Getting older and scaling coaster trips back.

My wife and I recently cut our 3 park trip of kennywood, kings island, and Dollywood down to 2 parks. We can't marathon like we used to. How many people on here are the same way? Just curious as time catches up with us. Speaking with some senior couples at Dollywood put it in perspective. They come for the shows and don't ride anymore.

Interesting take even though I can't imagine that.

Coasterfantom2 said:

My wife and I recently cut our 3 park trip of kennywood, kings island, and Dollywood down to 2 parks. We can't marathon like we used to...

At what age?

Due to being in a recent rear ended motor vehicle collision, I have several injuries that make it hard to visit the parks the same as when I was only 20 years old.

I no longer do "SAP"s.

For me it is just an interest thing. I have so many other interests and places to go - marathoning parks and rides just doesn't interest me like it once did. A good day in a park is still one of my favorite things to do. But travel, time with friends, and other good things from life round things out these days.

Last edited by BrettV,

I'm 44 and my wife is 51. A place like Dollywood is great where they have so much to do other than coasters. My wife loves the crafts and could easily spend the whole day just looking through all the shops.

We do have other interests but for me when it comes to going on vacation I end up planning on a destination that we can do everything.

On another note Lightning Rod is amazing. Intense from start to finish. The air time is outstanding.

Maybe Toby Keith put it best when he sang "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm good once as I ever was."

I turn 62, tomorrow in fact, (SS eligible! Yay!) and my habits have definitely changed over the recent years.
Oh, I still go and I still have the deep desire. But when I'm there the actual riding portion of my visit has decreased. I no longer care to marathon the wildest rides all day, but make the park experience itself more of the priority. Dollywood and SDC are attractive to me now because they're more than thrill parks. Hmmmm...
And take my Europe trip for example. I was at three great parks for two days each. While it was important for me to hit each ride, (I still have a list or something), I could've spent all day going from coaster to coaster and doing nothing else. Instead I spent time soaking up the scenery and riding just about every other ride they had as well. And there was time enough to go back to some of my favorite coasters if I wanted to.

One of the things that hurts me a little is my inability (or my lack of desire) to do a lot of flats. Man, when I was younger I could spin, flip, and fly all day long. We'd take a day at the state fair for nothing but rides and do them from open to close. Now, not so much. The repetitive motion and certain flips make me queasy sometimes and I tire of it easily. Even climbing in and out of ride vehicles isn't as easy as it used to be. God forbid the Music Express should stop with my car heading up hill. It's all over then!
At Oktoberfest I was faced with just about every high-end flat you can think of and some were rides I'd waited years to see. It rained, granted, but still I was content to just watch most of them.
I remember just a few years ago at the Florida State Fair, also a huge flat ride fest, trying to ride as many rides as possible in an attempt to get my ride/$ average below a dollar a ride. That personal self-challenge turned out to be a big mistake, I really felt the effects of that marathon session during the time and for quite a while afterward.

Oh well, what ya gonna do? I'm still alive to tell the story, I guess! Looking back, I'm glad I was at my best when I was. The new "golden age" of the 70's and 80's was an extremely exciting time and coaster groups, clubs, and friendships were formed to cement us into a sub-set. Small ride companies grew into world-wide providers and I was around to experience that. Today is exciting as well, but maybe more so in terms of technological advances than actual mechanical inventions.

This is an interesting topic and has given me a moment to be reflective. Thanks.

This is a great topic and really makes you reflect on the past.

I am 38 and my wife is 39 and we go to SFGAM (homepark) around 8-10 times a year. Cedar Point is at least once in the summer and for Halloween every year. Also in October we go to Halloween Horror nights every year. We also try to fit in a new park every year.

We are in very good shape but every year that goes by it gets a little harder. I feel coasters more then ever before especially rides like Batman and Raptor. Still can go on everything but I have to take more breaks now which I dont mind because that means booze and enjoying other parts of parks that when I was younger never cared to see.

We have tried to scale back in the past but never seems to work for us. We went to Clearwater for a week and we love the beach but during the trip we had to go to Busch Gardens and Disney. It seems like any trip we plan we need to be near an Amusement Park or water park.

Vater's avatar

The most parks I visited (9) and coasters I rode (57) in one summer was back in 2000. The most parks I visited in one trip was 4 in 2 days (in 2004), which was kind of silly (although they were all small parks in PA within a short distance from each other). I haven't come close to either of those since, for several reasons, the most prominent one being that it doesn't interest me much anymore. I've been on the verge of reaching 200 coasters for more than a decade now; it just doesn't matter to me like it once did.

It's rare these days to visit more than one or two parks a year. And as I've mentioned several times in the past (not going to spend the time to do a Gonch link-back®), the fewer park visits I make per year makes me look forward to and appreciate those visits more.

Plus, life happened. I was in my 20s in 2000. Since then, I've gotten married, had kids, approached my mid-40s, moved to the country, made more money but have so many more expenses, and have other interests and hobbies, some of which are more expensive (and arguably more fun and/or rewarding) than amusement parks and roller coasters.

An interesting observation, though, is that age by itself has had little to do with my waning interest in this stuff. At least for now.

Last edited by Vater,
Tommytheduck's avatar

There's only one alternative to getting old.

I too, (41 now) have found myself unable to marathon for quite some time now. If you've read my trip reports a constant theme is nausea or fear of. I try hard to stave that off by sometimes skipping rides that I love (Maxair for example) because I know that doing them early will not be good for me. Certain rides I could sit on all day (Mil Force is always my prime example) and while some people maybe turned off by that quality in a coaster, it's what makes a lot of these rides my favorites.

A notable exception for me is PPP. Once a year I turn into a crazy person, trying to cram as many rides as I can into the short day known as PPP. We've recently added the 1/2 day Sunday to the itinerary, but it just seems there is never enough time. But even still, this crazy "marathoning" of rides at Knoebels is mostly the tamer rides that would not cause sickness. Phoenix, Phlyers, Bumper Cars and Carousel are where you are most likely to find us.

Bobbie1951's avatar

My experience is different from that of others who've posted on this topic in that I didn't take up roller coasters as a hobby until I was 59. I recently turned 65 and my enthusiasm has not waned although my stamina has to some extent. On a recent visit to Carowinds I managed 17 coaster rides in 5 hours but then had to quit due to a whiplash effect. One of the most challenging aspects of that visit was repeatedly going up the steps to get to the loading station of Afterburn; this proved to be exhausting, especially in the blistering heat. Because I became interested in coasters so late in life and there are so many I haven't ridden but want to ride, this continues to be a priority for me to the extent that economic, health and time considerations permit. As to flat rides, I don't do many and have to space those that I find somewhat dizzying - such as Revolution at Dorney - out so as to allow myself time to recover.


I push myself to my absolute limits when I'm at a park BECAUSE it's getting harder. I have a bad back, and it's only getting worse as the arthritis increases and my weight continues to be above what it should be. There will come a time, probably sooner rather than later, where I won't be able to ride another roller coaster at all. This, along with concerts, is my favorite thing to do every summer, and once I can't do either one anymore, that's a big quality of life change for me. Therefore, I seize every opportunity I get, and I refuse to give in until my back is screaming or I'm falling asleep riding.

The only thing I absolutely cannot do is the Gravitron. I used to love it, but I've discovered that I no longer have QUITE the spin tolerance I used to. Every other flat is fine, but that one...not so much.

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

Most days I'm still up for marathoning but my husband has had to limit his coasters because of back issues from his job and too much twirling and looping gives him migraines so my habits at the park with him are different than when I'm at the park with just our kids.

I've scaled way back due to different interests, kids, etc. The big thing I notice with age is that wait times simply aren't worth it anymore. I'll pay extra to "cut" the line. But ANYTHING over 30 minutes and I'll sit it out in the shade, etc. I once waited 6 hours to ride TTD on a rainy day...for reference of my prior practices.

I still love coasters, flats, and the atmosphere. If there is little to no wait, I'm as good as ever. But quality time is important to me now. Lines for amusement rides do not fit my personal definition of "quality time." I'd rather eat a funnel cake! :-D

ApolloAndy's avatar

My nausea tolerance has gone down dramatically over the past 15 years. I remember doing 15+ laps on Nitro routinely in my 20's and now 2 laps on a hyper in a row is about all I can take. That said, my travel ability and financial freedom has gone up dramatically to compensate but my kids have changed my focus as well. I find myself doing a lot more half day trips to local places and having a much better time riding the train with my kids and not worrying about missing that boomerang credit or just riding the bench enjoying the scenery while the little ones ride the swings. Furthermore, as I approach 400 credits, I find that there isn't *that* much out there that I haven't already done some version of.

It's been about 7 years since I last went open to close at a park (though Disney almost brought that out of me last need a nap though) and I don't especially miss it.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Vater's avatar

As a footnote to my post above: I've never been into marathoning coasters. Well, except many consecutive rides on KD's Scooby Doo (my first coaster) when I was like 6. Oh, and I once claimed 17 total rides on Anaconda. Not in one day, but one summer. In I believe 3 visits. In my mid-teens.

As an adult, I've averaged one or two laps a day, usually only on the better coasters in a given park. During the only enthusiast events I've attended--SRM 2003 and CB's Dorney visit in 2005--I doubt if I rode any of the coasters more than 3, maybe 4 times each during ERT.

ApolloAndy's avatar

Turn in your card.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Jeff's avatar

I peaked in 2000, age 27. What changed wasn't the physical things about age, it was I think changing interests, and the rest of life. I love the coasters, and I'll definitely ride a bunch if I can, but it's just not a priority the way it used to be. I know I've said it before, but I felt like there was a pattern of sameness as I did more and more rides, and that definitely reduced my interest. In the last few years, I've done some power riding at various media events (Thunderbird was a big one for laps), but otherwise, I'll do a few and be good.

The only thing I miss about the epic events of yesteryear are the people.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

There are a lot of good responses on here. It is a topic that's reflective in and of itself. Some people hit points I wasn't thinking when I posted about from the start.

When I was younger I loved nothing more than staying at a park open to close and getting as many laps as possible. Leaving work on a Friday afternoon and driving 6-7 hours to get to Sandusky to make sure I was at Cedar Point for opening Saturday morning. Then I'd leave Sunday afternoon at the latest possible time (2 or 3pm,) to get as many rides in as possible.

Today for the same trip to Cedar Point I'd take off Friday and Monday. I'd drive out there Friday during the day and make it to Sandusky Friday afternoon. If we felt like going to the park we'd go if not we'll check in the hotel and do other stuff for the evening.

I am not consumed with feeling like I need to spend every minute at the park. If it's a weekend(and we know It'll be busy,)we'll buy fast passes so we don't have to wait in long lines. There are differences. A lot of our trips are better planned to do what we want to get accomplished without killing ourselves.

RAMAC I could relate a lot to what you said. I can handle a lot, but I can't spin or flip like I once used to. My wife and I were just talking about Knoebels Looper ride. When they first installed that I could flip the whole time and ride it several times with no problems. Now that's a 1 lap ride for us. Those are just the things that come with age. Also with you on enjoying the scenery more and taking in the whole experience.

As Vater said interests in life do change to determine priorities in life. Raising children and family life can be part of amusement park visits. There's also the other activities that's kids get involved with that don't allow amusement park visits. Just part of life. Other hobbies etc all factor in.

I agree with SatanicCoaster we love the beach but if we're going to Myrtle Beach we're going to Family Kingdom for at least one visit if we go to Wildwood NJ we're going to ride at Morey'so for at least one night. It's just part of our trip planning.

Recently my wife and I have been visiting Busch Gardens and Williamsburg more than in the past because we love the park and the other stuff to do in the area. In the past I would've drove there Thursday night spent Friday at Busch Gardens drive up to Doswell and check into a hotel to go to Kings Dominion Saturday so we could drive back Sunday.

Bobbie, Tommy, Andy, RCMAC, Bunky and everyone else that post I've read all the trip reports you guys share. I enjoy reading those. I like to hear other perspectives on places I've been or want to go.

Funny you should mention the Looper ride. When I was in high school they had one at Goodings Zoo Park and we rode it non stop. We'd keep our foot on the pedal and try to be upside down when the ride stopped.
So when Knoebels restored one I was thrilled to death and couldn't wait to get on it. That opportunity came last fall, I talked a stranger I had been talking to into riding it with me, and to my dismay after about 1.5 flips I was done. Maybe it was because I was not feeling well to begin with, but I have a feeling there was something else behind it. I'll try it again some day when I'm not coming down with pneumonia, and that will tell me for sure.

I've found I prefer not to spend the entire day at the park although if I was traveling I'm sure that's how we would be operating but living only an hour from Cedar Point I really like just breezing in and out for partial days. Usually if we spend an entire day it's because we have a guest with us or it's a HalloWeekend Friday start to finish.

From where I'm standing you're all a bunch of kids. I just turned 75 and about five maybe six years ago I decided it was time to slow down a little. I can no longer marathon. I need to put some time between rides. Walk around, people watch, get something to eat, watch a show or two--you know there is no law that says you can't see a show twice, But I do get my coaster riding in. I live 20-minutes from Cedar Point so we go two or three times a week. I can't remember the last time I spent more than four or five hours in the park. Well, yes it was Coastermania 2016. Remember we all have to slow down sometime, just don't do it too soon.

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