Slipping Mickeys, Elvis sightings and a jagged little thrill

Roller Coaster Pic

You’re either a theme park person or you are not a theme park person.

I’ve stretched the stubborn elasticity of this narrow minded statement for more than fifteen years. Ever since my kids were old enough to want to partake in stupid shit, like thrill rides. The genesis was palatable enough to my land loving senses, as the girl was not tall enough for the big coasters and my son was just fine with the vintage chill of Ferris wheels and water rides. Chill is my remedy.

Our initial foray was to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I planned on having an easy time of it until my daughter eyed Apollo’s Chariot and implored me to try it so I could share with her the glorious stories of my trip to the heavens. It was described not as a roller coaster, but as a ‘hyper coaster’, which ain’t civilized sounding in the least. I wouldn’t learn the specs of this steel monster until later, which is probably a good thing. All I knew was that it looked as if Satan had dug out of his finished basement and was flipping the bird to the heavens in a steel splint. I longed for the days when parks used to amuse us, because lemme tell you . . I wasn’t amused.

I’d done the Comet in Coney Island and Rolling Thunder at Six Flags, because those were roller coasters as per the definition. Apollo was Godzilla with a grievance. But it was a matter of Daddy please, and you just don’t refuse such a request. You’re better off telling Vito Corleone to shit in his hat. Looking back I have to admit . . it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. It was worse. Much, much worse. 

Once the seal was broken, the kids eventually grew into the big kid rides and we were off. Over the years, we hit Six Flags parks up and down the East Coast, King’s Dominion, Hershey Park, Dorney Park and of course . . Disney World. It was a week long tour of duty in which fear of catastrophic injury was replaced with monetary servitude to the world’s most famous pickpocket, Mickey Mouse. The little fucker’s cash crib ain’t much for thrill rides, because they’re too busy filling the castle with ching. It’s a little known fact that every time a Disney guest screams, an angel gets its eviction notice. Magical indeed.

It had been several years since I last stepped foot in a theme park and truth be told, I didn’t miss “the thrill”. Because I happen to think the biggest thrills come in caramel colored bottles, impromptu dalliances and doctor visits. There ain’t no twist or turn or drop I ain’t covered in its most exquisitely provocative iteration, thank you very much.

Thing is, my daughter bought us season tickets to Hershey Park and we’d not punched a single hole in our dance cards yet. So, we got to stepping last week. And while the company was divine and the weather was Monet on loan, the observatory deck known as my brain wasn’t being seduced by the rest of it. At all.

We had a few hours with which to try the new rides on for size, grab a bite to eat and make our getaway before the monsoon of school, work and church groups launched their invasion into the park. The first stop was an indoor house of pain ride known as Laff Track; a steel coaster that manhandles you in near darkness and doesn’t even bother to kiss you goodbye. I was thankful I hadn’t eaten, since the closing act includes more spinning than a White House press briefing.

After that it was off to something called the “Triple Tower”- a set of three towers ranging from 80 to 189 feet in height, where riders are provided with a view of the entire park in mere seconds, before plummeting to the ground. It’s described as an aggressive thrill ride, because even when Americans are having fun they’re at war; in this instance with their common sense. I made it a point not to look up as we inched closer to the Hershey Bar tower (189 feet) whilst trying to talk my daughter into the Hershey Kiss (80 feet).


Daughter: (Laughing) No one’s going on the Kiss. 

Me: Exactly! We have a ride ALL to ourselves, like Elvis. 

Daughter: Elvis is dead. 

Me: Yeah, but he went out the old fashioned way . . on pain pills and desperation. 

Daughter: You ski black diamonds, rock climb . . you almost drowned in an undertow because you swim out so deep, and you’re afraid of this?

Me: Those happened to be my jam. If I’m gonna be toast, at least I know I buttered it. 

Daughter: Look at all these kids in line, they’re not sweating it. 

Me: Because kids are stupid. 

My argument didn’t pass muster, but my common sense remained intact and I ditched the idea of accompanying her. I’ve been on enough creaky elevators to know a shit deal when I see one, no thank you.

After that, we made our way over to Sky Rush only to discover it was closed for maintenance. Thank. Fucking. Christ. Because I’m pretty sure I was gonna bag this one too, based on the specs coming back at me: 200 foot drop, 75 miles an hour, 5 zero-G hills . . and did I mention a 200 foot drop? Because I can’t mention that shit enough. Oh yeah, and a lap bar is all you get. Now . . I’m all for fun and games but I ain’t down with the possibility of instant death. And you know what’s even worse than that proposition? Non-instant death, where the only form of sex I would ever get to enjoy would be served up in applesauce through a sippy cup.



I’m not gonna lie, the vertical ferocity of these man made serpents is fascinating. Much more so when I’m researching them from a recliner with a friendly beverage. The actual experience of being treated like a Mike Tyson opponent by these muscular tumbling machines is not nearly as memorable.

But it’s a long summer and me and the girl are going back this week. We set a goal of twenty five trips, which means there is going to be plenty of time with which to change my mind and try something stupid, because it wouldn’t be the first time. There is the very real possibility that maybe Imma try my crazy hat on for size after all.

The other one.

75 thoughts on “Slipping Mickeys, Elvis sightings and a jagged little thrill

  1. Twenty-five trips? Twenty-five opportunities to test the viability of your sphincter muscle to contain the contents of your colon. As Jack Nicholson said in Bucket List, don’t trust a fart. Great writing, Marc. Laugh out loud funny.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. B,

    I thought you were a theme park person, or rather, a roller coaster person; guess you were just fakin’ it for the kids, eh?

    I admit the last time I partook of the whole of the amusement park was in 2009 for Mick’s birthday at Disney’s Wonderful World of pay through the nose – and you know how that story turned out (Mick in hospital, me and boys driving ourselves home alone)

    You’re still a good daddy even if said daughter is an adult and can use the “Daddy, please” thing 😉

    Guess as we get older the whole thrill of losing our breath, having our world turned upside down – physically – feeling like our guts will spew with one more turn just loses its appeal!

    Love the exchange between you and Daughter.

    This was a most hilarious read, my friend.

    Twenty-five trips, eh? Too bad I’m too far away, I’d join her on the scary rides that Daddy just doesn’t feel up to 😉

    Here’s to both feet on the ground, a glass of bourbon in one hand and the remote in the other, whilst you catch up on some “Justified” – thrilling enough on its own!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Q,

      I was the accidental roller coaster person because truth be told if I’d never stepped ass on one I would be plenty fine. But yes, I did get into roller coasters, so “Was” is the most operative way to go about this explanation.

      Every time I think back on my trip to Disney, it makes me think about sunburn and bills.

      She doesn’t beg as she knows it won’t work now, LOL.

      The other thing that struck me is that there are people who treat these jaunts as if they’re storming the beaches at Normandy. Those peeps have to get over themselves.

      I call them “Why Rides”. As in why?????

      Yup, palenty of ways to grab the fix.

      Gracias amiga!


      Liked by 1 person

      • I like that. The accidental Roller Coaster Rider (was trying to come up with something cool but my brain is toast and I can’t find the butter).

        I have whole nother memories of Disney and they also include mucho dinero.

        Yeah I imagine she would give that one up 😉 There are always scary movies she can entice you with!

        I know what you mean. They will run you over getting to the next ride. So much for enjoying the day!

        Palenty. Wheeeeeeeeee!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Moves will do that. I can’t believe you’re online after schlepping all night! Literally, ALL night! My God woman, you got some major skillz.

          Yeah, dinero seems to be the common thread in all the many stories doesn’t it? Funny how that works.

          Me? Get scared at a movie? I can’t imagine such a thing ever happening . . . okay I know it happens every single time.

          There were so many people coming in as we were leaving! It was like, HOW are all these people going to fit in there?!! Don’t they have occupancy laws or something?

          Fire in the hole!!!!


          • I’m on line to take mental breaks! I am beyond overwhelmed. And, just so you know, DOWNSIZING SUCKS BALLS!! I’ve gone from 8 kitchen drawers to FOUR! What in the fuckity fuck?

            Yeah. Funny Ha Ha.

            Was just a hunch following things you might have said…

            I loathe, LOATHE, the crowds. Mick and I used to go on days like today where it’s cloudy and rains off and on…keeps the young families away and the precious “my hair!” Chicks!


            Liked by 1 person

          • Online to TAKE mental breaks. Ever the outlier, you little rascal. 😉

            Nothing wrong with downsizing after the initial pain. It’s good for you.

            I forget what’s funny, but Imma take your word for it.

            The crowds ain’t my thing either. But theme parks have become the new vacation for lots of folks, so it was crazy busy.

            And Hallelujah!

            Liked by 1 person

          • What I’ve been doing is very physical! My legs and arms and back are killing me. So, yeah, online to TAKE a break – the mental part I shall just leave out of the equations.

            No, definitely not. Gonna a have a helluva garage sale in a couple of weeks (when we are allowed) – and if not, the goodwill is gonna LOVE me.

            What was funny was more sarcastic as in moulah being the driving factor.

            Nor mine. I shudder when I remember that Saturday after Mick was admitted. December 19, a Saturday, the week before Christmas. You want crowds? Gawdawful.

            Praise the Lord!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Whoa Nellie!

            Y’all have Goodwill there? That’s cool. But yeah . . garage sale first and then the fail safe. Solid game plan.

            Ooooooh! Yeah, well I wouldn’t know anything about sarcasm.

            You always gotta one up, tell you what. 😉

            Jesus saves, you know. That’s why he lives in a plush crib in Malibou.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ya! Yesterday – get this – did 27K steps.
            Today? Call me a lazy bum at only 17K so far.

            We do – or the equivalent. Honestly, what doesn’t get sold shall get donated, you can be sure of that.

            Moi? One up? How can you say such a thing?

            I though Jesus was a de-facto leader of Hilltop killed by a Whisperer? Where have I been?

            Liked by 1 person

          • You said it, not me.

            Maybe the new owners of your house will buy some stuff. That would be odd, wouldn’t it?


            That was his little known twin brother. He really could have used his more well known brah. If only for the whole turning water into wine thing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I did. You are allowed to say: Yo, Q, that is NOT wimpy… but k, I get it 😉

            Besides the fact that he bargained every last thing, yeah, it would be odd.


            Ah. So that’s it. Poor bugger…


          • I do. And I will get, I promise you.
            I work a double tomorrow… Sigh…
            I’ve been “off” for four days so, I can’t complain. Off meaning from paying work, of course.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Sacramento has a place called Funderland. An outdoor amusement park for the kiddies — the smaller variety that is. It’s rides are to thrill rides as McDonald’s is to real hamburgers. But they have a dragon roller coaster. A metal clunker that trundles around a track that rolls up and down dips and rises – likely never getting more than 6-8 feet off the ground.

    We went there once when I was a wee tadpole of a lad. I rode the roller coaster. They had to stop it early to allow me to get off. It would be another 40 years before I ventured anywhere near a roller coaster.

    When I was around 14 we went to Great America — a thrill ride centric amusement park near San Jose. While everybody else gallivanted around, getting their insides spun and dropped and churned about, I was happy going on the old-fashioned cars. Over and over again.

    The first time we took our kids to Disneyland, they were too small for what passes for thrill rides at that park. So I escaped the evil threat. But fast forward a few more years and my cousin’s daughter came for a visit. She was 13 or 14 at the time.

    We spent a couple of days near San Luis Obispo where she saw the ocean for the first time, but got in scuba suits and played in the waves with the four male “cousins” who were there. The smile on her face was incredible.

    And then we headed to Disneyland. I don’t remember why, but we went to Toontown first. They have a metal clunker of a roller coaster. No twirls, no huge drops, no upside down twists, but still … a roller coaster. See above for what they do to my psyche. My boys and our cousin got in line, while my wife and I stood by. She won’t go near them either.

    So, I’m standing there watching them wait to get on the ride and I say to myself, “This is so f’ing stupid.” I dropped my backpack with my wife and got in line with them. And I survived. Over the next two days, I rode on all of the other roller coasters at Disneyland and California Adventure, except for two. Space Mountain — a ride that takes place in the dark. No thank you! If I’m gonna die doing something stupid, I want to be able to see it happening. And Screaming California — the only ride at the park duo that goes upside down and sets off like a rocket launch. NO THANK YOU! I really don’t need to get hit by somebody else’s vomit on the way back down. I was very close to considering that last ride, but we ran out of time. At least that’s what I say now. 😉

    Anyway, that’s my thrill ride experience. Pretty certain it won’t happen again. You see — I’m not an amusement park kind of person. And that one time was special — my boys, my cousin with her huge smile, and I had to say what the fuck. By the time the grandkids come along into our life and the wife wants to go to Disneyland with them, I’ll hand her the keys to the car a pile of cash and say “have fun.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Marco,

    This just left me breathless…from laughing so hard. I’m not a big fan of rides that drop a person 200 ft either. I’ve always had a fear of heights. There was a time I enjoyed roller coasters…until my eldest son introduced me to the one at Coney Island in 1999. I came close to strangling him. Not in anger, mind you. It was when I locked him a stranglehold going down the first drop and I didn’t let go until the end. He didn’t seem to mind, he just laughed maniacally. After that we went on the tilt-a-whirl. Unlike other theme parks, I learned, each ride is paid for individually. (I’m sure you knew this. 😉 ) At any rate the first five minutes were fun. After that someone kept paying the guy running the ride. Believe me, twenty minutes is too much of a ‘good’ thing. That’s as close as I’ve ever come to upchucking at an amusement park. Obviously my stomach was NOT amused.
    I love the exchange between you and your daughter. Good luck on the next 24 visits. Great piece.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Buahahaha!

      You were simply utilizing an extra safety precaution, and since he didn’t seem to mind . . no worries!

      Yeah no to the tilt a whirl. And 20 minutes of it? I would have jumped off. LOL. I’m really not a fan of spinning rides. I won’t do the Laff Trak again for that reason.

      Thank you kindly Rochelle!



  5. “Because kids are stupid.” DAD FOR THE WIN!

    Good luck not getting too too crazy.

    There should be a warrant out for the Mouse character. Shady, shady rodent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Truth!

      I was telling someone about my experience and she was like “You’re only as young as you feel,” to which I replied . . “So you’re saying I really AM a vampire?”

      Shady is a word. I have many others I keep in reserve.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great writing. Reminded me of the times I loved coasters – well – until The Magnum (@ Cedar Point) brought me to my knees – so much so, I haven’t visited an amusement park since.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hershey Park was my very first roller coaster, so I can indulge a little nostalgia here. I loved coasters for the longest time, but the thrill is gone – alas. What does it say about our society that they have to keep upping the adrenaline factor on these rides? I do not need to be rolled over and turned inside out to get my jollies. That bourbon will do fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eilene,

      That’s what I said! WHY the need to keep upping the ante? We went for a second time, and my favorite coasters are the ones that give it to me straight. No loops, no helixes (that’s the big thing now). Just up and down and see ya later.

      And yes, all things considered, bourbon is my favorite ride.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re a real super dad. I’m afraid I’d be a colossal drag in my kids’ eyes because there. ain’t. no. freakin’ way. Sorry kids, Mama Homey just don’t fly that way. There is an old fashioned amusement park near my house, just driving by and seeing peeling paint on the old fashion wood constructed roller-coaster makes me nauseous. You my friend, get a gold star. ⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’re a very good Dad because there is no way, no possible way, I would have ever put my ass in one of those seats. They could have begged and Don Corleone could have sent Lucca Brasi to intervene and I would have preferred to sleep with the fishes. No way! Did I say that already?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I might be a very good Dad, but you happen to be a very smart one. Because as I was looping the loop, I thought to myself “Self? You think you might be okay with getting too old for this stuff?” To which self replied “Hells yes, you may be right,”

      Hahahaha! You said it loud and clear. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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