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  • Claudette Melanson

I Was Not Amused… A Common Sense Guide to Considerate Theme Park Etiquette

Updated: May 6, 2019

Manners, common decency, doing unto others…these things, which one might consider to be second nature, oftentimes, seem to be in short supply these days. I applaud the kind and friendly humans I encounter out in the world most of the time. Thankfully, the exceptions to these are the minority. After my last trip to Canada’s Wonderland, however, I couldn’t believe the excessive number of times I encountered inconsiderate people in one night.

On April 26th, I drove two hours from Kitchener to experience Season Passholder Night at the park. Two words…never again. The weather was cold and windy, which I hoped would keep the crowds away, but with the debut of the Yukon Striker Coaster, I was out of luck in that respect. Compounding the problem of the overcrowded park was the fact that very few rides were running when the park opened. The line for Yukon Striker was unbelievable, but the park cited high winds as the reason for the delay behind getting the ride going. The other ride lines were long, which was miserable enough, but the way people behaved would keep me from ever showing up for Passholder’s Night again. There are a few things you just don’t do when you have this many people together in a confined space, especially if standing in the further-cramped space of a line. I would think these would be common sense…apparently not for some people.

  • You may think your child is the cutest creature to walk the Earth. That’s great, and I love kids, but that doesn’t mean I want yours crashing into me from behind and at the side while I’m waiting for an hour or two (in the case of Yukon Striker) in line. No less than fifteen times, the seven/eight-year-old boy behind me ran into me—he was old enough to know better. I have joint damage and had fallen on my stairs that week, injuring my knee. It hurt every single time. When I finally turned around and said something, the adults responsible for this child whispered about me behind their hands and laughed. I asked them if they would enjoy me bringing my child to the park where he could flail around, hitting them and causing pain. The response to this was deer-in-headlights. I finally added that if they couldn’t control their child, I’d flag down one of the many park security guards standing nearby. I know we all bump each other in line sometimes, but excess of ten times is unreasonable for any person to withstand. In short, you’re responsible for your own child; control their behavior. Had this been my son, I would’ve told him we were leaving the park if he did it again…and I would’ve followed through.

  • Backpacks. If you’re going to wear your backpack at an amusement park, the best thing to do is take it off your back and carry it/set it down when in line. I moved into the single-riders’ line, eventually, and was so happy to finally be free of the child who kept hurting me before. In the new line, there was a twenty-something male behind me who kept turning and bumping or backing into me, slamming my body with his pack. I finally told him what I might be tempted to do with said backpack, should he hit me with it again. Do some people out there believe others enjoy being pummeled by the backpack they’re wearing. Guess what? The answer is a HARD NO!

  • Line jumping or racing past others right at the point of getting in line. This happened at Leviathan. The main line wasn’t open yet and was snaking around the back of the outside barrier. I was making my way to the back of the line and was, literally, five feet away from the start when a pack of six or seven teens came racing up to try to beat me to the place in line. Seriously, how rude. I was so bothered by this I increased my pace to ensure they didn’t line jump me at a point just a few feet from the end of the line. I even asked them why they insisted on being so rude. Not that the number of people matters so much, but my single place in line bothered them so much that they felt the need to delay me by six or seven spots? Just don’t behave in such a rude manner. We can add to this list saving spots for other people, which I have experienced and is clearly posted as line jumping at most theme parks. I remember one time when the people in front of us let in seven others after we’d been waiting almost an hour. Did I report them? Yes, I did. It’s an incredibly rude thing to do, so just don’t do it. We all have to wait our turn, so we might as well do so with grace and without ruining the day for the other people spending the same considerable amount of time waiting in line.

There are so many other things I could write about, like the time the girl in the seat beside me on Leviathan stuck her arm right in front of my face during the ENTIRE ride, even after I tried to push it away several times…sigh. But this is meant to be a short piece just to remind us all to be kind, compassionate and treat others the way we’d like to be treated. I’d also like to make the point that, even if it isn’t apparent on the outside, some may be suffering from arthritis or fibromyalgia and feel pain when struck or shoved. Use your common sense and be polite. Strike up a conversation and enjoy your time in line or, at the very least, keep a respectable distance to acknowledge that fellow human being’s right to personal space.

Happy riding, my fellow amusement park lovers!

#manners #compassion #politeness #rollercoasters #amusementpark #personalspace #respect


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          Claudette Melanson         Author of Award-Winning Vampire, Dark Fantasy & Children's Books

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