There are some things I think I’ve never done but can’t say for sure. It’s one of the nice things about having a crappy memory. Riding in the front car of a roller coaster was one. Either way, I knew the girls hadn’t because their roller coaster riding experience is much more recent and I’ve been there for every click, click, click along the way.
So, that’s why we picked this as one of our summer “learn to try” challenges. And, I’m happy to report- SUCCESS- at least for 2 of us.
Here’s what happened.
Dutch Wonderland was the second stop on our week-long family driving vacation, “Tour of Kid-Friendly Spots in the Mid-Atlantic.” (The Travel Channel will probably be covering this exotic locale in an upcoming show very soon.)
2017 is our fourth year going, and we’ve progressively tried more challenging rides each visit. If you’ve ever been there, you might be scratching your head. It’s a tiny, totally adorable, and retro park geared towards little, little kids. There isn’t much there anyone would consider really daring.
However, there is one roller coaster, and we were determined to sit in the front row. Marin, Baya, and I headed over while Brian and Linc tackled the toddler bulldozers.
Unfortunately, Baya was too short—even with her hair puffed up. The teenage ride operator was stern and said “no exceptions to the rule.” Bummer. So, we quickly worked out a scheme for Baya to stay behind on the other side of the gate. (Sugar-filled promises were made.)
One of the great things about Dutch Wonderland is that there are never any lines. So, getting the top spot only required waiting for one spin around the track. Then, we were in!
Little did we know we’d be “in” for a while.
Boarding the car, two Boy Scouts in tie-die got a little jumpy, and one dropped his water bottle on the track. Our rule-following operator wouldn’t reach down and just grab it. Instead, she radioed maintenance per the standard procedure outlined in the manual she’d apparently memorized.
To say maintenance was slow getting there is an understatement. I’m not sure exactly how long it took, but I was bolted down with one nervous kid watching another on the other side of the gate with tears welling up (or looking like a little wacky.)
I should note that a super nice mom volunteered to stay with her until Brian arrived. (He did moments later and took her off to another ride.)
We then waited and waited and waited. It seemed like a long time.
The maintenance guy finally arrived and removed the bottle in less than a second. He then informed the teenager that she’d ruined his day and walked off. Now, I felt bad for her... but quickly got over it when she yelled at me to put my phone away.
Then, off we went! I only caught the first couple moments in this video so I'll just tell you. (Yes, I was afraid of getting in trouble with someone driving on a learner's permit.)
From the front car, the clicks are louder, the hills steeper, and the ride is faster. We screamed and laughed the whole way. Pulling back into the station, Marin said, “I think I left my stomach back there,”- precisely the feeling I was going for.