How many years?
Wow, just sitting here looking at some hotel prices, planning for summer trips, reflecting on past experiences, and something struck me: I have been going to parks for 30 years. From being 6 and hiding behind my mom to sneak on to GL Big Dipper because I was not tall enough, to being lucky enough to have those great parents that took us to DisneyWorld/CP/KI/GL/Kennywood/CLP many times, to traveling the country with my girlfriend (wife now), to sneaking my own son on rides, to sitting here planning for yet another year of parks. Its been 30 years of parks for me. Pretty much my whole life, and it only seems to get more enjoyable..
Wondering how many years some of you have been at it...
I grew up with amusement parks all around me. We lived up the street from and used to walk to what is now Old Coney... rode my first coaster there when I was eight (though rode flats and dark rides as far back as I can remember) and used to take dates there in high school. My Mom did the same where she grew up near Indian Lake, and my Dad at Old Orchard Beach, so when we would stay with our grandparents we went to parks also.
But then while I was overseas in the military, most of those parks disappeared.
I went to Kings Island a couple times in its early years, but it wasn't until we had kids of our own and started taking them to parks, starting with BGT in 1991 that I once again started visiting parks regularly.
I'm starting to slow down though. Due to health reasons I cannot run from ride to ride like I used to. Last year at Universal my wife and sons ran back for several more rides while I sat out the re-rides. Though still not a bench sitter, I cannot walk fast or stand in long lines, and instead prefer to attend club events when wait times are short.
So that puts me at 28 years and still going.
*cough* Mike G *cough* (he he)
After visiting Disney for the second time and Universal for my first time, I decided to finally get on one and it was the best choice of my life! Well, it kind of wasn't all MY choice, but I'm glad my friends lied to me by saying "kyle Aerosmith is an indoor coaster, it doesn't have loops and it's not fast..." As you all know it has loops, and a launch, but like I said, I'm glad they lied! I was hooked after that.
Since 2003 me and friends have been to Great Adventure more times than I can count. Well...more times than I can keep track of! Last year alone, being our 8th or 7th year of visiting the park with season passes, I visited Great Adventure 10 times. Since we all are older and have cars, more money, ect. we can branch out! We hit parks like SFGA, Michigan's Adventure, SFNE, and BGW for the first time as a coaster rider. I racked up like 32 new coasters this past season, but I may be wrong. It's crazy thinking what this year will hold for us. I am dating a girl from Sweden (crazy right?) and I have been RIGHT outside Liseberg but not in it. So hopefully I will get to ride everything that gem of a park has to offer quite soon! It's really crazy how life works, but you gotta roll with it. I am filled with joy to see how long some of you have been riding too! Makes me feel like I still have so much more riding to do!
Anyways, it's been a fun 8 years and I hope the 9th finally gets us to Cedar Point and beyond! I am at 101 coasters and I'm only 23, and I still haven't been to a lot of places. I can't wait for what the future holds and I won't EVER stop riding coasters. It feels like nothing matters once you're racing through the sky and I wouldn't give up that feeling for anything.
Keep riding friends!
* This post was modified at 3/4/12 5:59:21 PM *
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
I became interested in coasters, but my parents were not riders, so the only park they would travel to was Busch Gardens: The Old Country, which we went to in 1984. (Just missed the "new" Big Bad Wolf due to mechanical issues :(
Despite my early enthusiasm for coasters, I didn't start making regular park visits until junior high school when I joined band and we took annual band trips in the spring. 1st was Busch Gardens, where I finally got the courage to ride Loch Ness (I was terrified of looping coasters when I was younger) and I made up for BBW being closed. My 1st out of state trip was to HersheyPark and that is when I started rating and counting rides.
I eventually went to Ocean City, Disney World, and Opryland, all through the band and got mom to take an annual trip to Kings Dominion in 1991 for the "new" Anaconda multi-inversion coaster. We got season passes to Busch Gardens in 1992 for the opening of Drachen Fire, where I eventually worked as a ride op in '96. Its impending demise got me transferred to Alpengeist in '97 and '98.
I guess that put me at around 30 years.
I remember the days with friends running from ride to ride, all day. Heck, i remember jumping over the waste baskets at CP running to Demon Drop. I can only smile and remember those days, :)
I am slowing down some too, enjoying taking it easy at parks. Only run ( or jog/fast walk really) in the morning when a park opens anymore. Really like sitting down on some random park bench and enjoying watching things happen at a park, just watching the families have fun or watching a coaster go around a few times and hearing the screams.
I have been a young boy, a teenager, a young adult, a married man, a father/family man, - and they are all completely different experiences to have at parks when i look back at it. I think some of my strongest memories are park related.
I have worked full time jobs since i was 17, but i am thinking if i ever get to retire... i have always wanted to work at a park.
I don't know what I'm more jealous of - the fact you get to go to Liseberg or the fact that you are dating a Swede!