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The Thrill of the Ride: Why We Love or Hate Roller Coasters

Martin Lewison
Wikimedia Commons
The Outlaw at Adventureland, the newest coaster in the park which was installed in 1993

Adventureland hasn’t put in a new roller coaster since the Outlaw in 1993, but that’s changing next summer when the park will debut their newest coaster, “The Monster.”

The log ride was first constructed in 1974, and its time to retire it. Rides don't last forever. - Molly Vincent

After more than 20 years since they put in their newest roller coaster in the park, Spokeswoman Molly Vincent says it was time. “The Monster” will replace the beloved log ride.

“The Log Ride was first constructed in 1974, and it's time to retire it,” says Vincent. “Rides don’t last forever. There were two Log Rides built, and when the other one was retired 20 years ago, we bought all the parts. We don’t want to happen to the Log Ride what happened to the Silly Silo where we ran it until it wouldn’t go anymore.”

The new coaster is being built in Germany and will be transported by sea and then by semi-truck to Altoona.  

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Vincent about the new roller coaster. Adam Sandy, who works with the company who designed the ride; Tom Schrier, who studies amusement parks as an assistant professor at Iowa State University, and psychologist Zlatan Krizan also join the conversation.

Krizan says that there’s a reason some people love roller coasters and a reason some people don’t.

Some people have a preference for uncertainty, which is critical to understanding the differences between personalities... Riding roller coasters is one expression of that. - Zlatan Krizan

“Physically it can be a very distressing activity, just anticipating the roller coaster ride has a degree of excitement. There’s this idea that novel activities can bring danger but also excitement. Some people have a preference for uncertainty, which is critical to understanding the differences between personalities.”

He says people who like roller coasters are actually much more likely to work as emergency responders, social workers, police officers and psychologists.

“People who enjoy roller coasters have a muted response to stress,” he explains. “Riding roller coasters in one expression of that." 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa