7:50 p.m.: My boyfriend and I arrive at Six Flags Over Georgia for University of Georgia night, the college’s annual event that closes the amusement park at night to anyone who isn’t associated with UGA. People in Bulldog T-shirts stream into Six Flags, drawn in by the shrill screams of people on roller coasters and the sugary smell of funnel cakes.
8:02 p.m.: We wait in line at the Georgia Cyclone, a wooden coaster that was opened in 1990. It is a mirror image of the Coney Island Cyclone in New York City, which I rode when I was about 10 years old. You can tell the Georgia Cyclone is not a sought-after coaster by park-goers because it’s one of the few rides with a short line. We get on the coaster. The wooden tracks jar our bodies, and I think of the neck pain I’ll endure later. I used to love wooden coasters when I was younger. Now they just hurt.
8:30 p.m.: After putting our belongings in a locker, we wait in line for Superman: Ultimate Flight. It’s one of the most popular coasters in the park, probably because it makes riders feel like they’re flying. The steel coaster has its passengers parallel to the track in the flying position facing the ground. The line snakes around, promising a long wait.
9 p.m.: It grows darker. We are still waiting in line for Superman, so I look at the expanse that is Six Flags. Tracks are illuminated in the night, and shrieking echoes throughout the park. Close your eyes, and it sounds like a nightmare come to life. The smell of funnel cakes in the distance brings you to your senses.
9:25 p.m.: We walk off Superman. It feels refreshing to get out of the harness that smelled of sweat. After riding a wooden coaster, the steel tracks of Superman feel like a breeze. We think we heard someone’s change drop while we were riding the coaster, a clinking of copper and nickel amid the screams of people pretending to soar like a superhero.
9:40 p.m.: We stop at a food stand and buy cheese nachos for $3.99, the cheapest snack on the menu. It was either that or a soft pretzel. We sit in a gazebo to eat. The cheese is fake-tasting and overpowering, so we try to find the nachos in the paper container with the least cheese. No luck. The employees had tried to drown the nachos in this bright yellow substance. The more I eat it, the more incredulous I am that it is even cheese.
9:57 p.m.: Goliath towers over us. It’s almost double the height of Superman. It also provides an ideal opportunity to people watch. One of the rules of theme parks is to go with people you can talk to. After all, most of your time is spent in line. So I watch as good friends interact, and I’m satisfied to know that everybody jabbers in line. It’s a lot of the same talk too. How much longer is this line? Superman was great, wasn’t it? I’m texting Joe now that we’re in line at Goliath. More of the same.
10:41 p.m.: We get off of Goliath. It’s my favorite coaster in the park because of it’s sheer height and the multiple drops that make your stomach feel like it traveled to your head.
10:56 p.m.: We get in line for the Georgia Scorcher for the front row of the coaster. I’m getting sleepy. I see that the coaster is one where the riders stand up — the last coaster of this design ever constructed on earth — and I feel slightly disappointed that I won’t get to sit down for a few minutes.
11:16 p.m.: I’m dizzy after riding the Scorcher. In my weary state, the coaster’s flips and turns had felt dreamy and a little sickening. At least we got to ride in front. It’s late and we’ve had enough, so we leave Six Flags.
11:50 p.m.: We get home. When I close my eyes to go to sleep, I still feel the jerky movements of a roller coaster rocking me to slumber.
Time spent at Six Flags: 3 hours, 26 minutes
Numbers of coasters ridden: 4
Pounds of plasticy melted cheese eaten: Unknown