The Laws of Amusement Parks

Having just spent a day at Knott’s Berry Farm, I’ve begun to notice that there are a few immutable laws that apparently apply to all amusement parks, as faithfully as Newton’s laws of physics.

[li]If there is a body of water somewhere, people will throw coins into it, even if there is no implication that the water has any sort of wish-granting or other powers.[/li][li]If there is a ride that allows you to dangle your feet, your feet will begin to dangle involuntarily.[/li][li]People are stupid, so there will be lots of signs for their benefit. (This actually has nothing to do with the amusement parks, but the parks make it more obvious.)[/li][li]Old rides which are too popular to replace will instead be repainted in colors which the park designers apparently think are hip and futuristic, but which are actually ugly as sin, thus crushing your childhood memories of the ride. (Cite.)[/li][li]The safety bars on rides are always more secure than they really need to be. [/li][/ul]

The most typical example of this last one is the lap-bar / seat-belt combination, where the seat-belt is only effective if the lap-bar fails. Which it won’t, because it’s been checked by the computer system, and at least one employee. This is of course because the laws governing their design are federal codes, not the laws of physics.

I have spent today @ Universal StudioORLANDO.
I got a mean, nasty blisters on both big toes but it was a great time with my local STAR TREK FAN CLUB friends :D.
[ul]The individual patrons that REALLY NEED basic and substanstial undergarments to be acceptably attired have no blessed idea of this fact.
Example: That teeny little lady lady may be young and fit but the Jello™ jingle “Watch it wiggle . . .” :dubious: springs to mind when you see her. Or, even better, That individual coming towards you is leaving very little to the imagination of the shape of its body parts. :rolleyes: [/ul]
[ul]The number of people “chickening out” of a ride is inversely proportional to the length of time you have decided it has been too dang long to be in that line. [/ul]
[ul]The number, range and prices of the “tied-in” products available all around you can be staggering. Take it slowly.[/ul]

A school that my daughter attended ran a food concession at the local fair many years ago. Business wasn’t real good so the person in charge asked for volunteers to work all night the last night on the theory that we could feed the workers who were dismantling and loading the rides, etc. I stayed and met those people and on that basis I’ll add another law.

Hide all of your valuables and send the women far away, when the fair comes to town.

This is actually a specific case of the even more universal law:

The only thing the park really wants is your money. Lots of your money.

A few more:

If the cars on the ride seat four people, then a group of three people and a person riding alone will never be near each other in line, so some seats will go empty every time.

The ride you like the most will probably be closed.

No matter how much they get yelled at by parents and employees, kids will sit on the rails in the line.

If there’s an in-ride photo, the harder you try to look cool in the picture, the dorkier you will actually look in it. And if you want to buy it, it will cost a fortune (see the top of this post)

And no matter what at least a third of the people in the photos will be flipping off the camera (in the half hour line its not hard to figure out exactly when to raise one hand in salute :smiley: )

And yet, people still fall out them from time to time.

[li]People will wear swimsuits, even if it’s not a water park.[/li]
[li]There are no good tattoos at an amusement park.[/li]
[li]People actually want to win (and will then carry around) those huge stuffed cartoon animals.[/li][/ul]

-You never see any bra-less women wearing white blouses on the one ride where you’re sure to get soaked.

If the queue line is surrounded by wooden rails or beams, you will soon be able to tell who “wuz here” and when, who loves whom, and what flavor chewing gum is popular.

Having just spent 5 days in 4 different parks (why, yes! I am tired! How did you guess?), I would like to add some more:

  • You didn’t bring enough cash
  • The line is too long
  • The “really cool thing” will not be included in admission, and will cost extra
  • It might be cheaper to not eat/drink while in the park and just calling 911 and having paramedics fix you up when the park closes
  • Two-year olds don’t care what the signs say
  • The parking lot guy, whose only job is to collect $10 per car, will give you change from your $100 bill in fives (this one really confuses me still)
  • The worst ride in the world can instantly be made the best by incoparating laser guns
  • The “Master Power Swith for All Park Operations” will be covered by a rag and easily accessable to any random, slightly overactive two-year old who happens to like pushing colorful buttons :smiley:

Don’t ask about that last one. His mother is still awful upset about that. :wink:

In this aspect, Disney rules. Try to find gum or graffiti on anything. I’ll bet you won’t be able to. Disney will not even sell gum inside the park, while Six Flags has --what is deemed-- the Gum Tree. Blech! Disney may be somewhat psychotic, but I will pay for that kind of cleanliness!

Well there will be, but none of the women you want to be

• If you’re staying at a hotel with a pool, the kids would rather spend all day swimming than at the theme park.

• (Corollary to above): The most popular park activity with children under 10 is splashing in a fountain, even when they are surrounded by million-dollar, fully themed, aggressively-entertaining attractions.

The roller coaster you’ve been waiting all season to ride and for the last hour and a half will break down while you are in line, about five minutes away from the loading platform.

The park will not have any spare 12 milimeter Skjarfao bolts in stock to repair the coaster, so the ride will be closed for the next three weeks while the Skjarfao bolts are ordered in from Sweden.

The park will have found a box of Skjarfao bolts and repaired the ride and re-opened it 30 seconds after you decide to go home and pass through the front gate without getting your hand stamped.

Any pole or railing you lean on or touch without looking will have fresh gum on it.

Rides that blare popular music as part of the experience are not permitted to play music that’s actually cool. No Chili Peppers, no Fishbone, no Tool. Instead you get Whitesnake, Crue, and Lenny Kravitz.

Here are the Four Flavors of Carousel Calliopes:

a) Carousel was made before 1920 and calliope has tinny but recognizable versions of ‘Harrigan’, ‘In the Good Ol’ Summertime’, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, ‘Indian Love Song’, etc. Most of the artists you hear (Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Victor Herbert) are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

b) Carousel was made before 1920 and the calliope is broken down/stolen. You ride in serene silence broken only by the grinding of the gears, the action of the pistons, and mothers yelling on the sidelinesfor their kids to hang on, Fergawdsakes!

c) Carousel was made after 1980 by a company who didn’t care about the music. Its ‘calliope’ is actually a CD player. Lots of Greatest Hits of '84–‘Wildfire’, ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’, etc. The worst have the lyrics too.

d) Carousel was made before 1950 with an authentic calliope that has been repaired. Fine. But when it was repaired it was also reprogrammed with belts containing ‘modern’ classics. Calliope versions of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘You Light Up My Life’, ‘Crazy Horses’, and ‘Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)’ are out there. Avoid these carousels if you can.

There are many things to attract one’s attention, but for nearly everyone none of these things are in the direction they are walking.

Due to all of the pretty, flashy, colorful, shiny, yummy distractions there is a significant chance that at any moment a parkgoer’s destination — and therefore their direction of travel — may suddenly change.

And the corollary:

It is impossible to travel directly and rapidly in a direct line between any two points in an amusement park, even for the most determined person.

I’m happy to report that this also goes for employees. Even the quickest shortcuts through back areas wind around more than really seems necessary.

Six Flags doesn’t sell gum inside the park, either. I haven’t seen any gum trees in years, but I also haven’t stood in many ride lines since I started working there. Just 'cause we don’t sell it doesn’t mean you can’t find it and deposit it somewhere unsightly. Same with cigarette butts.

Well, I haven’t ridden the ride near the gum tree in forever due to my fear of said gum tree, so maybe they have cleaned it up. Still, I’ve noticed way more graffiti scratchings, clipping paint, and --my personal favorite-- stagnant water at Six Flags than I ever have at Disney, but then that’s probably because they have little minions employed solely for these purposes.

I also find disgusting the fake grass walkways and the ratty blue foam bumpers at Schlitterbahn. So, maybe I’m just weird like that. :slight_smile:

Since this was a bit of a hijack, I will say I’ve always wondered just how much cash is floating around in the pockets of amusement park patrons on any given day. People load up on cash in order to avoid using the outrageously expensive ATMs. It must be heaven for pick-pockets!