Why do you ride: death-defying thrill, or sheer fun?

As a newcomer to Coasterbuzz, please let me know if this discussion is old hat ...

My sons and I made our first trip to Cedar Point a few weeks ago, and were very surprised to find the lines for Millenium Force much longer than the lines for Top Thrill Dragster. "What's wrong with these people?," we thought to ourselves, "who would favor a 90 MPH 'whoosh' through the trees over a 120 MPH kick in the pants 420 ft. straight up and straight down?" I posed that question on PointBuzz, and overwhelmingly the replies were that MF is "better" because is was longer, smoother, and provided more air time. All valid points, to be sure, but what I noticed was missing were terms such as SCARIER, SHOCKING, NERVE-WRACKING.

So, I started thinking why I ride coasters (and other amusement rides) in the first place: for the bone-rattling, punch-in-the-gut, afraid-for-my-life thrill. Many others, the response to my PointBuzz question seems to indicate, favor the "fun" of MF's smooth swerves (following the initial 310-ft.drop, which always causes my heart to skip a beat) more than the "fear" of TTD's 120 MPH nosedive.

And the 2006 Golden Ticket Awards seem to bear this out: no inversions until Montu at #8; the 120-MPH 420-ft. TTD at #10; the nose-diving Sheikra at #13; the 4th-dimensional X at #20; and the tallest, fastest coaster in the world, Kingda Ka, at #28. Polling methodology aside, the people have spoken (in polls such as these, as well as with their feet in waiting lines) -- FUN is preferable to FEAR.

So, I ask this question, why do you ride: death-defying thrill, or sheer fun?

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
It's pure fun for me. Coasters don't scare me at all. There have been a couple of moments when I got more airtime than I was prepared for (the restraint wasn't as tight as I thought it was), *cough* Georgia Cyclone *cough*. But otherwise it's just pure fun. They excite me, but I very rarely get a thrill or "Danger Will Robinson" feeling. I recently road a Skyscraper with just the straps, for the first time. OMG, now that scared me!

I rode Kinda Ka for the first and only time back in July. It did absolutely nothing for me until the airtime hill. My friend asked what I thought and I replied, "lame." Then on our way out, a kid waiting in line axiously asked, "was it fun? Was it fun?" I said, "no." The shocked look on his face was priceless. lol :) Sorry, got side-tracked there. *** Edited 8/31/2006 2:05:26 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Fun. Like Matt said, coasters don't scare me. Instead I look for rides that DO something. One-trick ponies like Dragster and Ka(rap) are cool, but they're not what keep me coming back.

"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

Amusement parks are fun. That's my reason.

Although there is something to be said for my earliest days as an enthusiast, back when going down a first drop still produced that weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. The fact that the sensation of falling felt so unnatural gave me motivation to keep riding. And I suppose the same can be said of drop towers- those things still creep me out. Being pulled slowly up the tower, hanging around in midair for an undisclosed amount of time, knowing the only way down is a controlled fall... I love it and hate it at the same time. For me, drop towers, and sky coasters for that matter, are all about being scared sh**less.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I was a 'white knuckle' rider back in the day, but once you get enough coasters under your belt the focus tends to go from thrill to fun.

Like Matt, coasters don't scare me at all anymore and I'd bet most enthusiasts will express similar feelings, it's all good now.

That's why on forums like this you'll find more people enjoying the 'complete' ride that something like MF gives much more than the one-trick-pony thing that TTD does.

As far as the polls the same thing applies. If you eliminate fear from the equations (and for the people voting in those polls, it has been eliminated in most cases) then a ride that only has intimidation going for it sudenly isn't that big of a deal...or all that fun to ride.

You don't mention how seasoned you are as a rider, but I suspect that like all of us, as you ride more and more that fear that you seek now will slowly be replaced by a higher appreciation of the rides - one that you refer to as 'fun'.

Coaster enlightenment, if you will. ;)

*** Edited 8/31/2006 2:15:59 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

I ride coasters for fun also.

Now if I want death-defying, I'll eat something out of my refrigerator without checking the expiration date first, or take my step-daughter shopping. :)


As Gonch was saying, I think most enthusiasts go through what can best be described as a "cycle of evolution".

When we first started traveling to ride coasters (which happened to be LONG after I actually became an enthusiast- go figure), that's pretty much what we did. We'd go to Cedar Point and Six Flags WoA and ride all the coasters, and maybe a novelty ride or two like the Cedar Downs and the Ferris wheel. Ohio made a lot of sense, as it was a great way to get on a lot of coasters. A lot of our trips also included days with multiple park stops, just so we could do as much as we could in a little amount of time.

Now, our trips include fewer parks, smaller parks and more time at parks to experience everything. The coasters of Seabreeze can be ridden in an hour but we tend to spend an entire day just so we can ride everything as much as we want and watch the park as the sun sets and the lights come on. And while we occasionally plan a trip around parks we haven't yet been to, our recent trips have involved re-visiting parks that we know we enjoy.

I think that all pretty much parallels how the quest for the thrill eventually becomes a thirst for fun.

I don't think (at this point) there are any thrilling coasters left for me. If a park has a small woodie (Dragon Coaster at Rye) I will ride it. If it has a big lift hill, I will ride it. If it has a a gimic (I will ride it. If it's a kiddie coaster with my son, I will ride it.

It's just about a good feeling and feeling good!

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

I just enjoy the fun of hanging out with friends. The coasters are the vehicle for the fun, the rest is who you're there with.

Occasionally, I do a little bit of cre'hoing, but that's not my motivation for riding, usually.

Very few coasters scare me at this point (mostly just X and I've taken five laps on it by this point, which isn't bad for an Ohio kid), and very few non-coaster rides scare me (Skycoasters, strapped Skyscrapers, and 2G/3G Intamin drops). Those rides are more of a rush than anything else. They're not as fun as, say, riding Magnum with a cute girl. :)

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
And I was worried I was going to come across as a desensitized enthusiast. ;)

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

I think we're all desensitized to a degree!

I ride pretty much everything I come across. Maybe that makes me a cre'ho but that's not my intent- I ride just because I find rides fun, even thge awful ones. And I like to ride coasters just so I can talk about them. I didn't need to ride Knott's Boomerang because I've been on quite a few but at least now I can take part in a coversation that involves the Knott's Boomerang!

As a seasoned travler, I can say that THRILL still does it for me if it's a NEW TO ME THRILL.

Like Voyage's holy S*(* what just happened?

However for the most part it is about fun. Even on some coasters I've ridden numerous times. A WOW moment is surely the deciding moment of how much I like A ride.


rollergator's avatar
"Extreme" rides like Skyscrapers and ejection seats, THOSE are built to thrill....and they do....quite successfully in my case.

Every once in a while, I run across a coaster that provides *a moment* of that kind of heart-in-your-throat type excitement...I ;)

I still think I would love nothing more than to launch one of X's 4th-dimensional cars over Kingda Ka's 456-ft. tower at 128 MPH -- now that would be scary! A more controlled scare than eating expired lunch meat out of my refrigerator, but scary nonetheless.

Fun and thrilling can be the same thing. But I don't ride for the sheer thrill of having the crap scared out of me. I have a pretty severe fear of heights and so I avoid drop rides and the like. Ferris Wheels are even sometimes an ordeal.

I like the fun aspect and the full sensory experience of a ride. Little things like the musty smell of a tunnel on a wood coaster, the clinking of the chain lift, the way the train drops down onto the tracks when the skid brakes are released. Lots of little details that are not always easy to notice or (sadly) easy to come by these days excite me. It's also those types of things that will ensure that simulators will never replace the real thing, despite what the producers of cable coaster shows like to make us think.

True, there is definitely something special about the intangibles...
I used to ride for the thrill as well. Now, that is pretty much gone. My first real "scary" coaster was the Racers at Kings Island. My mother used to bribe me with a dollar just to ride. Of course, I was always glad I did afterwards. Now, I ride for fun and look for a better overall experience as opposed to just being scared out of my mind. The only rides that do that to me now are drop towers. They still scare the crap out of me.

Another new enjoyment I get now is to watch the kids enjoying themselves. Or crapping their pants. ;)

Wouldn't that be awesome, winged coaster going over the top hat at 120, that would be awesome.

But myself, as everyone else said, it's all about fun and experience. I think the fright was gone after I rode Apollo's chariot, then it was definately gone the 2nd time. I think the fright comes when something new arrives, and you've never experiencd anything like it. I do have to mention, my first ride on Ka, was a little nerve wrecking, but after it was over, I thoght, What? that was it. Then going to CP and riding dragster, I knew what to expect, and it was just another coaster that meant nothing.

I don't know how people ride coasters, some scream, some hollar for joy, some yell "more", some are silent. For me, I have a tendency to yell for more, and that's how I have my fun. A coaster could be slow as day, and i'll yell more, and when I get that boost of speed, it's the greatest thing ever, aka Cold Creek Mine ride at CP.

I think we're all spoiled on thrill, that most of us don't know what it's like to be "scared" anymore. This summer has been dry for me, and all I needed was my fix. Thrill or Fun? I say both. Not death-defying, but thrill.

I wish I had 50 million to throw down, I'd have the best coaster around. TTD+MF+X=awesome ride.

Now what I do, is when I get to a new coaster, I ride the front for the fun of riding a coaster, then to get that extra bit of thrill, something to look forward to, I ride the back. *** Edited 8/31/2006 6:59:49 PM UTC by BANDandDCI***

I'd love to gtet paid a dollar to ride a coaster!
^Yeah, but it was blown in a matter of seconds.

I think more than that, riding with my mother was far more valuable than that dollar. She really can't handle the coasters any more. Makes me wish for the good 'ol days when my uncles and the five of us would all go. We would enjoy La Rosa's first thing, and then it was ride on.

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