View Full Version : dealing with a coasterphobe

04-03-2006, 10:12 PM
In about a week my family is taking a trip to BGE. We've decided to bring my cousins along as a birthday present. We did this last year as well.
The problem is that last year I discovered they the older of my two cousins is scared to ride the roller coasters. No matter what I said, he kept coming up with invalid reasons not to ride them. I remember being scared of riding roller coasters, but after my first ride I was addicted. I'm sure this will be the case with my cousin. He's in the seventh grade for goodness sakes.

So what I need from you is to confirm a few facts, especially if you have or have held a position of relative authority (you design them, you operate(d) one, you know a guy who knows a guy who operates them, etc.).

So this is what I need confirmed so he'll trust me. I know it's all true, but he won't listen to me:

1. It is next to physically impossible for a roller coaster to stop upside down. Sure, it's theoretically possible, but it never happens.
2. Roller coasters (or at least the ones at BGE) are designed with safety in mind. The staff is well trained on safety procedures.
3. If a train should stop on a lift hill (a rare occurrence in itself), there is always a way to evacuate.
4. It is also not possible to stop a car anywhere on the track. The cars themselves do not have brakes built in. The brakes are on the track and a car cannot be stopped unless it is on a piece of track capable of stopping a car (a lift hill breaks, etc.).
5. Trains do not shoot off the track and explode like in Roller Coaster Tycoon.
6. The track will not break unless someone has been illegally messing with it. The track is inspected frequently.
7. Birds do not usually fly low enough or close enough to a track to hit a rider in the face. I say usually because I saw somewhere that it has been statistically proven that it's more likely that the bird that hit Fabio was committing suicide, than that it was an accident.
8. Often, roller coaster injuries are a result of stupid riders who don't listen to instructions or try not to be locked into their seats or something.

9. On a slightly different note, DarKastle isnít really scary. Stereoscopic images wonít hurt you, the car doesnít really move fast, and itís not dangerous.

I know that a lot of this seems obvious, but unless someone backs me up on this, he's not going to listen to me. And it would be so much more fun if he rode the coasters with my brothers and me.

Johnny Upsidedown
04-03-2006, 10:22 PM
1. It happens. Wheels can jam a car upsidedown.
2. Safety is an industry standard exspecially a Busch Park.
3. It happens and yes you can get down.
4. Most brakes are stationary on the track installments. Read #1
5. It has happend well not the exploding part.
6. Metal does fagtigue its usually bolts or train parts that wear out.
7. Birds have and do hit trains and people. unlikely event though.
8. Most accidents are becaouse of rider error. Read #2
9. Precieved danger.

10. Somebody get Johnny a Spell Checker for Christmas.

Ryan F
04-03-2006, 10:24 PM
1. True. The actual ride brakes are placed at strategic points along the track, never in a loop or inversion. There are also no brakes on the train, so it's unable to stop itself.

2. True. All coasters are designed with safety in mind, and every staff member is thorougly trained in all aspects of operation before being ceterfied to work with guests.

3. True. If a lift hill evac is necessary, then there is a way to safely get all guests down.

4. True. See number 1.

5. Thinking that is true is hilarious.

6. Even if somebody has illegally tampered with track, it would be found quickly and dealt with. Track is built very solid and strong, tampering with it wold be extremly difficult.

7. Birds are usually smart enough to fly clear away from rollercoasters. Insects are another story.

8. True. Rides rarely hurt riders. Riders usually hurt themselves.

9. Never been on it, so I can't say. But, I can say that it wouldn't be dangerous.

And for the record I've worked as a ride attendant, operator, and lead for three seasons.

04-03-2006, 10:26 PM
Hmm, I used to be like that.
When I am with someone who is scared of a ride, I usually tell them to not think about being scared, but rather to think about it in a positive way and to just sit back and enjoy it.

04-03-2006, 10:42 PM
No, I do not design real roller coasters (I do in NL for fun), and no I don't work with a coaster or know someone that does, but I do have much knowledge in roller coasters. I have studied them for who knows how long, but I can assure you it's been long.

1. It is possible but it is extremely rare. As in you have probably a 1 in 1,000,000 chance (I may be exaggerating a tad, but it gets to my point) that you could.
2. All roller coasters are made with safety in mind. All roller coasters have to meet strict safety requirements before they open and are inspected on a regular basis.
3. On every lift hill there is a catwalk leading back down to the station/ground. And sometimes when you stop it is for safety so that you don't run into another train that may already be in the course (another example of safety in mind).
4. The trains of a roller coaster can only be stopped at certain points in the track that have brake segments. If you stop at these points it is for safety reasons (once again, safety in mind). The trains do not have brakes built in like a car. That would be impractical.
5. No, trains do NOT fly off of the track and explode like in RCT. RCT is a game and this is one of the many things that happen in the game that DON'T happen in real life.
6. No, the track does not break unless proper ride care has not been occurring for many years (which won't happen because the state will close the ride if so) or if someone illegally tampers with the track. Even if this does happen, it will be noticed in the daily inspections and the ride will not open until the problem has been properly and safely fixed.
7. Hitting a bird on your face is very, very rare. I have only heard of one case of it and that is with Fabio. There's more chance of getting in an accident on the freeway than this happening, proving that this is a cheesy excuse for not riding (let's emphasize the fact that it's an excuse not a reason).
8. There are very few cases where the cause of an accident on a ride isn't because the rider was doing stupid things. If you ride properly (which is also the most comfortable way) and wear your harnesses properly you will be safe. Stupid mistakes result in stupid consequences.
9. I can't give too much for this one as I have not been on this ride, but yes it is safe, no it is not very fast, and no, the stereoscopic images will not hurt you. They are images. They aren't living, breathing monsters out to kill you.

One more tip for your cousin: roller coasters have been scientifically proven to be safer than crossing a street.

04-03-2006, 11:07 PM
I won't give you excuses. My brother has motion sickness from coasters. 2 Dramamine is what he has through the day, and he rieds problem free.


04-04-2006, 12:43 AM
1. Yes, there have been a few coasters that have been stuck upside down. But it is *EXTREMELY* rare. Even then, parks have plans in place to get people down. They're pretty good at planning for everything that can possibly happen, and at creating plans on the fly for things that they don't have specific plans for.

2. Anytime something goes funky with a ride, supervisors show up, and assist the employees. Also, the coasters will have experienced employees at them that have worked at that specific ride for a couple of years at least, in addition to the newbies.

3. Every lift hill you see will have stairs underneath it or beside it. In the case of inverted coasters (Alpengeist) have platforms that hook onto the stairs and the bottom part of the coaster for people to stand on if they need to be evacuated. Whenever an evac happens, there will be AT LEAST 2 employees on each side of the coaster to assist people in getting out. At Universal, we had to have 2 employees walking down the lift hill with no more than 4 guests between us. I'm pretty sure that's standard across the industry.

4. It *IS* possible, although very rare, for a coaster to stop along the track and not at a "normal" brake run or stopping point. It's simple physics ... If there's not enough speed to carry the train up the next hill or through the inversion, it's gonna go backwards. It'll eventually come to a stop at the lowest point of the track there (it's called "valleying"), and I've seen it happen on the Hulk at least 3 times. The first 2 were during testing, when the employees were trying to get it to valley, and the other time they had hit an E-stop and the train just barely made it out of the tunnel, and valleyed over the lagoon. Again, the parks plan for this, and have ways to get people out. It's like being in a giant swing, rocking back and forth until the train stops. The real fun part is that the park has to take the train apart to get it off the tracks, then put it back together again in the off-line maintenance area.

5. For this to happen, all the wheels on the train have to break at one time (and there are 3 sets of wheels on each side of each car of the train, one on the top, bottom and side of the rail), *OR* the tech doing the morning track walk would have had to miss 2 breaks in the tracks at the same place.

6. See #5

7. Yes, the animals are pretty good about staying away from the coasters. All that noise and movement usually scares them away. Then again, they occasionally run into cars on the interstate (I've personally had 2 hit my windshield), but again, it's very rare. Like Wilde, I'm more worried about those bugs and the rain.

8. I'd go so far as to say that the overwhelming majority of injuries to riders come from human stupidity. Basic common sense goes a long way in staying safe on rides. Keep your butt in the seat, and the body parts you want to keep inside the car, and you'll be fine.

9. We never made it on DarKastle, so I can't comment on it specifically. But having been on Spiderman so many times I can say the whole ride when I'm on it, it *CAN* be a little freaky for people who aren't used to the 3-D thing (I love going into T:2 3-D at Universal and watching people freak out when stuff comes flying "at them"), or are a bit younger. A 7th grader shouldn't have that problem, though. Just remind him there's no rule that says he has to keep those glasses on the whole time. Although it can be even more disorienting to watch those fuzzy double images than the 3-D.

Coasters have so many redundant systems in them for safety. Even if the power goes out, the "default" position for brakes is closed. The electricity holds them open, so when the power goes out, they all automatically close and trains stop when they hit the next set of brakes. It happened to my mom on Avalanche at PKD when that whole side of the park lost power. The trains won't collide, because they operate on a "block system", which means only one train will be between brakes (or another controlled area, like the station or lift hill) at a time. It's all computer controlled, so even if the employee isn't paying attention and tries to dispatch a train before the last train clears the lift hill, the ride system won't let it happen. And the restraints have 3 backup systems to keep them closed, and even if *THAT* fails, the seatbelt on it will keep the restraint closed.

We did a coasterphobe day at IOA back before the park opened. We had 16 people from ACE and 16 coasterphobes paired up together. The coasterphobes sat and watched the Hulk run from a POV camera inside a trailer behind the ride. They were shown some calming breathing techniques and stuff, and then taken up to the platform to sit on the train without the restraints closed or the train running. Only one person backed out. When they finally got launched (phobes in the middle seats, ACE members in the outside seats), there were a number of scared faces. When they came back into the station, all but one of them wanted to go again. Let your cousin sit and watch the coaster, and look at the people coming off of it. If you can find someone his age that is really nervous at the beginning and comes off of it totally in love and ready to go again, that's even better. Be patient with him. Don't tease, just let him know what a good time he's missing out on.

04-04-2006, 02:44 AM
For practical purposes, April_fool_79 is correct.

04-04-2006, 02:06 PM
DarKastleFreak, since you're 16 and he's in the 7th grade, go ahead and just force him on...he'll thank you later for opening him to the wondeful world of coastering. If that doesn't suit you, go aead and use April Fool's stuff...he's got it right (but i still prefer the 'force him on' idea, from a personal standpoint).

04-04-2006, 05:27 PM
DarKastleFreak, since you're 16 and he's in the 7th grade, go ahead and just force him on...he'll thank you later for opening him to the wondeful world of coastering. If that doesn't suit you, go aead and use April Fool's stuff...he's got it right (but i still prefer the 'force him on' idea, from a personal standpoint).

I don't want to force him or anything. It's a birthday present, after all. The most I'm going to do is a little (and I do mean only a little) peer pressure from my brothers and me. But I'm hoping I won't have to resort to that. I'll talk to him about it the night before and reason with him using the facts you've given me. Thanks for the info!

04-04-2006, 05:59 PM
^Good plan. Like you said, dont force him. Maybe he will like them, maybe he will hate it, and then be even more scared of them and have the experience ruined for the rest of his life. And then he will be a true coasterphobe. Maybe have him start smaller, eventhough BGE really doesnt have any "small" coasters. But I think BBW is a good starter, not huge, and no loops. Remember, baby steps. ;)

04-04-2006, 06:17 PM
I always see 2 types of Coasterphobes, Drop-phobes, and Loop-phobes. For drop-phobes, I just say, "You're in it for about a second, If that." For the loop-phobes, "You can close your eyes."

04-04-2006, 06:36 PM
oh man.. I hate trying to convince people that rides arent going to kill you...

ask him what makes him think that the ride will break when he's on it when tons of other people have ridden them safely.

04-04-2006, 07:03 PM
Ok, I have a question DarKastleFreak. Is this kid scared of the ride Malfunctioning? Or is he scared of the roller coaster itself? I think that makes a big difference on how you should get him to ride it.

04-04-2006, 07:57 PM
I'm not sure what he's afraid of exactly. The reasons he keeps giving have to do with the ride malfunctioning, but it could be that he's afraid of heights or something else.

04-04-2006, 09:12 PM
Well my biggest suggestion is not to take him right on Alpengeist!!! :lol:

If he's willing to try some rides, take him up in this order:

Big Bad Wolf
Appollo's Chariot
Loch Ness Monster
Alpengeist (if he liked the others)

I just know Alpie is from what I hear, a very intense ride, while the other 3 are pretty easy going.

04-04-2006, 09:20 PM
I just know Alpie is from what I hear, a very intense ride.
Alpengeist is to big for its own good. I think its a big tame as its all oversized.. Batman The Rides have more force then Alpengeist does.

04-04-2006, 09:23 PM
Bribe them with dinner or something. That worked for me.

If not, my biggest suggestion would be to just work up from flats to big flats to "family" coasters to the big ones. They'll eventually cave in if you keep asking. Just don't pressure them to ride a coaster if they are crying or anything.

04-04-2006, 09:23 PM
Big Bad Wolf
Appollo's Chariot
Loch Ness Monster
Alpengeist (if he liked the others)
AC before LN? Are You Insane! AC has a 210 foot drop! IMO it is deffinately the most intense ride at BGE.
My order...
BBW, LN, Alpie, AC

04-04-2006, 09:59 PM
AC before LN? Are You Insane! AC has a 210 foot drop! IMO it is deffinately the most intense ride at BGE.
My order...
BBW, LN, Alpie, AC

Ok, maybe it's BBW, LN, AC, Alpie. No way a B&M hyper with floater air is maore intense than a giant, 6-inversion invert with tons of positive g's. And btw, Alpie's height and drop height are almost the same as AC. Just my opinion. No, I haven't ridden them, but I can compare them to Nitro and BTR.

If I took a coasterphobe to GAdv, I'd DEFINITELY bring them on Nitro before BTR, and anyone who doesn't agree hasn't ridden them.

04-04-2006, 10:01 PM
If you really want your cousin to ride, $20 goes a long way....

04-04-2006, 10:03 PM
^^Yes Alpie is more intense, but I personally think AC is alot "scarier"
I Know when I first started riding coasters, Alpie was deffinately my first choice over AC. And I can also remember being Scared as crap going up AC lift. But thats just IMO

04-04-2006, 10:12 PM
^^Yes Alpie is more intense, but I personally think AC is alot "scarier"
I Know when I first started riding coasters, Alpie was deffinately my first choice over AC. And I can also remember being Scared as crap going up AC lift. But thats just IMO
That's weird for two reasons.
1. Alpie's lift height is actually higher than AC's.
2. Alpie is under the track, which means there's nothing under you but the seat all the way up that 195'.

I guess it's just me, but hypercoasters give me that "I'm in heaven" kind of feeling, inverts give me that "HOLY ****!" kind of feeling.

Matt M
04-04-2006, 11:09 PM
If I took a coasterphobe to GAdv, I'd DEFINITELY bring them on Nitro before BTR, and anyone who doesn't agree hasn't ridden them.

Why even argue if you haven't been on them? B:TR pwns Alpie anyways, that list was correct.

Leo C
04-05-2006, 12:45 AM
I wouldn't start riding looping coasters until Junior year of High School. It's alright to leave the scare-dy cat cousin alone. He may eventually get over it. A low to the ground B:TR seems to do the trick to break the ice.

Too bad BGE doesn't have Wild Maus anymore. I definitely face fears of the coasters @ BGW when I was about 10. Big Bad Wolf was tough enough. I did get scared out of riding Lochness. Right at the last second walked out of the car and out the station.

04-06-2006, 01:25 AM
I'd think an Invert might not be the best idea to start off with. Start with BBW/LNM. Then AC. One of the things to get him over his fear is that he has to feel safe. OTSR with a non looping suspended? BBW great. Most of the ride is even close to the ground. My first looping coaster (that I appreciated) was LNM in 1992. I was forced onto GASM at SFGAdv in 1989 (at the tender age of 10) and was completely scared of coasters until 1992.. (my mother nicely "forced" me onto LNM, but I loved it)

Bottom line, if he scared, he is scared. Don't Force him, or else it will just turn him off of coaters more. Not picking on him and all that will make him feel safer and more confident. Eventually he will ride and there is nothing better than a coaster buddy.

04-06-2006, 02:14 AM
Just tell him Millions of other people have rode it and enjoyed it without them flying over the park!

04-06-2006, 01:55 PM
I know a coasterphobe, I made her ride Mamba, Hulk, and Deuling Dragons. Turns out she liked all of them but was still terrified on Deuling Dragons. She isn't much of a coasterphobe anymore.

04-09-2006, 12:12 PM
:p $50 got my sister on Apollo's Chariot...she cried on the lift chain.

04-09-2006, 12:49 PM
my ex gf had motion sickness and had never been on a coaster. I forced her on MF and told her after the first drop it was just bunny hops back to the station,lol. After the ride was over she was beating me when we got back to the station, everyone starred. Then later i forced her on ttd and told her that if she didn't ride i would dump her. She ended up riding ttd 4 times in a row. She said it was nothing compared to MF,lol.

Erik Leppen
04-09-2006, 01:13 PM
You need smaller coasters there in the USA... to help coasterphobes get the coaster feeling a little less abruptly by getting them on those big rides right away... I started with a ~40 MPH bobsled coaster, then to a ~40 MPH woodie, then to a ~55 MPH looper.

04-09-2006, 01:28 PM
yeah, it seems a lot of places lack an intermediate-type coaster. I'd say things like arrow corkscrews and things like Hershey's Sooperdooperlooper and Revolution at SFMM qualify, but i can't really think of any middle-sized ones that don't loop. maybe Iron Dragon?
Surprising though it may be, i think The Beast might even qualify- it doesn't appear that large from the queue, and by the time your coasterphobic friends realize it, you're already on the 2nd lift.

04-11-2006, 09:41 PM
You definitely have to build up to the bigger rides. I did it with my daughter when she rode her first "grown-up sized" coasters and I did it with an ex-girlfriend who was terrified of coasters. We started smaller in both cases and worked up to bigger and bigger and I talked to them throughout to distract them from worries. It works a LOT better than the "Come on, you chicken pansy!!!" taunts that kids seemed to try when I was in high school and had friends who were intimidated by a coaster.