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Dueling Discounts and Other Rants!

More Z-Tickets

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The worst of theme parks
©Arthur Levine. Licensed to About.com.

4. Line Cutting

How many times has this happened to you? You've been standing in the hot sun for a good forty minutes, you're inching along in the line to ride one of your favorite coasters, and a couple of hooligans elbow their way past you toward the front of the queue. That's not the park's fault you say? I say you haven't carefully read your copy of the Z-Ticket infractions. There on page 23, Code 48, Subsection R, it plainly states: Parks must provide adequate security to properly monitor lines and eject line-cutting perpetrators. If a park is firm and fair, patrons will, um, tow the line.

5. Dueling Discounts

There you are at the amusement park's ticket window. The person in front of you brought five specially marked soda cans and saved $25 in admission fees. The person next to you has a visitor's bureau fun book coupon and shaved $38 off of his tab. And some guy walking toward the turnstiles avoided the ticket line altogether; he saved $45 by going online and brought his home-printed tickets to the park. But you, you poor schlemiel, seem to be the only person paying the posted admission fee. Sure, parks need to advertise and entice guests to visit their parks, but a dizzying array of discounts can alienate the have-nots. It seems to me a one-price policy makes a lot more sense. Since that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon, we need to be savvy consumers and stay on top of park promotions.

6. Front-gate Slowdowns

You've driven two hours to get to the park, you've shelled out your hard-earned dough for the admission fees, you know you have a day of waiting in lines to get on the rides ahead of you. Why, then, are you waiting in an interminable line just to get into the park? We all understand the need for greater security these days. But parks often have a handful of harried ticket-takers and bag-checkers at the most popular arrival times, while employees inside the park twiddle their thumbs. Wouldn't it make more sense to cross-train employees, redirect them to the front gate, move guests into the park quickly, then move the employees to posts inside the park after the rush is over? I think so.

7. Drinks

As with no-food policies, many parks prohibit guests from bringing cans or bottles into parks. Then they offer a few low-flow, warm, grungy, foul-tasting water coolers...or bottles of water at $3.00 (gulp!) a pop. When did we as a society decide it was OK to pay for water? Rest assured, as long as we're willing to pay for it, parks will be only too happy to charge us for it. If parks allow it, tote your own water into the park.

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