Screaming Actually Helps
The secret to both a good roller coaster and a good rider of roller coasters is trickery. That's right, it is the roller coaster designers desire to try to trick the rider into thinking they are going to die, and then engineer the ride to as safely as possible help the rider fear the end of their life.
So how does trickery come into play from the rider's perspective? Well, each rider tries to pretend that they are not afraid of losing their life on the roller coaster. You've seen them, they are the talkers, they are the ones that talk about how cool the ride is and how the rest of us shouldn't be scared. "It's not going to kill you," they tell us. And unless we have a heart condition they are probably right. But how does one overcome the fear and move from the group holding the handbags and wallets to the one screaming at the top of their lungs as though they are enjoying the ride?
Here are the five key steps to taking the leap:
1. Choose rides that have more substantial harness systems. Many newer rides have padded metal harnesses that can essentially embrace your whole body. The more snug you can get that harness to fit the greater the illusion of safety will be. I say illusion, because you are no more likely to be thrown out of a ride that simply has a lap bar, but you will feel more secure.
2. Hold on tight. If your knuckles aren't white you aren't holding on tight enough. Keep your head firmly against the back, and tuck in all appendages that could be flung around wildly by gravitational force. The idea is, the less your body is flung about out of your control, the greater illusion of control you will feel. Again with the illusion stuff. Because you are not really in control, you are simply closely aligning your desired path to the exact path of the coaster, and are therefore getting your desire.
3. Go with a sympathetic but encouraging friend. Most people don't respond well to outright peer group pressure to test their fate on a coaster, because it is too easy to resist on the grounds of not falling victim to peer group pressure. However, if you are accompanied by a person less fearful than yourself, but still fearful enough to have empathy with your situation, they will be able to help coax you onto the ride. For which you will hate them for after the coast has climbed to its highest point, and love the for after you are back on terra firma.
4. The smaller the child, the easier the ride. Look at the height and age requirements for the rides, the younger and shorter the requirements, the easier and less frightening the ride will tend to be. It can also help you to pressure yourself into taking the leap. "Good grief, if a two and a half foot tall four year old can ride this ride, what am I afraid of?"
5. SCREAM. In the begging it is probably easier to remain quiet, grit your teeth and take yourself to a happy place. However, as you start to increase your coaster riding skills, it is essential to learn how to scream. You need to intentionally have a goal to scream as loudly and a crazily as you can. The louder and more ridiculous your laugh seems the faker your fear seems, and you can easily be mistaken for one of those people who are actually not afraid to ride roller coasters. Focusing on appropriate screaming can also take your mind off the ride itself just long enough for the ride to finish. The next, but far more advance riding technique is the raising of the arms, this violates step five but initiates the rider into clan of more seasoned roller coaster riders.
With these five key weapons in your arsenal you should be able to overcome even the strongest of theme park panic attacks. If these techniques still do not work, it is best to have or borrow lots of children and appear dutifully self sacrificing by insisting that you need to be responsible for the smaller children and the bags.