At Boomer’s in Dania Beach, one Friday night some years ago, I rode their wooden rollercoaster 18 times in a row. I grew up at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, obsessing about one day riding Space Mountain after seeing the outside design of the attraction in Tomorrowland. I’m proud of that one day in 2000 where a gentleman of a gentleman let my mom, my sister and I into the monorail queue during Early Entry (where guests at the hotels on Disney Resort property are let in about an hour before the general public hours with a few attractions available to them), to go to the Magic Kingdom, and I rode Space Mountain three times before it started getting crowded.

But after yesterday, I declare myself retired from rollercoasters. All of them. Even the ones I’ve never been on and will likely never try. It was a lot at Six Flags Magic Mountain that caused it. Now maybe it was because I hadn’t been to the park since mid-March and even then hadn’t ridden many rollercoasters. Viper, Ninja, that was about it that time. So it could have been that.

On Batman: The Ride, I felt as I always did with my brains going into my feet. A second time on it almost immediately after the first time made me feel sick. That’s never happened before and I imagine it was from breakfast earlier that morning, but there was one time at the Magic Kingdom where I ate an entire turkey leg before going on Space Mountain and nothing happened.

But I guess when it comes to eating anything and going on rollercoasters right after, the real test is on rollercoasters with a few more loops, faster speed, and perhaps even different seating configurations, such as on Riddler’s Revenge, which offers bicycle seats, basically, a shoulder harness that you can either bring down or lift up to your height preference before it locks you in that chosen position for the duration of the ride. My favorite Magic Mountain story comes from that ride, where a guy in his mid-teens was being a dumbass and going up and down with the shoulder harness and it locked all the way in the up position. Huge laughs rolled through the numerous lines, and I’m sure mine was one of the loudest.

My experience this time on the ride was trying to get my head back in order when we were done. A little more dizziness than last time, but walking a bit slower helped.

Superman: The Escape? No problems, ironically. I found though that I hate the first drop on Deja Vu, after you’re propelled straight up and it stops for a second before dropping you to ride through. Felt dizzy during that. Health problems? Nah. A little weight needs to be lost, but nothing worrisome. Goliath is as it always is, with the highlight being the steep drop that starts it after the ride vehicle climbing for quite a while. I think Ninja is the kind of rollercoaster you go on to decompress from more extreme rollercoasters. And Viper I think I enjoyed for the last time. Now, my love for it will only be through the two t-shirts I bought from one of the souvenir shops at Magic Mountain.

But all of those rides, well, it does shake up your body, and perhaps your insides a little, and it’s also the waiting in line. An hour and a half it felt like for X, which seems to be so popular that one employee at the entrance was tearing out boarding passes from a pad and handing them to the people getting in line just so there was proof that they were riding. I didn’t get it. An hour and thirty minutes in line should be proof enough. Wanting to trade my feet in after an hour should be proof enough.

At the beginning, after boarding and clicking in the seatbelt and bringing the shoulder harness inward, the seats go into a dentist’s chair position, though a little farther back than that and the ride goes up the steep climb that way. I’m not sure what happened next. I know there were drops that felt like my stomach was going to exit my mouth and fall down, down, down, down below. I tried to keep my eyes closed during some of it, opened my eyes and it’s not recommended. Instant headache which I just got rid of a little while ago thanks to an Execdrin.

But I know that this is enough. This is it for me. Could all this have been caused by me not having been to Six Flags Magic Mountain in quite a while, and hadn’t been on those rides in a long time either? Perhaps. But it’s not just feeling a little ill from some of the rollercoasters that compels me to retire myself from riding them ever again. It’s also that I don’t feel as much love for them as I did when I was younger. I’m happier with the possibilities within the books I haven’t read yet and the movies I haven’t seen yet. I don’t see much joy anymore in waiting in line for an hour and a half for something that lasts for far less time than that.

So I leave these coasters to the enthusiasts out there who will always ride them no matter how long the line is, no matter how they feel after, and to one enthusiast in particular: A fellow teen from years ago named Blake Jarred, whom I met one Friday night at Boomer’s in Dania Beach, a genuine coaster enthusiast who had been to many parks across the country and was in Dania Beach from Texas specifically for the wooden rollercoaster, which we rode for hours that night. And in those hours, I found a fellow movie buff, a fellow rollercoaster fanatic, and just generally enthusiastic about everything, a good person to keep rollercoasters alive and turning and going upside down and every which way they can think of making them. At least I know that those coasters are in the possession of the right people, him and others.

So goodbye to all those rollercoasters I once frequented. I feel much better now on the ground.

Posted on May 20, 2007 in Blogs by

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