Olivia tries it: Rip Ride Rockit, Universal Studios. First time on a roller coaster that goes upside down.

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Olivia Masterson

More stories from Olivia Masterson

Over Thanksgiving break my family and I took a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Rip Ride Rockit, a roller coaster, caught my eye and terrified me at the same time. I refused to go on. By the third day though, I found myself standing in the line of the first roller coaster with loops that I ever went on.

The sun was shining and death steadily approached. The panic began when we first got in line. The screens around us showed cartoon people giving instructions on what to do before the ride started. Things like how to latch yourself into the cart of doom, how to pick the song that you hear while riding, and how not to die while riding the coaster. I wasn’t comforted or relaxed by the cartoon characters on the screens or their music video (which was the theme of the ride) we were apparently making together. I wanted to do anything except make the music video.

The line inched forward and every time we got closer to the stairs that would take my family and me to the platform, my mouth got drier and my hands shook more. When we arrived to the stairs I was openly protesting.   

“I don’t want to go anymore. I’m good really. I’ll just wait out front!” I said, desperate to get out of the line. My parents just laughed and dragged me up the stairs. I was in full panic-mode by the time we reached the front of the line.

The roller coaster attendant numbered us off and told us where to stand to get in the cart. To get on the ride, we had to walk across a moving platform and slide into the cart similar to what we had to do on The Forbidden Journey, a ride in Harry Potter Land. My dad and I booked it to our seats and strapped in. I tapped the little screen attached to my lap bar to pick my song. I picked “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven. An interesting choice, I know, but it was the only song from the list that I knew and enjoyed.

The cart moved closer to the incline and I squeezed my eyes shut as we began our ascent. I felt like I was laying flat on my back and in reality, I was. The incline for the ride was a 90 degree angle. Thrilling, I know. We scooched up the track towards the top. It felt like an eternity and it didn’t help my nerves. I just got more panicked the longer I laid on my back.

I peeked my eyes open when we reached the top just in time to see the front cart tip over the hill and suddenly we were flying. I felt my butt leave the seat and my eyes clamped shut. I was ready for the ride to be over and yet my heart was racing in a good way. We went through the loop and surprisingly, it wasn’t all that scary. In a few short seconds my eyes were open and I was screaming along with everyone else.

The coaster whipped around corners and flew down the track. We zipped down hills and even went through a building. I don’t remember actually going through the building, though. That was a little strange.

The ride continued and I had a blast. When the cart returned to the platform, I was a little sad that the ride had ended. I scooted out of the cart and staggered to the exit, more than a little disoriented. My mouth was like a desert. Dry, crackly and gross. In desperate need of water, I hurried my parents along.

I herded them down the stairs and through the locker room mob, blabbering all the way about the ride and how much I hated yet loved them for making me go. You know, the usual. We got our things and managed to track down some water before leaving Production Central to go to the place of my dreams, Harry Potter World.

That day I learned yet another lesson from trying new things. I am totally and utterly an adrenaline junkie, at least when it comes to amusement park rides. 90 degree incline? I’m thrilled. Going upside down? Sign me up. I think I’ll be a bit more adventurous when it comes to roller coasters from this point on.