DiamondbackHow do you deal with a thief that's 230 feet tall and robs you at 80 miles per hour? The Diamondback roller coaster at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, has claimed more cell phones than a Manhattan taxi. In 2009, the ride's first year, $20,000 worth of mobiles flew from the soaring, nose-diving $22 million structure. "The damaged ones we put in a fish tank in the queue line as a reminder to guests to secure all loose articles before riding," spokesman Don Helbig said.

Fourth of July weekend is a big money-maker for amusement parks across the nation, and which makes this a good time to raise awareness about the money-takers that we ride. Roller coasters do not discriminate. Personal property can become property of the Lost and Found in one stomach-churning loop-the-loop. And those newfangled stand-up coasters, in which riders are secured upright and swoop upside down, can shake change out of pockets and and keys out of bags like Bluto grabbing Popeye by the ankles before the hero eats his spinach.

"Amusement parks can be a 'hats off' experience for some guests," said spokeswoman Collen K. Mangone of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. "Hundreds of items are lost daily by park guests enjoying rides, and hats are among the most commonly lost items. But that's not all guests are losing: Cell phones, car keys, wallets, cameras, and glasses are also regularly lost by riders."

One embarrassed patron lost a toupee on the Diamondback, Helbig said. Some have dropped their gold teeth on the roller coasters at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania, said Kathy Burrows of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. The park, which boasts nine coasters called "aggressive" or "high" thrill rides, gathered 1,372 hats, 1,105 cell phones and 726 pairs of glasses in 2010, according to the company's tally.

Despite having ridden 389 coasters at 102 different parks by his count, David Althoff of Columbus, Ohio, said all he has lost are "CoasterMania" buttons given to patrons like him who participate in the annual marathon riding event at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Too many people try to hold on to items with their hands, and hands become occupied in the rush of a coast ride, said Althoff, a 41-year-old projectionist. "Stuff that can get loose, generally will."

DiamondbackMangone offered these tips for holding on to your stuff. Follow them, and even if you lose your lunch, you can keep your Ray-Bans.

• For your safety, never try to retrieve the item yourself. Wait until the ride stops, exit, and notify a ride attendant or report what's missing at Guest Services. Park staff can often retrieve it for you. If the item fell into a restricted area, tell park maintenance personnel. You may have to wait until the end of the day to retrieve it. If they can't get it right away, they may take your address and mail it to you later.

• Don't bring it! Travel light when you visit a theme park. Leave extra items at home or in the car.

• If you do bring it, make sure it's securely attached or removed prior to riding.

• Most parks provide lockers ... use them.

• If you wear glasses or sunglasses, wear straps to hold them on.

And paste down that toupee. Happy Fourth.

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Justin Porter

Diamondback took my necklace the other day :(

April 21 2014 at 2:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What bothers me is amusement park ride operators who forbid you to take items on a ride, even when they are secure and there is no chance of losing them. Many parks have an aerial ski lift type transport that get you from one end of the park to the other in a hurry, and recently I was forbidden to go because I had a plastic drink cup that was sold at the park. The cup was empty and had a bucket type handle which was secured to my belt, but the ride operator still refused to allow me on board. I had to suffer the indignity of trying to make my way back out of the line and walk across the length of the park while my wife and child were allowed to ride.

What's interesting is that while I waited for the rest of my party at the other end, several women disembarked carrying backpacks and purses. Seems to me that those items were not secure and would have presented even more of a hazard than an empty plastic cup. Oh, but wait... if women weren't allowed to have their purses, they couldn't carry money and spend it at the park.

When you're at an amusement park, the ride attendants believe they are the highest authority, when in fact they're little more than trained monkeys who recite the same speech ("keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times!") and push a button. At least my job allows me a fair degree of autonomy and decision-making opportunities.

Just to spite that hateful ride attendant, I later took the ski lift and, since I had a spoon in my pocket, I purposefully dropped it into their park fountain. I guess they should start checking people's pockets, huh? Maybe they can hire some TSA employees and do a nice, thorough pat-down before the beginning of each ride.

July 05 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you are too stupid to secure your cell phone and other personal items, you deserve to lose them.

July 04 2011 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

love my body

July 04 2011 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh shut up with the politics already. This is an article about roller coasters and losing things like sunglasses and cell phones. If you want to talk about politics, take it to a politics-related article!


July 03 2011 at 8:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

unless youre wanting to engage in a political rant, stop; right here. The crazies are out in full-force today.,Sunspots?

July 03 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sound advice, not just on roller coasters but on all rides, please ride responsibly, get in sit down and hold on, 96% of all injuries on amusement rides are caused by the rider.
thanks and have a fun safe time at any amusement park or carnival, this or any weekend.

July 03 2011 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Ed Baggett

How did a subject like roller coasters evolve into politics ?.....I'm stumped !

July 02 2011 at 10:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Who would be so stupid as to have a cell phone in theirr hand while riding a coaster?

July 02 2011 at 8:36 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

I can relate. Cedar Point rides have taken my pocket change and wrecked my brothers glasses (after they flew off and were retrieved by park personell). I've learned to never carry change, or ANYTHING that can possibly come loose. Wallets need to be in zippered pockets. Fortunately, I don't wear a toupee anymore..........

July 02 2011 at 7:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply