On Expectations

Or...how to not let your expectations get the better of you and hence lead to a disappointing experience. But I couldn't think of a snappier way to say that! But yes, today I wanted to write a little think piece all about expectations and some tips and tricks you can adopt to hopefully minimise any potentially negative effect that can come from the dreaded 'h' word. Yes, it's that doom and gloom word that we all come to fear yet pretty much have nowhere to hide from in this day and age, especially when it comes to social media. I'm speaking of course, about 'hype'!

I'll go as far as to say I fucking hate hype, which considering my job in marketing is probably somewhat of a hypocritical statement given I am paid to get people excited about new things and stir up hype, but whatever. Hype is a direct line to disappointment, because in theory the only way you can be let down by something is by having any kind of expectations in the first place. And how do you get expectations? Through hearing others hype it up, whether that be from the company or brand themselves or from other people who have experienced the thing. We listen to them telling us over and over how good the thing is, building it up to almost unattainable levels of fantastical awesomeness that when finally comes the day it's our turn to experience the thing there's no way in hell it can ever match what our creative little brains have deduced lays ahead - because of the hype!

But how can we avoid this? How can we're never let down again? Well truth is, we can't, but there are some things we can do to try and minimise the effects of hype and hopefully start to contribute to a less...harsh and judgemental community. Which isn't to say we can't have opinions and dislike the things we dislike, but it'd be good to try and curb some of those unattainable expectations to hopefully ensure that in the future we enjoy things more!

I know, I know - there's nothing more tempting than clicking that 'play' button on YouTube when a fresh, tasty new POV works its way onto your feed on the opening day of a new attraction. You've following construction of the thing for months and now there are people out there who've done the thing and recorded it all for you to experience at home yourself from the comfort of your living room!

Which is all great in theory but let's be real - a POV is never going to do the attraction justice. It's never going to give you the full experience as it was intended to be enjoyed. But what it does do is take the edge off of one of your senses for the first time you ride - you've seen a lot of this before, therefore it feels more familiar and therefore less exciting and new. This means the rest of the experience that you ARE experiencing for the first time (smells, sounds, sensations, etc) feels off kilter with the visuals and therefore your experience is out of whack. There's a reason we say 'looks can be deceiving' - there are exactly zero POVs that give full justice of an attraction therefore if you want to ensure you have the best possible experience the first time you ride something I'd really encourage steering clear of POVs, at least until after you've ridden the thing at least once.

This one is SUPER HARD. It's a human instinct to base our reactions on our previous experiences, therefore it's very easy for us to fall into the trap of "I've been on one of these before and I hated it, therefore I am going to hate this." Which is completely natural - it's how we're wired to stop us accidentally killing ourselves so I get it, but what I'd suggest is practice trying to get yourself out of that headspace and occupying something a little more optimistic. "I've been on a lot of Volare coasters and I haven't enjoyed them, but maybe this one will be different!" I know it feels silly to say, but an optimistic outset before you've even joined the queue of an attraction can do wonders for your experience - if you join a queue expecting to hate a ride the thing has to work damn hard to change your mind and it usually takes something quite special to do that!

I've received lashings of hate for my opinions before, but I stand by my stance of not following trends and by that I mean don't hate something because it's cool to hate something. For example, something like The Ultimate, UK enthusiasts absolutely slate this coaster and therefore I boarded the thing expecting it to be the worst coaster in existence and to absolutely loathe the damn thing. Turns out, I actually had a good time riding (despite the bruises!) I'd love to know what my opinion of the coaster would be if I'd been able to ride with no expectations at all - I'm pretty sure I'd have come off exclaiming what an incredible coaster it is but instead I came off thinking "it wasn't that bad" - which is entirely different to "that was good!"

This works the other way too - RMC for example. People assume that because a coaster is an RMC it's going to be awesome and amazing and mind-blowing and life-changing, and because of that reputation I've seen tons of people come away from their rides of RMC coasters feeling a little short changed. If somebody tells you over and over this coaster is going to change your entire outlook on life and you pull into the station with the same outlook on life but now you have airtime bruises on your thighs I can't imagine you'd be entirely thrilled with the experience. It's hard, but try your best to drown out the overwhelming opinion of the herd and I promise you you'll have a better first time riding new things.

This one is particularly hard if you're on a tight credule or on a road trip or something where you may not have tons of time to re-ride things and get a true, well-rounded opinion of a ride. But, you and I both know that there are so many mitigating factors when it comes to if something rides well or not: the weather, the time of day, the time of year, the weight of the train, how YOU personally are feeling at the time of riding. The list goes on and on. Some of my favourite coasters weren't things that blew me away first time, but things that grew on my over time.

My most recent example of this that I can think of is Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom - we ran straight over to this coaster as soon as we entered the park and were keen to finally get our ride in and we were a little disappointed after our first few goes that morning. When we returned later in the day for some re-rides the thing was running like shit off a shovel and doing its best to send us flying free of the restraints (to the point where the boys found it almost too much!) It's amazing what the differentiating external factors can have upon a ride, and whilst I'm absolutely an advocate of the fact that you shouldn't have to ride in a specific seat, on a specific day when mercury is in retrograde and the stars have aligned for a coaster to be good, I do think to make a fair judgement you should at least try the thing in different variations if you're able.

Essentially I guess what I'm trying to say is don't make snap decisions and where possible, go in blind!

Talk later xoxo,