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Lazy Ride Ops and Other Rants

Even More Z-Tickets

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

8. Lazy Ride Ops

Lines are the bane of theme park fans. But we know that the hours we spend in lines are the price we must pay for the minutes we spend aboard rides; we accept our lot in life. What we don't accept are ineffective ride operators that unnecessarily slow lines down. Roller coasters--or any popular rides--should never leave the station with empty seats. Do you hear that, Marineland of Niagara Falls? Good ride ops seek out single riders and fill every seat every time. They also quickly and efficiently move guests onto and off rides, check safety restraints, and keep lines flowing. A ride comes from a manufacturer with a theoretical throughput number--the volume of guests that the ride can accommodate at peak efficiency. It's up to the ride ops to provide the peak efficiency.

9. Crowd Control

We know that lines are part of the park experience (see above). But there is a limit to our patience. Sometimes parks allow far too many patrons into their gates and every ride, food stand, and bathroom becomes an intolerable crush of people. At some point, it ceases being fun (and may become unsafe as well). While I don't begrudge any park from making money, particularly considering the relatively short peak season, it seems to me they should set a limit for the number of guests they allow inside their gates. Of course, this will make the people shut out quite upset, but there has to be a trade off. And when parks anticipate huge visitor counts, they should do everything they can to increase the number of employees, open all of the rides, and keep things moving as efficiently and equitably as possible.

10. The Weather

OK, this is one area that parks can't control. But doesn't it stink when a day of rain ruins a long-anticipated visit to a park? That may be part of the reason for the incredible success of indoor water parks. They're weatherproof.

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