If you stand in line at Nickelodeon Universe®’s Shell Shock ride, you’ll notice a common theme in conversations as people wait for their turn. Everyone wants to know how to make those pods do a full spin.
Shell Shock, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed ride that opened at Mall of America® in 2012, has remained a fixation among park-goers for the simple challenge it poses to thrill seekers: how do you spin all the way around? Many have tried, but few have succeeded. So I spoke with resident “Spin Expert” Chris Grap to get the lowdown on exactly what it takes to accomplish this particularly perplexing feat.
Nickelodeon provides some instruction on video monitors to passengers waiting in the queue for Shell Shock. These tips include things like rocking back and forth as soon as the ride starts to build momentum, keeping the wings in place when you first begin, pushing down the wings in the same direction as you lean, and tucking your feet. While you should be sure to follow these directions to accomplish a full spin, our “Spin Expert” Chris Grap, Senior Manager of Experiential & New Marketing at MOA®, made some additional suggestions based on his nuanced understanding of the ride.
I joined Chris at Shell Shock to see the pro in action. As we stood in line, Chris looked upon the ride, ready to wrangle the unbridled beast. He removed his aviators, looked me in the eye, and told me, “You have to start really cranking left and right as soon as the ride lifts up. And don’t touch those wings until you’re upside down and ready to flip back around.”
He continued: At the point when you’re ready to flip completely, push the wing down that corresponds to the direction you’re spinning and lock it in position. This should catapult you into perpetual spin if you’ve got the rotation in motion. Chris says trying to do too much with the wings at the beginning is a critical mistake he sees many people make. The wings are there to carry your momentum—not to generate it.
What you do at the apex of the ride is also critical to your spin. As you reach the highest point in the ride’s rotation, when your potential energy is at its peak, make sure that you use gravity to your advantage. When the ride starts to come down, fall into the descent—if you try to rock your pod up to the other side, you’re fighting the very force that could aid your spin.
Once you’ve practiced a few times and finally nailed the spin, it’s time to go for a record-breaker. As of the writing of this post, the park record is 112 spins in a single ride. Don’t worry—you don’t have to keep track in your head when you attempt to break it. Ask the ride operator to reset the ticker on your pod, and you’ll get an accurate count when the ride is complete.
And in the immortal words of W. E. Hickson (who would have surely enjoyed Shell Shock were it his contemporary): “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.”