Everyone’s blogging. And I am so madly obsessed with roller coasters, I figured I should write about nothing else. I was thinking about being a roller coaster critic, but it turns out there’s not a high demand for such a profession so I’m doing it myself. Let’s start with some history. When I was a kid, I had the opportunity to go on tons of roller coasters, but I was so deathly terrified of corkscrews and loops that I always sat aside. It was pretty annoying to my parents and friends who went with me, seeing as someone would have to sit aside with me. I had visions of the coaster stopping while we were all hanging upside down on one of the loops and blood pouring out of my nose. Why did I think this? We will never know. It wasn’t until I moved back to Orlando when I was 10 years old and got forced to ride the ever-wonderful Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure. What. an amazing. coaster.
For those of you who haven’t been on the Hulk/to IOA, worry not. We will go in depth. When you first walk into IOA, you walk through some “ancient marketplace” schpeel until you hit a dead end. Your only options are to go right, into Seussland or left into Marvel/Superhero-thing land. Now, as much as you love everything Seuss…and I do…the first thing you see towering above you is a huge, green, steel structure with trains shooting out of the lifthill. How can you resist? The screams of terror and pleasure draw you in immediately. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been to IOA and not gone on the Hulk first, before anything else. To get into the coaster, you walk under it which gives you a spectacular view of the track. Entering a giant laboratory type set which serves as your waiting line, you’ll either be extremely lucky and only have to wait half an hour, although I’ve been extremely UNlucky and had to wait around 2 hours. Worth it? Yes. As you snake around, you have the luxury of vending machines and water fountains which seems goofy, but let me tell you, when you want water, you WANT. water. I make use of those fountains every single time. You also have the luxury of watching a sort of Hulk background video. You get to watch a fairly intense video of Bruce Banner “becoming” the Hulk. He throws tanks around, wrestles with some sort of Rhino-man while shouting “MUST. DEEEEEESTROYYYY” All very entertaining. FINALLY, you make it to the deciding point. Wait MUCH longer to get into the front row, or get it overwith and ride in any other row. This is a serious decision. I will tell you, with extreme certainty, that it is entirely worth it to sit in the front. This is a matter of some debate. Some people will tell you to sit in the back row because you get whipped around more. I don’t believe this at all. I have never felt such a thing and actually, have longed for it. The front is absolutely the way to go. Seeing everything come at you, with no distractions, no people in front of you and seeing what’s coming next on the track. So you’re finally next in line. My heart was pumping when I was next up on the loading platform and the gate opened up. The Hulk is not a floorless train. It is a classic train, fitting four across with over-the-shoulder restraints.
So you sit down, harness is in, buckled up, and the train operators give the thumbs up. You start up the lifthill through a dark tunnel, slowly as usual and all around you, Bruce Banner is yammering on about how he’s trying to reverse time or something with gamma rays so he won’t turn into the Hulk again when a warning goes off telling him that something has gone wrong. Right when he starts screaming NO, NO, NOOOOO! your train shoots off the lifthill at a racing speed and you immediately fall down the first drop. After going through a Batwing turn, I was suddenly unafraid and absolutely enjoying myself. No longer terrified that the guide wheels would seize up, I never wanted to get off. A bunch of more turns and loops, you fly under a bridge full of mist, get your picture taken and the coaster is done. It’s a classic, big, smooth riding coaster. I won’t lie to you, I’ve definitely smacked my head on the over-the-shoulder harnesses numerous times, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Hulk is a coaster I can always depend on.
Videos of roller coaster POV’s are never that amazing, but here’s a pretty alright one of the Hulk:
As I don’t go on roller coasters every day, much of this blog will be spent with me reminiscing of all the ones I HAVE been on. I hope someone enjoys this as much as I do. =]