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Dave....Dan said hello, and said that he has "fond" memories of that day!
So the program was a huge success!
Out of the 12 phobics in the program, all 12 reached their goals, while most FAR exceeded what they planned on doing.
John Hildebrandt, who was kind enough to give my entire group early entry, Robin Innes, and the Cleveland Plain dealer followed us around all day long, and the story will be in the Plain Dealer tomorrow...so if you have a subscription and are interested, just look for the roller-coaster phobia story.
Sounds like a good and effective time was had by all.
Millennium Force intimidates with its sheer size, but Magnum does all those things that scare people.
That depends on what scares people. I freak out on the lift hill of Millennium Force every time. The car is more open, the lift is steep, I can look over the side, and the steep drop is terrifying.
On Magnum the train is far more enclosed, wider, and neither the lift nor the drop are particularly steep when compared to MF's stats. I'm terrified of heights, but only when I feel exposed. Granted, I ride coasters all the time, and I feel safe in them (because if I didn't feel safe in one, I wouldn't ride), but I'm far more afraid of being up high and exposed. I'd rather be 400 feet in the air, as long as I'm strapped in and don't feel exposed, than I would standing on a 3 foot stool.
You're kind of getting to my basic point. On Millennium Force you're sitting in this glorified folding chair to which you are firmly bolted, gliding up the lift hill to a point 300' in the air. From there it's almost straight down. That is just plain intimidating.
But heights are not the only thing about roller coasters that scare people, and by the same token, if you're not that intimidated by heights, then suddenly 300' by itself it not such a big deal.
Magnum isn't as tall, and the car feels more like an actual vehicle. It's not as intimidating. But if you're in the back of the train and you get yanked over the top, you go airborne and it is something that most non-coaster people are not expecting. Particularly on the return run, Magnum tries its damnedest to throw you clear out of the train. One of the hills even peaks in a tunnel, so that even worse than being thrown out of the train, you're going to be thrown out of the train and squashed into the roof of the tunnel. Magnum is an aggressive ride and it takes out its aggressions on *you*.
The thing is, Millennium Force is really intimidating *from the ground*. You have to work up the nerve to ride the thing, and it scares the crap out of you as you're going up the lift hill. Magnum, on the other hand, isn't so intimidating to look at; heck you can't even see it from the midway. It's less of a challenge to get on board, but that extra violence does things you might not have bargained for. That's why I suggest that a neophyte coaster rider is more likely to complete the tour by riding Millennium Force first, because Millennium Force really doesn't have any "unpleasant" surprises.
By the same token, I wonder how many kids were so badly traumatized by those awful Allan Herschel Little Dipper coasters that they never rode anything else for years. Then they rode a Wildcat and were scared off for another decade.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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