When did you know you were hooked?

Edited: December 30, 2016, 11:20 AM

If you are reading this, you are not a casual Theme Park visitor. You are a fan. Parks consume your vacation time and you spend time on line looking to learn more, see more and share more.

Welcome brothers and sisters, you are in great company.

But I am curious to know if you can pinpoint the moment when you knew that the Theme/Amusement park experience was something more to you than a casual way to spend a day.

For me it was family visits to Six Flags over Georgia. I loved every thing about it - the sound of the anti-rollbacks on the Dahlonega Mine Train, the nervous thrill in my stomach going over the top of the big drop on the Log Jamboree, the look of everything at night (It's A Different Park After Dark!), the long lost taste of a Cherry-Berry, even the smell of the hot slurry coat used to resurface the park's walkways...I still stop and breath deeply around newly paved parking lots.

My parent's quickly learned that they couldn't tell me about our any upcoming trips to the park because I'd drive them crazy over the weeks leading up to the trip asking
"How much longer?"

So, when did you know that you were more than a casual fan? How many of you, like me, eventually turned your for visits into a career?

Looking forward to hearing your stories.

Replies (13)

December 30, 2016, 10:11 AM

The first time I rode Kingda Ka a few years ago.

December 30, 2016, 10:16 AM

Visiting Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park when in 1973.

December 30, 2016, 11:34 AM

it was our visit to Walt Disney World as adult sin September 2000. Some friends of ours had just finished a WDW vacation and encouraged us to go. it wasn't something we had ever considered, but we gave it a try. We were hooked immediately.

December 30, 2016, 3:07 PM

I think it was our third trip to Orlando and I was finally tall enough to ride roller coasters. Kraken was my first and from then I was hooked.

Edited: December 30, 2016, 3:32 PM

TH Creative, I was born in 1973, but like you, it was WDW in the 1970s. My family would leave South Florida early in the morning for what was then a four hour drive to get to MK. We spent all day and all night in the park until it closed, many times to midnight, and then we would pile in our van for the four hour drive home. We did SO MANY one day trips, I'm not sure how my dad did it because he drove with no rest while all of us would sleep in the van on the way up and then very late at night on the way back home. IT WAS AWESOME!

December 30, 2016, 3:44 PM

I loved fairs from an early age and a sort of permanent version was my yearly plea to my parents to take me there every summer for one day. Unwillingly but lovingly they did.
Until a kid in the fifth grade told about his vacation at WDW in Florida. At that time a vacation from The Netherlands to the US was only for the happy few. But I didn't know about costs and saw a great new destination that even my parent would love. My parents, not the people to crush a kids dreams, told they would love to go, to hold that dream, but at the moment it wasn't financially feasible. I made the promise I would take them there some day.

As an 18 years young lad I found a pamphlet about Camp America in the back of the English classroom at the laboratory school I studied. They paid for the plane ticket if I would work for 2 months in a (in my case) boy scout camp. After that I could go travel for another month on my own expanse and there was the possibility to visit WDW!

But first I had to go into the army. After that I went, worked the camp and traveled from New Hampshire to Florida and traveled the state. Of course I bought a week pass and visited Epcot Center and Magic Kingdom and I loved it, a lot. This was so much better than my childhood fair. But there was something missing, my parents...

Many year later my dad got ill. A severe form of arthritis would send him to a wheelchair in a few years (is what the doctors told him). I asked him where he wanted to go to in the world now traveling was still easy. He could choose any destination but, without thinking he said he wanted to go to Florida and do the parks, all of them. I took a month vacation and my parents and I left for Florida.

Finally my parents and I walked down Main Street and the circle was round. The parents who raised me as a free and capable person to travel the world got their promise from me to them realised, they loved it. It goes without saying we also loved all the other parks in Florida and decided to buy a vacation home. They stayed between 6 to 9 months a year for 11 years and we enjoyed the theme parks and all the other fun stuff the Orlando area had to offer.

As faith goes my dad got worse and maintaining the home was to tough, and I got the same disease as his (and some more), so we sold the home and they came to live with me.
But we try, every so often, to make it to Orlando and enjoy the theme parks and friends we made there. Hooked for life.

December 30, 2016, 4:04 PM

This is going to sound like sucking up to Robert, but it was in June 2009 when I discovered Theme Park Insider. I had always gone to Cedar Point every summer, even had a season pass for several years, and we would go to Kings Island every few years, but as far as being truly "hooked" on theme/amusement parks? Theme Park Insider opened a new world to me. I had never really considered just how big a world the theme park world is until I came in here and made it part of my everyday experiences. Most of my best friends were discovered by me in TPI, and especially in the Theme Park Apprentice competitions. I'm fortunate that I can tell you the exact day that I discovered that I'm hooked on theme parks. June 3rd, 2009.

Edited: December 30, 2016, 8:41 PM

Although I went to Astro world, Six flags over Tx & Pontchartrain Beach during the seventies it wasn't until I went to WDW in 1981 that I was truly "hooked". It was probably a combination of the overall superior immersive quality & my love of all things Disney that made the difference.
We will go back to WDW at the end of next month, this will be the 14th or 15th time I've gone in the past 35 years. I'm just as excited now as I was 30 years ago. I really appreciate being able to come to TPI & discuss our collective passion as adults. I've been on other Disney forums but found them to be tedious & a bit immature. A portion of the forum members there are extremely rude & petty. Everyone here is mature & respectful of differing view points, the discussions stay on point without digressing into bickering & name calling. We also really enjoy Universal as well, it's nice to be able to come here to discuss all theme parks in one place.
I'll post my experiences & impressions from this trip when I return if anything really worth discussing occurs to me. My choice of a career in science & medicine was directly influenced by visiting EPCoT.

December 30, 2016, 11:36 PM

Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland and Knott's were places that I visited with some frequency as a kid. As long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed the atmosphere of a theme park. However, I used to be afraid of the bigger rides. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was okay, but rides like Matterhorn Bobsleds, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones Adventure were no-gos for me. What really hooked me, at least on rides, was my first time on GhostRider at Knott's Berry Farm. It was only a couple months after the ride had opened, but I had never seen a wooden coaster before so I decided to give it a try. The ride was completely terrifying, but at the same time I loved it. The next year, I took my first visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain (Goliath was the big new ride then), and after seeing the wide variety of attractions present there and a few TV shows about amusement parks I started searching online to see what all was out there. I'd say it probably wasn't until the mid-2000s that the notion of traveling to visit theme parks started to enter my mind and I began to consider myself an enthusiast, but it's been well over ten years that theme parks have been a hobby.

December 31, 2016, 12:04 AM

To me, I'm just a Disney Parks fan.

December 31, 2016, 2:34 PM

I have OCD and besides wanting to wash my hands constantly, I've always like things in pairs and sets. When I discovered there were Disney and Universal Parks in California, Florida, and Japan, I just loved the set it formed. Ever since then, I've always like theme parks. However, I discovered other parks in many different areas of the country and the world through this website, and ever since then, I've been hooked

December 31, 2016, 8:56 PM

1986. My first trip to Walt Disney World and the first thing I saw was Spaceship Earth. I was completely hooked after that moment.

January 2, 2017, 2:45 PM

After riding my first big roller coaster, The Incredible Hulk, at Island of Adventure when I was 12.

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