• What makes a coaster enthusiast tick? Part one

    Awhile back, I asked a simple question to our members: What makes a coaster enthusiast tick? It seems a like a lot of factors go into why people love the things they do.

    I asked a few questions, some got similar responses, but some were quite different. For example, "What park could you go to over and over and never get tired of visiting?" It seemed a lot of the answers were different as in the park, but geographicwise it seemed as if the enthusiast's "home" park was the answer most given. While that seems like a logical answer, I think it's because it's close. It gives you the thrill you need, and you don't need to seek more. However, there are many enthusiasts who crave different thrills making travel the necessity to keep the adrenaline rush going.

    Another question I asked was "What makes a ride so terrible that you won't ride it again?" Most of the answers came from the extreme opposites. The answers either made up of a) It's a really boring ride and does nothing for me, therefore I have no reason to ride it again to b) It was so rough and violent that I felt either hurt or sick after riding and have no need to ride it again.

    It seems to me that a coaster enthusiast can be extremely opinionated in what their favorite rides are, and they are very vocal about the ones they hate. There has been a debate for 12 years now about people's top steel. Millennium Force versus Bizarro (aka Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England). I am only making these two an example due to them being voted that way in the Golden Ticket awards for numerous years.

    It seems enthusiasts really like different elements in their rides. Some like floating airtime, while some like ejector airtime. Some don't like airtime and prefer lateral-type elements; some would rather have inversions to satisfy their appetites. The list seems to go on and on of what makes each of tick the way we do.

    To the general public, the rides are mostly the same. Most of them have loops (ha ha, I hear that a lot in lines for rides). They don't understand our incessant need for adrenaline. To us it seems that way, but I think they do understand, but are curious as to why we do it either for a living (like we do here at ThrillNetwork) or why it is such a hobby for us. I know a lot of my family in particular ride, but not like I do. They are intrigued as to why we instead of going on a relaxing vacation to say Florida or Hawaii to lay on the beach we go and drive for hours on end for some roller coasters. We just shrug and tell them that it is relaxing to us. To me, it's an actual stress reliever to get on a ride and forget about everything for a few minutes.

    While most of us are enthusiasts to enjoy our time in the park and forget about life for a day or two, there are some who can't stop traveling and getting that rush. There are enthusiasts out there with 400, 500, 600, 750 and almost 1,000 coasters under their belts, and they wear it like a badge of pride. At that point, is it more of an addiction, or are we still in enthusiast territory?

    So as I wrap up part one of this special feature, what are your thoughts about being an enthusiast? Do you agree with some of the general responses? What makes you tick? I'd love to add more responses to my next part of the feature.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Antoine -
      I agree that it is a great stress reliever. Although I like 'normal' vacations from time to time, I am all about the adrenaline rush you get from roller coasters. Very little of my friends share the same addiction, which would explain why often I go to amusement parks alone. I do like the fact that my sister's husband is a coaster fanatic too. Not as much as me, he stays local. But he loves the thrill though. I am all about airtime on roller coasters. Can not stand a boring ride and I am not big on these new gimmicks. Although some are some pretty good gimmicks, the majority of my favorite rides were invented in the late 90s to early 2000. I can never get enough of my homepark, but there comes a time where I want to experience something else too. Being in Europe for a couple of years allowed me to explore more and the Europeans have some awesome coasters too. Many that rival and in some cases surpass their American like counterpart. It can be an expensive addiction, but a regular vacation is expensive too. Better to spend money on something I love as opposed to something I will only 'like'.
    1. coastergenius100 -
      I think that part of it is that while momost news outlets spend all of their time talking about politics, it's nice to read about something, and think about something fun for a change.
    1. Steven -
      I'm an operations junkie... that's all.
    1. Brian F -
      Airtime, airtime, airtime. I'll tolerate a ride beating the hell out of me if it's giving good airtime. Floater air, ejector air- it's ALL good to me.

      Big numbers are nice, but if there's no air, I lose interest after a few rides. That's why a small coaster like Cornball Express will rate so much higher to me than some big gimmicky thing like Top Thrill Dragster.

      Give me airtime, or give me death!
    1. Rick B -
      Airtime is the biggie for me although I like a lot of the other elements. The biggest turn off to me is a rough ride.

      The overall park experience is almost as big to me as a coaster.