I love thrill rides. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been going to amusement parks around this country and looking for the coolest rollercoasters and thrills that I can find and having the time of my life doing it.
When my wife and I started having kids, my thrill seeking slowed down drastically. Where I had previously been the sort to need to have a yearly (at least) pilgrimage to some mecca of thrilling entertainment, I suddenly found myself with years of drought. Sure, we would get out to Disney World a few times, but I often would end up foregoing the more thrilling rides there simply because the kids couldn’t even ride them.
The past couple years have finally started an end to that drought. As of right now, all of my kids are at the heights where they can actually ride all the big rides, meaning we’ve now had to face a completely new issue: convincing them they won’t die while doing so.
A few years back, the place that helps me pay my bills (my employer? I’m not sure my phrasing was clear) rented out an amusement park relatively close to where I live. For cheap tickets, I could get out to a place that has some truly amazing rollercoasters. But, at this point, none of my kids were super willing to ride them. Yeah, my eldest had done some of the more thrilling rides at Disney World, but she didn’t actually like them that much.
I planned to go by myself. But then the older two complained and said I should bring them. So, I made a deal with them. I said “I’m going there to ride rollercoasters, you two can’t go off on your own, so, if you’re coming with me, you have to ride the rollercoasters.” They agreed like I was even stupid for suggesting they wouldn’t be there to ride rollercoasters.
As you can imagine, things didn’t go super well. At least not at first. We made it all the way across the park with me forcing them to go on ride after ride and them fighting me more and more profusely the more they decided they didn’t like roller coasters. I was a little heartbroken that my kids didn’t appear to care for something that I love, but I was more disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to actually do the thing I had intended to do while there, which was to ride all the rides.
Lunch time came around and I was honestly at the point where I was ready to scrap the whole day and take them home early. We went back to the car, ate our lunch, and I purchased an enormous caffeinated soda for the three of us while telling them that I think it might be time to call it quits. While I’d like to think the fear of ending the day early changed their mood, the reality was probably sugar-based. Whatever it was, their moods shifted immediately. They started talking about the coasters they wanted to try again, as well as the upside down one that they hadn’t tried yet. After a few hours of nearly nothing but whining, these two had a full schedule of rollercoasters they were ready to go on.
My daughter ended up riding the upsidedown coaster nearly a dozen times in a row because of how much she loved it, and they battled me on having to leave early so we could make it to a birthday party. The sudden surge of energy from the caffeine and sugar completely changed the whole mood of the day. And it’s had an incredibly positive impact on their thoughts toward rides ever since.
That doesn’t mean I don’t still have to fight them on getting them to push their limits to new rides they haven’t tried, but they’re usually much more amenable to the idea than they had been prior to this moment.
My youngest, however, has been a thrillseeker from the start, and he’s always been ready to ride the biggest and baddest rides he could find.
Except for one. There’s an incredibly tall rollercoaster at this park that looms over the rest of the park. It’s honestly one of my favorites in the park, but my kids see it and tell me how absolutely impossible it is for them to be able to ride it. They’ve all ridden it already, but they still battle against it every time we get there. The fears of the older two about this ride are so intense that it is the one ride that my youngest now tells me he is incapable of riding as well.
However, because I know he’s generally the one who loves these things nearly as much as I do, the last time we were at the park, I forced him to come with me. He fought me on it the whole way, telling me how it was too scary, even as the train was pulling out of the station. And then, as we were going down the first big hill, he screamed in delight, “You were right, Dad!”.
Because I’m right. I’m always right.
And it’s pretty great to finally have kids who can ride the big rides…even if I have to remind them that they like them sometimes.
I also start every day with all the sugar and caffeine I can find so they are in the right mindset starting out.