Working at a theme park can be a great experience, whether it's your first job or you work there full time.
I think most people would agree that whenever you clock in you can never really expect to experience the same kind of day as you had with your previous shift. Walking to wherever you were scheduled, you never know exactly to expect, and we have some of the best stories.
Whether you work in rides, foods, retail, or another part of the park, I truly commend you on the patience you have — because, at one time or another, you have probably considered leaving because of some series of events that have transpired.
This is specifically about working in the "Rides" or "Operations" department because trust me when I say we have seen or experienced it all.
1. We see you taking out your phones/GoPros/cameras on the ride ...
... and we'll tell you to put it away. Not just because we have to, but because is it worth risking your device to get that perfect selfie? There are signs that tell you not to take it out, and I know plenty of places that have that display showing only some of the broken and shattered phones that have fallen from the rides.
2. We don't feel bad about telling you not to bring your bag on a ride ...
... because we don't want you to lose your items, and we know other rides haven't let you ride with bags on — and on those you did, you're generally allowed to because there is no compromise of safety (and you most likely won't lose your stuff).
3. I generally do remember faces, especially if you come around a lot.
I have made friends with guests, and I know some that don't necessarily like me because I'm doing my job. I'm paid to keep you safe and enforce the rules, and if I upset you, I apologize, but wouldn't you rather have someone that has your safety in mind running the rides?
4. Dealing with rude people creates a whole new respect for ...
... anyone in the service industry. Whether I'm at a restaurant, or at a theme park, or in a store, I refuse to be difficult because I know a lot of the employees cannot control the policies, so taking out my frustrations on them won't do any good.
5. Yelling at me for doing my job won't change much.
I have been trained to follow the rules. Yes, rules have exceptions, but in those cases, there are meticulously planned procedures to be followed. I understand being frustrated, but most of our rules and policies are either created by the ride's manufacturer or have been added to increase the safety for the ride.
6. You can chant one more time as much as you want...
... but if there are people in line, and/or the park is already closed, chances are I'm saying no. I don't mean anything by it, but especially if the park is closed I want to get everyone on the ride and have it cycled so everyone can be happy. I don't want to upset people by giving certain cycles double rides and not others.
Pro tip: if you want a double ride though: be polite, and if you're on the last cycle and the park just closed or is about to close, you're more likely to get one than if you chant and complain.
7. Little things go a long way.
If you're extremely polite with employees, especially in a case of inconvenience, we will go above the normal protocol and make sure your needs are met. Whether you're polite or not, your needs will be met, but if you're patient with us and understanding (because let's all be serious, life happens), I will try even harder to make you happy, and even go above and beyond if you give me the few extra moments to do so.
8. We do care about your safety, as well as our own.
We have rules for reasons, reasons that you may have never thought about, but in most cases, you would've never have thought they were necessary. The manufacturers and supervisors of rides are very thorough when creating rules and requirements, and we will enforce them until they are altered — it's as simple as that.
9. Sometimes, rain and thunderstorms can be our own personal blessings.
I don't necessarily enjoy working in the rain, but on a fast-paced day sometimes the weather allows us to slow down and catch up on things — such as cleaning and other tasks — to make your experience at the park more enjoyable.
10. Your work experience and whether you enjoy it or not heavily depends...
... on the crew, you're with. I've made some of my best friends at work, mostly because you know you have a job to do that you want to do quickly as well as safely. We have experienced all sorts of events in our shifts, so we know how to get along or at the very least tolerate each other.
If you have great crews, you'll get through cycles with ease, even when some of the weirdest events occur — otherwise, the ride cycles may be slower, and people will seem scatterbrained.
11. No, we don't necessarily have all the rides in the park.
This generally depends on when you started your season: the earlier your season starts —including pre-season — the more rides you probably have. I know most parts are divided up to make it easier on management, so in most cases we have more rides in certain areas than others.
12. Yes, we occasionally are able to ride the rides.
Some days, a lucky few of us get to do test rides during shifts — and those are some of my favorite days depending on the ride I'm at. Some parks have special nights and hours dedicated to employees only.
13. We know there are occasions when you ignore the signs...
... but to make it easier on all of us, please just follow whatever is stated.
I especially hate telling especially that I cannot let them ride for their safety, just as much as you hate seeing the disappointment on their faces. So please, if you already know your child can't go on the roller coaster or drive the bumper cars, please acknowledge that there are legitimate reasons for this.
14. Wait times on signs are estimations — there is no exact science.
It all varies on how many people are in line and how they are standing. There are days I can look at lines for rides that I'm familiar with and tell you exactly how long it should take (varying on the crew), but generally, it's all an approximation, and some of us are better at this than others.