Things Amusement Park Ride Operators Wish You Knew
Based on a Personal Experience at Hersheypark
As Halloween approaches, various amusement parks are putting up their halloween decorations and turning spooky for the season. Amusement parks can be just as fun during a holiday as they are during the regular summer season from around Memorial Day to around Labor Day. There's caricatures, old-timey photos, carnival games, food, and of course, roller-coasters. You might think that the people who operate these roller-coasters have it all: they work at an amusement park, which is true. But sometimes, it's not always fun for them. There are various things that visitors might not necessarily think about when going to a roller-coaster at an amusement park.
The ride operators don't control the weather. No matter what the weather conditions are, they just have to accept them and embrace them—just like you. If they have to close a ride due to inclement weather, please do not blame the ride operators. It's not their fault that's it's windy or raining, or that there's thunder and lightning in the area. If they have to close a ride due to weather, it's not for their own safety. It's for YOURS. They don't want you riding the ride in horrid weather conditions if they know that said weather conditions may get you hurt or even killed, so they're doing it to protect you. On one occasion, Trailblazer had to be closed due to a rainstorm, and some people that had been waiting in line for a long time were very angry. But what could the ride operators do?
Sometimes rides break down. They are essentially gigantic pieces of machinery. Breakdowns are bound to happen at some point or another, especially with newer rides. When breakdowns happen, more often than not, maintenance has to be called to come and fix it, and they, as ride operators, cannot control how long maintenance takes to come out and fix it. The ride operators also cannot control how long it takes the maintenance crew to actually fix the ride. Sometimes it can take around fifteen minutes, and sometimes it can take a few hours. They can't control that. They have no option but to be patient—just like you. I remember on one occasion, I was operating Frog Hopper, and one of the pumps stopped working, rendering about half of the ride completely inoperable since the pump is the thing that makes the ride go up and down. I felt really bad that I had to close the ride until maintenance came and fixed it, and those parents were just as impatient as I was because they had spent a lot of time and money to make their kids Hersheypark happy that day. Unfortunately for all of us, the only thing I could do was wait.
If a park gets a new ride, it will most likely be a pain. This is because it's, well, NEW, so the ride operators don't know too much about it. They will have technical difficulties as previously stated. However, the difference with new rides is that the technical difficulties are often things that shouldn't occur and they occur multiple times throughout a single day and also throughout a single shift as well. This is not the ride operators' fault. I remember a technical difficulty occurring at the Triple Towers where everyone was strapped in, the harnesses were locked, the gates were closed, and I got the OK to push the button to launch the ride, and the cart essentially jumped. That happened because the ride was new. I did everything that I was supposed to do, according to other coworkers (who will not be named out of protection of privacy).
Despite all of this, the workers can a lot of fun doing their job. They get to interact with people that they've never seen before in their lives. These people bring different cultures to the park, which opens the eyes of other coworkers, and that's just the visitors. Coworkers can also do the very same thing. Something exciting happens every single day at the park!