Vote of the week: What's the biggest problem at theme parks?

June 23, 2007, 12:42 PM · Pick your single most significant concern from those listed below, or select "no worries" if you don't have any concerns when visiting theme and amusement parks.

And, as always, please feel welcome to explain your pick by using the comments link below.

Replies (20)

June 23, 2007 at 3:34 PM · Not on the list but what bother me more than what was listed is line jumping people, and people who use foul language while in the park, and parks that have systems where you pay to skip in line then the park doesnt operate these rides to capacity which IMHO is done intentionally so they can coerce more people to pay for skipping privileges.
June 23, 2007 at 4:44 PM · What, no basketballs?
June 23, 2007 at 8:10 PM · Mine would definetely be confrontation with other visitors. I agree with what the first guy that made a comment. I cant stand people that cut in line, more than half the time they lie about having friends further in the line just to cut in. And, all the foul language kids use nowadays. The get all roudy and think the park is open just for them, then they start to get disrespectful. Thats when i step in. I'm usually the one to put them in their place. Its just necessary sometimes. But, my second concern would be lines, and then getting hurt(which has happened before at Universal Studios).
June 23, 2007 at 8:40 PM · I am sorry, but I can't stand the heat! Its especially bad at AK!
June 23, 2007 at 9:29 PM · For this vote, I was going for a tally of fears that people have when they walk into a park. But don't worry; I am noting stuff that I would call "operational gripes" for a future vote. (e.g. rides at less than capacity, too few employees staffing a location, etc.)
June 24, 2007 at 7:34 AM · Mine is Over priced food with poor quality. Then long waits due to under staffing.
June 24, 2007 at 2:06 PM · I agree with Steve, Basketballs being dribbled everywhere in the park is so anoying. I also can't stand line cutters. I had so kids at Cedar Point cut me in Maverick so I asked him what he was doing. He then started cussing me out so I pushed him out of the way and took my spot back. I am a teenager but I don't cut lines and it makes me so mad when somebody cuts in front of me and then make a crappy excuse about it.
June 24, 2007 at 9:41 PM · I really have no worries about the options in this survey. A lot of these potential problems can be avoided by simply going at the right times. I don't worry about a confrontation with other visitors per se, but I do think that a large portion of guest unhappiness is a result of other guest behavior. Smoking in line, cutting in line, fights and bad language in front of the kids, parking lot idiots, people wearing clothes they have no business wearing, and those basketballs that we heard about earlier are also annoying. Gladly they are starting to pass them out deflated.

There also is the possibility of being injured on a ride, then again, I'm statistically in much more danger when I'm behind the wheel or crossing the street.

June 25, 2007 at 6:22 AM · While I voted for confrontations with other people in the park, I did so for a specific reason. The biggest problem I have with theme parks is the so-called policy of 'designated smoking areas'. I think we all know that most people do not respect this rule as I always find people smoking whereever they please. Generally these people are ambivalent and if you ask them to put their cigarette they get quite hostile. If you approach a park employee, they never do anything either because they also fear confrontation. While I don't care if you want to smoke and kill yourself, I do care if you are smoking near me or my 4 year old who has asthma because he was born 3 months premature. Honestly, I feel that the parks should ban smoking inside entirely. If someone needs to smoke so badly, make them trek to the front of the park, get their hand stamped, and go outside the gates. And if they are going to allow smoking, but only in designated areas, then they need to enforce it by throwing people out if they are caught - no exceptions, no tolerance!
June 25, 2007 at 7:14 AM · bad food tops the list for in brooklyn and working in NYC, my wife and I are spoiled rotten with good eats and we have found the bargains for all types of food. When we go to a theme park, it isn't always easy to find something to eat thats not a burger, a dog, fries or popcorn. We understand that americans eat american food but there needs to be some type of variety. At least Disney recently has stepped up the healthy attitude and offers more salads, international dishes, and healthier sandwiches. Although it is still "quick service" food, it tastes better and is better for you than previous menu's.

I understand about the smoking thing and I agree that most smokers can get hostile when being told to put out their smokes, but they shouldn't ruin it for all of us. I am a smoker and I always use the "areas" no matter how far or out of the way they are, but to say that I have to leave the park to smoke is too much and a violation of my rights. I think that the designated areas are the way to go, just like the designated drinking areas in BGE...I do agree that it is up to the parks and the employees to enforce this and offenses should be met with a warning, then ejection. It is up to my fellow smokers to understand others health risks and respect their rights to clean air. But please, don't make me leave the park to have a smoke. "No tolerance" only breeds ill feelings on both sides of an issue.

I am married and have no kids and I can't stand crying children...I think there should be a crying child area and parents should have to take their crying children into the crying child area because my ears are senstive to screams and I don't think I should have to have my experience interrupted by a parents inability to control their offspring. I would never lobby for such a thing because they purchased their ticket to the park just like me and I have to put up with their choice to have children just like they will have to put up with my choice to smoke.

June 25, 2007 at 7:19 AM · Lee

If you are using the designate areas then kudos...but most people don't which is why sometimes you need to go to extremes to correct the problem. As far as the crying kids comment...I am not going to get into a debate, but while a crying kid might be annoying and give people headaches, they would never cause cancer and other health problems like second hand smoke so I think you're comparison is a bit ridiculous. Just my two cents and not meant to provoke an argument.

June 25, 2007 at 9:29 AM · It sounds like alot of the problems would be addressed, at least in part, by employees being more aware of potential rule infraction and having protocols to deal with them in the moment. While the smoking would be difficult to watch, the cutting in line can be dealt with by building better queuing areas and actually having employees helping people go through the lines (Universal is horrible about having absolutely NO employees at the lines to help out).

On the other hand, we will never take away the human characterological narcissism that prompts people to beleive that the rules should not apply to them. At theme parks, there are droves of people who feel like they should have special rights above everyone else. This is part of why that exclusive Disney club is so desirable. So, if we attempted to police theme parks heavily, then they can go too far and make it seem like walking into some Communist East Germany.

The screaming kid thing is hilarious. That's one of those comments you can only make before you have kids.

June 25, 2007 at 9:44 AM · I think we can all agree that it's not smokers or crying children that are the problems - it's irresponsible smokers and irresponsible parents.

For smoke, clearly the best solution is to have clearly-marked designated smoking areas, and enough of them that smokers don't have to hike all the way across the park to get to one. And as pointed out above, this doesn't work unless the park employees do step in to stop people from smoking outside the designated areas.

For crying children, it's more difficult because our society finds it pretty unacceptable to complain about anyone's parenting skills. But the parks could try having employees step in and simply ask if the parents need any help, if a child is clearly upset. Sometimes parents don't know that there is a first aid center they could go to, or that there's a baby center that sells diaper cream. And just having a stranger walk up and ask if they're okay will distract some kids from what they were screaming about.

As far as the issue with smoking goes, I don't think it's really a question of protection from cancer. The parks tend to attract a lot of children, and asthma and allergies are becoming more and more common. If your kid has an asthma or allergy attack, it can completely ruin your day at the theme park - and parks don't want that to happen! (I once as a kid had an afternoon at Disneyland ruined by someone who decided to smart smoking in the crowd watching the parade, where I couldn't get away very easily.)

June 25, 2007 at 10:37 AM · One other thing that wasn't addressed on the list is the price of admission. I get severe motion sickness and can't ride many of the rides. However, I do have kids who can and love to ride everything. They are too young to just be dropped off at a park, but I hate to pay the huge admission price when I don't even ride. It's not a problem at the Disney parks because there are so many other things to do and see. I do have a problem with the Six Flags type parks. They seem to be mostly geared towards teenagers and young adults and there's not a lot else to do if you don't ride.

It would be nice if the parks could come up with some sort of non-rider admission that would be less expensive. Not sure how it would work but you'd think they could come up with something.

June 25, 2007 at 10:42 AM · ^Canada's Wonderland has an admission ticket that is cheaper for people who don't ride anything. It's called "grounds admission". People who pay full price admission get a hand stamp at the gates and people with grounds admission do not. It works well.
June 25, 2007 at 11:40 AM · Nobody has a "right" to smoke anywhere.
June 25, 2007 at 5:50 PM · Secondhand smoke, hurts everyone and smokers on benches will litter their butts even if an ashtray is within arms reach. Smokers should just get their hand stamped, leave, and come back when they are done if they must smoke. People should have a right to treat their bodies as they see fit until in infringes on the rights of the other 80% or so of the population to breathe smokefree air. Designated smoking areas can sometimes be on the path to rides, and are un-avoidable. Besides, why should we be forced to either breathe in smoke or go out of our way to avoid it?
June 26, 2007 at 2:02 AM · I would have put Smoking down as my main concern (I hate smokers) but since that wasn't there I put down long queues. Seems like a very British thing to put down...
June 26, 2007 at 6:43 AM · good to know that I am hated and have no rights. Although we all share a love for theme parks, it seems that we have different opinions on health and well being. I have smoked for 20 years and smoke five cigarettes a day now down from a two pack habit ( i am not looking for pats on the back considering I took 10 years off my life with my poor decision to smoke)...I always use an ashtray and never smoke around children. I even smoke outside of my own house. I am not rude or vulgar and I certainly do not deserve such negative responses (although the crying kid thing was a little much; I was illustrating the outrageous claim with more of the same). So, to finish off with a forum service announcement; kiddies, take it from uncle lee, don't smoke. Its bad for you and others.

Please do not make blanket statements about any group of people with the intention of personal attack. I concede that there are many smokers that do not respect others peoples health, but I do my part and can not be held responsible for the actions of others, nor should I be penalized for doing the right thing. To be told that I can't have a cigarette in an area designated for me to do so is unconstitutional. The reason why there are smoking areas is because it is against the law to deny me my "right" to smoke outdoors.

So to finish off...

Christina, James and "Mostly":
Hats off to you for responding to me with respect in the spirit of differential opinion met with mindful discussion.

Stan, Daniel, and Mark:
You like coasters, I like coasters...we like coasters. "Ain't no time to hate"

June 26, 2007 at 9:37 AM · Just as Robert OGrosky says. I get really annoyed at line jumpers. I don't have any objection to one or two people standing in line and holding a place for other family members but what exactly is the limit ?? I've had more than a dozen try and cut in front of us in this way.
Worse still I've seen people pretending to be disabled to get to the front. Shameful.

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