I haven’t always been a big fan of roller coasters, but in typical fashion, a peer-pressure induced haze in college revealed the truth to me: I am an adrenaline junkie. The rush of braving something you’re afraid of and feeling like a complete superhero afterwords is amazing!
That’s why I planned months ahead of time to have my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews to come visit me while on summer break, and I’d introduce them to the the adrenaline high.
There were a few obstacles: My sister was pregnant so she couldn’t join me, the bi-polar Texas weather had us rained out until late afternoon, and it turns out my nephews and brother-in-law were the same huge scaredy cats I used to be!
We started out on small kid roller coasters, which was enough to boost the confidence of my nephews. A few “Mild Thrill” rated rides later, and they thought themselves ready for the “Moderate Thrill” rating of Runaway Mountain.
Runaway Mountain is an indoor roller coaster done entirely in the dark. Since my brother in law didn’t want to join us, it was just me, and my 13 (we’ll call him D) and 7 year old nephew (B). I warned B several times that this one may be too much for him, but he was on an adrenaline high and was ramping to go! The two of them sat together while I sat with a stranger a few rows behind them.
All was well with giggles and screams, and when we pulled back into the exit station a minute later, they both seemed fine. D was buzzing with excitement, exclaiming how he felt like he could do anything, and B was laughing, his eyes bright and wild. I turned to lead us out, and then B went abruptly silent.
I turned back and his poor face had turned ash white, his mouth slack jawed, and he was walking slowly, eyes glazed over. I walked him over to his dad, where he looked up at him absently, his little lip quivering. We assured him that he was braver than his dad, who couldn’t even imagine getting on the roller coaster to begin with, and then took a break at the children’s area so he could calm down.
Oops. Accidentally traumatized one kid.
On the other hand, I converted D! He was still buzzing with excitement, talking a mile a minute. He knew his limits, so we wouldn’t brave the big roller coasters, but he was willing to try one more before calling it quits – The Texas Sky Screamer!
At 400 ft above the ground, this swing ride is an amazing experience! D nonstop rambled on as we waited in line (probably annoying everyone around us) but he was determined to experience this. And like the new-found adrenaline junkie he now was, he loved every second of it!
The best part of my day was the quiet tired-out ride back home, where both my nephews thanked me for bringing them, and asked if we could come back next summer! I declare this bucket list item officially checked off!
-Cheers from the balcony! 🍷