Things To Do

A Letter to Future Thrill Riders

November 4, 2021
Jurassic World

To My Fellow Future Thrill Riders,

Hi! I’m Jenna, and I never thought I would be able to conquer a roller coaster. After almost 8 years of being a Universal Orlando Annual Passholder (UOAP), I didn’t think any convincing would get me on one. But, I eventually did, and It. Was. Awesome. I’m here to share my story and try to ease any nerves you may be having before tackling a roller coaster at Universal Orlando Resort.

For as long as I can remember, I was terrified of the big coasters. I was always the designated bag holder when my friends would tackle the intense gamma rays of The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Even looking up at the intimidating 0-40 mph launch immediately turning into a zero-g inversion was enough to make the butterflies in my stomach feel like they also were fluttering at 40 mph.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure

I truly never thought I would be brave enough to get on one of the mammoth coasters offered at our theme parks.

The “best” I could do was The Revenge of the Mummy in Universal Studios Florida, which I definitely count as a roller coaster, but my friends tend to disagree, saying that I still hadn’t gotten the full coaster experience.

Truly no amount of external convincing could persuade my stubborn self to get on a coaster. The only person who would be able to was, well, me. I’m not sure what clicked inside my head, but it eventually did — and I finally told myself for the first time ever that I was going to conquer The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Once I mentally committed, there was no going back and I instantly started my research. I spent hours scouring forums and the UOAP Facebook Group, trying to find accurate comparisons to what I have experienced with my own thrill ride resume. I had never gone upside down on a ride, and was desperate for some kind of specific explanation on what the sensation felt like. I would stay up all night watching videos of The Incredible Hulk Coaster over and over, trying to memorize each twist and turn to hopefully relieve some of the anxiety of the unknown.

Then, the big day finally came. I felt fine all morning… and pulling up to the parking lot… and going through security… and walking through Universal CityWalk

But when I made that left turn into Islands of Adventure and got a glimpse at the big green roller coaster I’ve looked at a million times before, my stomach dropped.

IncredibleHulkCoaster

I had doubts. So many. I really didn’t think I could do it. 

But I did, and here is my advice on how to handle the terrifying moments before the big event:

  • Before the big day, try out a smaller coaster. This will help prepare you mentally for the basic movements of a coaster. It’s all about baby steps here, and be proud of yourself for every ride that you accomplish, no matter how big or small. My go-to was Flight of the Hippogriff to help warm me up!
  • Make it the first ride of your trip. If you don’t, it is almost certain you won’t do it. You’ll either be so nervous the entire day, or find a way to convince yourself, “Eh, maybe next time.” That way, when it’s over, it’ll make the rest of your day even more special!
  • DON’T THINK. I know it’s easier said than done, but this was the best thing that could have happened to me. Once I calmed down a bit after the initial panic (with the patient support of a loved one), and had the smallest voice in my head tell me I was OK, and everything was going to be OK, I instantly acted without thinking.
  • Try to get on when there’s a short wait time. This goes hand-in-hand with don’t think, since there’s no time to even let the doubt or fear creep in if you keep on moving. Luckily for me, it was only a five-minute wait, so I walked through the queue and strapped myself in before I could even process what was going on.
  • Ask for the front row. Yes, I know it can be scary to have nothing else in front of you, but typically the front row is the tamest with the forces of the ride. Not only that, but once you do start to enjoy yourself, you get the best view!
  • Close your eyes. For my first time, I closed my eyes for a majority of the ride. Personally, it helped me get used to these new sensations (and those butterflies were non-existent!)

Then the big moment came, and I was past the point of no return. From the moment we launched, I wasn’t just screaming in fear. I was screaming “OH MY GOSH I DID IT, I’M ON THE INCREDIBLE HULK COASTER!!!!” It was nothing like the fearsome experience I created in my anxiety-ridden mind. It was SUPER FUN. I promise you, it isn’t as bad as what you think it may be in your head.

IncredibleHulkCoaster

When the breaks finally struck and I had my first moment of tranquility, the only thing flooding my thoughts was pride. I finally did it. Something I truly thought I’d never do. And I loved it.

Now, I can proudly say that I have ALSO conquered Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and The Jurassic World VelociCoaster and boy were they incredible! They’re now easily at the top of my favorite rides list. Basically, I’m making up for a lot of lost time with my thrill seeking adventures and I’m loving every moment of it!

VelociCoaster

Well, I hope sharing my story helps inspire some of you to take that leap, when you’re ready. I promise, it’s worth it. And truly, if I can do it, so can you! 

Sending you all the love and encouragement,
Jenna

P.S. For all you folks who are trying to figure out what it feels like to go upside down, here is the best comparison I could think of: it’s just like doing a somersault. You’re welcome!

Epic in your Inbox

Never miss a thrill. Subscribe now to get email updates from Universal Parks & Resorts.

Share
Facebook Share on Facebook Twitter Share on Facebook Pinterest Share on Pinterest

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply Kim Richards November 4, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Oh my goodness I love this…..I’m terrified to ride but my daughter got me on Revenge of the Mummy several times and it’s great…I’ve rode flight of the hippogriff eyes closed of course many times ….I do want to ride a roller coaster I walked all the way up to loading on the velocicoater and chickened out but with this article of
    encouragement I hope to conquer my fear……it’s just a somersault!

  • Reply Melanie November 4, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Wow! I feel like this was me writing this story. I’ve never been one to ride the big coasters. I usually just rode the simulator ones and would wait for everyone else as they road the coasters. I wen to Universal last month and was determined to face my fears and ride Velocicoaster. I spent MONTHS watching YouTube videos of the ride. The day finally came and I was scared to death. I honestly didn’t want to go. But we decided to ride Hagrid’s first and I was so nervous. It was really fun though and got off that ride accomplished and less scared. We finally went to Velocicoaster but the wait started making me nervous again. But I DID it! I screamed my head off and prob closed my eyes most of the time but I did it. Don’t be afraid to try it once! You will be happy you did.

  • Reply Stephen Henken November 5, 2021 at 4:37 am

    This was exactly me when I rode for the hulk for the first time years ago. The hulk was my very first big coaster ever. Now it’s my favorite ride. Everyone should read this before they conquer this amazing ride for the first time. Everything you said help me too. Everything you did to conquer your fear I did too. Everyone should see this because it help all. Well done Jenna. I
    absolutely loved what you wrote

  • Reply Shara November 5, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Ohhh you don’t know how much this has encouraged me! My daughter and I are visiting Universal Studios Tuesday and I’m terrified to ride any of the coasters. Like you, I watch the Hulk and VelociCoaster videos to get familiar with the ride to try and calm the anxiety I get when thinking about riding for my first time.
    I appreciate you taking the time to share this article. It’s definitely gives me a boost of courage..I can do this.. I will do this!!

    • Reply Social Media Team November 5, 2021 at 11:16 am

      Yes, you can do this Shara! Hope to have you back soon!

    Leave a Reply

    We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember your website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our cookie policy.