Why Are Roller Coasters So Awesome?
Why Are Roller Coasters So Awesome?

CRAIG BENZINE: So, here we
are, Six Flags Great America, doing some thrill-seeking. This ride is kind of scary,
but mostly due to my fear of fiberglass horses. Maybe we can find something
a little more thrilling. Can someone help me down? I’ve ridden roller
coasters all my life, and they’ve kind of lost
their thrill for me. But the fine folks at
Six Flags Great America have invited me to try out
their newest, largest, fastest, and steepest roller coasters
in a valiant attempt to rekindle my love for
these awesome thrill rides. But what is it about
roller coasters? Why do we like them so much? There are a couple
different reasons. CRAIG BENZINE (VOICEOVER):
This is David Zald, professor of psychology and psychiatry
at Vanderbilt University and expert on fear. But he’s not a
scary guy himself. He’s actually quite nice. One of them is actually the
perceptual experience itself, that sensation of going fast. There’s something very
exhilarating about it. Some of it’s the
mastery experience. I can do this. I can face this fear. And I can do this in a way
that I believe is nevertheless safe enough to accomplish this. When else do I get to go
falling at this sort of speed, hurtling towards the
Earth, going upside down through the air? That’s not something
I can typically do without getting really injured. But here’s a place I can do it. I can see other
people survive it. I can do it. I can then say, I did that. I can have that rush
of exhilaration, both from the
perceptual experience of things flying by
me really quickly and being able to come off that
and be like, yes, I did it. I mastered that. Bring on the next thing. CRAIG BENZINE
(VOICEOVER): The origins of the modern-day roller coaster
can be traced all the way back to 17th century Russia. Back then, large,
ice-covered ramps were constructed for
people to slide down with either wooden
sleds or blocks of ice. Some of these ice slides could
reach heights of 70 to 80 feet. Despite the inherent
danger, the Russian ice slides enjoyed a
widespread popularity. To this day, the term
for “roller coaster” in several different
languages actually translates to
“Russian mountains.” At some point, someone
hit upon the idea of getting rid of
the ice entirely and adding a track to the
ramp and wheels to the sled. Some sources say the renowned
Russian monarch Catherine the Great had the first roller
coaster constructed in St. Petersburg during her reign. However, others say the
first roller coaster was the Russian Mountains
of Belleville, constructed in Paris in 1817. Ever since then, roller
coaster designers have been creating larger,
faster, and more innovative roller coasters. And to this day,
roller coasters remain one of the most
popular attractions at the world’s amusement parks. CRAIG BENZINE: How many roller
coasters have you ridden? I’ve ridden 408. 408 different roller coasters? Different roller coasters
throughout this country. I have yet to go overseas. Goliath was my 400th. CRAIG BENZINE
(VOICEOVER): This is Jeff Peters, regional
representative for American Coaster Enthusiasts, a group
of more than 5000 members who share a lifelong
passion for roller coasters. If he can’t stoke the lifeless
cockles of my roller coaster heart, no one can. So what’s so darn special
about the Goliath? The Goliath broke three world
records when it was built. It is the tallest, steepest,
fastest wooden coaster in the country and in
the world, I guess. CRAIG BENZINE
(VOICEOVER): It has a 180 foot, 85 degree
drop with a top speed of 72 miles an hour. I’ve rode roller coasters,
like, my whole life. I’m a little jaded. Is this going to impress me? Yes. It is definitely– it’s
not your old standard ride. If you look at the
older wooden coasters, they had a different style,
the way they were braced and the way that
they were built. This is kind of
the cutting edge. This is the new way
of building things. And it’s very impressive. So let’s ride the
roller coaster. OK, cool. That sounds good. ANNOUNCER: Prepare for Goliath. First, store all loose items. Shoes must be worn on the ride. Take your seat, and fasten the
belt tightly around your waist. SPEAKER 1: You ready, Craig? I’m ready. SPEAKER 1: Excited? Yes. This is going to be awesome. ANNOUNCER: Get ready
to battle Goliath. First drop looks very intense. I’m glad I didn’t have
any breakfast today. The anticipation– OK. Here we go. JEFF PETERS: We’re going
to be going straight down. [SCREAMS] DR. DAVID ZALD: So
there does seem to be– and it’s sort of
ironic, because you would think most people
would want to avoid things that cause fear. One of the reasons that
people seek this out is that it takes us out of our
normal, day to day existence. People feel totally
there in the moment. You’re not thinking
about other things. When you’re going down
that roller coaster or even up that roller
coaster, you’re not sitting there thinking, oh, I
need to do laundry tomorrow. But that’s actually
a really strong draw, that sense of being totally
in the moment, in the flow. There’s nothing else
you’re attending to. And if it takes being afraid to
get to that sort of situation, then that’s enough. JEFF PETERS: I guess it’s
like the adrenaline rush. It’s the feeling that you’re
kind of like on the edge, but you’re always
going to come back. You look at some of the
rides and think, OK, well, I don’t know if I’m really
going to be OK on this. But you’re always
going to come back. It’s just that kind of
the fine line there, just riding the edge. That’s a good way to
wake up in the morning. Yeah, I want to
go on that again. Who needs coffee? Exactly. So do you like roller coasters? What’s your favorite
thrill ride? Let us know in the comments. What’s your favorite
thrill ride, Matt? I like the swing set,
the kind that’s open, open-ended swing set. Not the kind that belts you in. Not so thrilling. Last week, we asked you
if you liked being afraid or if you’re a thrill seeker. And you said things at us. And we’re going to respond
to them, the things you said. Samramdebest and
a number of you pointed out that you
don’t like horror movies. And, you know, I don’t really
like horror movies either, not because I’m afraid–
just because they’re usually pretty stupid. But some of you don’t watch
them because you’re afraid, and that’s one of the
interesting aspects of fear. Some fears are universal–
fear of heights to some degree, fear of loud noises. But there are a lot of fears
that are learned over time and different for
each individual. For example, I really
like roller coasters, but it turns out
some people don’t. And we’re going to be actually
talking a little bit about that in the next video. So stick around and
watch it and stuff. Nic [INAUDIBLE] said that
being afraid of flying isn’t the same feeling as
being afraid of a scary movie, and there should really be
separate words for these fears. This is a good point,
although I think we actually do have different
words for these fears. Fear of flying is
more like a phobia, while being afraid of a scary
movie is more of a thrill. Both experiences
generate similar amygdala and physical responses. That’s why they fall into
the category of fear. However, with phobias,
the end result is usually a
negative experience, while thrills can be fun. I think the difference
with thrills is that there’s an added
level of safety or control. So if you’re watching a scary
movie, part of your brain knows it’s just a movie. And if you’re a rock
climber, confidence in your knowledge
and your skills makes you feel like you’re
in control of the situation. In the case of a phobia
like a fear of flying, you don’t have that sense
of control or safety. So you’re just left with the
unpleasant elements of fear. Not CJ commented that he’s
a big fan of free climbing. And the height and the
precariousness of the situation is thrilling and it
makes him feel alive. Though he also pointed out that
he finds it odd that some of us live in a world where we
seek out dangerous situations in order to feel alive. This is an interesting
point, and I would wager that people who
have constant actual danger in their lives might not want
to seek out extra danger. Being able to enjoy activities
like horror films or rock climbing or a friendly
game of tractor chicken, like in “Footloose,”
are a privilege that not everyone can get. Finley Atkinson
and [INAUDIBLE] 22 noticed that there are two
“Where the Wild Things Are” books in David Zald’s office. We asked him what
was going on there. Yes, there’s actually
two different books. It turns out he collects them
in many different languages. He currently owns copies
in English, Hebrew, Welsh, Italian, French,
Spanish, and Korean. I guess he really likes
“Donde Viven Los Monstruos.” Chris O’Donnell, acclaimed
actor and transformer, writes, “If you ever
want to learn science from two adorable garden
gnomes on YouTube, The Good Stuff is for you. Aw, shucks, Chris. Thank you. We’ve been cultivating
this look for a while now. I think we’re doing a good job. Mmm-hmm. Next week, we’re
going to help Sam overcome his fear of heights. And we’re also–
maybe we’ll try to get him to look
like a gnome too. I think that is the cure,
right– the solution? Yeah. Gnomes are fearless,
bold, beautiful. Small. Gnomes.

100 thoughts on “Why Are Roller Coasters So Awesome?”

  1. Gina Murgatroyd says:

    This was so well done! And I do love roller coasters!

  2. Biblo V1 says:

    i like the leviathon at canadas wonderland

  3. Tyler Lofgren says:

    I love roller coasters, but my favorite ride has to be the Tower of Doom (and similar variants).

  4. CGlacia says:

    I really, really hate going down hills on coasters that only have lap harnesses- I feel like I'm going to fly out. Which means I get freaked out on almost every coaster at Walt Disney World except for the Aerosmith one at Hollywood Studios (because it has over-the-shoulder harnesses).

  5. One Track Mind says:

    If you hate roller coasters, then I hate you.

  6. arman chermakyan says:

    I don't like roller coasters with those types of harnesses. It makes me think that I'm going to fly out any second. But I could go on roller coasters that have those harnesses that go over your shoulder. Then I won't get nervous as much. But I have a huge fear of heights. So I don't know how that will work.

  7. Tómas Vilhelm says:

    In Icelandic the word Rússíbani used as roller coaster translates directly to "Russian Slayer"

  8. dezent says:

    Why does people raise their hands in roller coasters?

  9. Panda says:

    Nice channel dude 😛

  10. roc3hunna says:

    I wish I could ride roller coasters for life.

  11. Blicky Blocks says:

    When I'm about to go down a drop I just yell FROS FRO DAA

  12. Blicky Blocks says:

    When I'm about to go down a drop I just yell FROS FRO DAA

  13. Almostbauws says:

    In my language the rollercoaster is called american mountains

  14. Christine Stringer says:

    My favorite roller coaster is Flight of Fear at Kings Island

  15. Collin Young says:

    At Busch Gardens in Tampa, the Sheikra (which i and all my friends called the Shakira) takes you all the way up until you can see Tampa and the bay, and right before you drop 89° or 90°, it suspends you above the drop for about 5 seconds before it drops you.

  16. Someone Dark says:

    Insane in sweden gröna Lund. You guys NEED to try it

  17. Gamer Girl says:


  18. rcc says:

    black widow is da best trill ride

  19. Marlene Lawson says:

    I would like to ride on Roller Coasters but, some are too high. I have a fear of heights. I need to get over. somehow?

  20. gymnast 22 says:

    I love wicked cyclone

  21. Steven Peters says:

    batman ….. the ride

  22. Coasters & Company says:

    Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion.

  23. Wagner Bros. says:

    He should try a good rmc

  24. Babychris Backing vocals says:

    top thrill dragsters

  25. Alex Snitzer says:

    Tl;dr: RMC kick all the ass.

  26. Bo Nichols says:

    favorite ride kingda ka

  27. William Haynes says:

    wasted all those seats, shouldn't be empty

  28. YouBlindOrNah says:

    Love RollerCoasters favorite is intimadator 305

  29. TheDaanVD says:

    isn't goliath a hybrid?

  30. Christian Moore says:

    favorite ride mako and manta

  31. j jones says:

    Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Farce @ Cedar Point

  32. CoasterGuy says:

    Best I've ever ridden is Taron at Phantasialand.

  33. Lee Johnson says:

    People enjoy coasters for a whole variety of reasons. For me, the professor nailed it when he was talking about the sense of it being transportive and putting us totally in the moment.

  34. Coaster Master says:

    Powder Keg at Silver Dollar City

  35. Jd jackson says:

    i love the runaway mountan at six flags over texas

  36. Alice Buehler says:

    My favorite ride is the Apollo's chariot

  37. Haohmaru HL says:

    Ironic how here in russia roller coasters are literally called American Mountains. And the sad thing we don't even have any parks or roller coasters like in usa. Just some random, bought from Europe old ones, porky maintained, tucked in some alley where they found empty space to put it there, and ask draconian price for a single ride :/

  38. The Flip says:

    Six flags Great America is my home park

  39. James Currie says:

    I really like scaring myself I enjoy watching the scariest horror movies I can find, I also enjoy haunted houses, and I love everything to do with roller coaster

  40. jamesthemaniac says:

    He is WAY less annoying here than he is in that film history series.

  41. Charley Hibschweiler says:

    3:07 An enthusiast that calls it "The Goliath"…interesting.

  42. Kari Bjerga says:

    My favorite roller coaster is Bizzarro

  43. Waffles says:

    Afterburn at carowinds

  44. Unknownshippy says:


  45. NorEasterReaper says:

    A coaster that inverts without an over-the-shoulder harness? Psh, fuck that.

  46. Kqutter Sanford says:

    Griffon or Xcelerator

  47. crazy680195 says:

    I love the titan at six flags over Texas😄

  48. Chenny says:

    "Maybe we can find something a little more thrilling" Ultimate Flights pretzel loop in the background

  49. The Coaster Pro says:

    I love Intimidator305 at Kings Dominion

  50. Brooz Wayne says:

    Eww GP alert

  51. W Christman says:

    Goliath is an RMC, making it technically a steel coaster.

  52. Connor 91004 says:

    Mako at seaworld

  53. Mr. Miffi says:


  54. zellitys says:

    :How many roller coasters have you ridden? Him:408. Me: Oh! About 3 or so. 🙂

  55. North Alabama Rail Photography says:

    Tennessee tornado, Dollywood

  56. Cameron Goldthorpe says:

    My favourite is The Smiler at Alton Towers Resort

  57. YT Levtheking says:

    I like Goliath at america

  58. YT Levtheking says:

    The one with the 255 foot drop my favorite

  59. MeMarzani says:

    this guy cant be a coaster enthusiust if he had lost his interest in roller coasters

  60. MeMarzani says:

    also this is so sponsered by sf great adventure

  61. TheCoasterCompleater says:

    I am thoroughly impressed with the video. It is aimed for the normal public to enjoy but it haven’t been dumbed down or the people who make it aren’t very GP. Good job for making a video the enthusiasts to enjoy. All news networks and such should do there park reports I. The stile of this where they get there facts right. I personally enjoy wicked Cyclone at six flags New England.

  62. Jonas Kancleris says:

    Raging Bull is my Fav! Like if you agree!

  63. Donovan Leonard says:


  64. MattyMaherGuitar says:

    Outlaw Run is my fave!

  65. Tevaun stewart says:

    My fav ride is maverick at cedar point

  66. not star fox great says:

    Tatsu flying coaster record for tallest flying coaster

  67. ThatBadPlayer- Koaster says:

    408 credits? Amateur…

  68. Lens Coasters says:

    Wow finally a Gp-Video that is well researched and overall pretty good

  69. Itsmegabe says:


  70. Lealicus says:

    2:49 bruh which one?

  71. a hecking walnut says:

    The guy in the thumbnail looks like vsauce

  72. Coastaku says:

    2 things: One, My Favourite Roller Coaster is El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure and Two, The GP in this video was really bad

  73. Pet Paradise says:

    Goliath at six flags over Georgia, and lightning rod..

  74. Paolo says:

    "The" Goliath. Ugh. Bad enough there are so amy other coasters called Goliath that are completely different. I'm sure you didn't precede "Goliath" with "The" to differentiate it form other coasters named "Goliath". But even if you know all of that, what's the point? The g forces of this coaster are way better in the back car (pst two rows in an RMC), especially that recored breaking drop, which is neutered in the front cars.

  75. Tommy McCalvin says:

    I'm watching this at 5:00 in the morning… What am I doing with my life!

  76. Donbethelloene 1 says:

    My fav coaster is swarm at Thorpe park and I also like saw

  77. Finest18 says:

    ayyy this my home park

  78. Snorfy says:

    I can’t decided either I like tatsu or X2 more I love them both.

  79. mia marie says:

    I really really hate the drops on roller coasters. While a lot of my family and friends love it. I feel really bad when they want to go on and I don’t… The feeling of the drop is disgusting. It feels like I can’t breathe while at the same time I can. I just feel like my body’s going to explode lol..Anyone have any tips for me??

  80. I'm Ugly says:

    When I went to Great America, I went on The American Eagle with my cousin and I had so much pressure on my feet so I wouldn't fly out because my cousin almost fell out of her seat

  81. Marcella says:

    My favorite roller coaster is the Grizzly at California’s Great America

  82. BosOfroblox says:

    when i tried a rollercoaster about 20 Meters i was like Fuck my life cause i am scared of high but i LOVED IT <3

  83. David Harrison says:

    hangtime is my favorite thrill ride

  84. stacey smith says:

    Bizarro at Sixflags great adventure

  85. Ryan Hornbeck says:

    my favorite thrill ride is 100% hangtime at knotts berry farm

  86. Ian Alcorn says:

    My favorite thrill ride is the voyage at holiday world in Santa Claus Indiana

  87. totallyunfocused says:

    i love roller coasters, next year i might be going to alton towers! but if that doesnt work, ill still get to go to thorpe park.

    also there are ALOT of gp comments here lmfao

  88. That kid on YouTube says:

    well, THEY ARE.

  89. Wes the sky-rush fanboy ! says:

    O MY GODD MY FAVORITE ROLLER COASTER IS GOLIATH o wait there’s 7 of them 😦

  90. DaveCoasterdude W says:

    Millenniumforce at Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio. Can fit on Intamin Giga, but not RMC just yet.

  91. Aspen Culbertson says:

    It looks like he got stapled

  92. NukeyNuke2311 says:

    Favorite ride is xcelerator at knotts

  93. Walibi Maniac! says:

    The good stuff: An rmc, XD!

  94. GTX_ HyperYT says:

    dimond back

  95. Andrew Dorn says:

    my home park

  96. Andrew Dorn says:

    also my favorite is steel vengeance

  97. clownface says:

    lol i hate roller coasters

  98. Thebrothers 3 says:

    4:04 a roller coaster enthusiast in the front row? Interesting.

  99. _landen_ beach says:

    mystic timbers at kings island is really GOOD and so is steel vengeance you should REALLY try those!!!!

  100. Bryan Doles says:

    They just are / im 8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *