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Is a Summer Theme Park Job worth it?

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Post June 15th, 2016, 8:10 pm
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It's ok there are rides like Dragging Iron to save you lel
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Post June 15th, 2016, 9:17 pm

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^In ye olden days, when it first opened, workers called it Plastic Lizard hehehehe
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Post June 17th, 2016, 7:03 am

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Believe it or not, it's up to you. :lol:
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Post November 26th, 2016, 9:42 pm
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My first season as a ride operator is in the books so I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the experience.

As my signature says, I was a member of the Wild Thing crew at Valleyfair. I was very lucky to be placed there because I wanted to work at a roller coaster but first year employees don't get a say in which ride they work at. I'd usually have to work in Park Services (sweeping, garbage, restrooms) once or twice a week, and I'd occasionally get sent to Peanuts 500 in Planet Snoopy (the only other ride I was cross-trained at), but I was at Wild Thing most of the time. Was also glad to be placed here because it's one of the most fast paced rides in the park to work at, as well as the only coaster that can run two trains without stacking (Well, Renegade avoids a stack every once in a blue moon. We avoided them much more consistently).

Being a coaster nerd, it was great to be able to see and do some nerdy things. I'd frequently get to walk in the ride's restricted areas in the morning before opening to make sure gates to all the low-point areas were locked. I got to walk to the top of the lift hill at night to get lift-cleared, and while that may sound cool, it was honestly pretty terrifying (mainly because it was at night, if it was during the day I probably wouldn't mind). Getting to do test rides in the morning was also a nice perk. Since I'd be the only one on the train, the test rides were usually pretty forceless, but at least I'm getting paid to ride a coaster :). It was also interesting to see the maintenance guys doing work on the rides and correcting breakdowns. The ride had a lot of downtime earlier in the season, typically due to a proxy fault or a ghost train, but reliability improved later on (during my last two weekends of work, I don't remember WT having any mechanical downtime).

I was never really bothered by the long working hours or hot/cold weather because that's what comes with the job, most of my peeves were related to annoying guests. Grown adults would frequently duck neck to the height stick and/or ask me "Am I tall enough?" On my last Saturday of work, we had to call security twice over some people on the ride that were clearly intoxicated. On that same Saturday, we had to stop the train on the lift eight times that day (five of which were in one hour) since people can't go five minutes without their cell phones. One time while working Peanuts 500, this one dad held up the ride for three minutes because he refused to put his hat and cell phone off to the side. Of course, not all guests act like this, but it only takes a few to make things frustrating.

The other thing I liked about working at VF was how most of the associates basically become one big family. I've never been a very social person or very good at making friends, but I was fortunate enough to get along with the majority of the people I worked with. Even though I mentioned earlier in this thread that I was going to consider applying to Cedar Point for next season, I'm going to reapply to Valleyfair instead since I would like to see some of these friends again.

TL;DR: I very much enjoyed my first summer working at Valleyfair and thanks to everyone here who suggested that I give it a shot. ;)
2016 Valleyfair Ride Operator - Wild Thing
2017 Valleyfair Ride Operator - Wild Thing/Xtreme Swing
2018 Valleyfair Ride Operator - RipCord/Northern Lights/Antique Autos

Coaster Count: 98 (21 wood, 77 steel)

Post November 27th, 2016, 5:41 am

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VF15 wrote:
I'm going to reapply to Valleyfair

so you have to re-apply each season?

Post November 27th, 2016, 7:18 am
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^'
Was told I will have to fill out the application again, but I won't have to do another interview, and they'll most likely take me back unless I was a bad employee, which I don't think I was.
2016 Valleyfair Ride Operator - Wild Thing
2017 Valleyfair Ride Operator - Wild Thing/Xtreme Swing
2018 Valleyfair Ride Operator - RipCord/Northern Lights/Antique Autos

Coaster Count: 98 (21 wood, 77 steel)

Post November 28th, 2016, 8:20 am

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Your personal deep thoughts on the park will impress the staff again! :D
-- I was happy to be with NL1 - [:')] --

Post November 28th, 2016, 9:02 am

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its fun being a ride operator (even if you work a danky little log ride or get sent to planet snoopy) but in the end you come out with things you never thought you could do and some great friends. For example my second year at Kings island wrapped up last month and as i look back at the season, i never thought i would be a certified trainer (beginning stage of a supervisor). Looking to return for my third season next year and HOPEFULLY, placed on Mystic Timbers, Diamondback or Banshee as i have experience with both the beemers at the park. Now if only i got paid the amount i do now at the warehouse for kohls i work at lol its like double what i make at kings island lol.
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Post November 28th, 2016, 5:16 pm
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And you don't take the food hit...
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Post February 15th, 2018, 8:43 am

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CKidd wrote:
I know several people who have done the Disney College Program and have loved it.


Could you tell about the Disney Program? I didn't see anything like that in my college. Who can apply, terms etc?

Post August 11th, 2018, 5:15 am

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Well, so far, it's been rather both a fun experience and a learning one. I'm working at Six Flags New England for the Summer and Sundays till the operating season ends. I've had some excellent days and some unfortunate ones. However, since my position was ride ops, I was able to have a little fun before dispatching the ride (Note: I currently work on Balloon Race and Mind Scrambler). One time, a guest told me I was the best ride operator they saw that day. I felt so rewarding to hear that feedback from a park guest, knowing that even though my job requires a lot of focus, I'm making people ensure an excellent day at the park. Also, due to my age being at 21, I'm capable of operating the ride. Anyone younger than 21 worked as attendants. In conclusion, a summer job at a theme park is absolutely worth it.

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