A ride-hater’s theme park scorecard

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Hi, my name is Kaylah and I’m a former ride-hater.

Conquering my fear was an emotional rollercoaster (and was captured on video, here). I was nervous and though I started out strong thanks to positive thinking, by halfway through the day I hit my breaking point.

I was done. I wanted to go home and cry myself to sleep.

Then there was this little voice that piped up and said, “you can do this”. It was only a whisper but it was the tipping point. After the next ride, I was pumped up with adrenalin and I felt as though I could do anything.

I stared my fear in the face, stepped up to the plate and smashed it out of the park. It was (and still is) the best feeling ever.

What does it take to smash a fear of rides? Here’s a scorecard of my day at Dreamworld.

Ride 1: Motocoaster

For those wanting to conquer their rollercoaster fear, the Motocoaster is a great gateway ride. Not too high in the sky, but fast out of the gates. I still screamed the whole way ‘round and was a bit shaky at the end, but overall I still felt in control.

Terror factor: 4/10
Vomit factor: 1/10
Best part: The low-lying level of the ride. There’s no scary inclines or dips.
Ride again: Yep!

Ride 2: The Cyclone

The Cyclone was the first ride including my worst fear – heights. Standing at 40 metres high, the incline is nerve racking, but the 11 year old riding shotgun with me was a pro, sitting there calmly, enjoying the ride while I was screaming my lungs out. He had a bit of a chuckle at me at the end. Tip: If a ballsy kid can ride, so can you!

Terror factor: 5/10
Vomit factor: 4/10
Worst part: Hold on tight at the loop de loop.
Ride again: Yeah!

Ride 3: The Wipeout

I was secretly dreading The Wipeout. It’s something that I have grown up dreading from the ads on TV. It was the ride that friends at school would come back from holidays and brag about. I think seeing this ride in action all those years ago cemented the fear that I would never ever survive a ride like that… Until now.

Terror factor: 6/10
Vomit factor: 6/10
Worst part: Being upside down then spinning right way up.
Ride again: Maybe

Ride 4: The Claw

Holy moly! After this ride, I wanted to call it quits! From the outside it looks so majestic, flying side to side in the breeze. On the ride it feels the same until about the third swing when it pumps up the velocity. I was holding on for dear life, very quietly, and wishing I was anywhere but here.

Terror factor: 9/10
Vomit factor: 9/10
Worst part: After the third swing in, it’s all downhill.
Ride again: Hells no!

Ride 5: The BuzzSaw

After The Claw I was dragging my feet, questioning my existence, when I found out the BuzzSaw was next to conquer. This was my darkest hour of the day. I wanted to turn back, get on the highway and head home to watch a movie on the couch. But this day was not over. BuzzSaw is terrifying, from the 46-metre vertical incline to the menacing 360-degree heart roll. My eyes were closed and I was holding on so hard that my hands cramped.

Once it was over though, I felt pumped up, like what real adrenalin junkies must get out of rides like this. Tip: BuzzSaw is over so fast you barely have time to breathe. Make your mantra: “It’s over in 30 seconds… It’s only 30 seconds”.

Terror factor: 10/10
Vomit factor: 3/10
Worst part: The initial vertical incline is terrifying. I couldn’t handle it and squished my eyes shut and shut they stayed!
Ride again: Yes, after a butt-load of peer pressure. I’d like to be able to get around the whole ride with my eyes open.

Ride 6: The Tower of Terror II

This is the fastest ride at Dreamworld going from zero to 161km/hour in 7 seconds – and I loved it! Up and back again, it’s all over in 27 seconds. I even had a giggle at the end about nearly losing a contact.

Terror factor: 8/10
Vomit factor: 2/10
Best part: It’s like being shot out of a gun. There is no time for your brain to register fear. It’s over and done with before you can say, “let’s do that again”.
Ride again: Hells yeah!

Ride 7: Pandamonium

How gut-wrenching can a ride in the ‘Land of Awesomeness’ really be? Pandamonium is the newest thrill ride to hit the shores of Dreamworld’s Dreamworks Experience and it is a place where I would usually feel at home.

I queued in the ‘seriously crazy’ line bolstered by my adrenalin fix (there is a ‘not-so crazy’ line for mini quest seekers) and I was deceived by Po’s happy smiling face. The first few spins were fun and wholesome, then things took a fast turn, literally. Make sure your lunch is half-digested before attempting this ride.

Terror factor: 5/10
Vomit factor: 10/10
Worst part: The super-fast, mega spin. Ride it once and you’ll know what I mean!
Ride again: Undecided.

Overall, I think I conquered my fear of fast, heart-pumping rides. Will I do seven intense rides in a row again? Probably not. I’ll take it easy at my next trip to the theme parks and tick a couple off the bucket list.

Do you have a fear of rides?

* August 2012: When I thought I would never ever go on a scary ride… Ever.



    You are so brave! I’m not good on rides so I commend your efforts.

    • Kaylah Buckman

      Thanks! You have no idea how many times I’ve been the bag-holder on theme park trips. I definitely recommend picking a ride and just going for it! Start small and work your way up. Once you get over the fear, it is pretty fun!

  • imaginedpm

    Excellent article – thanks for sharing!