Every year, new theme and amusement park rides – from gentle rides to thrill rides – open to guests seeking for family fun, thrills, and excitement. But Harold Camping and his disciples are deterring some ride enthusiasts from checking them out. Why? They claim that there will be a May 21 Rapture, which happens this Saturday, and earthquakes will start rocking the globe as the believers go to Heaven. The world will end on October 21, and those left behind are damned.
But most Christians, atheists, Jews, Muslims, and most other faiths are not buying into this malarkey. The main reason why the latter group doesn’t cave into it is because Jesus clearly told His disciples on the Mount of Olives that it’s unknown to mankind (including him) and only known to God.
“Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place,” He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away, ‘But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.'”
But what if Judgment Day truly dawned on that day? What would fans of theme and amusement park rides with big thrills miss out if believers go to Heaven and the rest of us are left out?
1. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
I’m not counting the one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, because it opens a day before the Rapture. If you happen to spend a Star Wars weekend in the park on that day, you would count yourself lucky.
But the version of Star Tours II at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is another story. It opens on June 3, after the proposed ascent of believers and the worldwide earthquakes. Here’s what Disney/Star Wars fans will be missing if they plan to do Disney in CA after Camping’s supposed Armageddon: a simulator ride in high-definition 3-D glory. If you are looking forward to doing the attraction, forget about it if Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead and calls all the faithful home.
2. Cheetah Hunt
If there’s an Intamin launch coaster with a corkscrew as its only inversion, Cheetah Hunt would fit the description. But the sad part – if the Rapture would come true – would be that it wouldn’t see the light of opening afterwards, as the date of it happens 6 days after. If you want to do Busch Gardens Tampa Bay this summer, you would want to reconsider doing so if Rapture would be reality.
3. Green Lantern (Great Adventure)
If you love stand-up coasters, you would go on a spin on Green Lantern, a stand-up coaster at (Six Flags)* Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. It was formerly Chang, which opened at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in 1997 and closed in 2009. (Consider yourself lucky if you had ridden it between those years in KY.) It has 5 exciting inversions as well as a 144-foot drop, but sadly it opens on May 25 to the public. That means that you would have to hold off on going off 7A on the state’s, um, turnpike, because you would be left behind while enduring a worldwide temblor only if God comes to judge the world on the 21st.
4. Green Lantern (Magic Mountain)
Heading out to Valencia, California? Don’t bother checking out its version of Green Lantern (a ZacSpin coaster that zigzags along the track vertically as you flip several times) because it opens in June.
5. Dare Devil Dive
Looking for a roller coaster with a 95-degree vertical lift hill, a dramatic pause at the crest of it, a 95-degree drop, and three inversions? If Rapture would come, then you have to miss out on riding Dare Devil Drive at Six Flags over Georgia in Austell. That would dampen your summer vacation plans for sure.
But then again, the Rapture would probably not happen this Saturday, because the actual date when people go up to Heaven and earthquakes destroy the globe is only known to God. So rest assure that the world will still be here on May 22 and beyond. You’ll soon ride those new thrill rides and they will be there for business because worldwide normalcy will go on as planned on and after that date.
*Most NJ locals leave out the “Six Flags” and just call it “Great Adventure.” Despite living on the northern part of the state from birth through childhood and moving to my current state of Florida, I still call it that way.
Matthew 24:34-36, New American Bible. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.