Friday, 20 March 2015

5 Common Mistakes of First Time Roller Coaster Riders

Hi everyone, it's been 10 months since I last shared about my first roller coaster ride. From May 2014 till today, I have witnessed people of all ages and backgrounds taking their first roller coaster. Sometimes, they enjoy it. In other cases, people were so traumatised that they will never ride a coaster again. In this blog guide, I will share with you the most common mistakes people make when riding their first roller coaster. Hope this helps you to avoid them!

Mistake 1: Going for a super-dooper-noober-kiddy coaster

What!!! Isn't the least scary roller coaster the best for first timers? Well, partially. You see, even among family coasters, there are great differences in size and intensity. The smallest ones are barely as tall as a two storey building while the biggest family coasters even have steep straight drops and backwards motion. 

Basically, there are 2 problems with the smallest kiddy coasters. Firstly, the sensation on those rides are not even close to being on a roller coaster. That means you will have a rude awakening when you go for your next coaster, especially if you decide that "I have been on a coaster, you know" and go straight for the big one. Secondly, going for the smallest means you will have no fallback point in the event your first ride turns sour.

As such, a mid-sized family coaster like Enchanted Airways at USS, Dragon at Legoland Malaysia and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Disney's Magic Kingdom will be ideal.

First time ride roller coaster guide. Common mistakes

Mistake 2: I just reached 120cm! Taking a ride once you hit the height requirement.

I know that some kids are really adventurous. In fact, I even heard stories of people who will wear thick sole shoes and double layer of socks just to hit the height requirement. Let me tell you something: Unless you want hurt back or post traumatic stress disorder, don't do this!

Let me explain. The roller coaster height requirement is actually a number that takes into consideration the development of muscles and bones in a person's body. This means they the height is NOT based on fear factor but on whether a person of that growth stage is able to cope with the G-Forces. In other words, meeting the height requirement alone does not mean you are ready.

Consider this: Battlestar Galactica Cylon's height requirement is merely 125cm, or about 8 years old. In fact, if you are wondering why some roller coasters in Europe have an age requirement on top of the height limit, this is why!

You are telling me that an 8 year old is ready for this ride???

Mistake 3: Take every ride, make the most of your money!

In most modern theme parks, the admission ticket is inclusive of all rides and there is no need to pay extra for attractions. Well, this creates a mindset in some people that their whole family must take every single ride for the trip to be worth the money. 

Firstly, let me say that this mindset is plain wrong. The admission ticket you paid for is for the overall experience you get over 1 day at the park. It is not priced accordingly to you riding every single ride. For example, a single ride ticket in Singapore, like the Bumper Cars at Vivocity arcade costs $6. At this rate, USS with 20 rides will cost a whopping $120! But no. USS Tickets is priced at $74, because it is the value that a typical 1 day experience at the park will bring, whether on not you actually take all 20 rides.

In fact, to make the most out of your money, you should only be doing attractions you enjoy.

Mistake 4: Come on, don't be a chicken (peer pressure)

Peer pressure can sometimes be a good thing. People tend to be more motivated and focused when facing serious competition. However, this does not work when it comes to roller coasters. This is especially because friends like to pressure their group to go for the BIGGEST roller coasters.

A typical scenario: A group of friends go out to Cedar Point together. One guy has never taken any roller coaster before and does not intend to. However, at the entrance of Millennium Force, his friends argue that the ride is awesome and drags him along. At the 90m tall first drop, he felt like his entire heart is ripped out of his body, even though his seasoned friends only has slight butterflies. He ends up being so traumatised that he never took any roller coaster in his life again.

Remember, a true friend will guide you though and help you progress from a small roller coaster to a full sized one. 

Mistake 5: Take the roller coaster first thing in the day

This one is a bit more arguable. There are no doubt benefits of early ridership: Shorter queues, the "I accomplished" sensation and a early sigh of relief. However, your body actually takes time to get adjusted to the dramatic motions on a roller coaster, so it is better to take a milder ride with some motion (ie. motion simulator or spinning teacups) just to warm up your body for the experience.

However, that does not mean that you wait till the last ride. In fact, I will say that the second ride or third ride of the day will be ideal. That is when you will be warmed up sufficiently but the queue will still be manageable.

Avoiding long queues is an important part of your first coaster experience. Anticipation is the scariest part!

Alright, these are the 5 mistakes that people make when they take their first roller coaster. Many times, they end up being shaken and unable to muster their courage for a second. We always say first impressions are the most important, and avoiding these 5 mistakes will help you get a better first impression of roller coasters. For more information, you can read about my first roller coaster ride experience or like the Second Drop facebook page. Thanks!