Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Cautionary Tale: Water Coasters are not for Wimps

I don’t like roller coasters anymore. I know more about closed head-injuries than I did when I was 19 (during my roller coaster riding peak year.) Since having children, I’m afraid they’ll be made mother-less due to some freak car-jumps-track incident. Call me irrational…but I’d rather get my kicks playing “The Claw” machine.

Knowing my aversion to being scared, my husband, Fred researched the rides at “Sea World-Orlando” prior to our arrival at the park, hoping to find something we could all go on. Some survey, somewhere, made "Journey to Atlantis" a water-coaster, sound 'mild'. What we didn’t realize is…Internet ride reviewers actually LOVE roller coasters. Their advice is based on thrill factor. In terms of horrifying, “Affect you…for Life” experiences, “Journey to Atlantis,” to them, seemed to be a harnessed, pony ride.

When we arrived at the ride sight, there was a sign:

Those with high-blood pressure or who are pregnant should not ride.

I don’t have high blood pressure, nor am I pregnant. This warning was clearly not for me. We later discovered those words really meant:

This ride is going to scare the HAIR off you. If you’re already impaired, at all, you’re gonna DIE.

Fred and our daughter, Krista were extremely excited about the ride. I was very worried, but Fred assured me that his iPhone had told him that the tremendous 10-story plunge we could see from the entrance corral was the worst of it; followed by a carefree romp around a somewhat lazy river. Krista was unafraid, so I sucked-it-up to show her it’s O.K. to be adventurous.

Once on the ride itself, there are little scenes with lights and voices. I swear I saw a video screen with Heidi Klum screaming, but I really wasn’t paying attention. All I could think of was the scary part to come. Finally we ascended, and then plunged like a rocket straight down.

Comforted that the worst was over, I wept as we promenaded past onlookers, who paid 25 cents each to squirt us. I didn’t care…we were ALIVE!! The boat made an incline up again, but just to get back to the beginning…surely. Inside was darkness, screaming and more screaming, as the water coaster made rapid unexpected twists, turns and drops into pure, black agony.

By the time we exited the coaster vehicle, I was sobbing. Fred did not know what to do. So he laughed…a lot. At the end, we discovered that a photography booth would provide a picture of us as we rode into Hell. We bought it, and when I got home, discovered you can see my knuckles were SNOW white.

From now on, forget what the Internet says. My criteria for a "Heidi Friendly Ride" is as follows:

Wheel-chair Accessible

No guard bars or padding

And…as Senior Citizens wearing oxygen tanks get off the ride, they say to one another, “I’ve had scarier rides on my Sleep Number Bed.”


bspicknall said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You are very brave, my friend (and I'll freely admit - MUCH braver than I am!). And you survived! That means you'll most certainly do it again, right? Yes? Nooooo. I love the white knuckle photo. It looks like you are grasping your walker.

Kelly L said...

My gosh, woman! You are hilarious! Who would think that a grown woman would have such fears?? It is true that as you get older and have children, you do think about your own mortality alot more! Your stories are sooo funny!!!