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