UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
tyrex
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Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 2:00 pm

EDIT - thanks to the mods for deleting my previous post, wanted to reword it but could get the edit function to work properly!

Hi everyone,

I'm a complete newbie here, only just found the forum through a quick Google search, so apologies if I'm posting in the wrong area, or not following coaster-specific etiquette! :D

I'm hoping for a bit of advice from some rollercoaster experts! For as long as I can remember I've been terrified of the damn things, and it really annoys me to be standing around holding everyone's coats and bags whilst they're in theme park having fun. I used to live near Orlando in the 80s and you can imagine how annoying it is to have visited Disney/Busch/Universal in excess of 30 times without having once been on anything more scary than a merry-go-round or the dodgems...

This is especially not good for a man now in his mid-30s who isn't supposed to be frightened of things like this! I've pretty much narrowed down my fear to that of being out of control, I'm not worried about the safety aspects etc., I'm happy to drive a car around a race track at unsafe speeds, but putting me in the passenger seat is another matter altogether. So for coasters, if you gave me a working 'instant emergency stop' button, I'd probably be happy to get on almost anything, and would likely not even feel the need to press it!

Anyway, I've decided that Air @ AT looks like a fair bit of fun and something that I think I could probably get my head around to doing, without panicking in the queue and having to chicken out. Ideally, I think I would like to progress my way through various rides, starting with the lamest, tamest one you can think of and then working up to Air from there building some confidence on the way. The problem I've had is that most ride ratings don't really seem to correlate with my experiences and no-one I know has had the same problem as me and beat it successfully. I've heard accounts of 'just do it', but in my limited experience so far, this has not led to desirable results - for example, these are the rides I've been on so far:

* Dragon Falls, Chessington - everyone said it was tame and over in seconds, but I really didn't enjoy the drop - bought the on-ride photo and my three friends looked like it was easiest ride in the world, whilst my face is a picture of complete and utter terror. Didn't want to go on it for a second run!
* Runaway Mine Train, Alton Towers - the AT guide said 1 out of 5 stars for scaryness, I chilled out for the first 10 seconds thinking it was going to be easy, and was then was horrified when it dropped and went underground through the tunnel. Felt quite unsafe and had white knuckles for the remainder of the ride, whilst the 3 year old kids were having the times of their lives...
* Stanley Falls Flume, Busch Gardens, Tampa - coped fairly well with this although the drop felt a lot worse than it looked when I was sizing it up beforehand.
* Tanganyika Tidal Wave, Busch Gardens, Tampa - once again, didn't like the drop, although it was over fairly quickly and was pleased with myself for doing it.

So I was hoping for some recommendations from the experts! What sort of progression would you recommend for a complete scaredy-cat like myself? I'm happy to travel anywhere in the UK, and I don't mind even if I go for just one ride. Hoping to get to AT towards the autumn this year, so I've got my work cut out!

Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing some suggestions!
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bradpeet
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 2:10 pm

Maybe you should start on something really tame. Something like a Big Apple coaster, of which there are plenty around the country. Although you may feel that is too much of a kiddie coaster to even bother with - but it is considerably faster (and more adult friendly) than the likes of a super Nessie.

Alternatively, consider riding Blue Flyer (and then Nickelodeon Streak) at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Both are woodies, and I find Blue Flyer to be great fun while still very gentle. (It is a junior coaster, but well worth riding in my opinion)

Nickelodeon Streak is a full sized woodie and gives a proper ride experience, but is still a good step up from Blue Flyer - and it's incorporation into the new Nickelodeon Land at Blackpool gives a good idea of its target market.

You could also try Avalanche at Blackpool, although the fact that it runs in a trough instead of on tracks might be too much for you. A lot of people say the ride is boring, so I guess that is a recommendation for you It is downhill all the way after the lift hill, which may make you feel less frightened.

Incidentally, I always find the drops on water rides more scary than on roller coasters - and I don't know why.


I hope that helps you.
 
DiogoJ42

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 2:57 pm

Hello! :)
Air is probably a good one to get you started on. It looks like a big scary thrill ride, but in actual fact it is very tame. It's more about gentle swooping and soaring than big drops. Also, you don't actually invert (go upside down) at all. You simply roll from being on your front to being on your back.

I would say Th13teen, but the "secret element" may not be to your liking. Apart from that it is tame.

If it is the sensation of dropping that you don't like, you might have trouble on most rides, tbh! :lol: Bizzarely though, Rita may not be too bad, but the launch can be intimidating the first time.

If a lack of control is your issue, Try reasoning that your path is predetermined by the track, and is in fact perfectly controlled. It's just not under your control :lol:

I don't think any of us liked coasters at first. I had to learn to love them the hard way... by being dragged on by friends when I was a kid! At first, you may find the physical sensations unpleasant. But I think this is psychological, because once I stopped fearing coasters, I started enjoying them.

Best of luck mate. We are all rooting for you. :joy: :woo:
 
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Nightfall
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Surprisingly I was going to suggest Air before you even mentioned it.

Here's why:

It's not your standard type of roller coaster. The ride is designed to give a feeling of flight. There aren’t any moments which attempt an out of control experience except for when the restraints first rise into position. You’ll probably panic at that point but if you can keep calm there’s no need to fear the rest of the ride being any worse.

The danger with the small kid’s rides is that they're designed for that out of control feeling. Some of them aren’t brilliantly designed either so they can feel quite rough.

Unfortunately there’s no roller coaster where you will really feel in control. However bigger doesn’t mean worse, as the larger rides tend to be smother and better designed. One ride I would recommend avoiding is Th13teen. Its signature element is to make you think you've lost control.

Good Luck :)
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fredward

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 5:12 pm

You could become a complete nerd like us and learn all the layouts like the back of your hand if control is a major issue. That way you know exactly where your going and may help you out with the "out of control" feeling,

I would also suggest air being a good start, just take deep breaths and get comfortable. Smile let go of the restraints and enjoy the sensation of gliding.

If you didn't mention your fear of drops I would also say Oblivion may be a good ride for the case of "in control" although people would call me crazy because it has a giant intimidating drop, you are "out of control" for the least amount of time, and even when you are "out of control" the layout is so predictable its not hard imagining your self in control.


You may just want to "whore" Runaway mine train until you are used to the feeling then move up from there!
 
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ponder
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 5:26 pm

Following on from what Fredward has mentioned above, try watching numerous POV videos of the coasters you fancy riding. They can be found easily enough on Youtube and would prepare you for what you're about to experience - in terms of track layout, where you're going etc anyway. If you know roughly what to expect, and can train your mind what to expect, then maybe that'll help?

I also kind of agree that Oblivion isn't a bad idea as a first thrill ride. Mainly as many consider it to be one of the most intimidating coasters around, yet in reality it's very straight forward. The result is that once conquered, mentally you feel ready for anything.

My girlfriend was terrified of coasters and of going upside-down until about 6 months ago. I dragged her on Oblivion as our first ride of our trip to Alton Towers, and once she'd done it, she felt she could take on anything! She now loves Nemesis, Oblivion, Thi3teen and even Colossus, which, baring in mind her previous fear of going upside-down is a pretty big turn around (pun intended, sorry.) But yeah, it all came from surviving Oblivion...
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longy0151

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Tue May 24, 2011 5:59 pm

I remember Oblivion being my first thrill ride. I got on fearing the worst but said I wouldn't bottle it because I knew I could conquer it(also because my friends were with me :lol: ). Then I moved onto Air. The nicest feeling on a coaster I have ever felt, gliding along, like a bird in the sky with no bad thoughts. Then on to Rita. I felt scared about this one and almost ran out of the queue, but I took deep breathes and got on. I'm glad I did! 8-[ Then Nemesis, the one I was really scared of. I got into the seat and it began the incline up the lift. I felt like shouting the operator to stop the ride but I didn't. It was fantastic! Like you, I was once scared of rollercoasters, but with all of the safety tests I think about and of course the adrenaline rush you get off them, I'm glad I got on Oblivion 2 years ago, which started it all. 8)
 
tyrex
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 10:56 am

Interesting, I think a trip to Blackpool might be in order, had a gander around YouTube and Blue Flyer looked fine, although was a bit shocked at the Nickelodeon Streak :shock: :nervious: I do wonder if Air would be easier to cope with given that the Streak has no obvious method of restraint which probably wouldn't help me with the drops...

I do live in Southend-on-Sea though which has a few baby rides I may give a go in the meantime.

The YouTube videos of Air do look fab though, I would really love to do it.

Thanks for all the advice and support folks, much appreciated :clap: Looking forward to becoming a rollercoaster geek :yes:
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 11:20 am

Well, Southend has a large selection of kiddie coasters, plus Rage which is a bit more hardcore. So maybe try and work your way up to that? If you can handle are Eurofighter with a 'more-than' vertical drop and a couple of inversions, then the Air's and Nemmy's of this world shouldn't be too much of a problem. :)
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 4:03 pm

Nickelodeon Streak had new trains about 3 years ago that have a lapbar, like most wooden coasters. The older trains had a seatbelt. It is possible that neither of these would be visible on the videos you saw.

I still feel that Blue Flyer would be a good place to come to terms with your fears, although I'm having second thoughts about Nickelodeon Streak for you - since woodies often seem to have more of that "out of control feeling" that you highlight as being a major issue.

Southend is a good park to start with, in my view. I suggest you look at Green Scream and Mighty Mini Mega as a starting point. And if you do decide to ride Mighty Mini Mega, try to get into a seat near the front for your first ride . If you cope ok with that, ride again nearer the back - I don't know of any other ride which has so much difference in character beteen front and back seats!

And if you do get to ride Rage, then we can safely say that you have overcome your fears. It was the first Eurofighter that I rode, and is still the best of the 3 in the UK in my opinion.
 
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 4:39 pm

I used to be a huge coaster fan, went on everything at AT. But a year later after a trip to thorpe I started to get funny feelings in my throat, like gas going up & down. Evenv the runaway mine train proved un-fun & only just bearable. :(
So Im in a similar position, I need a little help getting back on coasters. I may be going to pleasure beach next week, so Im going to start on the blue flyer, then once Iv done that afew times I will give nick streak a go. If It proved enjoyable, probably the big dipper, then the big one. Infusion never again, last time I went on that I was so disorientated I diddnt know where i was :lol:

If all goes to plan, I may get back on track (pardon the pun, Im quite proud of it actually :lol: ). Maybe you should try a similar strategy. Just remember your not the only one! :D
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 6:08 pm

TBH if you're problem is feeling out of control I wouldn't recommend Blackpool at all. All the rides are quite rough and have minimal restraints. Like I said above you might prefer a smoother ride with more bulky restraints. You've currently stuck to water rides with minimal restraints, it could be that the drops are making you feel insecure because there's very little to grab onto.

On the other hand if you like feeling that you're in control I recommend Blackpools Steeplechase. Not to intense but there are no restraints so you have to hold tight to stay on.

"bradpeet" wrote:
Nickelodeon Streak had new trains about 3 years ago that have a lapbar, like most wooden coasters.
As the ride received new trains this year there even new than that.
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Blaze

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 6:24 pm

Your situation is kind of why Thirteen was built. It looks like a really big scray ride, but is really tame, so that when you go on it, you thikn you've achieved more than you have and will then feel able to go on the properly big rides. But the indoor section might not be your cup of tea, especially if you had trouble with RMT. If you feel confident you can go on Thirteen, then I highly recomend it, just try and not let appearances put you off.

I'd agree with everyone about the wooden coasters at Blackpool, they should be great ways to start out, they aren't too big or wild, and have been running fine for much longer than you have been alive, so they are perfectly safe, and should introduce you to what riding coasters is like.

If you can ignore looking a bit silly, something like a Super Dragon (like what Beastie at Alton was) would be good. Very small and simple rides, but good introductions to what it's like.

Air might be a bit too big for you right now, but I think you should give it a go. You feel very secure and it's really gentle. You might be scared at first, but once it gets going, you'll relax into it hopefully and come off wanting another go.

We all have to start somewhere, when I was a kid those little rides they have in supermarkets that ock up and down for 50p scared me, but now I'll go on anything. It's just a case of finding a good starting point and working your way up, but don't worry, we'll help you every step of the way. :)
 
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 6:41 pm

"Nightfall" wrote:
TBH if you're problem is feeling out of control I wouldn't recommend Blackpool at all. All the rides are quite rough and have minimal restraints. Like I said above you might prefer a smoother ride with more bulky restraints. You've currently stuck to water rides with minimal restraints, it could be that the drops are making you feel insecure because there's very little to grab onto.

On the other hand if you like feeling that you're in control I recommend Blackpools Steeplechase. Not to intense but there are no restraints so you have to hold tight to stay on.

"bradpeet" wrote:
Nickelodeon Streak had new trains about 3 years ago that have a lapbar, like most wooden coasters.
As the ride received new trains this year there even new than that.



Steeplechase? I sort of see your point, but it is a ride that I never feel safe on because of the exposed seating position. It does have a lapbelt, but that does not reassure me. And there are those sharp transitions since it is an Arrow coaster.

I don't think that Nickelodeaon Streak's train is actually new - it's just been re-upholstered and given a new shell.
 
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 9:45 pm

I started on Th13teen :) I started going to Towers a lot in March last year. My boyfriend wanted to go and at first I said no but then I agreed to go but told him that it was a waste of time because I hated coasters. Then I saw Th13teen on the TV before I went and I tried to convince myself that I'd go on it but I was still scared. When we got there I went on Hex and the flume and the smaller rides and then came Th13teen. I was scared to death in the 2 hour queue but then I forced myself to get on it and I loved it. The next time I went I was on all of the thrill rides! My advice is just do it! It worked for me :)
Hope this helped :)
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Dormiens-Dave

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 10:17 pm

Indeed Alton Towers managed to accidently create a rollercoaster in Thirteen that really suites new riders as it has a VERY tame rollercoaster to begin with but puts a little thrill in the middle of it. They have subsequently managed to convince people that that was their intention all along but thats another topic :lol:

In seriousness you have to tackle what it is that causes you the most trepidation. Usually its falling thats the fear, in which case start on coasters that dont drop like air and mine train.
 
Blaze

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 11:01 pm

Don't mind Dave, he hasn't managed to not mention Thirteen and it's marketing and his dislike of both in almost 18 months now, whether it relates to the conversation or not, you get used to it. :P

Start small and work your way up. Now you have been on Mine Train, try it again now you know what it's like, that way it wont come as a shock to you and set you off again.
 
Dormiens-Dave

Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Wed May 25, 2011 11:32 pm

I was employed to balance your unusual love for the ride Blaze, the madness needed something to counteract it :D.

Though not for the first time i agree with Blaze, start small work up... Even hardened coaster fans still find certain rides very scary... i'm not the only geek who is still weak knee'd when it comes to drop towers
 
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Thu May 26, 2011 1:48 am

Nemesis, Scarefest, In the dark, Front row, whilst it's raining. :twisted:

That will cure any rollercoaster phobia :wink:
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Re: Fixing my rollercoaster phobia!

Thu May 26, 2011 5:05 pm

If i was you id maybe try somehwere like drayton first? The only realy scary ride there is Apocalypse an thats not to bad tbf! You could start off on something like Ben10 or even malestrom because their pretty easy to start off with.

Then you could move on to something like stormforce or even pandemonium (not very exciting btw). And dont be put off by G-Force's restraints becuase personally i find them to feel a lot safer than the classic ones that coasters such as shockwave have, then i think you could move onto smethinng like Air.

Finally Last tip maybe try going with someone you want to look good infront of, or even try making a bet with someone, i made a bet with my brother about doing a bungy jump, obviously i won the bet and did the bungy jump :).

Hope this helps!
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