Oh, Ma! My Brother Is a Ride Wimp
I love my brother like, well, a brother. But there’s just no getting around the fact that he’s an utter wimp.
Not about everything. When it comes to sales, he is resolutely fearless (and wildly successful). Publicly speaking in front of enormous audiences would reduce others to piles of quivering mush. For my brother? No problem.
Living in Massachusetts, as we both do, he bravely navigates Boston-area traffic and its notorious drivers. When we participated in an exotic car experience, my brother had a ball riding shotgun in a Lamborghini as a pro revved it up more than 100 mph and screeched its tires around the racetrack’s turns.
But put him on a roller coaster? Talk about a pile of quivering mush. Actually, you could never get him on a roller coaster. Because my brother is a ride wimp.
We’re not just talking about extreme coasters. Family and junior coasters are off the table, too. And we’re not just talking about coasters. He’ll avoid pretty much any attraction that has even a hint of thrills. I once convinced my brother to join me on “Dinosaur,” a dark ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
“You’ll be fine,” I assured him. “Even my mother-in-law loved it.” After he stopped hyperventilating, I thought he was going to kill me.
My brother wasn’t always ride-phobic. As kids, we both loved going to New England amusement havens like Revere Beach and Paragon Park. We’d lean into each other on the “Tilt-A-Whirl,” nervously laugh aboard the “Wild Mouse,” and enjoy other midway rides together.
Now, when we go see 3D movies, my brother will grab onto his theater seat and let out an “Oh, Ma!” during action-packed scenes. (It’s a reaction he picked up from our grandmother, who would utter the phrase whenever something rattled her.)
As somebody who never met a coaster he couldn’t wait to board, my brother’s aversion to thrill rides baffles me. But that’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy parks. He loves shows, nighttime spectaculars, parades, park food, the ambiance, and even the occasional ride—as long as the thrills are kept in check.
As you develop parks and attractions, keep ride wimps in mind and be sure you have a well-rounded array of things to do.
I’ll see you at the parks. I’ll be the one riding the roller coaster while my brother holds my backpack, waits by the exit, and screams “Oh, Ma!” as he watches the first drop.
A lifelong park fanatic, Arthur Levine has been writing newspaper and magazine travel features about the industry he loves since 1992. He’s been the Theme Parks Expert at TripSavvy.com (formerly About.com) since 2002, and is a regular contributor for USA Today.