Needless to say, I wasn't 100% psyched to accomplish this goal. But, after years of being bugged by my wife to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter I found myself in an amusement park with a roller coaster and figured that I may as well get it over with.
I walked up to the Dragon Challenge Coaster line full of confidence. The sign at the entrance said that the estimated wait was five minutes. The Gods were shining on my mission.
"Yeah, you can do this," I told myself as I confidently walked the path past Ron's crashed car.
And Hagrid's hut.
"Totally easy. Roller coasters are nothing," I assured myself as I marveled at the Triwizard Trophy.
And then I reached the end of the line. There was no turning back now and I somehow lost most of my confidence in the dark pathways that led me to this point. And to make matters worse it was one of those ones where your feet dangle so, not only was I going to pass out, but I was also going to lose my shoes.
I could turn back, but you don't want to be "that guy" who panicked at the last minute and bailed, so I jumped into the seat, brought down the seat belt bar-thing and started to immediately worry that I didn't bring the bar down tight enough. I was definitely going to fall out of a roller coaster.
And, before I had enough time to quadruple check my belt, the coaster starts to move up it's initial ascent. This part is safe, even I know that. But it's also the worst. The chain clunks loudly, climbing higher and higher, as the roller coaster says "Enjoy this nice view before you lose your shoes and then your seat belt flies open."
Then you near the top. This is where your normal (aka crazy) people start to hoot and holler and generally act as though they are somehow having a good time. I close my eyes and shoot up one last prayer.
There's a series of twists and turns. My stomach ends up somewhere near my throat, which can't be healthy at all. At one point I think I actually black out. I'm pretty sure that my seat belt is working at this point, but now I have a new mission. I just need to stay awake. It would be embarrassing to pass out on a roller coaster, so now I'm just doing my best not to. I take some deep breaths and say things like "You can do this" to myself. I may have already lost my shoes, I'm not sure. I can 't focus on that just this moment.
And then it's over. I have lived. There are shoes on my feet still! I haven't passed out!
"Let's ride the other one," I say.
And I do. And it's terrible. I have to enter a deep Buddhist-like trance state first and still sweat enough to lose three pounds.
My wife rides the only other coaster of the day by herself. I've chanced it enough for one day and I really don't want to lose my shoes.
See below for some random other pictures from our trip. The park itself is awesome. The attention to detail is amazing and the other big rides (which are basically simulators that are like indoor roller coasters that don't bother me for some reason) are well worth it!