7 Rides I Love Taking People On For The First Time


If there's something I love the most about being a theme park enthusiast it's sharing my experiences with others. I absolutely LOVE taking people on the rides and attractions that I love for the very first time and just spending the ride watching them and listening to their reactions. I just love sharing the joy, I guess.

So spoiler alert - today I'm going to count down my top seven rides that I LOVE riding with people for the first time, and that will include some detail as to WHY. Consider yourselves warned!

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I recently headed to sunny Blackpool for my Hen Weekend and one thing I was SUPER excited about was taking my non-theme park friends and family to ride Valhalla. Valhalla for me is one of those ridiculous rides that just has no purpose being in a place like Blackpool, but that kind of adds to its awesomeness in a way. What I love is that people who've never ridden it before really do not believe you when you say how wet you get and that ponchos are an absolute must. There's nothing more hilarious than getting to the end of the ride through all of the fire, ice and water and turning around to seeing them absolutely drenched and smugly telling them you told them so.


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Another water ride next, but this one is enjoyable for very different reasons. That's not to say you don't get wet on River Quest - you absolutely do and in my experience one poor soul will receive the dousing of a lifetime. it's how the stage is set for the drenching that makes this one so much fun to ride with newbies. From the WTF moment of the boat entering the elevator shaft to the OH SHIT moment when it reaches the top and all you're faced with is a huge drop. And then the utter chaos that follows. I will never tire of riding River Quest over and over with those who have no idea what's coming.

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For us theme park fans, the Vekoma Madhouse is a bit of a theme park staple. They pop up here, there and everywhere is one form or another and by now we're all pretty clued up as to how they work. Hex takes that to the next level for me. Those who have never ridden literally have zero clue what waits in store for them and the numerous pre-shows do a magnificent job of building of the tension and curiosity to precisely the right amount before the 'what-the-hell-is-happening' moment of the room beginning to spin. I love the look of confusion on people's faces as they try to piece together what they can see and what they can feel, and I equally love the mumbled discussion as you exit the ride and first-timers are trying to explain what they've just experienced.

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Another entry from Phantasialand next (honestly, I could quite easily fill this list with attractions from this park alone), the bizarre pair of Winjas coasters! These Maurer Sohne spinners take weirdness to the next level and despite much of the track being out there for all to see as you enter the plaza of Wuze Town, the true whimsy and secrets lay behind the walls of the set. I'm talking of course about all of the mental trick track and the unexpected twists at every opportunity. You thought lift-hill? Hello elevator. You thought brake-run? Hello ridiculous bouncing track. It's just so silly and it takes great delight in playing with the unexpected. A truly mischievous coaster that never fails to put a smile on any first-timer riders' face!

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This one is a little odd, but hear me out. It's the sense of awe and wonderment that makes this one fantastic to ride with newbies. The way the ride uses scenery to create an amazing sense of scope, the way the light on the actual fucking ride boat leads you through the dense fog. Everything feels a little too close and there's a real air of foreboding as you depart the merry sailor songs of the ride station. It's just really bloody cool, and I love watching people's jaws drop the way mine did the very first time I rode this unique coaster.

Arguably king of the 'something's gone terribly wrong' Disney ride trope, there's a real joy to be had from watching the head scratching as you approach the torn up track section. To those of us who have ridden before, OF COURSE you go backwards. Of course you bloody do, there's nowhere else to go is there? But for one true moment of immersion, a little part of you believes that this track has actually been torn up and you're about to meet a messy end at the hands of the legendary yeti.

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Y'all know I love me some theme park weirdness, but one thing I love more than theme park weirdness is inflicting it upon others. And no attraction is better for 'Jordan, what the fuck am I watching?' reactions that The Water Lillies at Efteling. For those who don't know, I urge you to take a couple of minutes and watch this. It's OK, I'll wait, it's worth it. And for those of you who couldn't be bothered to follow that link, essentially it's a diorama at Efteling's Sprookjesbos that includes a band of singing water goblins, musical geese and dancing faeries, all performing to a merry brass band. It's the epitome of WTF Europe? when it comes to theme parks and it's one I always ensure I make newbies take the time to watch.

So yes, I am that person that sits and watches you like a goon as you try a ride for the first time, but it's only because I want you to love it as much as I do! So what do you think? What rides do you love taking people on for the first time?

Talk later xoxo,

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