Of Roller Coasters and Looney Toons: California, Part 1

While I was living in Malaysia, my parents relocated to California. I was allowed to visit them once, and that was over three years ago.

With my new freedom, I prioritized a trip to see them. Our agenda included Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disneyland, some time at the beach, and the ability to hug my kitties from high school.

cat

Missy Kitty does not appreciate being picked up.
But I have been picking her up since she was a tiny kitten, so she lets me.
She and her brother will turn fourteen this Christmas.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

When I was younger, my family had season passes to Six Flags Over Texas. We would go often, and each time I would be sick for days afterwards. This was before diagnosis and before the realization of my severe salt wasting.

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Two (?) years before diagnosis with Adrenal Insufficiency.
I did have the diagnosis of hypoglycemia, so I was rocking the fanny pack with snacks.

We are much better prepared now. Trips to a theme park no longer make me sick for days. I am able to tackle them with increased cortisol, lots of salt tabs, a hat, and my own food.

 

Pro-tip

You CAN bring food into places where no outside food or water is allowed. You have a medical condition. It requires your own food.

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Through security with my backpack full of food and ready for some roller coasters!

In high school, we would drive from Arizona to California with the sole purpose of riding roller coasters for “Magic Mountain Turn Around Trips.” During one of those trips, I experienced a roller coaster unlike any I had ever ridden before. It was called X.

On this visit, I was determined to see if I had just dreamed that a roller coaster had chairs that would rotate a full 360 degrees WHILE flying through the track. Did such a thing exist? It did and it had been transformed into the X2. As soon as we were inside the park, we made a beeline for it.

 

Cortisol Pump + Roller Coasters

I prefer to not wear my cortisol pump on roller coasters. I normally supplement with extra oral medicine and unhook the pump right before I get on the roller coaster. My mom chose to be the designated holder of all items, which was greatly appreciated.

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My mom is not scared of roller coasters.
Her neck does not like the twists and turns.

 

Waiting + Water

Right as we were about to board X2, it broke down. I had already unhooked my pump and handed my water off to my mom.

I factored in enough medicine and water to ride the roller coaster. I did not factor in the repair time. It did not help that the employees could not tell me how long the roller coaster would be down for maintenance.

We were the very next people in line and did not want to give up our spots. We decided to wait, but I was apprehensive. I went over to my mom to fetch my water, and it was almost empty. I had already downed my entire bottle from waiting in line. I did not have a back up bottle and there was no water in sight.

I started to get a headache. This was a bad sign, and I knew I could not last much longer.

A few minutes later, the roller coaster was cleared to resume operation. It was even better than I remembered, but I could tell that I pushed myself a tad bit too far.

 

The Need to Rest

I was quickly approaching the danger zone of adrenal insufficiency. As soon as we got off the ride, I requested that we rest. This provided a perfect opportunity to eat lunch.

I took additional salt tabs, additional cortisol, and purchased a secondary liter of water. I also had the staff refill my water bottle. I was determined to not find myself in the same water-less situation ever again.

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Hats and sunglasses. Absolutely critical for being in the sun.

 

An Awful Ride

We did a combination of roller coasters, shows, and shops. While standing in line for Green Lantern: First Flight, I made the comment on how I don’t regret any roller coasters. You can stick me on any ride, and I will enjoy it.

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Silly us. We thought this ride would be fun!

I realized the stupidity of my previous statement as soon as I exited Green Lantern. I regretted that ride. It was not a fun ride. I bruised badly from the back of my legs hitting the bottom of the chair, and at one point my head whacked the back of the seat.

I do not recommend this roller coaster. We had to rest after this one as well.

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I do not recommend this ride.

After riding Green Lantern, my roller coaster buddy* and I became more picky about which rides were worthy of waiting in a line. The reality sank in that I am no longer in high school. I am a woman, in her late twenties, with several autoimmune diseases. I cannot hop on any ride. There will be consequences if I choose a bad ride, and these consequences will most likely be very painful.

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Chilling in front of the Batmobile after the Green Lantern knocked us around.

 

The Perfect Final Roller Coaster

With our new pickiness (and the realization that we are not as young as we once were), we did not want to waste any more time in lines of rides that were not worth it. We asked a park worker for his favorite ride. He recommended Tatsu.

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One of our favorite rides.

My roller coaster buddy and I decided to end our roller coaster riding adventures with Tatsu. It was perfect. It was comfortable, I had no bruises, and I was able to fly!

 

A Relaxing End

We started the day with an unbelievable roller coaster, why not end the day with another unbelievable roller coaster? We were content. To perfectly wrap up our day, headed over to the carousel.

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If you do not enjoy riding on the carousel, you are not a joyful human.

 

Why Roller Coasters?

To the outside world, my love of roller coasters seems counter intuitive.

I struggle with low blood pressure, so it is not uncommon for me to black out during the quick twists and turns.

I salt waste, so walking around all day in the heat can be a recipe for disaster if I do not plan appropriately.

I am not a fan of crowds, and yet I will spend over an hour in a line for a few minutes of thrill.

Why do I do it?

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Riding in the last car on Goliath.

For those few minutes, I am not Amber Nicole, who lives with several autoimmune diseases. I am not worrying about my medicine or my water or my food or my fatigue. I am Amber who can fly! I am free. I am safe. And I am Clearly Alive.

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End of the day and we’re all still smiling!

 

My Critique of the Roller Coasters

Name
Amber’s
Score
Notes
6/10
  • We had no line, which was awesome.
  • One of my favorites.
  • They have this same ride at 6 Flags Over Texas
5/10
  • This is California’s version of the Texas Titan.
  • There’s a helix in which you experience 4.5G’s. For me, it means I momentarily black out.
1/10
  • Not worth it.
  • Similar to X2 where the seats can rotate, except they rotate in an uncontrolled fashion.
  • I had bad bruises on the back of my legs.
  • I also hit the back of my head during the ride.
10/10
  • The entire ride, you’re face down, flying.
  • Incredibly comfortable seats.
  • Hands down, my favorite rollercoaster in the park.
7/10
  • The cars are able to rotate a full 360 degrees in a controlled fashion.
  • Enjoyed the music during the ride.
  • Due to the complex nature, X2 has a tendency to go down for maintenance. It would score higher if not for its unreliability.

*Astute observers might recognize my roller coaster buddy. He is an incredibly talented voice actor, and also a family friend. Check out his YouTube channel and his Facebook page. I challenge you to see if you can watch any of his videos without smiling.

Amber Nicole is Clearly Alive

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