A ride within a ride: Roller coasters on film


Since starting PSA, I’ve noticed that I now find myself looking at my life more in terms of how it pertains to pop culture. It’s funny when you realize that everything we do has probably been done in a movie or TV show, because art reflects life and vice versa. This was evident in my latest trip to NYC, when I visited Washington Square Park for the first time and suddenly remembered how many movies had featured the iconic spot. Well, it happened again last night.

I took my sister to Dorney Park for some last minute sisters-only time. We’re moving her in for her sophomore year of college on Sunday and because she spends every waking moment with her boyfriend, I don’t really feel like I even saw her all that much this summer. So we got there around 5 p.m. and after waiting an hour for a storm to pass, we finally got on our first ride.

I am a huuuuuge roller coaster enthusiast. If I don’t ride something at least once over the summer, I feel incomplete. I’m in love with the adrenaline rush and there is nothing I won’t try. I scream, not because I’m scared but because it’s just fun to shriek at the top of your lungs. When the ride is over and we’re slowly moving back into the loading station, I swing my feet and giggle maniacally. I love thrill rides because for those very short moments, we’re allowed to throw inhibition to the wind and just be. And I choose to be free and giddy and child-like—don’t even get me started on Disney World.

Because we went a) at night, b) on a Thursday so close to the start of the school year, and c) right after a thunderstorm, there were barely any lines. We flew through the best ones in just a couple hours. Dorney is also pretty small, especially when compared to Six Flags Great Adventure which is where I spent my childhood (we only lived 15-20 minutes away from it when I was in 3rd-8th grade). Anyway, as we were walking from ride to ride, I started thinking about moments in film that featured amusement park rides. I came up with four that I know well. See if you recognize them.

Final Destination 3

Easily the most obvious. I don’t even watch these movies and I knew this scene. As unrealistic as it may be, it’s still a frightening concept that something like this could happen. After all, a woman did just lose her life in Texas due to a faulty safety restraint last month.

Despicable Me

Let’s think happy thoughts after that last … how about a trip to Super Silly Fun Land? If you concentrate, you can trick your brain and feel like you’re actually riding with Gru and the girls. Plus I never get sick of Agnes’ little voice. “He’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!”


Before Pleasantville and Cruel Intentions, Reese Witherspoon starred in Fear when she was 20. Her 16-year-old character, Nicole, strikes up a relationship with a then-25-year-old Mark Wahlberg (I forget how old David is). Well, David is the jealous type and he gets violent when she tries to break up with him. See, things were going so well. I mean, he got her off while riding a coaster, because, why not. (How’s that for a visual metaphor?) Set to The Sundays’ “Wild Horses,” I kept picturing Buffy and Angel dancing at prom. And is it just me or was Marky Mark really unattractive when he was younger?

Boy Meets World

Classic scene. Then again, every Boy Meets World scene is a classic to true fans. This show never gets old or boring. Expect a Cory and the gang appreciation post sometime in the future, probably when more news about Girl Meets World starts circulating. Anyway, Cory and Mr. Feeny are sick of being predictable fuddy-duddies and decide to ride a coaster together. Eric and Mr. Turner show up to try to talk them out of it. Hilarity ensues.

For good measure, here are two scenes that involve Ferris Wheels.
Just ‘cause.

Mighty Joe Young was my first date—I was in fifth grade and I failed miserably in not letting him see me cry.


And the pièce de résistance, I found this 1977 gem on YouTube.
Old movie trailers always crack me up. Check out the crash scene!

Are you familiar with the above films? Can you think of any others?


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