While waiting in line for the Incredible Hulk Coaster, my friend Greg and I talked about work and friends. We swapped stories and joked around. We tried to look and act as if we were calm and relaxed. We giggled with anticipation.
Meanwhile, my insides fluttered and churned. It had been years since I’d been on a roller coaster. By the time I got on the ride, I was practically hyperventilating. I wondered why I was doing this to myself.
|Screams fill the air when riders on the Incredible Hulk Coaster travel upside down.
|© 1999 by Joel W. Styer (http://www.ridezone.com)
We finally got on. We screamed for the entire 2-minute, 15-second ride. As soon as it was over, we practically ran to the next ride. After each ride, Greg and I would stumble away, laughing and clutching our stomachs, bonded by the extreme experience. We loved the thrills.
Finally, after getting hurled at 55 miles per hour for 2 minutes and 30 seconds while dangling upside down during the Dueling Dragons ride, we had to sit down and rest for 10 minutes to quell the dizziness. “Is your world still spinning?” we kept asking each other. Even that made us laugh.
On some of the rides at Islands of Adventure, my head felt glued to the back of my seat. My stomach jumped into my throat. I occasionally felt dizzy and nauseous.
Mostly, though, I had flashes of euphoria from the adrenaline rush, the quickening heartbeat, and the changes in brainwave activity that come from being whipped around so fast.
I also felt a great release of tension from screaming at the top of my lungs, then laughing until my stomach hurt.—E. Sohn