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So.... when is too young to get your kiddo on a coaster!?!


OzErik
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Took my little muchin, Jade (just turned three) to Australia's three main theme parks.

 

Now apart from having to spend a ridiculous amount of time posing and cuddling Dora the Explorer and Blue I also wanted her to get used to going on rides.

 

Reason for this? Well, because when I take her to the states for her first coaster holiday I want her to be cool with the rides.

 

Anyway, I got her on a reasonably sized kiddy coaster and she loved it!

 

Also, got her on a water flume ride here, with a 90 foot drop she loved that also. Wasn't so keen on the dark part of the ride, but other than that no real problems.

 

Wondering how any other theme park junkies out there with kids have got their kid's used to rides.

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Erik...

 

My daughter made her first visit to Paramounts Kings Island at one month old, and rode her first rides (carousel and turnpike cars). By the

age of 1 she was riding many "kiddie" rides, and at 16 months I took her on her first kiddie coaster, which, like your little one, she loved. By two she was riding things like swinging Viking ships, Scrambler, Trabant, Octopus, log flume, etc. She is 6 now, and this year was finally tall enough for a couple of our larger coasters here.

 

Hubby and I have always made it our practice to encourage her to ride anything that she thought she wanted to, or to just say "let's go on this!" I

NEVER would say anything like "don't be scared" or "this is going to be scary". If she didn't want to ride, we definitely didn't force it, because I have seen too many kids get forced on to something, they scream and cry the whole ride (fun for everyone around them) and then they are petrified to go on everything, even stuff they had ridden before. We are always respectful of height requirements (although we did find there were certain pairs of shoes that got her on rides, where others didn't, so those became her Kings Island shoes).

 

Honestly, the biggest problems I have had were A) her being afraid of "dark rides". She would ride anything that went high, fast, whatever; but if it went into a dark building or tunnel, forget it. We had a tough time at Disney because of that and B) her getting upset and crying because she wasn't tall enough to ride something.

 

My best advice is just to guide her towards rides you think he/she is ready for and don't force it. The last thing you want is a screaming, scared, or worse, sick, child... that would take the fun out of your day real fast!

 

Shari

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^ We pretty much stuck with the same philosophy.

 

We were kind of lucky in the fact that we are on SoCal and were able to let Disneyland be the first place where our kids experienced coasters. They were riding the Matterhorn at 3, Big Thunder and Space Mtn. at 4.

 

Our oldest went on her first looping coaster (California Screamin') just after her 7th birthday and hasn't looked back since. The only ride that ever really scared her was Indiana Jones at Disneyland. She is now 8 and has been on some pretty intense coasters. Her next obstacle will be Xcelerator at Knott's since she is not 52".

 

On our trip to TX last year our youngest had some chances to go on some looping coasters at age 6 (because of the lower height requirements). He has always been the more timid of the 2 and opted not to. But he did get on his first woodie (Judge Roy Scream) and a few other "Big" rides. Now, when he hits that 48" mark (soon I hope) he wants to try some of the "Bigger" rides at SFMM.

 

So it just depends on the child. Don't force your kids on a ride (I almost did this once and hated myself for it). If they don't want to go, even though you have paid all this money for a trip, don't force them. That's the most important thing.

 

I would start them off on kiddie coasters, then move up to things like a Mine Train, roller skaters or even Suspended coasters. (Our son LOVES Ninja at SFMM). Then I would say woodies, they are non inverting and generally have tame parts (well, the ones I have been on). And when they are ready, take them on single looping coasters.

 

Most important, have fun.

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Erik...

Hubby and I have always made it our practice to encourage her to ride anything that she thought she wanted to, or to just say "let's go on this!" I

NEVER would say anything like "don't be scared" or "this is going to be scary".Shari

This is VERY good advice. I always see parents with kids walking into some ride, and the kid doesn't look intimidated or scared at all, then the parent says something like "don't be scared" or "don't worry it's not scary" and the kid instantly gets this look of like "Woah...wait a minute...you mean there COULD be something scary on this?!??!"

 

It's like exactly the thing NOT to say to a kid! I always would say things like "This is going to be so much FUN!!!" "I can't wait to ride this with you...." etc.

 

The word "scared" is like the kiss of death with kids. Because most of the time they don't even realize there could be something to be afraid of until you put that little nugget of information in their heads.

 

--Robb "Good advice there!" Alvey

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I can't say too much yet since I don't have kids of my own, but I think I would be VERY cautious. I guess I come from the school of "just because they're tall enough, does not mean that they're ready to ride". Perfect example is X at SFMM...I really don't think a 7 year old belongs anywhere near that ride!

 

Also I think we as 'enthusiasts' are luckier than the 'GP' in this sense as we know which rides are smoother or rougher for children. For example I'd rather take a young child on a Vekoma Roller Skater which is bigger, taller, faster than some of those kiddies at Carnivals that are Spine Adjusters because I know the Roller Skater is a nice smooth ride.

 

I think it is very important to get babies used to parks...the loud noises, all the visual distractions, etc. If they grow up with it, it will be 2nd nature once they're able to ride and they won't be as scared.

 

Elissa "no clue as to what my kids first ride will be!" Alvey

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I think it depends on the child and I don't think you should go by their age. If a child is tall enough the ride a kiddie coaster but they don't want to ride don't make them ride it. However, make sure to tell the child that it’s ok to be scared when you ride a coaster and let me them make their own choice.

 

My first coaster was Ridgeline Racer at American Adventures and I wasn't scared at all. When I was 7 years old I thought that coaster was huge but know that I look back it’s very small compared to the 300+ feet coasters that I ride today.

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You siimply have to let them decide when they want to ride, but also you must know what scares them. I have pushed my son to ride a few rides that I knew he would like once he got on them. Darkness is a big issue for him to, being 6. He's getting much better lately, so hopefully he'll ride Mayan Mindbender this year.

 

His first big ride was Kong at USF, believe it or not. When he was 2 I believe. He wasn't scared of the dark then. He hopped on and grabbed onto the lap bar and was ready to go. He was wedge tightly between me and my wife, so he was safe. He also rode Pirates on that trip.

 

Dark rides have been tough. Even ones like Pooh he doesn't want on. This stems from my love of dark rides, especially the scary ones. He thinks they are all scary. He is finally getting over this, as he rode Toad and even Haunted Mansion Holiday at DL last October, and even rode the mansion a second time. It was his favorite.

 

Coasters are a mixed bag, he's ridden Viper at SFAW a few times. He likes it, but it always overwelms him a bit.

 

The biggest thing to keep in mind is how well the kid can control themselves. Like on Viper, he's tall enough, barely, but he just doesn't control his upper body much, so he gets through around in teh turns. I end up helping support his upper body. Same thing happened on La Vibora at SFOT. He got tossed aroudn at each brake, and ended up not liking it.

 

The most important this is to not force him on too much of a ride. ONe bad ride could cause a child to not ride other rides that they used to like.

 

Also, try similar spinny rides to help build up to coasters. My son has been afraid of XLR-8. We rode the Chance Aviator at Kemah a few weeks ago and he liked it. SO, I'm pretty sure he'll go on XLR-8 now.

 

I don't want him to ride the rides too fast. Every Spring I look forward to sharing new coasters with him.

 

Rastus O'Ginga

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Well i dont have and kids but i know all my sisters went on there first roller coaster when they had the chance. My little'est sister nikki went on the demon at PGA when she was barely even enough size to fit. She would get mad when we went on them and she couldent. I remember when i went on my first one when i was small and my dad made me go on it and i was scared of them all the way up until 4 years ago. Now i love them but it took at 8 years to get back on one! SO i think there is no age its just when THEY want to go in cause if u force them on they might be scared of them when they grow up.

 

Chris

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My five year old daughter went on a Galaxi coaster for the first time last summer and loved it to DEATH, she cannot wait to go back and ride it again, she has always loved exciting rides.

 

That being said, she will break down and cry if she can't get her shoe on, or the door open, or encounters anything of the sort, she's still five

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  • 1 year later...

I, personally am too young for an chance swinging ship, and i am 12!!! I can not stand those things. Or is it because i only ride the cheapo thraveling fair ones? Either way i hate them.

 

P.S. Sharktums you are right about X, i'm not even sure I want to go on that monster! And my cousin just turned 5, he's lookin to go on a Vekoma boomerang! I don't think he would want to ride it upon seeing it.

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My mom forced me to go on Big Thunder Mountain at Disney World when I was 6 and was terrified of coasters. I cried and cried, but she dragged me into the line anyway. She thought I'd go on and like it, but I hated it and wouldn't go near another coaster for two or three years..which is when I started loving them. She still feels bad about it.

 

I agree with everyone who has said not to force your kids to go on rides if they don't want to. You can ask them to go with you or suggest a ride to them, but if they say no I'd leave that ride alone for a while. I also agree with Elissa in that just because a child is tall enough to ride doesn't mean they're ready.

 

You know your kids better than anyone else so only you really know if they're ready or not. I'd also suggest explaining what a new ride does before you ride...when I visited Knoebel's last year I saw a 4 year old boy taking his first ride on a 'big coaster' and before he went on his dad explained what the ride did and asked if he was sure he wanted to ride a few times.

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  • 5 months later...
Erik...

 

My daughter made her first visit to Paramounts Kings Island at one month old, and rode her first rides (carousel and turnpike cars). By the

age of 1 she was riding many "kiddie" rides, and at 16 months I took her on her first kiddie coaster, which, like your little one, she loved. By two she was riding things like swinging Viking ships, Scrambler, Trabant, Octopus, log flume, etc. She is 6 now, and this year was finally tall enough for a couple of our larger coasters here.

 

Hubby and I have always made it our practice to encourage her to ride anything that she thought she wanted to, or to just say "let's go on this!" I

NEVER would say anything like "don't be scared" or "this is going to be scary". If she didn't want to ride, we definitely didn't force it, because I have seen too many kids get forced on to something, they scream and cry the whole ride (fun for everyone around them) and then they are petrified to go on everything, even stuff they had ridden before. We are always respectful of height requirements (although we did find there were certain pairs of shoes that got her on rides, where others didn't, so those became her Kings Island shoes).

 

Honestly, the biggest problems I have had were A) her being afraid of "dark rides". She would ride anything that went high, fast, whatever; but if it went into a dark building or tunnel, forget it. We had a tough time at Disney because of that and B) her getting upset and crying because she wasn't tall enough to ride something.

 

My best advice is just to guide her towards rides you think he/she is ready for and don't force it. The last thing you want is a screaming, scared, or worse, sick, child... that would take the fun out of your day real fast!

 

Shari

That's interesting... when I was a child, I hated most scary rides, but loved height requirements, because if I wasnt tall enough, I knew my parents wouldn't be able to force me on it.

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While I don't have kids (being only 16) I can't agree strongly enough with the point of don't force a kid on a ride or tell them it's scary. That never goes well for anyone involved.

 

Case in point - It was 1995, and I was at the wee age of 5 years old. Since we never really went to theme parks, going to Michigan's Adventure was a large trip and quite a big deal. It was also my first experiance at an amusement park.

 

My mom, for some reason which I'll probably never know, wanted to get on Zach's Zoomer and ride with me. I remember not wanting to, because as a 5 year old, that ride was tall and scary. But she must of gotten me on it, as I can vividly remember that ride. We sat in the front row, and that lift was huge. Going down the first drop got me to cry and scream the rest of the way, and I can remember wanting to go home afterwards. My mother felt bad and thought I'd never ride coasters again.

 

I won't bore you with the details, but it took a Magnum and then a Raptor ride at Cedar Point (both forced on by cousins) to get me back into coasters. But for the 8ish years inbetween, I wouldn't touch them.

 

Don't force the kids on the ride! If they discover the thrill themselves, I'm betting you it'd turn out better in the long run.

 

-nesdude

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When I worked in Bugs Bunny World at SFMM. I would always see these horrible parents forcing their screaming kids onto rides. We were taught during training that if the child is a danger to themselves to not have them ride. That's only if they're out of control and are trying to get out of the car. Never goes over well with the parents and usually ends with, "This would never happen at Disneyland!".

_six

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When I was at SFGAM, these parents draged their kid on to Whizzer. I couldn't understand what they were saying(sounded either Polish or German), but their daughter was screaming and everything. The parents were trying to keep her quiet, but everyone in the area was looking at them. The kid finally got on the ride and she seemed to enjoy it. However, she had a "I won't tell them I liked it" kind of attitude.

 

The ride ops were great though, and they sent the train when she was ready. They seemed to keep an eye on the train(from what I saw, but I'm not sure as I wound up in the car behind them.), but I still can't believe the parents made such a big deal over a coaster.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another thing, make sure if they are sort of "Iffy" about riding, ride it and say that "You'll never repay yourself if you don't"

 

I made the mistake when i was 8 at Paris Disneyland for not going on SPace Mountain. It has haunted me ever since.

 

BTW, "onewheeled999" You stole my 'Youngest member title" Grrrrrr

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i was bought up the same.

 

one of the first models of the Huss Enterprise came to England about 145/16years ago. its gone now, but i was riding it aged 2. it was my favourite ride. Then came the Inverted Seinging ship, aged 6. i wouldnt touch rides like that unless i held onto someones hand, lol.

 

 

 

my sister is very scared of big things. she went on her first major rollercoaster, Vampire at chessington, about 3/4 months ago. i was telling her that when i first went on it, i absolutely loved it. she calmed down when the queue-line videos came on.

 

shes contemplating doing an S&S Screaming Swing next year (she'll be 9 in August), but im not sure if she'll stick it or not.

 

in June/July, we went to Alton Towers. Once again, a very nice family place to go. my parents and brother and i wanted to go on Rita, so she had to queue up with us. even though she was only queueing, she was shaking really badly. by the time we had gotten off the ride, she had decided to do it herself, even though she's not tall enough, so i promised her that we'd come back to Alton Towers just so she could do Rita.

 

we also got her queung for Spinball Whizzer. this was going to be her first major spinning ride (we had done the spinning wild mouses that go around travelling fairs before), but the ride is really quite tall. we got her to queue up, she sat down on the seat, saw the other trains going really fast over the vertical u turn and decided not to do it. she was so close as well

 

talk about changing your mind so quickly!

 

anywho, get kids used to it first, then they'll love it. let them cry in the queue, if they dont want to ride it by the station, just take them off.

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My philosophy is that if you want your kid to go on a ride and he/she shows some fear don't and I repeat DON'T get him on the ride because there are a number of things he/she might do.

 

1. He/she would try to get off the ride while it is in motion and injure themself of someone else.

 

2. The experience will scare them so badly that he/she would never want to go to a park again.

 

Although this can be rare, the kid might like it.

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Depends on the kid weather or not because My Nephew wouldn't ride Patriot with me at Worlds of Fun but Loved Mamba and Boomerang. So I told him how much it meant to me that he rode it with me tryed offering to take him to his Favorite Chinnese Place (He Loves Crab legs and not every place here in Omaha serves them) and he would have none of it. I rode once by myself and by my second trip he was ready to go. He loved the ride. I think the structure and it being both of our's first inverted coaster ride intimidated him.

So I learned that some preasure worked but after so long just let it go.

 

Also there is a Difference between kicking and screaming Scared and being nervous.

 

If they are kicking and screaming that gets annoying having to hear that for 2 hours in queue. You may have some very grumpy people sitting next to you on the ride if they have to hear it for 2 hours.

 

My sister dragged me into a Haunted House when I was 6 Because she was suposed to be babysitting well the folks were out and her friends wanted to go. I was so dramtically scared they had some employee come in with a flash lights and guided us thru the house ruining it for those around us and making me not want to go to haunted houses until my teenage years. I thought they were all lame and laughable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well here's my best advice. until he/she is the right age (IMO, maybe 10) I would sat things like "Do you want to go on this, it's really fun" or "How about this ride". Let them decide whether they want to go on it. When they're old enough to face their fears, maybe put them on one of the less intense coasters. (I.E. Scream!, Ninja, etc.) see if they'll like it. When they're 14, just force them on the rides, like Boy friends often do to Girlfriends and visa vesa.

 

~Mike

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