Can’t Travel? Live Vicariously Lor: Rollercoasters Edition
In this Live Vicariously series, we’ll visit some of the world’s top places as seen through the eyes of other travellers and help you plan for future holidays like a true kan cheong Singaporean.
“I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do and I can’t travel” is probably one of the main Singaporean sentiments right now, judging by the number of people we’ve heard this from over the past few weeks.
Of course, this is a 100% First World Problem. But there is some scientific backing to justify that feeling: Heading off on an adventure and stepping outside your physical or mental comfort zone has been proven to help boost happiness levels, conquer fears and equip people with the skills to keep anxiety and depression at bay.
Which means it’s important to keep seeking out different sensations and stimulation even when you can’t travel, because it’s good for you.
One shortcut to hitting that natural high is riding a rollercoaster (fun fact: The first American rollercoaster was actually developed as a way to draw people away from hedonistic amusements like visiting bars and brothels). There’s the visceral feel of being thrown about; the joy of whooshing along the rails; the uncertainty of not knowing when you’ll hit the peak point; that moment when you feel your stomach in your throat as you plunge down the circuit.
But if you don’t want to fork out on a season pass to ride the Battlestar Galactica at Resorts World Sentosa’s Universal Studios, why not live vicariously through coaster heads around the world with these stomach-churning videos of some of the world’s most interesting rollercoaster rides? You won’t just feel genuinely mabok, you can also build your theme park bucket list for when we can all start travelling again.
Once upon a time, this rollercoaster in Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland amusement park was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world.
But while it’s been overtaken by other height and speed monsters, nothing can replace the awesome view of Mount Fuji that you get from the ride on a clear day.
This video by Aussie YouTubers Our Worlds captures the view perfectly:
Recently though, Fujiyama hit the headlines for something else - encouraging rollercoaster riders to “scream inside their heart” instead of out loud, in view of COVID-19 infection risk.
To, um, spread the message, Fuji-Q Highland released this hilarious video of two of its top executives solemnly riding Fujiyama in masks, which has since sparked a #seriousfacechallenge on social media, of people filming themselves trying to get through a rollercoaster ride without screaming:
HOLLYWOOD RIP RIDE ROCKIT
Take a ride with Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit in Universal Studios Florida.
One of the world’s biggest coasters, this is also one of the world’s most interactive, with cameras mounted on each row and LED lighting. Riders can use a built-in touchscreen at each seat to select the music that they hear during the ride, from an aptly curated selection of hits that includes Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive" to Finger Eleven’s "Paralyzer".
Of course, you won’t be able to do that by watching the video, but you can listen to Hart scream...
At 118 years old, this wooden rollercoaster is probably older than your grandmother. It opened in 1902 and is the world’s longest-surviving coaster, operating in Pennsylvania’s Lakemont Park.
Leap-The-Dips travels at just 10 miles per hour (compare that with the world’s fastest coaster, Abu Dhabi’s Formula Rossa, which has a top speed of 149.1 mph!), which sounds leisurely at first...until you find out that this rickety train has no seatbelts, lap bars or headrests.
Take a ride with specialist rollercoaster reviewer East Coaster General’s ride here:
Incredibly, while it was built over a century ago, Leap-The-Dips is still inspiring innovations today. Elon Musk’s proposed Loop traffic system - which can be used to move vehicles underground via an elevator and speedily transport them on a track to their destination - apparently takes a tip or two from the coaster’s technology.