The column is a follow-up to my piece last week, which explained why single rider lines can be a great deal for everyone, whether you use them or not. But some people look for ways to take advantage of anything and try to cheat the single rider lines by insisting that they must ride with family or friends when they get to the loading point.
That's hardly the only way that people cheat the system in theme parks. I hope you'll read my column on the Register website, and for Theme Park Insider readers, I'd like to extend that list with a complete "Top 10" of theme park cheaters. In picking these 10, I'm trying to single out the top ways that theme park guests cheat other guests by taking advantage.
Not-so-single riders — If you have any doubt that your child will be cool with going alone, just wait in the regular queue. And for grown-ups pulling this trick, we're all wise to you. Bravo to any cast or team member who calls you out and throws you out of the line.
Line jumpers — At least they're not being as passive-aggressive as the not-so-single riders. But people who jump the queues deserve a nice long wait in a security office... before getting tossed from the park. Have some respect for your fellow guests, please?
Slow loaders — When the employees tell you to move all the way down to the end of the row in a full theater show, don't stop in the middle to get the "good" seat. That just forces everyone to climb over and around you, slowing the start of the show and leading to a longer wait for the people behind you. The same thing goes for people who hold up the dispatch of rides to take a family portrait in a ride vehicle, or parents who try to force their crying child onto a theme park ride. Fast loading means shorter waits. Slow loading lengthens the wait for everyone else.
Table hoggers/slobbers — Yeah, this one is a judgment call. It's okay with us if you send someone to go claim a table in a counter service restaurant while you are picking up the food. No one wants to stand around with a full tray while looking for a place to sit. But when people send the kids to claim a table even before getting into a 20-minute queue for food, they're helping create a situation where lots of other people will end up having to stand around with full trays while kids sit alone at dozens of otherwise empty tables. Kudos to restaurants such as Be Our Guest and The Three Broomsticks that don't let people claim tables without food. But everywhere else, people can help their fellow guests by not claiming tables early.
And clean up our table when you leave, too. Yes, parks should employ workers to give a table a wipedown as soon as a part leaves. But if they have to take the time to bus everything off the table, too, that slows down the time it takes to make that table available for another group. Again, delays = longer waits in theme parks.
Selfie stick-ers — It's bad enough to intrude on scarce space in a crowded theme park with these things. But when people bring them into parks where they are banned, they slow the line at bag checks while they'r confiscated. Even worse, when people bring them on rides, they force shut-downs that inconvenience and frustrate thousands of other visitors.
Tablet photographers — Until someone develops a transparent tablet, quit blocking the view of everyone behind you to take a photo or video with your iPad. Use your phone or bring a real camera. (And keep it in front of your face — not high over your head.)
Pushy parents — If your child is too short to go on a thrill ride, don't push it. Don't try to cheat by putting lifts into their shoes, and certainly don't take it out on the cast or team member measuring your child. Ride restrictions are there for a reason — to keep you and your kids safe. Support the parks' efforts to keep your kids safe. Don't make the parks the enemy because your child isn't ready for something you want them to do right now.
Fakers — Years ago, selfish, nasty visitors would rent a wheelchair and pretend to have an injury or disability in order to skip the wait by using the "wheelchair entrance" at many rides. Later, as parks created more formal systems to accommodate people with disabilities, people who could have visited the park without that special accommodation took advantage by claiming they needed it anyway. The worst cheats started selling special access to others to ride along on the disability access cards they'd obtained. These days, Disney, Universal and other parks have clamped down on this form of line jumping with new guest access systems that essentially create a parallel ride-reservation system for guests with disabilities, giving them no wait time advantage over other visitors. But the fakers who cheated these systems in the past always should have a place in our theme park hall of shame.
Souvenir flippers — You're not providing a service when you buy dozens of a new souvenir to resell them on eBay to other fans. All you are doing is preventing other fans from getting those souvenirs at the park for their original price. "Limit one per customer" for new releases ought to be theme park law.
Free parkers — If you think parks charge too much for parking, you'll get a sympathetic ear from us. (By the way, bravo to Holiday World for offering free parking to all visitors!) But if you don't like what a company charges for a product, the proper response is to not buy it. It's not to steal it. Don't keep your car in Downtown Disney's lot all day and evening when you're visiting Disneyland. Don't lie and say you're going to a WDW resort for lunch when you're really just going into the park. And don't use back roads to sneak your way into a theme park parking lot. Carpool, take alternate transportation, buy a pass that includes parking — do whatever you want to minimize your parking costs at your favorite theme park. But don't take spaces designed for other purposes just so you can get out of paying. That's cheating the other guests who legitimately need them.
Got something to add to our list? Let's hear it in the comments.Tweet
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