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Behind the Scene’s Advice: Frequently Asked Questions and Easily Corrected Annoyances from Rides Operations.
I work in Rides Operations at a Six Flags Theme Park, and as we head into the tail end of the summer, there are things that I’d like to address to minimize the irritation to one and all. I know it is all part and parcel to the gig, but after a while, answering the same questions and having to remind guests of the same restrictions over and over again puts a damper on the experience. I do NOT want this to turn into a rant of any sort, but I will try to put an emphasis on things that probably shouldn’t need to be asked, or things that should be paid attention to.
- Height Requirements
All rides attendants and operators are trained on their rides, and are firmly educated about what height requirements or restrictions exist for the rides that they are at. I know and appreciate that waiting in line for a ride, and then finding out that you or someone in your group are ineligible to ride is very frustrating. It’s like being at the DMV and finding out you’re missing paperwork. I can’t speak for other amusement chains, but for Six Flags, any and all rides listed on the park maps have their restrictions listed, with any necessary addendums, such as ‘Accompanied by Adult’. Also attendants and operators go by an official measuring ruler posted at the ride, either stationary or mobile. The restrictions are for safety and are handed down by the manufacturers of the rides, and it is our job to make sure that those rides and guests are completely safe during operation. Please do not ask if someone is close to the height requirement but doesn’t make it to let them pass. It is advised to get your child measured at any of the rides and mark off on the maps which they are eligible for, in order to save yourself some aggravation.
- Safety Restraints
No matter what area you’re in, if your ride has safety restraints, you have to use them, for the children’s rides or the big ones. We aren’t there to harass you, we want you to have fun, it’s our job. It’s also our job to make sure you’re safe. Pretty much everything comes down to safety. No matter what ride I am in charge of, everyone gets checked like I’m strapping in my own family to these rides. I’ve told guests, no matter how young or old, Pope or POTUS, everyone gets buckled, belted, restrained and checked, and I will take extra time to make sure that everything is the way it should be, although I rarely have to do so. I have been asked if a guest can forego a restraint on a children’s ride, and I’ve always answered no.
- Guest Attire
The Water Park and the Dry Park tend to have different standards for what you can and cannot wear. The changes in standards are posted at the entrance of the water park and around the regular park. For the rides, go by store rules, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Shoes remain on for all rides outside the water park, even if you’re wearing flip-flops.
- Rider Restrictions
Rider Restrictions are posted at the entrance of every ride, and it is advised that guest pay attention and read them. Things that are included but not limited to are:
- Casts are allowed so long as they do not cover the elbow or knee. Limbs are required to bend at the joint.
- It is advised that anyone who is pregnant not go on rides, even the ones for children, as the restraint system could possibly injure them.
- If you have a recent back or neck injury, or heart problems, it is advised that you abstain from going on rides.
- If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you might be barred from the ride.
- Eating or drinking isn’t allowed on the ride.
- Cell phone use while the ride is in motion is prohibited.
For further restrictions, please consult rides operations.
- Loose Articles
For some rides, you are allowed to bring any bags, prizes, and any other items that you have acquired thus far in the day. On other, there are loose article bins near the entrance for your items. However, on some of the big rides, at most you can carry up are stuff you can carry in your pockets, and there might small storage spaces for things like hats, glasses, or other small loose articles that you might not feel is secure enough in your pockets while on the ride. For the larger rides with high traffic, locker areas are provided for a low rental fee for a limited duration. If you wish to forego the lockers, then items need to be in the possession of someone who isn’t going on the ride, and cannot accompany you through the queue line. Any items left unattended will be remanded into the custody of Security personnel and can be retrieved at Guest Relations. Six Flags personnel cannot take possession or responsibility for your items. The only bags that might pass through are required to have a medical tag authorized by Guest Relations.
- Adult Swap
If you are accompanying a child on a ride, and for whatever reason cannot ride yourself, it is possible for you to negotiate with the operator/attendant to exchange with someone else that meets the requirements for being an adult as designated by the park, as long as it isn’t to disruptive to the load cycle. For Six Flags, any one above the height of 54 inches is considered an adult for accompanying a child.
- Child Swap
Often parents want to go on a ride that their child is ineligible for. There is a method to which both parents can ride. One adult goes through the queue line as normal, while the other adult with the child may go up the exit ramp for the ride and contact the attendant posted at the exit gate, letting them know you are going to do a child swap with a particular adult. Then when the first adult disembarks from the ride, the adult with the child will exchange places and the child is in the custody of the original rider at the exit gate.
- Guests with Disabilities
There are accommodations for allowing guests with disabilities to still have an enjoyable rider experience. Guests must have one full leg and one full arm and hand, with at least three fingers in order to ride. Guests with disabilities, physical or otherwise may purchase a pass at Guest Relations that will allow them to enter the ride through the exit gate, and will allow up to 4 guests, including the guest that the pass is carried by admission by that path. The Exit Pass will work for all rides, as long as the guest meets the ride requirements.
- Infants & Toddlers
Infants are allowed to go on any ride that fall under the “Or Accompanied by Adult” if they don’t meet the single rider height restriction. Please consult park maps to discern which rides fall under these conditions.
I know this all seems like a lot rules, and us telling you “No,” but the rules for rides aren’t our choice, and we are required to enforce them. We want everyone to have the best possible experience on our rides, and your feedback is appreciated tremendously. If you have any further questions, I will answer them as best as I can, and if I can’t, will recommend speaking with Park Admissions.