With hundreds of roller coaster rides under our collective belts, we thought it’d be fun to share our most unusual roller coaster experiences. We figured since we’ve visited as many parks and strapped in to ride roller coasters as many times as we had, there’d be some odd experiences we could share. Just in time for April Fool’s Day, here are a few of those experiences.
Getting Stuck on a Roller Coaster Launch Hill
Maverick at Cedar Point has a single rider queue – at least it did when I last visited – and I was paired up with another single rider who insisted upon sitting in the back. This would be my first ever ride on Maverick and I thought that the back row might be too rough so declined to ride and waited for the next train. A ride op directed me to the front row and as luck would have it, after dispatch the train got stuck on the launch hill. It was low enough on the hill that the riders could easily have walked off but because we were locked into the restraints – the old, hard ones no less – this was not feasible. And this is where I have a problem with established protocols. The ride ops could not release the restraints and allow riders to exit without permission from a supervisor.
So I sat there on the launch hill, baking in the hot sun, for a good 40 to 45 minutes before a ride op finally released the restraints and allowed us to walk off. I ended up with the worst sunburn of my life. In retrospect I should have ridden with the guy who wanted to sit in the back; at least his train didn’t get stuck. The only good thing to come out of this was that Cedar Point gave us passes for immediate access to Maverick (once it reopened), Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster as compensation for the inconvenience. When I got to Top Thrill Dragster a ride op asked me “Are you from Maverick?” Yup.
Acting on a Roller Coaster While Keeping Your Hands Down
For me, I’d have to say it was a really unusual experience when I rode roller coasters at Carowinds while filming TV shows. I joined the filming for Afterburn and Intimidator for Bert the Conqueror and also Afterburn for Insane Coaster Wars. Each time there were a few dozen riders or so that were invited by the production companies. First, the filming took place when the park wasn’t open to the public. So it was already strange seeing the park empty, but not completely lifeless as groundskeepers were hard at work making sure the park looked pristine.
Riding roller coasters for TV is quite different than your standard experience. There was a lot of standing around and waiting for the crew to set up cameras on and off the ride. And then it was showtime. Each time I probably rode the rides 6 to 10 times each among all of the different takes. We’d play musical chairs and be re-positioned on the train so it wouldn’t like the same riders on the trains from different takes.
The shows needed to see the roller coasters in action with enthusiastic riders. The most unusual part was riding Afterburn, a B&M inverted roller coaster that I love. While I enjoy it, my job was to play to the camera and show how much I enjoyed it. My normally excited, but cool exterior wouldn’t do. So the times when I was in the front row with cameras aimed right at us, I channeled a less experienced rider and did my best to give the camera “surprise” and “wonder”. You’re welcome Carowinds. You’re welcome.
For the Intimidator filming we were asked to keep our hands down. I’m assuming that this was because it’s standard operating procedure for parks to instructs riders to keep their hands and feet inside rides. Keeping my hands down on Intimidator was one of the weirdest, most counter-intuitive things I’ve ever done. Some of the enthusiasts and I had to remind ourselves as we climbed the lift hill.
Riding a Flying Roller Coasters for the First Time
Here goes mine! Considering the question of most unusual experiences I have had on a roller coaster brought a few thoughts immediately to mind. The first time I had bugs splattered all over my face, the first larger-sized portable roller coaster I had ridden being way more forceful than I was expecting, and my first white-knuckle flying roller coaster experience.
I have to go with #3, a ride on X-Flight. It was a Vekoma Flying-Dutchman model that was first located at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake) and which is now Firehawk at Kings Island. It seemed not too intense in the two hours my friends and I waited in line its opening summer and watching it run. It didn’t seem to be going that fast, it only had one vertical loop, and it wasn’t that tall (it was heights that used to get me). But as soon as that thing flipped over and we took a dive, I definitely thought I was going to be splattered all over the ground below. Judging from my ride-mate’s expletives and screams, they seemed to be in the same boat. We loved it.
Being the Sole Rider on a Floorless Coaster
Only once have I experienced a solo excursion on a coaster. Bizarro at Six Flags Great Adventure had been down due to “technical difficulties” for most, if not all, of the day. At about 7 PM I happened to notice that one of the trains was completing the circuit so I headed over there. A couple of people ahead of me had just been dispatched on a train but when I got to the loading station it was completely empty, probably because no one else was aware that the ride was up and running.
The air gates opened so I took my customary end seat in the back row. I was curious as to whether the ride ops would dispatch the train with only me on it or wait until more people showed up. Well, they did dispatch the train and this was quite a novel experience. Whereas I was accustomed to seeing dangling feet and hearing people scream, I saw or heard nothing of the sort. It was weird but a lot of fun, almost like having a private jet. Have you ever been the only rider on a roller coaster train?
What’s Your Take?
What strange or unusual experience on a roller coaster have you had? We’d love to hear them. Share them by leaving a comment below. Maverick image courtesy of CoasterImage.