How YOU Can Help Speed Up Operations
Think about some of the things that come to mind when you hear the term “amusement park”. For many people, they would think of positive things, such as roller coasters, immersive theming, thrilling rides, and unique shows, alongside many other common traits. However, one of the biggest downsides to visiting an amusement park is the fact that you will need to queue for every attraction. If you’ve been to a theme park on a busy weekend, you’ll know that those lines can approach wait times exceeding an hour. Perhaps the biggest news that has come out about queues in recent times is how Universal Studios Islands of Adventure’s new coaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, had guests waiting upwards of ten hours just to ride.
Some enthusiasts will look into the technical side of the ride and determine if it has a good capacity or not. For example, a ride like Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure is able to thrill more than a thousand guests every hour due to it running three trains and having a well designed layout to accommodate a high throughput. Meanwhile, a ride like Fahrenheit at Hersheypark struggles to get a few hundred people through every hour due to its relatively short layout and low capacity trains. Sometimes, the blame is placed onto those who are working the ride. They may not always be able to meet the capacity expectations the ride is capable of achieving. While it is true that some attendants are slower at checking restraints than others, we have to remember that these workers are doing this dozens, if not hundreds, of times a day, everyday. They have been trained and have experience checking every restraint on a coaster and how to send riders on their thrilling journey in a reasonable amount of time.
Notice how on Steel Force at Dorney Park (bottom), there are six cars that can seat six people allowing for hundreds of people to ride every hour. As opposed to Hydrus at Casino Pier (top) which only features two rows of four seats, lessening capacity.
However, what sometimes gets forgotten is that the efficient operation of a ride is the result of how two parties interact. The first being the operators/attendants and the second being YOU, the guest. In this blog, we are going to look into what you can do to allow for you to enjoy your ride quicker!
1. Listen to the operator and spiels
Usually at every coaster or major thrill ride, you will see an associate with a mic communicating with the guests or a recorded message will play every time a train comes back in (this happens less in some countries but the point still stands). Believe it or not, the operator and the spiels are giving you critical information about that specific ride to ensure your safety. Sometimes it is easy to tune them out and just carry on snapchatting your friends or carry on a conversation about how cute your new puppy is. However, some rides require you to do specific things to allow the workers to ensure your ride is properly checked. For instance, on various coaster manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, the operator will tell guests to not pull down on their lap bar once seated. This is due to them needing to check the seat belt first prior to locking your lap bar. Long story short, if you are unfamiliar with the ride, make sure you listen to these messages, as they are coming from experts!
2. Watch the cycles leading up to your ride
Alongside listening to the operator and spiels, it is crucial to see how the guests ahead of you are boarding the ride. Take note of where loose articles and bags are required to be placed and what you should be doing once seated. Sometimes you will see the operator have to unlock a few seats, pay attention to those to see what issue is causing the slow down. This will help to make sure you’re not the one holding up everyone’s ride!
3. Be prepared to place all loose articles in their appropriate places
When it’s your time to ride, make sure you are ready to put your bags into a safe area. For many rides this will be defined by bins located on the opposite side of the train. These bins are there to ensure your articles are safe and won’t be damaged or lost during the ride. As for items such as phones, wallets, and keys, make sure you place them in either a secure pocket or into the bins also. If you try to board a ride with these items present, you may slow down the operations. Often an attendant will ask you to place the item into the appropriate place, if this does occur.
4. Once seated, fasten all of the components of your restraint
Once seated, immediately begin to secure your own restraint. Typically, this includes fastening your seatbelt and pulling down your lap bar or harness. Sometimes rides have unique restraints, such as the comfort collar on Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, or the leg flaps on B&M Flying coasters (fun fact, if you push the restraint all the way up, when the next person pulls down on it, the leg flaps will close automatically!).
5. Get your hands out of the way
While waiting for an attendant to come and check your secure, make sure your hands are clear of the restraint. Sometimes the operator will tell the train to put their hands up, for if you put your hands up, it allows for the attendant to check your restraint much faster, allowing for your ride to begin sooner!
6. Exit quickly, but safely
After your ride has come to a full and complete stop, be prepared to get off the ride in a quick manner. Personally, on the brake run for B&M attractions, I remove the belt in advance. This allows me to leave as soon as the restraints are unlocked. On some rides that is not possible. Here you should open your restraint as soon as the train is unlocked, and then unfasten your seatbelt. Remember to collect any articles you may have left on the side and quickly leave the station so the next group can get on their ride.
For some people, this information may appear to be common sense. If you already do all of these things, then that’s great! It’s definitely beneficial to be aware of how your actions will improve the overall operations of a ride. Now if you do not do these things, does that make you a bad person? Absolutely not. In fact, many guests do not even know that they have a role in how the ride is ran. That being said, even if you are the only one who does all of these things, you will be helping!
Until next time,