Thrill Ride Alternatives for the Anxious.
BY KATE HAHN
“The Storm Cellar”
This counterpoint to Coney Island’s famous “Cyclone” roller coaster offers the same sound of rattling wood—but from the doors shutting snugly overhead instead of a car racing along a vertiginous track built before modern building codes were enacted. Safe, dark, still, and with the reassuring smell of terra firma. A mild “tornado” (obviously sound effects) passes harmlessly overhead. No height requirement.
“The Lois Lane”
A feminine and nurturing alternative to “Superman: The Escape” at Six Flags. Sit in the lap of a tough but tender animatronic female journalist, who rocks you very gently as a soothing recorded voice assures you that you will be loved unconditionally even if you reveal your deepest secrets. Tissues provided. Pregnant women encouraged to ride.
“Pit of Comfort”
For something a little different from Disneyland’s “Tower of Terror.” In this softly-padded shallow crater, riders lie prone and watch a condensed three-minute episode of a classic sitcom where everything turns out all right in the end and the jokes aren’t too hard to understand. Then everyone looks under his or her seat cushion to find a “winning lottery ticket” which can be used to purchase comfort food in the adjacent snack area. Actually lowers heart-attack risk.
Located in the lobby of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, this is a mentally healthy version of “The Insanity” (a centrifuge on the top floor of the hotel that dangles riders over the street 900 feet below). Here riders sit side by side in comfortable leather recliners at eye-level with the Strip and congratulate each other for not going on “The Insanity,” and also not being outside in this hot weather. All body parts must be kept inside the air conditioned lobby at all times, because why wouldn’t they be?
“The Regular Guy”
Unpredictable twists and turns are left far behind for those who choose this option instead of the “Maverick” at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. Riders travel on a straight path in comfortable miniature sedans. They pass through various “lands”: school land, good-job land, marriage land, children land and fidelity land. The ride concludes with a peaceful voice intoning that riders have lived a good life. Backpacks, purses, electronics and stuffed animals permitted and encouraged.
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