The business of building roller coasters


Perhaps no other creation in history has navigated the divide between terror and unadulterated joy as skillfully as the roller coaster.

Since these “scream machines” were introduced nearly 250 years ago, they have brought millions to tears in all capacities. As one roller coaster designer told us, anonymously: “My job is basically to get as close to making people poop their pants as possible, then have them step off in ecstasy and want to go again.”

I’ve always loved roller coasters. One of my biggest regrets while I was living in the US was not getting to the sixteen roller coasters of Cedar Point, Ohio.

  • I went to school with Jeff Pike (quoted in the article) and we took some wild and crazy trips to Cedar Point. (Plus the 10 hour, one way, trip we took to Dorney Park over a weekend. Out and back in <48 hours, and we took a side trip to NYC for dinner.) If you ahem a chance, visit America’s Roller Coast.

  • I go to Cedar Point evert summer. My advice — though it adds up: Pay for official Cedar Point hotel and buy Fast Pass. You spend all day on coasters with almost no waiting.