Fear of Roller Coasters

Friday, August 2, 2013 6:26 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I've never understood this. My best friend is so afraid of roller coasters that I can't even get him to come to a park with me (which obviously sucks). He's too afraid of being coaxed into riding one. I've told him countless times that there's a better chance that he gets struck by lightning than injured or killed on a roller coaster, but no bite. Are these types of people just insane? He's also ridiculously afraid of spiders fyi, lol.

I believe the word you're looking for is phobia. Are they "insane"? Not hardly, he simply suffers from the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder on the planet.

You can explain the rational side to him until you're blue in the face; ironically, you're only making it worse, as he already knows that his fear is irrational, so now you're playing into the guilt and low self-esteem that accompanies it.


Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, August 2, 2013 6:29 PM
Friday, August 2, 2013 6:26 PM

sws, why do you have a rational fear of my topics? I know I have matured as a poster since the "guess the coaster", "favorite ride experience", and zombie topic days. Back then, I didn't know what forums were all about since this was my first forum account.

Now that is cleared up, I will give a plethora of my personal fear stories all in one post. I'm working on giving bigger posts, but I want to have less total posts :)

  1. When I was a four year old, my first experience of fear was on Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Yes, I was tall enough to ride, but I was very scared. I was not scared of the drop, though. The special effects and scenery was what got me. Today, that ride is no problem for me.
  2. There was a day when I didn't like coasters. That was about 10-12 years ago, and that all changed in a fearful, yet triumphal story. My family and our friends went to Kings Island. I was the oldest kid, and I wanted to hang out with my dad, and the other family's dad instead of the moms and the younger kids in the kids area. They said that in order for this to happen, I had to ride the Beast and Racer. Well, I rode the Racer no problem. I didn't understand that Racer was actually not that much shorter than the Beast, and I was petrified of potentially riding the Beast. I ended up doing it, and I was scared. I loved it, and still love it to this day.
  3. When I first rode the Demon at SFGAM, I was scared. It was a year after the Beast, and I had ridden every almost other ride in the park that wasn't in the kid's area that I was tall enough to ride. I was afraid of the loops, and I thought I'd fall out if it went upside down. Well, I rode it, and it was OK. I do like upside down rides to this day, but arrow loopers aren't my cup of tea.

Friday, August 2, 2013 6:42 PM
sws's avatar

Tyler Boes said:

I know I have matured as a poster


Last edited by sws, Friday, August 2, 2013 6:43 PM
Friday, August 2, 2013 8:06 PM
Break Trims's avatar

I love how after he declares his maturity, he then posts a long, Tyler-centric list that interests absolutely nobody but himself.

Parallel lines on a slow decline.

Friday, August 2, 2013 9:03 PM
LostKause's avatar

Why didn't you call my Travis-centric post out? I'm not telling stories about myself because of illusions of grandeur, and I am pretty sure that Tyler isn't either. His comment was even on topic, and kind of interesting. CoasterBuzz is a great place to talk about amusement park related experiences, right?

I'm just saying that I think you guys are much too hard on the kid.

Edited to add - He is even verbal in many posts that his intention is not to annoy us, and that he is trying to find ways to keep you guys off his back while at the same time enjoying participating in the discussion.

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, August 2, 2013 9:06 PM
Friday, August 2, 2013 9:25 PM
Vater's avatar

And, thanks to him, I now know what a text message is.

Friday, August 2, 2013 9:27 PM

I gotta agree with Krause. I'm sure some of you were annoying to the veterans when you first came upon this forum, whether you chose to be or not. I mean, I never was myself personally, but I'm sure some of you were...


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

Friday, August 2, 2013 10:48 PM
sws's avatar

Tyler Boes said:

I know I have manured as a poster

Fixed that for you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 2:26 AM
bjames's avatar

sirloindude said:

I actually think that if anyone is insane, it's those of us who DO ride coasters, not those who don't. I used to hate heights and still kind of do, so I definitely relate to those who let that fear keep them off the rides.

One of my greatest fears is heights, so the trip down a coaster's lift hill is fantastic lol. I'm near the ground again! But I basically have complete trust in the coaster and the park and the manufacturer and everything. I'm just not afraid that I'm going to be hurled from the ride at all.

Here's my own fear story. When I was 7 years old, my family decided to vacation at Hershey Park. I screamed and bawled beyond belief at having to get on Sooperdooperlooper. It was my first upside-down roller coaster. I was seriously having a fit but my dad reassured the ride-ops and I was forced to ride. It was fantastic.

No fear of any coaster since lol! I'm now actually quite proud my first inverting coaster was Sooperdooperlooper. It's a piece of history!

Last edited by bjames, Sunday, August 4, 2013 2:27 AM
Sunday, August 4, 2013 8:54 AM
Vater's avatar

That was my first inverting coaster as well. I wasn't forced to go on it, but I had to work myself up to do it. I loved it (it was my favorite coaster for years), but it didn't cure my fear. I still had to talk myself into going on King Kobra at Kings Dominion because not only did it go upside down, but backwards, too! Oh noes!

Seems silly now, but back then that was a huge hurdle.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 8:56 AM

An intense phobia is not going to make sense to someone who doesn't have one. I am deathly afraid of bees. I'm not allergic to them, and I've only ever been stung once, but I can't even watch shows on TV that are about or heavily feature them. If a bee flies near me and someone swats at it, I have been actually known to yell, "don't make it mad!!". It is horribly embarrassing sometimes (running around the old food court at Hershey in a panic while a bee seemingly chased me and onlookers laughed and applauded comes to mind). Don't give your friend a hard time. It is called IRRATIONAL for a reason.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Sunday, August 4, 2013 10:03 AM

A fear of coasters however, is not irrational. The human body was not designed for us to be able to leap from tall heights, go 70+mph, or create changes in G forces such that roller coasters do; doing so without a safety system in place would kill us.

Safety systems are designed by humans, and therefore imperfect, thus riding a roller coaster is an inherent risk to your health (abit a small one in todays world.) Having a fear of this is quite rational.

As for your fear of bees, many people are killed by them a year (mainly due to an allergic reaction, but still.) No one knows if they are allergic until they have been stung at least twice (one sting "primes" your body for the response,) and even if you have been stung multiple times you could still develop an allergic reaction at anytime. So again, fear of bees is quite rational.

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:27 AM
ThatStrangeKid42's avatar

I find that most people who are scared of roller coasters just 1) don't have the confidence to try them, 2) eventually try one, and 3) end up liking them in the end. That actually applies ot me, too. Five years ago, I would refuse to ride them. Insert a lot of persuation here, and now...yeah, different story.

But as far as people who are scared and stay scared, it's normal. Also, I once knew a fellow enthusiast (just like us) who wouldn't go over his own set "height limit".

Everybody's different, and what things people try and/or like vary among individuals.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:34 AM
StLCPfan's avatar

It all depends on how one PERCIEVES the threat of danger and death posed by the thing that causes the phobia. I am nervous on the lift hills of most hyper coasters because of my fear of heights, but I feel that the car and restraints will keep me in and it doesn't turn into fear. Once the ride gets going, that nervousness is completely gone.

However, I was SCARED before the SkyScreamer started. The chains and the chairs just don't FEEL to me like they are safe at 250 feet in the air. Once the ride got going my fear turned into the nervousness I feel on hyper coaster lifts, but I never felt truly safe.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:37 AM
ThatStrangeKid42's avatar

From my opinion, a good coaster's objective is to give a feeling of unsafety and little control. Once again, perfectly normal.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 12:34 PM

^That is because you are still a young enthusiast. Eventually, due to you riding so many, you will loose that thrill. You will mature, and realize that the coasters you want to ride contain things that you like (for most of us that would be airtime, sense of speed, and rapid changes in G forces without roughness.)

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

Sunday, August 4, 2013 3:07 PM
Carousel Rabbit's avatar

Most people who are afraid of roller coasters don't literally believe they are going to be killed on one. They just don't like (or don't think they will like) the experience or the sensations. A lot of people, if encouraged to give it a try (and introduced to it slowly, as I was), will discover they liked it after all. That's the happy ending we hope for and don't always get. Some still find it upsetting and unpleasant, and that's just the way it is.

Me, I really dislike huge Ferris wheels. I don't really think the Ferris wheel car is going to fall off and plunge to the ground and explaining at length to me that it's not going to isn't going to help. It just makes me feel uneasy for no reason I can account for and as much as I'd like to change that, I don't think it's going to change.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:27 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Most people I have worked with have, at the core of their roller-coaster fear (and in come cases phobia), an ultimate fear of their demise. It's very similar to a phobia of flying in that regard. And yes, you can explain the objective truth that they are, in reality, very safe, but that does not help.

In fact, one of the core symptoms of a phobia is an understanding that one's fear is, indeed, irrational.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:33 PM
LostKause's avatar

Haunt industry people know that human beings are born with two instinctual fears, tha fear of loud, sudden noises, and the fear of falling. So a fear of roller coasters is more normal than you might think.

Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:41 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I couldn't agree more.

This is the dilemma one deals with when you attempt to "treat" a roller-coaster phobia.

Planes are not designed to be scary.

Elevators are not designed to be scary.

Of course, coasters are designed to purposely create the illusion of fear and induce anxiety. Normally, when you treat a phobia, you are dealing with a target that is, to most people, benign and non-anxiety inducing.

Learning how to control one's response to fear and anxiety is a big part of the process. Most people think the mental and physiological reactions to anxiety and fear are automatic and out of their control, which is simply a fallacy.

Last edited by OhioStater, Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:45 PM

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