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When Did You Know You Were Hooked?

Most of us on this site love theme and amusement parks, but do you remember that point in time when you knew you were hooked?

From Tim Hillman
Posted September 16, 2011 at 6:53 AM
Daniel Etcheberry’s thread about “Which ride impressed you the most when you rode it the first time?” got me reminiscing about past trips to theme parks, and I realized that I have been going to amusement parks and theme parks for over 40 years. Rarely a year has gone by when I haven’t made at least one trip to an amusement or theme park. So I guess I’m a theme park junkie, and I’d be willing to bet that most of you are too.
So that makes me wonder, how many of you can define the moment when you knew you were hooked? Were you on a particular ride? Maybe you were with your family as you drove up to the park and you were mesmerized by the structure of a massive wooden or steel rollercoaster? Was it when you were walking down the midway and you heard the roar of a coaster and the screams of the riders? Could it have been the aroma of a particular treat like turkey legs or popcorn at your favorite park?
Like a lot of people I got hooked on my first visit to Disney World. It was 1972, and I was riding the monorail in from the parking lot with my family. The train was approaching the Contemporary Resort, the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s castle were in the background, and I looked down and saw topiaries in the shape of Disney characters on the side of the road leading to the Contemporary Resort. It totally floored me. I was expecting the view of the castle and the Magic Kingdom, I was awed by the Contemporary Resort, but those shrubs were the feather that knocked me over. All I could think of was “Wow! Even the shrubs look like Mickey Mouse!” Yeah, I know it seems kind of goofy (no pun intended), but I have never forgotten that moment.


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

From TH Creative
Posted September 16, 2011 at 12:17 PM
September 1982, when I attended Traditions as a student in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom College Program.

From Jeff Elliott
Posted September 16, 2011 at 8:35 AM
Sometime between 1984 and 1985 (the Big Bad Wolf was open and Glissade had not been taken down yet), so I would have been 10 or 11, my family took me to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I spend most of the day standing there staring up at the Loch Ness Monster's interlocking loops, too terrified to actually ride it and too fancinated to walk away from it. Nessy and the Big Bad Wolf are the only two coasters in the world that I was ever too scared to ride, and I have not been back to the park to fix at least half of this oversight.

From Alan Hiscutt
Posted September 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM
MGM Studios (or DHS as is now) Star Tours. Suddenly something clicked inside me. Ever since have been hooked on all things theme park.

From Mike Seary
Posted September 16, 2011 at 1:13 PM
Probably the first time I went to Universal Studios in Orlando... mid 90s, was probably 14 or so. I was just amazed that so much detail could be paid in order to make guests feel so immersed in the attractions.

From Dan Babbitt
Posted September 16, 2011 at 1:16 PM
Seeing Cinderella's Castle for the first time and spotting in the distance Goofy on one of the Horse Trollies.

I ran right to him and give him a huge hug when I was 8 in 1992. I still have the picture on my wall in my bedroom!

And then in 1998 when my older brother became a cast member I knew I wanted to work there!

From Nick Markham
Posted September 16, 2011 at 2:54 PM
My trip to WDW in 2006. I had no theme park knowledge, and after the trip, realizing I missed out on many star attractions (Mission: SPACE, Dinosaur, etc.) because of my lack of knowledge, I decided to learn more about WDW, and that grew literally overnight into an entire day just learning about all of these theme parks that I didn't even know existed (at the time, I only thought DL, WDW, and my home park Lagoon were the only theme parks!)

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted September 16, 2011 at 11:06 PM
My 100th time at Disney I relized this is my dream I want to be a dis imaginer

From Anthony Murphy
Posted September 17, 2011 at 4:42 PM
When I joined this site :)

Also probably, the 25th anniversary of Disney World

From AJ Hummel
Posted September 17, 2011 at 6:56 PM
I think it was 2003, but it was after I visited SFMM and rode all the coasters at the park except X, Riddler's Revenge, and Goliath (I got to all of those three on later visits). However, I've always enjoyed visiting parks, but was just too scared to ride larger rides (until that visit, I wouldn't ride anything larger or more intense than California Screamin' or GhostRider).

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted September 17, 2011 at 9:20 PM
First visit to Universal Studios back in 1992. Some of my fondest memories of all time are from attractions that aren't there anymore like Kongfrontation and Hitchcock. I'm still amazed whenever I stop to think that City Walk occupies what used to be the parking lot. What a transformation.

From Carrie Hood
Posted September 18, 2011 at 3:55 AM
About 1987, after we moved to Orlando and my parents got year passes to all the parks. About that time I become completely addicted to amusement parks and theme parks in general.
After moving out of FL about 2004, we still make a point to go back every few years. It's a bit more annoying since my parents moved back North in 2006 but we manage.

From Karly Tenney
Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM
Well the first time I rode a real roller coaster
I had rode a kiddie one before and that was
around 2005 or 2006 and I had a blast it was
the Triple Hurricane at Cypress Gardens
now Legoland and I just loved it.
It was one of the best days of my life

From Ray Schroeder
Posted September 22, 2011 at 5:33 AM
I got hooked, as a child of the 60's, by going to Freedomland in the Bronx, NYC. Co-op City now sits there. The park was shaped like the USA. It had the best dark rides, Earthquake, Tornado. You could even help put out the Chicago Fire with a Antique Fire Engine. Amazing place. Google it, and check it out.

From Will Chilcote
Posted September 23, 2011 at 7:21 PM
I was six years old and took my first ride on the Lochness Monster at Busch Gardens. Been an amusment park junkie since.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted October 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM
When I was a kid, we'd go to the state fair & they'd usually always have the Toboggan type ride which went up vertical inside a tube, usually looked like a tree trunk, & out the top & spiraled round & round as it went down to the bottom. I thought it was the neatest thing then we went to Virginia on vacation not long after that & saw a brochure at aa visitors' center that advertised Busch Gardens & had Loch Ness Monster on the front of the brochure, I think it was the new attraction for them at the time & I instantly was transfixed & hooked for life! I became OBSESSED! I finally got to ride her in 2004...26 yrs later!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted October 11, 2011 at 4:37 PM
Thanks, Adrienne, for bringing back the pain. The only time I rode a Toboggan was at Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA in '09. All I can say is OUCH!!!

But Nessie, on the other hand..is a much better memory.

From Bobby Miller
Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Tim, beleive it or not, in 1947, when my mom took me to my first amusement park just about 10 miles from Mount Carmel, my home town. The park is still there today, it's called Knoebels. lol :)

From Andy Milito
Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:14 AM
One of my first trips to Disney World or Universal, probably back in the early 2000s.

From Tim Hillman
Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:23 AM
So Bobby, does that mean that you rode the coasters at Kennywood before they were designated National Historic Sites?

From Bobby Miller
Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:40 PM
No Tim, but I did go there. I've been to a number of parks that no longer exist like Opryland USA, Crystal Beach Canada. Also closed are Willow Grove Park, Lakewood Park(Knoebels has one of their flat rides), Lake Side Park, Rolling Green Park, Edgewood Park and others.

If I hadn't spent so much time going to Florida with my grandson Zachary the last 9 years, I might have added more coasters to my list. I could have gone to the parks I went to before and catch up on the newer coasters that were added. Age is catching up to me but I'll give it a try if the finances get better for me.

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