
I am 41. After 25 I lost my interest in spinners, but I still love coasters. What I can’t stand anymore is long queues; anything longer than 45 minutes will be skipped by me unless is a really amazing attraction.

From Jenny Rees
Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:49 AM
I too have suffered from the feeling of nausea since getting older. As a kid, I could ride anything over and over again but now at 33, I definately feel the effects. Spinning rides turn my stomach and even the swings in the park make me feel slightly ill. Rode the Hulk coaster with Dad (60yrs) a couple of years ago and we both took the rest of the day to recover. My legs were shaking after the ride which was a new experience for me. Having said all that, so far nothing has put me off the rides. The thrill and exhiliration from a good coaster is worth the after effects. Hope I still feel the same when I get to dads age.

From Brandon Mendoza
Posted August 23, 2011 at 12:58 PM
I guess I'm lucky to not feel sick after any rides even in my early 30's? Instead, rides like Carnival Rides bore me to death. Spinning round and round is boring to me. But then again, they always have.

HOWEVER I still like my fast and large coasters, but wooden coasters are painful to me due to numerous sports injuries to my back.

To sum it up, I enjoy shows and slow rides as much as I enjoy inversions and hang-time. To each, his or her own! You'll just never get me on a wooden coaster anymore!

From Rob P
Posted August 24, 2011 at 3:57 AM
I'm 55 now but didn't ride much of anything of note at all until I was 40.

I was okay with most things then but now that the ravages of time have started to take their toll on me I can't do spinning rides or extremely fast most motion coasters ( although I'm sure that those parameters are subjective ).

So, yes, age does have an effect on what most of us ride. But not all of us I'm sure because I've witnessed many people far older than myself riding even the scariest of coasters.

From Ray Schroeder
Posted August 24, 2011 at 5:31 AM
At 56, no spinners, woodies, backwards helix(see Expedition Everest), or even an intense forward helix. I always pop a motion sick pill before a day of rides. So sad...

From Mitchell Botwin
Posted August 24, 2011 at 5:41 AM
I'm 59 and with the damage I've done to this body I have to be particular about where I spend my coaster time. The coaster has to be very special for me to ride them these days, but I will always go on a coaster I have not yet had the pleasure of riding. Have to keep the Chiropractor in business.

From Jack Curley
Posted August 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM
I'm 35, and I definitely have to take it easier than I used to.
In my early 20's I remember a night where I rode a rough wooden coaster at the shore at least 10 times in a row without getting off. I felt no ill effects.
At 30, I experienced a night where I was able to get back on Expedition Everest with little to no line during Extra Magic Hours. I think we made it 5 times before we started feeling bad.
Now, I am more prone to headaches and backaches than ever. I don't ride in the back half of wooden coasters anymore. You get thrown around too much. I sit as close to the front as possible.

I non-wooden coaster that had problems with as I got older is Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure. I love most of the ride, but the spiral section at the end is now too much for me. The G-force is so intense that I've nearly blacked out while riding it a couple of times. As I went into the turn, I started seeing stars. As it continued, a wall of stars built up from the bottom of my field of vision and crept upward. One time I was momentarily blinded, but as soon as we left the helix the stars dissipated, my vision returned, and I felt fine. Still, that was my last time ever riding Nitro. It's a shame. I loved the airtime at the top of the hills, but the G's are just too much for me at the end.

From KJ Simpson
Posted August 24, 2011 at 5:39 PM
I'm so glad to hear it's not just me! How come I never knew this before?? When I was young, I thought older people just didn't like the rides because they weren't cool ;)

I'm 43- these days, I can't deal with the spinners, and if a ride or coaster has a really big drop- it had better have some damn good theming to go along with it if I'm going to consider riding! I just never anticpated the change in the involuntary physical responses. Some things about getting older really do suck...

From Bobby Miller
Posted August 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM
As I near 70, my 12yo grandson Zachary and I just got back from Florida today. With over 500 coasters in 62 years riding, I was able to add a few more to my list. We did The Hulk, the old fire & ice coasters, R&R coaster and RRR. I loved that outside twist on top, never did one like that before.

And thanks to James Rao for his suggestion from awhile ago, The Sum of All Thrills. We did the five hard loops and especially loved the Hammerhead, was never on one of those loops before either.

I started my daughter and now my grandson on coasters, front seat of course. But with a health issue that is now repaired, my vascular surgeon said there is no restriction, so all you big bad coasters I've missed, woodie or steel, here I come. And as far as spinners, never had a problem and still don't.

And there's a special coaster at Lake George,NY, that I want to ride again that will give me a fitting claim to fame but I can't tell you yet. I plan on living till I'm 105 years old, so I have plenty of time to catch the big, bad boys I've missed. So with a cast iron stomach and a heart pounding out pure love for coasters, look out cruel world, here come Robert "Bobby" Miller again.

From Carrie Hood
Posted August 24, 2011 at 7:18 PM
Getting older hasn't really changed my riding habits, although some rides are no longer re-rides because of roughness factors. A good example of this was Great American Scream Machine while it was still standing, last time we ride it I felt like my spine would shatter. So it got on the very rare list of "Once is enough". Most things however haven't changed, I'll still do constant re-rides of favorites or anything I really enjoy. I guess my patience may have lessened some but my riding habits really haven't! Then again I've never had an issue riding, I can easily have a full lunch and hopping right onto any type of thrill ride without effects. Although after 50 rides in a single day of Dueling Dragons (Feb of 2003) I did have a minor headache, does that count?

Otherwise I've noticed a much bigger application for Classic Rides. While I liked and enjoyed them as a kid and younger adult, I didn't exactly appreciate them. Now I really enjoy the fact I can see and ride attractions my parents loved as kids or younger adults. Randy mentioned Kennywood, they have great examples of classic rides. Old Mill, Noah's Ark and Turtle. All rides my parents enjoyed that I love endlessly, not just newest thing.

From KJ Simpson
Posted August 25, 2011 at 4:30 AM
Awesome attitude, Bobby- best wishes as you conquer more coasters in the years to come!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 25, 2011 at 7:04 AM
Jack, Nitro is my second favorite ride at GAdv, and my #4 steel overall. But I, too, now experience graying out on the helix. I often close my eyes, through it, opening them when the train hits the brake before the bunnies.

And Charles, I've rode Intimidator 305 about 25-30 times over two visits, and will again in two weeks. I have never seen two-train operations. I have also never waited more than 20 minutes.

Incidentally, a friend of mine was at the park yesterday too, and told me it was not at all crowded.

*EDIT*...sorry, the response to Charles should have appeared on the main board in the earthquake comments section. I'll move it over there now.

From Terry O'Neal
Posted August 25, 2011 at 7:46 AM
I am nearing 30. When I was a teenager and in my early 20's, Batman: The Ride was one of my favorites. Due to several concussions over the course of my lifetime, I find myself greying out on Batman for longer periods of time. My past three trips to SF Great America have been Batman free. (I wish they had been Dark Knight free)

However, I am starting to get more guts with a little age. Since turning 20, I've broken personal height records, from Raging Bull, to Nitro, and now it's Intimidator 305. Kingda Ka next?

From Doug Fox
Posted August 29, 2011 at 6:57 PM
54 yrs old...went to Cedar Point yesterday...still feeling the effects of it today...my wife is even worse off then I am...I used to love coasters..the bigger the better...as I have gotten older I will have to pick and choose which ones to ride and if the side effects are worth it..sorer then I have ever been after riding anything and nauseas like crazy still 24 hrs later..think it did something to my equilibrium

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:07 AM
I turned 28 last week. (Fish n Chips and ice cream at the beach in the rain...Good old England.)

I definitely used to be a lot more of a daredevil when I was little. On our first trip I was 6 and rode Space Mountain no questions asked. Started screaming as soon as I got into the car though. When I got to around 15 I started to get scared of heights - but only when stood on overhangs like balconies or bridges...

Now I'm terrified of cable-cars and had to give up climbing the narrow tower steps of the catherdral in Barcelona...and there's no way I would do a balloon ride.

But I'd do another sky-dive, so what's that about?

With regards to rides, my most couragous achivement was riding the Pepsi Max at Blackpool, and I have never been more petrified. But I'll continue to try and face my fears, and Disney / Universal are brilliant places to keep you challenged and young!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:37 AM
Lauren said: "I turned 28 last week. (Fish n Chips and ice cream at the beach in the rain...Good old England.)"

I don't like you right now, Lauren. :) J/K!

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:43 AM
Lol! Why Mike? It was cold in August and we had to wait 3 hours for the chippie to open! Waited in the pub though, beer kept us company.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted September 2, 2011 at 8:16 AM
Sorry, Lauren...the Fish and Chips part just made me reeeeeaaaallllly jealous :))

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted September 2, 2011 at 8:30 AM
The part about being cold and wet really makes me jealous. It was just reported that here in Georgia, USA we have had the hottest summer since records have been kept.

From James Koehl
Posted September 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM
Lauren, I've been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, had fish 'n chips and beer in a pub while it rained, and had a wonderful time! This was a few years before Big One was built. Riding Steeplechase was one of my fondest memories of Blackpool. Nothing like that in America! Do they still have that aweful simulator of The Beast coaster from Kings Island in Ohio? It reminded me of being inside a camper (caravan in UK) strapped to a giant coctail shaker.

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:06 AM
Lol! You guys made me laugh! (which is no mean feat on a Monday morning!)... Yes, there's something to be said for eating / drinking something comforting whilst the rain lashes down around you :-D Mmm, they were some of the best fish n chips ever as well.

Orrin - we have barely had a summer here (or least it came and went while I was a work) so could do with a sunsine blast. And James, I'm not sure about that ride still being there...but from your precise description, I've been on similar attemps at simulators and the effect is something of being slightly jigged around until you need the bathroom.

From James Koehl
Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:32 AM
Lauren, after riding it, we talked to the ride operator and told him we were from Ohio and had been to Kings Island many times and had ridden the actual Beast. He told us that he had been to America the previous year and "had looked around for the Beast but didn't see it." I don't think he realized just how big America is! And no, I don't think he was teasing us, I think he was serious!

From Anthony O'Neal
Posted September 6, 2011 at 4:43 PM
While Terry has decreased his ride time on Batman, his affinity for spinning has also apparently increased. It is something I do not share, and he usually gets one ride on those out of me, and then he's on his own.

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