If you have read this blog from the beginning, you will know that my goal was to go to Disney with my kids and ride the rides with them, which up to this point I have never been able to do.  I stood at the bottom of the ride, held all of the bags and drinks and paper and maps and tickets and waited for my wife and kids to return from the ride.  If you have been reading this you will also know that we are a big football family.  My son has started Tackle Football (Go Falcons!) for the first time in his life and I currently play semi-pro football (Go Knights!). So we had a family meeting and we decided that we would POSTPONE DISNEY until Spring Break of 2012.  (So Grammy if you are reading this — get ready for April 1st, 2012).

In the meantime, the family decided that we could take a day and go to Carowinds which is a local Charlotte Amusement Park.  I figured a few things: 1. That it would be a great proving ground for Disney. 2. That at just over 300 lbs. I should be able to ride a roller coaster. (I have seen tons of men who are well over 300 lbs. in my estimation go on those rides…

So — with all of this in mind — I went on THE INTIMIDATOR!

I would like to start by saying that the Rider Safety Guide for the ride lists several warnings.  Before I lost weight, I would venture to say that I qualified for all of the warnings except maybe the “Don’t ride if pregnant or possibly pregnant”.

The first thing was to see if I was “thin enough” to ride it.  They have a seat at the front of the ride.  You sit in it and see if you can get it to lock, if you can you are able to ride it, if you cannot then you are too fat to ride.  It is something to ask the children climbing all over the seat to please move so that I could try it.  Then in front of everyone waiting to go on the ride and everyone waiting for someone to get off of the ride, you get into this chair and see if you qualify.  How totally embarrassing.  But my kids did not seem to care — they wanted me to go on the ride with them — so I sat in the chair.  I will mention that it was very snug but it did latch.  High Fives all around.

My wife stayed behind — my son, his friend, my daughter and I all trotted off down to wait in the line.  We got through very quickly. We had decided that my son and his friend would sit in the front and my daughter and I behind them.  The cars came in quickly and everyone got out.  We jumped into our seats.  We closed the bar over us.  Click, Click, Click — and then CLUNK — mine latched… whew… The people working there checked all of us and made sure no one was carrying a fake leg that might fly off and kill someone.  A buzzer sound went off and we were about to go… The guy in the booth suddenly started waving… One of the women that worked there (I am sure on Summer Break from College) went over to the booth… They talked and she turned and looked at me… Oh God, I thought, here it comes.  She walked over to me, she put her hands on the bar in front of me and leaned over.  I was sure this was the part when she would whisper — I am sorry fat man but it just isn’t going to happen.” Instead she pushed the bar really hard down towards my feet.  A giant CLICK sound happened. She turned to the booth and the guy waved.  She stepped back and suddenly we were gone….

I am not sure how it happened but within seconds we were close to 300 ft. in the air.  I lost consciousness for some time.  I remember feeling like we had made a turn and were suddenly facing down to the earth below.  I opened my eyes and I felt myself rising out of my seat. I saw the ground below and I was pretty sure this must be what it feels like when you fall out of an airplane.  The ground was coming closer and closer… Just as we were about to hit terra firma, we swooned to our left and I slammed against my seat.  Now suddenly floating again.  I thought to myself, the bar has fallen away and I am going to fall to my death.  I felt my daughter’s hand grab mine and I heard her say, “Let’s both just close our eyes, Dad”. I closed my eyes and felt the sensation of floating, then being slammed against my seat, then tilt left, now tilt right.  How long will this ride go on…..????  The words Aggressive Thrill and LEVEL 5 floated through my mind.  Then “People with Heart Problems… ” Then “Not recommended for individuals who have had recent surgery…”  I had recent surgery!  I had recent surgery! No. No, actually I did not.  Oh Oh — this has to be over 80 mph! My eyes are shut… My eyes are shut!

Whiz, Bang, POW!  Suddenly it was over.  There we were sitting at the end while people yelled for us to get out of our chairs so the next people could get in….

I felt sick for about 30 minutes.  I still think — Never again!  What was I thinking??? You can see by the picture that my daughter and I have our eyes closed… Closed tight…

So it was fun.  It was a thrill. It was educational… And it makes me sick to my stomach to even write this!

  1. Shonnie says:


    I so loved your post today. I giggled and giggled reading it. I have no desire to ride those rides, I hate amuesment parks and ONLY go for my children. I gladly hold the stuff and wish them well. I will ride a “FEW” rides and sometimes swear that I am going to hurt them all for tricking me into getting on those few rides. My kids and hubby did that to me at Universal Studio’s — OH man was I flipin out with a couple of those rides. I was full on screaming in our photos. The Spider Man ride — OH help me. hehe!

    I so loved the picture of you and your daughter with your eyes closed. Takes me back. 😀 Can’t wait to read your account of Disney. hahaha!

  2. Mike Wilson says:

    Congrats on being able to do something you could not before. Milestones are great–except in this case where you hated it (still great that you got to do it tough). 😉 I like the roller coasters just fine. It is the things that spin around that make me sick.

    • It is not the roller coaster for me, it is the thought that I might weigh too much and plunge to my death. I guess it is irrational but it is there. I would not mind the spin around things either — I hope that if I lose another 50 lbs. that all of it will go away.

  3. So glad you did it – and survived it! I’m not crazy about roller coasters. But you came and you conquered! The rides at Disneyland will be a lot more fun, I think.

  4. just3rin says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I LOVE roller coasters, but this year when I went to Six Flags with my daughter, I could only handle a few at a time. I guess, in my case, age is having the largest impact on my ability to stay nausea-free. Glad you could enjoy (kinda) it with your kids though! Disney will be a LOT easier, that’s for sure (nothing that fast really there)

  5. cookieless says:

    Oh! I certainly know the terror of those horror traps. Congrats on getting though it and obtaining a lovely picture for history’s sake!

  6. I love that picture. Three terrified people and one person thrilled to be on the ride.

    It reminds me of me and my sister growing up and hitting amusement parks. My dad hated the rides. I always wanted to go on them and then hated them but my sister would giggle and squeal with delight on any ride.

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