The Popcorn Stand: Is the thrill gone?

Today is National Roller Coaster Day, so you knew I wouldn’t pass up a chance to write about roller coasters. Although I wouldn’t say I’m a thrill seeker or anything like that, I do like a thrilling roller coaster ride.

Although it’s been a while since I’ve actually ridden a roller coaster. It’s been so long, I actually can’t remember the last time I rode a roller coaster. Is the Colossus at Magic Mountain still the world’s largest wooden roller coaster? What about the Revolution? I always enjoyed that roller coaster. It’s my understanding the Colossus and Revolution, which were considered the ultimate thrill rides when I was a kid, are pretty tame by today’s standards.

I think the last time I had a chance to ride a roller coaster was the roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere nearly 20 years ago. I was really looking forward to riding on a roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere. But I wasn’t going to pay an additional $7 do it. They already got $7 out of me just to ride an elevator to the top of the Stratosphere. I wasn’t going to pay another $7 to ride the roller coaster. I have my principles. Or maybe I’m just cheap.

Now I’ve been told they’re combining virtual reality with roller coasters. Now that would be really cool. Like what they have at Sea World, which simulates an underwater thrill ride, a voyage past gigantic underwater beasts, including the legendary Kraken sea monster.

And of course with virtual reality, you don’t even actually have to ride a roller coaster any more to get the sense of what it’s like to ride a roller coaster. I don’t care what anybody says, to me that’s just not the same.

Too bad virtual reality couldn’t just simulate waiting in a long line for the latest, most thrill-seeking roller coaster ride ever and we could all just skip over that part.

— Charles Whisnand


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