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Theme Park Confessions: My First Mistake

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Dear readers,

I have a confession to make. I have not always been the perfect theme park traveler. I know it may seem that way but unfortunately I am not. Out of the many different mistakes I have made going to theme parks, the first was thinking I could handle more than I should. It was my first time at Knott’s Berry Farm–maybe when I was around 10 or so–and one of their main attractions was metal roller coaster called Boomerang (which is still there today). It is a short, fast, metal coaster that sends you barreling forwards and backwards at 47 mphs with two quick loops. I remember hearing about this attraction on commercials, and I was hyped to experience it. Even when I was in line, I believed I could handle it. Well, I was wrong.

Right after the ride ended, I was the first one to run off, crying, and not ever wanting to experience any roller coaster again. As a matter of fact, I was not able to go on any other roller coaster again for a few years. When I look back at this incident, I wish there was something that would have given me the ability to know what it was like to encounter this attraction beforehand. Even while standing in line, I did not truly understand what it would feel like to sit in one of those coast seats. This is why my advice to everyone–first timers or not–is to take advantage of ride through videos. It is the only way to truly know what you are going to get yourself into before stepping one foot into any theme park.

When going to any theme park, it is wise to know which attractions will be appropriate for you and your family to experience. TouringPlans has an amazing breakdown on which attractions are suitable for each age group (Disneyland Parks, Disney World Parks, and Universal Studio Parks). Even though these are great write-ups, seeing is believing. This is why utilizing ride through videos are the perfect way for any adult or child to experience an attraction before even purchasing your theme park tickets.

TouringPlans’ YouTube channel has a great set of ride through videos that you should checkout. These are great to review which attraction you should—or should not—put in your touring plans. Even if there is not an attraction you are looking for on TouringPlans’ YouTube channel, there are hundreds of different other ride through videos to search for on YouTube that will help you.

Another great use for ride through videos is to re-experience any attraction you want again. All you have to do is search up which attraction you want and voila! I know it is not nearly the same thing, but it is the closest you will get while in the comfort of your own home.

Even though my past fear of roller coasters is no more, I still have a hard time looking at ride throughs of Knott’s Boomerang attraction. That is why my advice to all of our beloved readers is to do your research and understand what you are getting into before going into any theme park. You will not regret it.


Crying and Scared

Question: What are some theme park mistakes you have made before? What is the number one advance you would give anyone going to a theme park for the first time?

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Growing up Southern California, it was hard for Ray not want to go to Disneyland everyday. He was a passholder for over 10 years until he left to teach English in Korea and now lives in Seattle. Even though he lives in the Pacific Northwest, he always has Disney on the mind. Ray is channeling his Disney passion to write for TouringPlans.

9 thoughts on “Theme Park Confessions: My First Mistake

  • Adam H.

    Our first ride on our first day at WDW we decided to head to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster… the only problem was that our son was about half an inch too short to ride. Imagine the devastation of arriving at Disney World for the first time only to be told you that you can’t go on a ride! If you have a rider who will be too short for some attractions, I recommend putting those rides further into the day.

    • I’ve seen that happen at theme parks so many times. I haven’t seen it happen at Disneyland lately but I’ve seen it happen at other theme parks. I feel so bad for the parents and child that waited all that time in line. Luckily many attractions have the height requirements before you enter the line.

  • Brian

    I probably deserve “worst father of the year” award for taking my coaster loving four-year-old on Disneyland’s Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy before I had experienced it myself. I totally underestimated just how menacing, loud, and relentless that flaming nemesis of a ghost could be. It scared me. My kid was just shaking and when we arrived at the exit platform she told me, “the coaster is OK, but I never ever want to see that ghost again.” Now, years later, any attractions with ghosts are “no go” for her including Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.

    • Lisa

      I made the same mistake when my youngest was 4. Remembering that Space Mountain was such a smooth ride, I took him and his older brother on it. As soon as it started going I thought “I didnt remember it going so fast”. He was a little shaken but I told him, “Look, your brother is fine, you’ll go back when you’re seven”. Thankfully, he grew up to love roller coasters just like his mom.

  • Philip Jones

    My wife is staunchly against watching ride-throughs in advance. She says it ruins the experience. I, on the other hand, being the coaster weenie in the family, watch pretty much everything in advance.

    • I can totally relate to your wife. I’ll do whatever I can to not see movie trailers because I know they will spoil the movie for me.

  • Brian Seelye

    I feel like this would ruin any surprises that might be in store for a first time rider.

    • I agree but it’s a great way to get a feel of an attraction before stepping one foot into the park.

  • Jennie

    I am staunchly against watching ride-throughs in advance, because although I do not get motion sick on coasters I do get motion sick watching ride-throughs!

    I did have the opposite experience though – I went as a teenager with my family, and my father was the designated grownup to ride Space Mountain with my sister and I. He got off thinking “Thank goodness that’s over”, only to be confronted with two tweens who wanted to ride it again. 🙂


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