Underwater Programming Laboratories
Warning: Don not attempt to perform or recreate any of the activities or actions in this story. Riding an amusement ride/attraction may expose you to forces or experiences beyond what you are capable of safely mentally or physically withstanding. Always observe and follow posted warnings and restrictions before riding any ride/attrition and always follow all instructions given by ride/attraction operators.
Maximizing the experience
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
Some people have asked me don’t I get bored riding the same ride over and over. If I was the only rider on the train, there were no other guests in the queue, and the crew did not interact with me then yes, it would be boring. In reality it is the opposite. The interactions I have had with the crew and guests have made it more than just sitting on a coaster all day. Everything I would learn about Yukon striker I would pass on to the crew and other guests.
The first thing I figured out was mitigating the effects of the G forces in some of the elements. When in the single rider queue, I was talking with a guest and he mentioned having issues with getting lightheaded on some of the coasters from the G forces. I let him know that I have experienced the same thing and offered my solution to the problem. We ended up sitting side by side on the same train and when we were part way through the vertical loop I could hear him loudly saying “It’s working”. When we got back to the final break run, he thanked me and said it made the ride more enjoyable.
If I noticed the riders next to me appeared comfortable leaving the station, I would ask them how brave they were and if they wanted to maximize the drop experience. If they were interested I would give them some tips. The number one tip is to not raise your arms up like on other coasters. Yukon Striker uses a vest restraint that comes over the shoulder and down the front of a rider’s torso to the lap bar. By raising their arms, they will press against the top of the vest and reduce the amount they can float on the way down the vertical drop. Another tip is to relax and let gravity do its thing when it pauses after going over the brink. I have found by placing my arms and legs in just the right position I could feel myself free falling all the way down to the pullout at the bottom without feeling any contact with the seat or restraint. I shared this with a father and daughter in the final break run after their first ride on Yukon Striker and they said they would give it a try. I saw the father later that day waving at me from the row one queue. He told me that they had tried my suggestion and it worked.
On another day I asked a rider again if he was brave. He said sure so I gave him some tips. He tried it and loved it. He asked me how many times I had ridden it and I let him know. In the final break run I also let him know how to make it feel like he was going down the drop head first and he said he would give it a try. Later that day while going up the lift, I looked over and the same rider was sitting beside me. He looked over, saw me, looked back at his friends and started shouting “It’s the guy, it’s the guy”. When we went over the brink, he looked at me, said watch this, and then did what I suggested to make it feel like he was falling head first down the drop.
For riders that have been on it before and wanted to try something new I would suggest things like how focusing on a single spot on the horizon after coming out of the first inversion lets them really notice the 180 degree roll over. I even discovered a mind-blowing trick in the negative G roll for riders in the far left seats just by changing where my focus was during the roll.
I found the speed of the trains vary throughout the day. The train runs faster the heavier they weigh. Around dinner time some families with children start to leave the park which means fewer lighter riders on the trains. Fewer lighter riders will mean more weight on the trains and the difference is noticeable if you are paying attention. The trains power through the elements when they are heavier.
The more I interacted with other riders, the more the count was becoming just a number and less a gauge of how my day was going. Making a connection with people was in the here and now and sometimes more interesting. Switching places was becoming common place. Another rider asked if I could switch from the front row to row two so they could sit in the front. I didn’t hesitate. Sometimes riders can’t figure out the seatbelt release so I would unbuckle them as I walked along the row on my way off the platform. A few crew members have commented to me that they have seen me doing it and thank me for helping out. Rarely a guest will squish themselves tightly when they pull the restraint down. This is referred to as stapling. This can cause the restraint to not release unless it is pushed down further. I have helped a few of these poor souls out by giving a good push on the restraint on my way by.
I would give the crew updates on guest items I would spot on the catwalks or other parts of the track. Car keys, a pen, flip flops, and a set of ear buds in their case to name a few. Some funny items were mini chocolate bars under the breaks in the final break run and a few coins on the cat walk in the final break run. I was looking at them while the train was waiting to enter the station and I heard another rider call out about them saying that sitting right there is a recipe for a Final Destination movie. A bunch of us laughed.
The crew would regularly welcome me back when I would show up for my first dive of the day. One morning while sitting in the front row waiting for the first ride of the day, I heard “Good morning sir” over the platform speakers. I looked over at the operator’s booth and the operator was looking straight at me smiling. At the end of each day I would take the time to stop and say good night to each crew member as I headed out for the night. They would usually ask for an update on the daily and total count and I would let them know.