How young is too young?

Saturday, April 3, 2004 1:00 AM
We're planning to take our daughter to Six Flags for the first time. According to their web site she is tall enough for some of the coasters. We're going to SFOG. I was just checking to see if she was big enough for the Dahlonega Mine Train and she is. Then I notice that the height requirement for Mindbender was only 42". I was really surprised to see that it was so low.

My daughter is only 4 and I was really surprised to see that technically she is big enough for the Mindbender, granted she is above average in height for her age. What do you guys think? Do you think she's old enough? I don't want to take her on something that isn't safe for her just because the sign says its ok. I'm sure she would love it because so far she loves all the kiddie coasters she's been on and she's fearless but I'm really skeptical about putting her on one of the big ones. Any replies for or against letting her ride would be appreciated. I just want to make sure she's safe.

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 1:15 AM
Some kids are ready at that age, some are not. I have a 4-yr-old nephew who won't ride coasters; his 6-yr-old brother is a coaster maniac who rode his first looper [Revolution], suspended [Ninja], wood [Ghostrider], mine train [Gold Rusher] and launched [Montezooma] before he was six and added a 4-D [X] just after turning 6. He'll soon be tall enough for Xcelerator, Goliath, and others and he can't wait.

You know your daughted better than anyone. You know what she can and cannot handle. Be honest with her. Show her the ride, explain it to her what it does, and let her watch it as long as she wants. Let her see the people getting off the ride.

Then, ask her if she has any questions and if she wants to ride. If she does, and she meets the height requirement, ride beside her in the middle of the train where the forces are more even. If she likes it ask her if she wants to ride again, and ask if she wants to try the front or back.

If she does not want to ride, tell her that's OK and then take her on something she does want to ride. She trusts you not to take her on something she'll be scared of, and you don't want to break that trust.

My gut is that she could probably handle the mine train but not Mindbender.

mOOSH [not a parent, but a favorite uncle]

*** Edited 4/3/2004 6:16:11 AM UTC by Mamoosh***

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 1:23 AM
Well I think she would be fine as far as fear goes. All she's talked about since we found out she was big enough is riding the coaster that "goes upside down". I don't think she would be scared of it. I'm just wondering if at 4 years old if its going to cause strain on her back or brain or anything like that. I'm wondering if she's physically able to handle it at her age.

Honestly the Mindbender doesn't put that much pressure on you as far as I can remember and I've ridden it over 100 times, probably twice as much. I've gone over the entire track in my head and can't think of any places other than the loops where you get a lot of pressure. I'm sure I'm just being overly cautious.

I think what I'll do is ride it once without her and just see if I feel like its too rough for her. I'm definitely going to have her watch it go around a few times to see if she seems scared. Knowing her though I'm sure she's going to be upset that she can't ride the "hangy one" and the "standing one" (what she calls Batman and Scorcher). *** Edited 4/3/2004 6:23:55 AM UTC by Kryten6000***

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 2:13 AM
I'd say that's her decision. If she wants to ride cool. If not maybe next year or the year after. I wouldn't force her to do anything she didn't want to do. If you did that could give her a bad impression of coasters for the rest of her life.
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Saturday, April 3, 2004 2:31 AM
My daughter was 5 when she started riding the big stuff (she is short for her age). Her first time at SFGAm we rode Whizzer first, then the Orbit to get her used to going upside down. Then Demon and when she saw Daredevil Dive (skycoaster) she had to ride it. We talked to the ride ops and they said alot of kids her size rode it so we did.

I would definately say if she says she wants to ride, go for it. Just stay away from really rough rides or rides that beat you up, but in a good way.

Glad to hear there is another enthusiast in the making. :)

Frank

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 6:40 AM
I rode the Yankee Cannonball when I was 3 loved it.

My sister was 4 when we went to BGW for the first time, couldnt go on Nessie but she rode BBW. She liked it but wouldnt go on it after dark.

I agree with everyone else, listen to her and if she doesnt want to ride dont make her, one bad experience will ruin roller coasters at this age. Make sure she sees what she is riding too, Mindbender is best seen from the parking lot show it to her and tell her that the ride goes upside down and she could ride it; the mine train you can tell her is a special ride just for her (since it pretty much is) that doesnt go upside down or high in the air.

If she isnt ready for roller coasters, try to get her on the water rides (flume and raft ride) any exposure to gs (no matter how small) should bring her down the enthusiast development path (that is of course assuming that she doesnt have a bad inner ear, you will know after the first ride if thats true) *** Edited 4/3/2004 11:40:58 AM UTC by Touchdown***

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 8:05 AM
One of the things I had thought about that is great about Mindbender is that you can see it very well from the parking lot. The first time we took my son he was about 6. We stood at the fence and watched it go for a few cycles. Every time it hit the loops he got really excited and seemed like he couldn't wait to get on. As soon as we got in the park he asked to go to the "the green one".

We decided it still might be best to start him on the Mine Train. He was fine until the last drop that goes through the tunnel. It kinda caught him by surprise and when the ride stopped him seemed a little scared. I asked him if he was ok and he said he wasn't expecting it to drop and speed up like that and it just kinda scared him. I asked if he wanted to go ride something a bit slower over in Bugs Bunny land and he said that was for babies and wanted to go ride the green one now. I asked him if he wanted to do the Mine Train one more time first before the Mine Train to get him used to the drops. We rode it a second time and the drop didn't get to him so I could tell it just caught him by surprise the first time.

On his first ride on Mindbender he seemed a little scared about how high it was going but as soon as it dropped and hit the first loop he was laughing like I've never heard him laugh before. We got off and he wanted to go do some other big ones.

We put him on Ninja and going up the lift hill he got a bit scared. About halfway up he asked how much higher it goes. I told him it goes about twice as high as where we were and he got scared. He started crying and I told him that it doesn't matter how high it goes because you're still on the track and you're not going to fall off so just don't look down. As soon as we hit the first loop he was laughing again. He wanted to ride it again and we did and after that he's been fine on every coaster we've put him on, even the ones that beat the crap out of you like GASM and Cyclone.

His favorite woodie is Rampage at Visionland and his favorite steal coaster is Scorcher at SFOG. He loves coasters and gets on the internet on his computer and looks at coaster web sites all the time. He knows more about coasters than I do and if you ask him where popular parks or rides are he can tell you. He knows which ones are fastest and which ones are tallest and even comes and tells me about new ones when something is built somewhere.

Hopefully today my daughter will do well. She's always been more fearless than my son so I think she'll be ok. My real fear is that she'll like Mindbender so much she'll be disappointed that she can't ride the other big ones. We'll see what happens. Honestly I'm not afraid of her getting scared on one. I don't think that's going to happen. I was just afraid the ride might be too rough for her because she's so small. I guess I still think of her as a baby but she's really not that small anymore and I'm probably just being over protective. I'll see what happens and post a trip report after we get back. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. *** Edited 4/3/2004 1:05:54 PM UTC by Kryten6000***

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 9:02 AM
If she wants to go for it. My brother rode big bad wolf when he was 3 and 1/2 and loved it!

He's 7 now and he's ridden SROS @ SFDL, Predator, Viper, Mean Streak, Blue Streak, Corkscrew, Magnum, Millennium Force, Rockin Rollercoaster, and a bunch of others.

If you are worried about safety, she'll be fine. Its a question of if she's to scared or not.

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 10:30 AM
My daughter is 5 and rode Jack Rabbit (Kennywood) and Skyliner (Lakemont) when she was 3. This year we are planning on a trip to Hershey and she keeps saying "I want to go on the loop-de-loop." Now once we get there and she sees it, she may change her mind and if she does, that's fine. We've never forced her on a ride and while she was scared on her first JR and Skyliner ride, she immediately wanted to go back on.

I've had the same concerns about Sooperdooperlooper that you have about Mindbender because Schwartzkopf coasters are usually more intense, but I figure the parks/manufacturers know what they are doing when setting height requirements. They aren't going to put anyone at harm intentionally. Like Moosh said, if she decides she really wants to ride it, we'll sit in the middle for the first ride. I have other friends that their kids rode Sooperdooperlooper at age 4 and 5 with no problems, so I'm not going to worry about it.

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 12:40 PM
Best rule of thumb: Let the kids DECIDE what to ride...

Of course, it DOES seem that the young girls are a bit more....thrillseeking...than their male counterparts...

I do like Moosh's suggestion of the MIDDLE of the train.

P.S. *The Green One*...is teh RoXors!!!!11! :)

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Saturday, April 3, 2004 5:38 PM
My daughter started out pretty slowly. She rode the kiddie coasters like Taxi Jam, Junior Gemini, Woodstock Express, etc.

Then she moved up to Beastie, Jackrabbit, Ghost Coaster, Reptar, and the wild mice. Next year she was doing Racers at Kennywood and PKI.

The next year we tried her first steelers : BGW's Big Bad Wolf and PKI's Top Gun.

Last year we really stepped up : Beast, Raven, Legend, Thunder Run, Mean Streak, Hurler, Thunder Road, Hurricane and Cornball.

As the parks open this year, she's finally thinking she might be interested in Phantom's Revenge and the hypers.

It might be next year until she tries her first looper. But when she does, she'll be ready.

Meantime, we already have years of fun, photos and stories. And she'll love coasters her whole life.

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Sunday, April 4, 2004 6:24 AM
Agreed with the others. Let the kids decide.

My daughter is tall for her age. She turned 6 last November and is just under 51" tall.

2 weeks ago she rode her 86th coaster - the Dania Beach Hurricane.

We've never forced or nagged her onto a single coaster ever. She rode her first looper (sooperdooperlooper) at age 4. She rode Millennium Force at age 5. The kid is fearless when it comes to coasters.

If your daughter meets all safety requirements and wants to ride - why not? She'll either love it and you have a new riding partner or she won't and no harm done.

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Sunday, April 4, 2004 2:19 PM
Man Lord Gonchar I thought my kids track record was good, Daughter has 45 at 6 and my son is at 76 at 7yrs.

Hey Kryten6000 I've found out that my kids really want to do what I do so I do not make the coasters seem to scary by telling them before we ride what exactly what the ride is going to do and what they might feel on the ride and that seems to ease their fear about the ride and I do force my kids to try everything once (read my SIG). That my sound cruel but I know what my kids can handle. Only one ride my daughter will not go back on and that is Chaos at SFKK. Everything else they love and usually want to go back on right away.

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Sunday, April 4, 2004 2:24 PM
I would take her, but not force her, if she freaks out and doesnt want to ride dont make her. It really makes me upset when parents force thier kids to ride and they come back crying more then when they left. I let the kids off now with out even asking the parents. You could scar the kid for life if they arent ready.
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Sunday, April 4, 2004 3:19 PM
Again it is based on each child. My kids were introduced to coasters as soon as they were tall enough to ride and I have never had that problem with them kicking and screaming to not go on. If they did that on a ride when they were younger I woundn't force them into it. But the golden rule applies to them cause of what they have already ridden in their young life and I know that they can handle. Every child is different on how they handle different situations.
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Sunday, April 4, 2004 5:45 PM
I took my mom's, bosses' kid (say that three times fast) on Whizzer, Demon, and American Eagle when he was *three* (3) years old! I thought that was pretty damn impressive...and what was more impressive was that he actually liked them and wanted to ride 'em again (except for Eagle, that was a lil too rough he said lol).

Hopefully your daughter had a great day at the park! She definitely picked a good one to want to ride - there's no one that doesn't love the Mindbender. :)

Joe "no smart@$$es better chime in saying they don't love it now" C. ;)

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Sunday, April 4, 2004 8:33 PM
With what everyone else said make sure she is fine and show it to her. My parents got me on the racer (PKI) when I was that age and I thought I was gonna love it and wasnt afraid of anything at the time. But I hadnt ever seen the ride nor knew what it was. The ride scared the crap out of me and it made me uneasy about the way coasters felt until a few years ago when in one day Top Gun (PKI) broke that in and then finally getting over the racer and getting used to air time I was fine and it didnt bother me at all anymore. Look where I am now lol. Even if you think she is ready and she does make sure she is. Thats really really young. But even though she is young just make sure she is ok. Make it sound worse then it is id even say. If she doesnt like this coaster its gonna keep her in the kiddie coasters for awhile. Just start her out lower. From there it depends on who it is. I went from Just barly liking racer and top gun to loving sob in one day. Just make sure you do what you think is best when the time rolls around!
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Sunday, April 4, 2004 9:13 PM
That's the beauty of the Schwarzkopf coasters with just lapbars. They have a relatively low height requirement to ride them.

My daughter just turned 9 and she has ridden every coaster at every park that we have been to. Oddly enough, her favorite is Son of Beast (my knees still ache from that) :)

But as others have said here, if she is willing to ride Mindbender, go for it. The ride is not rough and you hit the 2 loops straight on with just a lapbar. She won't get off of it complaining of it hurting her in anyway. As long as she has proper upper body control, she is good to go.

Have fun.

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