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I am a theme park enthusiast and a confirmed roller coaster freak but even I have to admit that there are some rides which are a really painful experience or just plain unpleasant. The trouble is that you cannot always tell which are the troublesome rides before you board, a situation which often results in a nasty surprise just as you are getting into the thrill of the experience. It would be impossible to know, let alone list here, all of the nightmare rides that there are out there but here are a few of the worst offenders, all of which I have found out about the hard way!
Corkscrew – Cedar Point
Cedar point is always rated the world’s top theme park and with good reason. It has the best selection of thrill rides in the world but unfortunately the Corkscrew is not one of them. I am tempted to call this thing an invention of the devil but I know that it is actually an invention of Arrow Dynamics who do have a habit of producing less than smooth ride experiences. This rather innocuous looking coaster delivers a horrendous whiplash to the neck at one point of the circuit which feels like a terminal event. I was so shocked when it happened to me that I shrieked out load even though a friend had warned me that it would happen. (They had neglected to mention where).
Blue Tornado – Gardaland
This ride is basically a clone of Infusion at Blackpool but for some reason delivers a seriously inferior ride. There is something about the shoulder restraint and the nature of the ride layout which causes the entire circuit to be one long and severe head banging session without the benefit of rock music. I got off this ride with both of my ears bruised, a painful neck, a sore head and a bruised shoulder. Trust me it wasn’t worth the pain! This one is the creation of Vekoma, also not noted for comfortable ride experiences. Two people have died of heart attacks whilst riding Blue Tornado. It is tempting to say that I am not surprised but apparently both victims suffered from heart conditions prior to riding and ignored advice about boarding Blue Tornado.
Shockwave – Drayton Manor
Shockwave is a stand-up coaster manufactured by Intamin whose rides vary from pleasantly smooth to almost untenable. This one is the latter, inflicting pain to the entire body especially the head at the bottom of the first drop. The ride is painful from beginning to end and has little to recommend it other than the novelty of standing up which you will soon regret when the nasty plastic stalk between your legs assaults your privates. Never again!
X2 – Six Flags Magic Mountain
This ride is one of the most celebrated coasters in the world and another of Arrow Dynamic’s atrocities. It is certainly one of the most original coasters ever built but not the most enjoyable. It is a large steel coaster which features rotating seats and is described as a 4th dimension ride. It maybe the uniqueness of this one which often finds it voted onto top ten coaster lists but it certainly isn’t the ride experience which was disappointingly dull and frankly rather unpleasant. It was a bit like being in a tumble dryer suspended in mid-air.
Blue Streak – Cedar Point
This relic is the oldest ride still in operation at Cedar point and is a classic wooden coaster built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters. It is a popular ride with enthusiasts as it offers plenty of air time (zero g force) but I found it unbelievably painful with many jolts and jarring movements and I exited the ride with two rather nasty bruises on my right arm much to the amusement of my friends. This ride must have been built when wooden coasters were made of oak instead of more flexible pine. Apparently this a great ride on autumn evenings when the mist rolls in from the adjacent lake but I think I will give it a miss next time!
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These are just a few of the more unpleasant pieces of machinery that you may encounter on your theme park travels. You should also watch out for Colossus at Thorpe Park, another Intamin bone shaker, G Force at Drayton Manor which squashes you to death, Mantis at Cedar Point which bashes you stupid and gives you a brain injury and Big Dipper at Blackpool whose second drop is a spinal injury waiting to happen. Happy Riding!
Sally Stacey is a keen blogger and theme park enthusiast. She is currently writing on behalf of National Furniture who supplied her oak bedroom furniture but not the seats for any painful roller coasters!
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