My family has visited many amusement parks and ridden many rollercoasters together. My sisters, though they both enjoy rides, tend to have nervous stomachs and often fret while waiting in line. When my younger sister and I were taking our seats and buckling into the Wild Eagle coaster at Dollywood she told me, “I like doing rides with you. You always know how to calm me down.” From then on I became known as the rollercoaster whisperer, always finding things to say to calm my anxious family members before we boarded intense rides. Riding so many rollercoasters last weekend reminded me of the tips I give to my sisters, and I figured I would pass it on just in case anyone else needs some rollercoaster reassurance. So if you know you love it when you are on the ride but constantly worry while waiting in line, maybe some of these tips will work for you!
- Look for the little ones.
The height restriction for lots of intense rides is around 48-54 inches- or between 4-4.5 feet. Some coasters have even lower restrictions than that. Which means that teens, tweens, and even kiddos are going to be in line with you. One way to help yourself relax is to find the youngest person on the line you can and tell yourself, If they can do, then I can do it! If their parents gave them permission, I can give myself permission! If the ride is safe enough for them, it is safe enough for me!
- Figure out the duration.
If you can see the track or the loading dock from the queue, time the ride- or simply ask an attendant. Most rollercoasters clock in at well under two minutes, many come in at less than 60 seconds. The longest thrill rides I have been on were motion simulators that hover around three to four minutes. It’s true, five minutes feels like an eternity when you are waiting in line at the DMV, and it flies by when you are having a blast with your friends. But in reality, five minutes is always 300 seconds, which is barely a drop in the vast scheme of your day. Remind yourself that even if the ride terrifies you, it will come to an end quickly.
- Read (and heed!) the warnings.
You’ll see one of those signs at the front of every thrill ride and, if you are like me and you know you don’t have any major health issues, you just walk right past it without a second glance. Next time, read it carefully and as you mentally check off every box, it will give you the peace of mind that the ride won’t hurt you. No high blood pressure? Not pregnant? No heart conditions? No back or neck problems? The list goes on. And as you realize that you don’t have “any problems than can be aggravated by this adventure” you’ll feel safer and more confident. Obviously, if you do have any of the problems listed on the warning sign, don’t ride! No ride experience is worth risking your health over.
- Take Dramamine.
If you can get your hands on the non-drowsy version, it might do you good just to have a little bit of extra protection from the spinning headaches and motion sickness. Some people that I know still get a bit tired even with the non-drowsy version though, so be careful.
- Wait about 30 minutes after eating.
Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic fear of vomit, it still isn’t worth it to risk shaking your stomach up. Take note of the time you eat and give yourself a buffer before riding a really wild ride. It will insure that you don’t lose your lunch. Sometimes, the queue of an attraction is the perfect spot to digest. At first glance a 40 minute wait sounds like a bummer, but if you are really worried about getting nauseous it puts more than enough distance between your ride and your last meal.
- Distract yourself.
When all else fails, don’t think too much! Most of our fears are created inside our own heads. Once you get on the ride, you will lose yourself in the rush and wonder why you were afraid in the first place!
Check out the latest new coaster I tried below- the new Impulse ride at Knoebels in Elysburg, PA!