Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Book: America's Top Roller Coasters & Amusement Parks

Pete Trabucco has written a book aimed at two audiences; those who ride roller coaster and those who fear roller coasters. I have already read the entire book so let's look at the second group first.

When people who love roller coasters want to go riding with their friends, it can be somewhat overwhelming at first. Your normal coaster enthusiast wants to jump on all the big rides right away, to beat the lines, while their friend(s) are still working up the nerve to take on the milder rides. As a general observation of life, "Common sense isn’t so common," and the excitement of being back in the park with someone you want to share a ride with can overcome their reluctance and totally ruin their day. However, if someone spends an hour in the car saying "I’m not sure I want to go upside down" and then rides Raptor with your best friend while you're at the restroom, maybe they are ready to be pushed. (Carol's note: Good grief, will you ever get over this? I just wanted to not seem like a wimp to your friend. We rode it together later again that day.)

Pete has segregated coasters into the easy, more intense, big-time rides, and 'what were they thinking of when they designed this' categories in various parks. He has good advice about how far to push people, especially children, and offers various anecdotes to illustrate his points. One thing he doesn't stress is that kiddie coasters have riding stock designed for the smaller set, and people who are all arms and legs above 54" tall can bang said appendages on every piece of hardware in the car. The tolerances are tight, so be warned. Various parks' coasters are discussed and a general order of how to introduce newbees to each park is laid out to make it easier to plan their education.

The other target audience is not so well served. It appears the book was begun in 2002 and recently finished according to his talking about his daughter's age. Unfortunately things that were fact in 2002 are no longer true but the text doesn't reflect this, and some of the very old historical items are also incorrect, but that won't matter to anyone who is not a historian or coaster geek. The amusement industry is changing so fast with parks opening and closing in less than a season, anything written last year can be hopelessly out of date!

In conclusion, this is a book that allows various audiences to take away the parts of the book that appeal to them, and leave what they don't like alone. It can be ordered through the publisher's website, Tate Publishing at this link. ~Scott