Chip sent me an article not too long ago concerning Seniors who ride coasters. My memory was jogged by the article and reminded me of something that happened about twenty years ago.
I made my first trip to Walt Disney World at the age of 44. My Wife, Sister and I took our parents for their 50th Wedding Anniversary. At the time my Father was 79 years old and I thought he was a rather cautious individual so you can imagine my surprise when he said I’ve always wanted to try “that”. He was referring to Space Mountain and apparently my parents had made several visits to Walt Disney World without telling me – some nerve huh!! We both took our first ride on Space Mountain that day and I think Dad fared better than I did.
The article also spurred my research bug so I conducted an informal (and small) poll on a discussion board I frequent on a daily basis and found the following. Approximately 20.0% of Seniors said they would never ride a thrill ride at Walt Disney World, 46.67% said they ride some of them but stay away from the intense rides, and my personal group, 33.33% said they ride as many as possible every time they visit. I asked that only those 62+ provide answers but there were some who always travel with Seniors who answered for them.
Why do I ride them all? Because I can – I am an extremely blessed 64 year old who has no physical issues (except for motion sickness which I can almost totally control). I also love the thrill I get from the speed, g-forces, etc. I have empathy for those who have physical issues and very much respect their choice not to ride. It is far better for you to make that choice than to expose yourself to chance of injury by riding something that may put you at that kind of risk. Nothing is worth taking that type of chance.
How long will I continue to ride the thrill rides? Until my Doctor or I decide that it is no longer advisable. When that time comes I will reluctantly hang up my goose bumps and queasy stomach and learn to enjoy the more “oldie appropriate” attractions. I do encourage those who are physically able to enjoy the thrill rides to whatever level they are comfortable because like the lady in this article ( http://attractionsmagazine.com/blog/2010/07/19/out-of-the-loop-are-roller-coasters-the-secret-to-agelessness/ ) it may help to keep you younger and get your blood flowing. This lady is just plain incredible and I hope to be hitting the Walt Disney World thrill rides at her age.
I do realize that the “thrill rides” at Walt Disney World are generally not at the same intensity level as the coasters etc. at many of the world’s bigger amusement parks. The theme of each attraction at Walt Disney World far exceeds the sterility of many of these real thrill rides (maybe with the exception of the Harry Potter attraction) and the story is at least as important as the thrill to me. Enjoy them while you can but stop before you put yourself in danger. See you on the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and Mission Space!!