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What’s ACE’s “Reputation” in the Coaster Community?

Eyebrows

Mega Poster
Hey guys! Two or three years ago, when I had my enthusiast “awakening”, I had gotten the idea in my head that I needed to join a coaster club to be a “real” enthusiast and I purchased an ACE membership. I haven’t been able to attend any of their live events due to covid, but I am planning on attending CoasterCon this year. Before I go, I want to know three main things, in order of importance:
  1. Is it safe for me to go to CoasterCon as a 15/16 year old? (My dad would be coming with me)
  2. Is ACE associated with a certain “type” of people, like TPR is?
  3. Is attending a week long event too nerdy for a normal enthusiast?
I know that how people perceive me doesn’t matter that much, but I’m a little insecure and I have a need to feel like a “regular” person in a community.

Thanks for your help!
 

Eyebrows

Mega Poster
The only thing you need to be a "real" enthusiast is real enthusiasm. Everything else is optional. Including riding coasters.
Thanks, I know that now. That mentality only lasted for a little while before I met some very nice people, but not before I purchased a membership and forgot about it for a couple years.
 

Will

Strata Poster
  1. Is it safe for me to go to CoasterCon as a 15/16 year old? (My dad would be coming with me)
  2. Is attending a week long event too nerdy for a normal enthusiast?


1) Yes. I did my first meet with enthusiasts at 16 but brought a friend or my Dad along 'just in case' at first - as well as to do the driving!!

2) Entirely up to you. If you'll enjoy it, who cares if it's nerdy! Is posting on a forum about your interest nerdy? Is a 400 mile round trip for a family coaster nerdy? Is watching POVs with a nice glass of scotch on a Wednesday evening nerdy? Is having an Excel spreadsheet of ridden coasters nerdy? OK - the answer to that last one is yes. It's not something I'd bring up on a first date or at a job interview, but it's sure not something I'm ashamed of :)

I don't know anything about the ACE, so can't help you with that one - I've found coaster 'clubs' can be onto the high end of 'nerdiness', but as mentioned above, I don't really see that that's an issue.

OK, so I couldn't resist :)
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Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
“Reliable” is how I’d describe ACE. From the few members I’ve met, including those in the upper echelons of the organisation, I’ve found them pleasant and nice. I think they’re geared towards the more mature enthusiast...that means attitude and settled lives, nothing to do with age...so I’m sure you’d be warmly welcomed. I don’t get the “clique” impression from them. I’d go to one of their meets if I had the chance.

For your first dip, I’d probably say a week is a long time. I’d opt for a day or two at first, see how you get on, and return if you enjoy it.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
For your first dip, I’d probably say a week is a long time. I’d opt for a day or two at first, see how you get on, and return if you enjoy it.
I think this is probably true of basically any enthusiast group.

If we had a total newbie to CF-Lives (not necessarily to CF) sign up to one of our week-long Euro-Lives, I'd try to persuade them to attend at least one or two of our one-day CF-Lives first. You'll get a feel for the vibe, the style, the people and personalities, and the faff-factor. It'll make you better prepared for what a longer trip might be like.
 

Eyebrows

Mega Poster
Thank you guys for all the feedback! I definitely feel a lot better about going now, and I’ll try to attend a shorter event sometime before this summer to see what it’s like. It means a lot to me that you all are so helpful, so consistently!
 

emoo

Mega Poster
I would say don't worry, even knowing its inevitable when going into the unknown. So here are some thoughts.

  • Organisers can be very different to those who attend and any trip is a lucky dip situation.
  • Just like in real life people are different and you will get on better with some than others.
  • It is really satisfying to be around people who love theme parks as much as you, even if that is your only connection.
  • Just about everyone wants to have a good time.
  • Your Dad is going with you for that exact reason but in practice shouldn't need to do anything other than keep you company and provide funds. You wont be boozing so that will save you a fortune.
  • You will be out nerded by many who have casually ridden everything ever. You may even warm (some of) their (potentially crusty/jaded) hearts as they get to see the joy of someone experiencing things for the first time.
  • There will probably be other new people there.
  • Normal? Ha. You will discover the way things are meant to be. All the roller coasters all the time. Going home where there are no rides will feel strange and empty but at least you can have a lay in.
  • There are lots of types of people you will meet, mostly good. Nothing to be alarmed about unless you are a terrible person. I have seen a few turds in the punch bowl and made a few mistakes myself. But again this is all just any herd of people.
  • Count coasters/laps if you want. Or not. But if you do, and I cannot stress how important this is.... Make sure your spreadsheet matches your website tracker of choice. Otherwise it will drive you nuts determining if you did or didn't do something all those years ago.

Have a good time.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
My experience with ACE is that the members are of every age group. If it’s a large event, there will be a contingent of senior citizens (who still ride and love coasters), and then there will be plenty of middle aged people with or without families, and plenty of people in their teens, twenties, and thirties.

Nerdiness does abound, but mostly in the positive, enthusiastic sense. ACE members in the events I’ve been to have generally been laid back, in a good mood, and friendly. It’s easy to make friends with very little effort at ACE events — maybe friends for the day, or friends to last years. The last one I attended (pre-COVID) I happened to be wearing a Seabreeze Jackrabbit shirt, and that prompted an elder member to just walk up to me and start talking about the coaster. I came to that event solo, but spent the entire day riding everything with two others I met there.

If you want a well-attended, awesome but shorter (one-day) event to attend for your first time, I’d recommend the Riding of the Bull (if getting to SFGAdv is easy for you). “Backstage” tours of several coasters, ERT on Toro and other coasters — you can’t go wrong.
 
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