Fate at 47 and 15/16 inches
Loop De Loop
Southern California - land of amusement parks
My family lives in Southern California. One of the benefits of living in Southern California is the excessive amount of amusement parks. Between Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Legoland, Seaworld, and the assortment of water parks, a person’s tummy can be spinning without much of a drive.
However, this story doesn’t revolve around any of those parks. My family has season passes to Knott’s Berry Farm. Before meeting my husband and learning a little about the Southern California area, I have never heard of Knott’s Berry Farm. Yet, I can only assume if you are planning a vacation to Southern California, this theme park will come up in your search, as it is America’s 1st Theme Park, and that has to give them props for something.
Riding the line...
Knott’s Berry Farm is a blast, and the best part is it is family friendly. My 9 year old daughter can ride just about anything there. My 1 year old son can spend the whole afternoon in Camp Snoopy. Then there is my middle daughter. Two weeks ago, she finally hit 48 inches. This meant we could finally take her on some real roller coaster rides. We were excited! (Probably more excited than she was!)
Yet, as we found out on our last visit… 48 inches is subjective. Mostly depending on the person who is measuring the child. Now last I checked, and I believe I am educated enough to state this, but 48 inches should not be subjective. Either you are 48 inches or your not 48 inches. And throughout most of the park, my middle child was 48 inches.
Now you are probably thinking this is going to be a rant about how my child was not let on the rides due to her stature of 47 and 15/16 inches. But that is not the case. I can not fault the park or the employees for taking my child’s safety as their top concern - even though they are obviously not well educated in how to measure a child - eyeballing height isn’t exactly accurate. Will this stop me from using my season passes until my middle child has surpassed the 48 inch line so there is no question about her ability to ride? Absolutely not! That would be stupid. However, in the heat of the debate - something wonderful happened.
NOTE: If you a Knott's Berry Farm employee who found me by ways of robots searching the internet looking for negative comments and you would like to offer me some kind of deal to make up for the inconvenience of not measuring my daughter correctly... I will gladly accept them. I am not ashamed of receiving free gifts for inconveniences. :) If you are not an employee of Knott's Berry Farm, I will still accept free gifts. What can I say... I enjoy gifts.
You're not tall enough!
We had just taken our daughter on The Boomerang. A pull you back while suspended in the air until they shoot you out and sling you around by the seat of your pants while you go upside down and around in a belly busting action and then do it all over again backwards kind of ride. She loved it and it was the first ride she had been on that did a loop de loop since she has been able to go on rides. Some might even say, it was the very first extreme roller coaster she has rode.
We then headed to Jaguar. Not in any means extreme compared to The Boomerang, but still a fun ride and one she has already been on and really liked. Both had the same height requirements, so we headed to the line not really worried. Luckily for us, the lines weren’t long, so we didn’t have to wait long before it was our turn to get our ride on.
The roller coaster ride finished for the previous group and had come to a complete stop. The gate started to open. We walked through and that is were we were stopped. Of course, because her height was questionable, they wanted to measure her. With confidence on our side, because we knew our daughter was 48 inches, we preceded without worry. However, the attendant said she was too short.
We explained to him how she just got off Boomerang (and was considered tall enough) and that is a much more intense ride than Jaguar. I even put my hand to the top of her head and showed she was right on the line. I was told to remove my hand so they could continue to eye the line. He checked with another ride operator who said the same thing. She still wasn’t tall enough. A third attendant said the same thing. We went back and forth, yet, instead of us getting on the ride, they stated they were just doing their job. My daughter, now in tears, was heart broken. Especially since she has already been on this ride before, yet today, she was too short according to the ride operators.
Not at all happy, we headed straight for customer service.
What can be done - Are you listening to me Knotts!
The measuring system is obviously a problem. 48 inches should be considered 48 inches and in no way should it be a subjective measurement. Although, when eyeballing the line, that is what ends up happening.
So, what can be done to solve this issue for those children riding the line.
- Have a wrist band for those that are close to the line. This way they are only measured by one person. Certain wrist bands will designate if they can go on rides requiring 48 inches, 52 inches or 54 inches. This is only necessary if the child is close to the line. Therefore there is no question by the ride attendants when you get to the front; and there is no unnecessary waiting to be kicked off at the end.
- Invest in a placement marker. This way, if the child steps underneath and their head touches the marker, there is no question whether the child is tall enough. This takes out the variable factor in the measurements.
- Make sure all signs are measured correctly. If the signs vary on 48 inches it means a child who is 48 inches might not touch the line because the sign measures 48 and a half inches. These signs need to be accurate. It is up to the amusement parks to make sure of this.
Hopefully these are suggestions that will make measure children more accurate. There is nothing worse then telling your child they can ride a ride only to be measured at a different height elsewhere. It is unfair and inaccurate. I am not suggesting they not follow the safety guidelines, but I don't suggest they accurately measure.
If you have any other suggestions... I would love to hear them!
The Rules of the Game
Now I understand a person just doing their job. It is for the safety of those on the ride. I have no problem if she isn’t tall enough. What I do have a problem with is the inaccuracy in judging. It isn’t fair to tease my daughter by letting her on one ride, stating she is 48 inches, and not letting her on another ride because she is 47 and 15/16 inches. With a varied amount of people measuring our kids, there are a varied number of people judging what 48 inches truly is - and they are just doing this by eyeballing the line. That makes 48 inches subjective - which it shouldn’t be.
Now before leaving the house that morning, we measured our daughter. She was 48 inches on the dot. As we reached customer service to complain about this very instance, there was another couple with their daughter having the exact same issue. The difference was this guy had brought a tape measure with him so he could show the attendants his daughter was indeed 48 inches.
As the story goes, some of the lines at the theme park are off and they vary up or down. This guy checked them with his tape measure. That means the lines meant for measuring are not all 48 inches. Yet, when this is shown to the ride attendants, they are told they are to follow the line (which is obviously not accurate) and not verify off of a tape measure. They are, after all, just doing their job!
In the midst of this argument/conversation, the other couple complaining had called out their daughter’s name. Her name was Bella. My daughter’s name was also Bella. They were both the same height and the same age. That connection seemed to have made them instant friends. To appease the angry parents, the ride supervisor said he would call another ride where their height would not be an issue. This would allow us to go up through the back and get right on. The two Bella’s decided they had to go on the ride together. Which they did. (Ironically, if they weren’t 48inches they shouldn’t have been able to ride without the parent sitting next to them… which they did!)
After that ride, they wanted to go on each and every ride they could together. Who needs the safety of the parents on a roller coaster when you have your “long lost” twin at your side.
In line at the next ride, the Bella’s were talking up a storm and climbing and doing things that Bella’s do best. The mom of the new Bella called out her name, including her last name. For safety reasons, I will not tell you the last name, but when I heard it, my head turned. I had to hear it again… and then my mouth dropped open.
Right in front of us stood two little girls, both who have never met. One was blonde and one was brunette. Both were the exact same height; both held very similar personalities; and the top it off… they both had the same exact last name… no relation. If you add there middle names, you have one as a Rose and another as a Rochelle. Our husbands names are eerily similar as well.
So this is a story of two children of 48 inches being measured at 47 and 15/16 inches after not being allowed to ride the Jaguar. That is how they met. It must have been fate. I can already tell the two Bella’s, Brownie and Blondie, have got an instant connection and will probably be friends for a long time!