Riding the Hulk

Yes I know.

I’ll probably get all kinds of disappointed visitors to the blog, now that I've chosen a title like that, but I really had to start somewhere.

You see, I’ve got all ‘verbally bunged up’ at the prospect of writing this little ‘Wot I Did on My Holidays’ post.

I think it reminds me too much of coming back to school in September and being forced to write an essay about the summers holidays, “… I went to the beach. I swam. I got some sand in the crack of my ass...” You know the sort of thing.

Anyway, we went to Orlando, Florida for two weeks on a holiday which veered heavily towards Theme Parks, Popular Culture and Eating Out. This was an extravagant splash-out for us, as a family, and it was a great success. I was nervous that my guys would find the whole theme park experience a little overwhelming but they lapped it all up and still wanted more.

As for me, I’ve always wanted to see them and now I have and I feel very satisfied and more than a little bit wiser as a result. In my younger days, I drove past the place in Anaheim, turned up my nose at it and carried on down the road to Hearst’s Castle. I've since occasionally wished that I hadn’t.

Operating on a ‘day-on-day-off’ schedule, we saw six different theme parks – one of them three times – and there were loads more I would like to have seen. But the nature of this type of holiday is that people queue up to tell you how you picked all the wrong parks and all the wrong rides and the way they did it was so much better than yours.

So not too much detail for now, I’m too jet-lagged and emotionally fragile to deal with the angst.

I’ll probably return to this holiday, in future posts, to perhaps try to say a little about how I found America to be on this, my second visit (the previous one lasted four months).

I’d also like to try to write a little about Disney in particular. Incidentally, thanks and kudos here to Henson Ray who did a great post garnered from his own vast theme park experience which I caught just as I was setting off for the park. Thanks mate!

But, for today… The Hulk. I’m sure you know that it’s a roller coaster in Universal’s ‘Islands of Adventure’ park.

I had never been on a Coaster of this magnitude and I wanted to do it. I expected to be fearful and sick, disoriented and dizzy. Still I wanted to do it, it was something I hadn’t done and I wanted to see what it felt like. (I seem to think like that, more and more these days.)

Some stats: 'The Hulk' is a 2.4 minute ride which reaches a top speed of 67 miles per hour, completes seven inversions and 2 underground trenches and has a max drop of 105 feet.

It’s green.

None of my family would venture on to it, so I set off myself to do it. A pilgrimage of sorts…

Actually that reminds me – in a water park called ‘Wet n Wild’, on a water slide called ‘The Black Hole’ an attendant handed me an inflatable dinghy and told me to carry it to the top of the stairs behind me. I found this to be a genuine quasi-religious experience. I won’t go into any more detail lest I offend some quasi-religious visitors but I think you know where I’m coming from.

So I went on 'The Hulk'.

I had to wait for one hour and ten minutes in heat that made me desire the ride on account of the possibility of it being breezy. I queued alongside a charming lady from New York via Brazil. She told me I had a cute accent and nice blue eyes (which was appreciated) but her entire family were in front of us so I don’t think she was actually hitting on me too hard.

Unlike most roller coasters, where you get dragged painfully slowly to a pinnacle and then get chucked off, 'The Hulk' points you upwards for the expected plod to the top… and then it shoots you as if out of a gun-barrel at a speed that goes from 0 to 40 in two seconds flat.

You are then thrown straight into an amazing series of twists, pools, dips and radical changes of direction. It is tremendously exciting and wildly exhilarating.

I loved it - every second of it.

But allow me to let you in on a little secret of Roller-coasters. I’m probably breaking some unspoken club rule here but what the hell.

It’s simply this – they are not as scary as they look. If you’re bold enough to get your ass in the seat, you will be rewarded by a pretty unique experience but you won’t be as terrified as you expect to be, not even close.

So now, I’m hooked!

Bring ‘em on!! I went on to ‘do’; ‘The Kracken’ in Sea World and ‘The Mummy Returns’ in Universal, as well as some more. I couldn’t do as many as I wanted to because my family kept demanding my return but, like the fella said in the Terminator 3D show at Universal…


…well, you know what the fella said.


Tam said...

Quodos on getting over you apprehensions and riding a big rollercoaster.

I hate the things myself. Will do them if I'm dragged on, but I typically spend the two minutes holding on as tight as possible and trying not to cry.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hey Ken,

I'm so disappointed....as great as roller coasters are, whitewater rivers are way more fun, the ride usually lasts several hours, and the experience is much more satisfying.

I would have welcomed the opportunity to have you and your family as my guests here in the mountains of North Carolina for a day or two of fun and wet n wild adventure. I would have comped your rafting and taken you and your family down the river myself.

We are only a short 10 hour drive north of Orlando. Very doable, and you would have had a chance to show your family a different side of the US than Theme Park Land in central Florida, which is really a universe all unto itself.

At least if I knew you were here, I could have given you a call or maybe even taken a couple days off and driven down to meet you and maybe do some of the more adventurous coasters with you.

Next time you come over this way, call me, Mate.


Ken Armstrong said...

Yes Tam, I knew a gal like that once... :)

Hey Matt, I feel all bad now! Don't be disappointed - this trip was planned for a long time with another family and my opportunities for escapades outside the itinerary were practically zero (which, in all honestly was pretty ok with me as I love the exclusive family time).

But, never fear, I may be back there again soon on more of a business trip and we'll see if we can't paddle into each other...

... emmmm, is it just me or does that last bit sound a bit dubious? :D

Ken Armstrong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

A bit dubious........:)

I'm with Tam....I hate the bloody things. I haven't been on one for a zillion years, and you could not pay me enough to get on one. Horrible monsters. :(

Ken Armstrong said...

So, Nicole... you're with Tam now...

(Ken's upper lip quivered, almost betraying the depth of his emotions but his Secret Service training held him in good stead as he refused to buckle under this devastating revelation.)

I wish you both... joy. I'm going out now, I may be some time...

Anonymous said...

As I read this, I got so dizzy. rofl. I hate roller coaster since I have such a huge fear of heights, but it never fails my husband drags me kicking and screaming onto them.

Now I know to avoid the Hulk at all cost.

I am glad you had fun :)

Kat Mortensen said...

I too am with Tam and Nicole. I'm what they call over here (and probably where you are as well, come to think of it) a BIG CHICKEN!!!

In 1975 my folks took me to Disney World and I chickened out on Space Mountain. If you think you could ever pay me enough to ride what you have just described, you'd be sadly mistaken. I think a voyage on the Titanic would be preferable.

Glad to hear you had a wonderful holiday this side of the pond. Too bad you didn't make it to Wonderland here in Southern Ontario - we have our share of BIG SCARY RIDES as well.



Anonymous said...

Well, Ken, Tam may not be aware of this, but yes, I agree with Tam.


Rachel Fox said...

Personally I find the bus into town quite terrifying enough at times.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Ken, welcome back. When I was a kid, I rode one of the ferris wheel at the circus and they had to stop the machine when I was way up because I was crying and clinging on for dear life.

From then on, I never attempted to be in any of those rides. I easily get motion sickness.

What I would like to do is to go sky-diving! That would be an exhilirating experience I'm sure.
I won't give up on that dream just yet, perhaps someday, I will be able to do it.

Hi Matt, we have also water rafting in the Chico river back in the mountains (Kalinga Apayao) where I once lived. Tourists say it's one of the best river for rafting.

Ken, your vacation is well deserved. Thanks for sharing.

Btw, forgive me if I'm naive but when someone says your eyes are beautiful is it "hitting" ??? Perhaps it's just a sort of greeting for them? (he he he,,,,)

Cheers and happy blogging!

hope said...

Okay, may it's a girl thing or a bad experience, but I don't get in the roller coaster line either. :)

When I was 15, I let a group talk me into riding the largest roller coaster [then] in the state. The problem was at the time my 5'1" frame weighed a mere 99 lbs. soaking wet. [I miss that little framework, she sighed nostalgically while trying to embrace the um... fuller curves of her adulthood]. Even though we had the lock bar across our laps, every time we went down, I popped UP in my seat. After the first downhill plunge, I spent the whole time with the boy behind me pushing down on my shoulders to keep me in my seat. I got off and never looked back.

And yet I felt a bit sad when they tore the danged thing down a couple of years ago...like my brief badge of courage was a distant memory, falling in a heap next to my old 99 lbs. physique, may they rest in peace. :p

yoo hoo said...

Oh, I scream like a little girl when I'm on those things, which as I've grown older, the riding has become less frequent. I always offer to be the purse holder or assorted things that don't need to be spun off of a roller coaster.

Anonymous said...

Ken said:"So, Nicole... you're with Tam now...

(Ken's upper lip quivered, almost betraying the depth of his emotions but his Secret Service training held him in good stead as he refused to buckle under this devastating revelation.)

I wish you both... joy. I'm going out now, I may be some time..."


Well, um, yes, but don't tell Tam. ;)

Matthew S. Urdan said...


You tease....

Now you have to make good on your promise. Don't worry, your phrase doesn't sound dubious to whitewater professionals....whitewater is the only sport where men can wear a skirt and still be men. Kind of like kilts, I guess, but different....


Jim Murdoch said...

There are certain things in this life that no matter how much you prettify them up with colourful language, no matter how enthusiastic you get about said activities, no matter how much evidence you pile in front of me or money you offer me they are never going to make sense to me or persuade me to let go of what little common sense I still have and risk life and limb even for 2 and a bit minutes of excitement. I can get that by putting on AC/DC, turning the volume up to 11 and watching my wife's face as I play my air guitar in the living room.

Ken Armstrong said...

"...Colourful Language..." eh Jim?

I'll have that as a positive blog review! :)

As for this you and this 'air guitar' business - it's 'The Incredible Hulk' all over again, I think.

Matt - a potential bumper-sticker there, I think. Something along the lines of 'White water rafters like it up their skirts' or 'I can, Canoe?'

Matthew S. Urdan said...

LOL...I like: I can, Canoe?

Make sure you check out my blog Saturday -- Probably the most important and significant post I've ever made as a blogger!


CelloBella said...

Well it looks like it's just you and me on The Hulk...

It was a GREAT ride. Recommend you go in the middle of winter (temps around 26 C) because the queues are practically non-existant.

We went on The Hulk (twice), the Fire Dragon (or was it the Ice?) and the droppy one. And we got soaking wet on the Toon watery one.

Of course the gentler rides as well - Loved Jurassic Park and even the Seuss rides.

But then you get the picture - I like rollercoasters - especially those heavy duty ones where you are so strapped in and the engineering feels as solid as anything.

White water rafting is great too... if you have a wet suit. :)

Carrie Berry said...

No, no, no... they ARE every bit as scary as they look. I have been on two wooden roller coasters with my ex: The Rebel Yell at King's Dominion, VA and the Rocket at Ocean View Amusement Park in Norfolk. I was tricked into the first one, thinking it was another ride and the second time I went more or less willingly - it was kind of a cute looking ride. Believe me, the AC/DC air guitar is looking much better by comparison.

Tam said...

I knew a gal like that too Ken.

Come to think of it, had to queue for an hour and ten minutes, might have been the same gal?

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hey I was responding to comments on my ABBA post as you were commenting on it....Once again--that connection across the great pond.....

tashabud said...

It sounds like you had a great time. The first and last major coaster I've been on was at the space mountain. I've never been on a roller coaster before that. I screamed the entire time, and probably didn't breathe the entire time either. I think I destroyed my husband's eardrums. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.

Pam Nash said...

Jurassic Park ride at Universal Hollywood....I had to go on a second time to collect my stomach that had dropped out the first time.

And then I went on a third and a fourth time. It was January - no kids there to speak of.

Epic :)