Blogger Joel Bullock

Introducing another new blogger at Gadling, Joel Bullock . . .

Where was your photo taken? My photo was taken at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m standing in front of a piece of roller coaster track from the Intimidator.

Where do you live now? I live in North Carolina. It’s not only a great place to live, but it’s also within a day’s drive of many of the best theme parks in America.

Scariest airline flown: I’ve flown a good bit for work and for pleasure. Ironically, my first flight ever was by far the scariest. It was a short flight from BWI to Buffalo in a little commuter jet that was being tossed around by a stormy night. I’m sure it didn’t help that it was my first flight, but I haven’t experienced a ride half as turbulent in all my travels since.

How did you get started traveling? I got started traveling to theme parks in my early 20’s. I visited them occasionally as a kid, but I was terrified of roller coasters for most of my childhood. On a trip to my local theme park I was dragged onto the park’s full lineup of coasters by my high school girlfriend. After that day I was hooked. I have now traveled to more than 30 amusement parks all over the United States.

Favorite city/country/place: It’s tough to pick just one. My favorite theme parks are the Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia. Both parks are beautifully themed, have world-class roller coasters, and provide a top-notch guest experience.

Most remote corner of the globe visited: I ventured deep into a wild cave in West Virginia. It was an other-worldly experience.

Favorite guidebook series: I don’t use guidebooks for my trips. I mainly rely on the Web for my theme park travel research.

Most recent trip: My last theme park trip was to Kings Dominion where I rode my 200th roller coaster. I grew up going to the park, but I hadn’t been back in six years. It worked out that Intimidator 305, one of the tallest roller coasters in the World, was my 200th. So, it was a pretty neat homecoming.

The ideal vacation is… I would love to visit all of the great theme parks in Europe. An ideal vacation would be a two-week odyssey where I’d bounce from park to park everyday. It would be the theme park version of The Amazing Race, minus the challenges, prize money, and Phil Keogahn.

Person you’d most like to interview for Gadling? I would love to interview my favorite steel and wooden roller coaster designers. Famed Swiss designers Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard (known as B&M) would be my top pick. Their revolutionary steel creations have had a profound effect on the amusement industry. Not to mention, they’re a lot of fun. It would also be a thrill to interview American-based wooden roller coaster designers, The Gravity Group. They’ve found ways to make an old dog, wooden coasters, do some really cool new tricks.