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Readers Respond: The Worst Things about Theme Parks

Responses: 15


Is something bugging you about theme parks? Driving you crazy? Maybe it's crummy food. Or high prices. Or crummy food that has crazy high prices. Tell us what you think are the one or two worst things about theme parks. Remember to keep it civil and constructive.

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Fast Pass/parking...

I pay for a family of 4. Because of July 4th holiday, the park charged $5 more for parking and $20 more for skip-the-lines passes per person. I drove 152 miles one way, and to top it off I am 63 yr. old and only use the wave pool and lazy river. Finally, it rained 1/2 day, and we left. Soon we will have to pay to make sure they take the fun out completely.
—Guest Eugene

Worst Things About Theme Parks

1. A number of people have already commented on this, but I too object to the cost of parking. Although I had a season pass which included parking at Six Flags Great Adventure, I think that those who had to pay $17 to park got gouged. Even the $12 I paid at Cedar Point struck me as exorbitant. Hats off to Holiday World and Knoebels for offering free parking! 2. Excessive security screening at park entrance.Thus far this applies only to Six Flags Great Adventure. The security screening, complete with metal detector and emptying of pockets, is almost as rigorous as that at an airport. (The only thing you don't have to do is take off your shoes.) It strikes me as a bit much for an amusement park. 3. Long ride lines - I have a story to tell about this but it's much too long to tell in this forum. 4. Inadequate food choices, at least for vegetarians, of which I am one. As a result, my lunch at an amusement park usually consists of a bowl of ice cream.

Then find a good park!

Go to Holiday World - Santa Claus, IN. The staff is consistently voted as a top 5 most friendly every year in national surveys. You can buy discount tickets at local merchants, one price gets you in both parks (with top 10 NATIONALLY RATED roller coasters and water rides). FREE parking, FREE UNLIMITED soft drinks - kiosks conveniently located throughout the park & FREE sunblock in the water park. The rest of the park is shady, so sunblock isn't an issue. There are rides for all sizes from tiny (under 54") to adults that include rides from 50+ years ago to today. The food is decent, but if you want, pack a cooler, leave it in your car and at lunch time get your hand stamped at the gate and picnic at the Holiday World shelterhouse just outside the main gate next to Lake Rudolph. I've lived outside the area for years, but I come back occasionally to relive childhood memories. The late Will Koch was valedictorian of my high school class and he always knew how to run a class act.
—Guest YHB

Leave me alone at the park!

What sometimes ticks me off is random people coming up to me and saying hi, which freaks me out more than anything. I'm here for a good time, not for a socializing time, no offense.
—Guest CLS

Holier Than Thou Guests

What ticks me off is guests who think that they are better than everyone else. One example is that they won't fill in all the available seats in a theater, making the rest of the people maneuver around them. Another thing that ticks me off is when parents teach their kids that it's OKto lie to get what they want. For example. "Stand on your tippy-toes to be tall enough to ride." Or, "Tell them you're 12, so you can drive that boat."
—Guest Zeke

Full-Price Admission Ticks Me Off

I love amusement parks, but I hate that so many of them charge full price when I bring a guest that I know will not ride the rides. All parks should have a general admission price.
—Guest RaneyOnline

What ticks me off?! Parking fees.

Parking fees tick me off. I mean you pay to get in the park an then they want you to pay to park as well. The entrance fees are expensive anyway. Another thing that ticks me off is the general lack of respect by guests for the park and others in the park. People leave their gum on walls and then the parks don't do a great job cleaning up. The parks preach family atmosphere, but then they allow people to cut in lines, talk nasty, and leave trash around without addessing the issue
—Guest Heidi

Unfriendly Employees

We've saved up for a trip to the amusement park (it costs a lot more to take a family to the park these days: parking, admission, food and drinks, gas, maybe a night in a hotel, etc.). On top of that, we are thoroughly excited about being there, and then we run into a bunch of unfriendly employees. Did they forget that if it wasn't for us (park guests), they wouldn't be there (no guests, no job)? I just feel like guests are taken for granted at some parks. We tend not to return to those parks where we have not felt welcome. On the other hand, we will often drive a little further to other parks that we know are glad that we came!
—Guest Travel Fan


Fastpass programs, like the one at the Disney parks, make me mad. Customers wait in line longer because of fastpasses. If you want to ride, stand in line like everyone else. Once, we waited 3 hours because of fastpass. The sign said 90 minutes.

Large Groups

My biggy is when large groups visit a park with no adult supervision. They ignore everyone else.

What ticks me off?

Not enough dark rides! Obviously I am jaded, but most dark rides give the family a chance to do something together as a unit. Instead of Grandma and the under 42" family members always having to "sit this one out" when the teens and young adults want to go on the newest mega-million dollar roller coaster (which could mean being separated for an hour - or more!). They also have air conditioning to get you out of the heat and are way more entertaining...especially the interactive ones...than a typical roller coaster (in my jaded opinion!). Many parks are starting to realize the potential for adding new dark rides in their parks, just look at Forbidden Journey, Toy Story Mania, The Simpsons, Little Mermaid (next year), Lego Laser Raiders...they are hugely successful and fun, too!


Imagine what a pleasure theme parks would be if everyone under the age of 18 were banished! Finally, some fun for adults. Arthur (About.com Theme Parks Guide) says: I'm reasonably sure Maggie is at least half-joking. But the idea isn't that crazy. Epcot and Disney California Adventure were both originally conceived as "adult" parks. For a more interesting take on the concept, read Carl Sagan's book, "Contact."

RUDE guests!!!!!

What bugs me most are rude guests, especially those with strollers who use them like weapons. The complainers are the WORST: "Eww, prices are too high," or "Eww the lines are too long." You get the picture. Hey, if you're not having a good time, LEAVE....the rest of us ARE having a good time!

Parking Fees

So you're feeling really good about getting that discount on your theme park tickets by purchasing them online? The feeling won't last long. When you pull up to the park entrance... surprise! You have to shell out $10-$15 on average for parking! It's outrageous!

Crappy Food

Why can't (most) parks offer halfway decent food? If I wanted Subway, I'd go to one of the 38 Subway shops near my home. And if I wanted a bad burger, I'd try to cook it myself. Give me something that tastes great, is unique for the park, offers OK value, and I'll gladly buy it--and look forward to coming back to try it again.
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