Today, August 16, happens to be National Roller Coaster Day, and here at Southwest Airlines with our Fun-LUVing, quirky side, we’ve certainly got a roller-coaster story for you! Supply Chain Management Intern Jake Garbelotti shares his LUV of flying and LUV of roller coasters with us. Enjoy!
“Balder” is Jake’s personal favorite!
We all travel for different reasons, whether it is for family, a nice relaxing time on the beach, or a trip to a new and exciting city to see all the sights. However, for me, I travel for one reason—a fast-paced journey to ride every roller coaster in the world. It’s a great excuse to travel, and being able to combine my passion for flying and roller coasters is so fulfilling. To me, nothing is better than getting on a ride with a group of friends, throwing our hands up in the air, and having a ton of fun without worrying about anything else!
It all started at a very young age when my parents took me to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia on a weekly basis. I began begging them to take me to new parks, and I blame them for getting me addicted! I fell in love with the high speeds, intense G-forces, and adrenaline that resulted from every ride. In 2008, I started counting each new roller coaster I ride, and as of August 4, 2014, I am up to 660 very unique and memorable coasters. My next goal is to accomplish the 700-milestone mark!
Thanks to the No Limits Internship program here at Southwest, I have been able to travel all over the country to ride new coasters that are far away from my home in Orlando. I have flown to Seattle, Spokane, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Louisville, Cincinnati, New York City, Baltimore, and Hartford—all during the last two semesters to ride the newest and best coasters out there. The NoLimits program was flexible enough to allow me to take time off to journey to places as far as Australia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, where I experienced some of the more unique theme parks and rides in the world. If it wasn’t for my hobby, I probably would have never visited and seen any of these places and enjoyed some of the neatest cities (Sydney, Copenhagen, and Stockholm come to mind) in the world.
“Intimidator 305” is Jake’s pick for the best steel roller coaster.
The most common questions asked when others hear about my love for coasters are “So which ones are your favorites?” and “What are the best roller coasters out there?” In my opinion, you have to head up northeast to find some of the best rides the USA has to offer. For steel roller coasters, my favorites are Intimidator 305 (King’s Dominion in Virginia), Maverick (Cedar Point in Ohio), and Bizarro (Six Flags New England in Massachusetts). On the wooden side of things, Boulder Dash (Lake Compounce in Connecticut) is at the top of my list, followed by Outlaw Run (Silver Dollar City in Missouri) and Ravine Flyer II (Waldameer in Pennsylvania). Overseas, the parks are filled with attractions you would never see in America, such as fun houses, insane playgrounds and trampolines, and even crazier rides, such as Piraten (Djurs Sommerland in Denmark), Balder and Helix (Liseberg in Sweden), and Tornado (Särkänniemi in Finland).
Silver Dollar City’s “Outlaw Run”
So, if you’re up for the thrill of your life, take a trip to ride some of these amazing coasters! I’ll see you out there on my quest!
If you’re interested in interning at Southwest Airlines and having an adventure of a lifetime too, be sure to check out our No Limits internship! We’ll be posting our Spring 2015 Internships on Monday, August 18 until September 15. Summer internships open later this fall. Also, check out Priyanka’s Intern adventure story.