Most theme park guests are respectful, fun to chat with, and reasonably well-behaved. They are simply trying to have a good time with their families, and are receptive to what the employees have to say. Some guests, however, are not so great. While we all have our pet peeves, the ones that consistently top employee frustration lists are the ones that keep us from doing our jobs. So here are the 4 worst guests from a park operations perspective.
1. The selfie taker
We get it. You’re at one of the coolest places on Earth, and you want to document every moment for posterity, or at least for your Facebook friends. Go ahead and take all the selfies you like as you’re enjoying the park. But please, turn off the camera or phone and pay attention when you get to a ride or show.
Attractions employees are expected to hit specific hourly counts for the number of ride vehicles dispatched or shows run, and the number of guests per ride vehicle or show theater. In addition, a ride dispatch that is late by even a few seconds can throw the entire system off, forcing vehicles already on the tracks to come to a sudden halt and causing a lengthy reset procedure.
Nothing is more frustrating to an employee who needs to dispatch a vehicle than someone who refuses to participate. Selfie Takers who insist on taking photos as they board are among the worst offenders. The time that it takes to set up and take your photo, put your camera or phone away, and then look around to figure out what to do next, such as putting on your safety belt, can easily cause a safety shutdown.
Of course, selfies during the ride are equally problematic for different reasons. Flash photography distracts other guests, ruining the ride for them and sticking your hands and arms out of the vehicle to get a photo can be dangerous.
2. The non-counter
Like the Selfie Taker, the Non-Counter is a major thorn in the side of attractions employees. All day long, at every attraction, you will be asked how many people are in your party. That employee will then assign your group to one or more rows. This process ensures that each ride vehicle goes out full but not overstuffed.
The Non-Counter has no idea how many people are in his party. When asked, he has one of three responses: “I don’t know,” a random number that is seldom accurate, or a quick head count that is also usually inaccurate. Unless the employee catches the mistake immediately, this generally leads to a delayed dispatch as the load employees try to rearrange guests. We understand that some people hit the parks in big groups, and not everyone goes on every ride, but please try to figure out how many of you are riding before you join the queue.
Related to the Non-Counter is the Row Ignorer. This person wants to sit wherever he wants to sit, and has no problem moving around to make sure he sits there. Row Ignorers often show up in big groups and try to squeeze everyone into one row, even if there aren’t enough seats. The irony is that if you want a specific row, all you need to do is ask. You might have to wait through one or two ride cycles, but you can generally get what you want. However, even the most eager employee can’t create more seats in the same row.