The date is July 18th, 2007. My family and I are on Florida Interstate 4 East, traveling in the family car at 70 miles an hour. We are headed to exit 74A, to Universal Studios Orlando.
Out the window to my left I can see a giant, swirling mess of green, steel roller coaster tracks. Excitement rushes over me as I imagine hearing the roar of the Incredible Hulk coaster, filled with screaming tourists, flying, climbing, and diving over a turquoise lagoon.
‘There it is,’ I exclaimed. ‘No way am I going on that,’ my mother said firmly. ‘People die on those things.’
After entering the park, we hurried over the bridge into Marvel Superhero Island to meet the beast head on. ‘Come on mom, just this one and I won’t beg you for the rest of the trip about riding anything with us,’ I pleaded. ‘It isn’t even that fast. We went faster in the car this morning on the way here.’
‘I’m too old!’ she shouted. ‘No! Just look when it comes by. It’s not that bad!’ I said. Sure enough, just as the words had left my mouth, a roar was heard over head, and a purple and green car was flying through the blue Florida sky. It screamed through the double cobra above the turquoise lagoon, and then fell back to the earth and into a giant vertical loop, and then roared under the very bridge we were standing on.
My mother looked terrified. ‘Just this one and I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the trip! I promise!’ I begged.
‘You promise? You won’t bother me about riding anything else for the entire vacation?’ ‘I promise,’ I said.
‘Well — Okay!’ That was all I needed. I turned and walked to the coaster entrance, with my mother and father in step. Soon, we boarded the coaster and we were on our way.
We were about to help Dr. Bruce Banner (also known as the Incredible Hulk) test his new gamma radiation tube, to try to rid himself of his green, angry side. The train began its slow ascent, up the dark, enclosed, gamma radiation tube.
The blue Floridian sky was the only thing that pierced the darkness. The voice of Dr. Bruce Banner comes over an intercom, ‘I have checked and double checked the calculations, but we can only help for the best.’ Silence — as the rollercoaster creeps higher up the chain lift.
‘I think — I think maybe this time it’s — going to work,’ Dr. Banner says nervously. Just as we all have time to notice the track ahead of us steeply inclines and goes into a zero gravity roll, we realize that something isn’t right. Surely we aren’t going fast enough to make it up that!
The voice of Dr. Banner’s assistant comes back over the loudspeaker, ‘Warning, coolant levels dropping!’ ‘No…Oh — No — No. NOOOO!!!’ cries Banner. The car begins to accelerate rapidly, going from near zero to forty miles an hour in two seconds. Mingled with the sound of rushing air flowing over our ears, we hear a loud roar, mixed with the screams of forty tourists, hanging on for dear life. The experiment to change Dr. Banner has failed, and the Hulk has returned.
We fly through the zero-G roll, and I fly up against my shoulder restraints, my stomach protruding into my throat and all the blood in my body rushes to my head. It’s nearly 100 degrees outside, but the rushing air feels makes me feel like I’m in a tornado of chilly air. Down we go, one hundred plus feet on an eighty degree incline, and through the double cobra roll over the water.
The view is breathtaking, but it is gone in a flash, as we fly through mist filled tunnel under the very bridge where, just a few minutes ago my mother had been contemplating riding. Up into the vertical loop, and back down again. We fly around the Gamma Tube in a steep, looping turn, and soar into a cobra roll and back down to the back half of the coaster.
Three sharp, banked turns, create a feeling of confusion among the mess of green track, as we go though another inversion, then into the block brakes. We scream through one final inversion, past a pole of cameras, and into the ride station.
‘What a ride — wow. I may be getting too old for this too,’ my dad gasped. ‘Never, ever, ever again,’ my mom replied.
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