I grew up just a couple hours from Cedar Point, one of the largest amusement parks in the U.S., and when we lived in Florida, we were only a half hour from Orlando, plus we visited family there and I went twice with my high school band. I love roller coasters, but I am generally not a “ride” person.
Basically, anything in an enclosed space was something I faced with trepidation. Disaster Transport at Cedar Point. Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World at the Magic Kingdom. If there was the potential for being startled with explosions or gunshots, or sprayed with nasty recycled water, I was NOT into it. To this day, I do not enjoy enclosed rides or any kind of 4-D experience! But over the years, a few have stuck with me as absolutely terrifying.
Snow White’s Adventure (Magic Kingdom). Apparently, the ride was designed to make riders feel like they were Snow White being chased by the Wicked Queen/Old Hag, but all I remember was lots of jerking through a scary, fake forest and trees that might grab me.
Alien Encounter (Magic Kingdom). Sitting in tiered seating in a circular room, guests viewed an alien “specimen” until the power cut and the alien escaped. Part of the 4-D experience included something running by your feet, and something breathing on the back of your neck. I don’t understand how anyone could find this enjoyable. I’m surprised I didn’t cry or wet myself or both.
Norway Ride (EPCOT Center). A creepy, unseen troll sent riders over a waterfall BACKWARDS, while laughing maniacally. How was that supposed to be fun?
Power Tower (Cedar Point). Heights don’t bother me, and the view of the amusement park is amazing. But the vertical drop? No, thanks.
Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls). 7-year-old me was terrified to go on this ride, but my good and decent parents forced me to go anyway. I stayed as far from the rails of the boat as possible as we inched closer and closer to the Horseshoe Falls. To be fair, though, I’d love to go back and give it another try as an adult.
Millennium Force (Cedar Point). I will include one roller coaster on this list not because it’s scary (in fact, it’s one of my favorites), but because every time I’ve ridden it, I have very nearly blacked out after the first 300-foot, 93-mph drop. And that’s pretty frightening.
Side note: One ride (or rather, “experience”) that should have scared me more than it did? Twister…Ride It Out at Universal Studios. It was brand new when I visited in 1998, and I was in the throes of my meteorology obsession, so I just stood there in pure elation while I experienced the fabricated power of a tornado. I’m sure it was a hundred times better than one of those “tornado booths” at the mall.
I would say I’ll just stick to roller coasters, and while I still love them, after I had kids, even the ones that don’t go upside-down bother my belly. I guess that makes me a really boring grownup.
If you’ve been on any of these rides, or any others that terrified you, share your experiences in the comments!