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You Think You Know, but You Have No Idea


AZ Kinda Guy
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::Beep beep beep:: What? 7 AM already? I stumble out of bed and turn on the Weather Channel. "Another record setting day for heat with a high of 99 degrees" Great I think to myself. I eventually make it out of the shower and into my PKI wardrobe. Throw on the no show socks and low cut running shoes and I'm ready to go. Into my 90 Corsica I go and within minutes I'm heading down Interstate 75. Not so fast says Mr.traffic. Great, a two car pile-up at the Route 4 split. 15 minutes later I'm out of the traffic and finally in the flow of traffic. I get off at the Traders World exit and make a left. Ohh Tim Hortons looks good. 5 minutes later and three dollars less I have my breakfast and orange juice and continue on the road to PKI.

15 minutes later I pull into the PKI employee lot. Not bad timing considering the traffic, one hour and ten minutes. I scan in at the security post and make my way towards the always exciting Action Zone. Theres the usual faces all congregated around the benches, talking about the heat and trying to out do each other on the farmers tan. 9:15 rolls around and off to our second homes we go. Cletus decides he wants myself and Barnyard down at Congo(good times) and himself, Sherina, and McChris at Face/Off. Down to Congo Barnyard and I go. Barnyard starts the ride and gives it it's morning checks. Everything works until he gets around to checking the PageComs. Static, ouch. We laugh, "nothing new here" Barnyard exclaims.

Before you know it the ropes are down and the troops are on the mission to deciding which ride is first. A few brave sould challenge Congo Falls. "Those geysers haven't worked right in years," exclaims JimBob the guest. Boy is he in for a big surprise. JimBob rides and you guessed it, gets hit dead on by the recently renovated Congo geysers. JimBob arrives in the station. "Ya'll never said I was gonna get wet." "well this is a water ride" I explain to JimBob. "Can we ride again?" asks JimBob. I'm sorry sir there are too many people in line so you must go back around. "This is bullcrap we drove 500 miles just to ride this here ride and you wont let us ride again?" "That is correct sir." " Whats your name son I'm going to have you fired!" "My name is Aaron and I work at Congo Falls," I tell him. JimBob then decides to flip me off while he is going up the exit ramp. Ah don't you love guests? "Have a nice day," I tell JimBob.

Before you know it, it's time for breaks! Great, I'm not a minor so I'll be going on break at 2. 2 rolls around and as soon as i get ready to leave the phone rings. "We need you to send 2 to DropZone/Skyflyer." Ah great, sending. We send two people to DZ/Sky and by the time the confuison is cleared away tis 2:45 and I just now leave for my break. "Only half hour breaks today," Cletus tells me over the phone. 10 minutes to get there and 10 minutes to get back leaves me with 10 minutes of actual break time. Todays special at Oscars, Three Cheese Chicken Bake. I'll pass. So I get chicken fingers and a Coke. Not bad for only 3 dollars. Sit down and its 2:55. I take a bite into my food and low and behold, its cold. Four chicken fingers later I'm grossed out and have to back to Face/Off.

Around 7 PM a little girl sits in the train and pulls down the restraint. "Can you come over here with me so I can check your height for you?" I ask the little girl. "Sure," she says. She steps up onto the height stand. I swing the metal bar around and it meets her on the forehead. "great! Your tall enough to ride!" I tell her. She jumps off the stand and plops back into her awating seat. She smiles ear to ear and tells her family that she is finally tall enought to ride the big coasters.I think to myself, that right there made the day for me.

Before you know it, it's 10:45 PM and almost time to close the line. 10:55 rolls around and I'm driving the ride. As the trains comes back through the station...:beep beep beep: the control panel tells me. ::THUNK:: Hey look, there goes the train. Hey look there it goes again, and again. Ok so the train miscaught. No big deal, its happened before and this surely isn't the last time. At 11:05 the electricians arrive and repostion the train in the station. The passengers get the ok to get off the train and its time to send through an empty cycle. Good, it made it. The time is now 11:30 and we still have about 30 minutes worth of cycles to do. So 12 AM arrives and we send the last cycle. Time to leave? Not so fast, we still have an hours worth of cleaning to do. While cleaning I pull a bag of trash only to have it break open and spill down my leg into my shoe. Nothing like the feeling of fresh trash juice in between your toes. Got done sooner than expected and its now 12:30. We go to clock out, ::thunk:: The ink punches the time on the timecard. What?? 7PM? I yell "Cletus the timeclock is broke again." No biggy, times can be fixed another day. Out of the Action Zone we walk as a crew and make jokes and laugh about the exhausting day we have all just experienced. I'm back in my muggy car by 12:50 AM and very tired. Out of the parking lot I go onto Kings Island drive leaving the park behind. Only to be there at 9 AM the next morning. Would I trade this day for the world? Not a chance! :D

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Unfortunetly Ohio law does not require seasonal jobs to get overtime. So obviously Kings Island isn't going to give it to you.

However, if we all worked down at our sister park Paramount's Carowinds, I for one would be raking in the dough with all that overtime. Since their park lies in two states they have to do things differently on each side. (eg, one side a 16 year old can drive the coasters, the other side the driver must be 18) There is one law though that applies to both sides, since people will often work through out the park. That law is the overtime law. North Carolina doesn't require it much like Ohio, but South Carolina does. So every person at Carowinds (including the seasonal associates) get paid overtime after 8 hours. Boy how nice that would be.

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Sparky, great post. Your account is just the tip of the iceberg though. Words can't accuratley describe the true reality of what it encompasses to be a ride operator; you can never really understand until you've been there yourself. Contrary to popular belief its not just about checking restraints and pushing buttons.

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Comeon Dank, you should be able to figure out who "looping brakes" is by his signature, although it took me a minute to figure out a while back, since he said he was on my 2000 crew(which he was), but i was thinking there was noone left from 2000.

Should I tell you who it is???. sure, its Pansing

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Sparky, that is a great post. If everyoneknew what we have to go through on a day to day basis, they would probably be surprised. If you can't have fun in this racket, you need to find another job. Memories from my previous 3 years at the park stil linger in my mind and I would not give anything for them. Keep up the good work my good man. By the way, I like the wheat bread and you are still a Ritz to me! :D

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Ah I miss those days.. Can't wait till April.. You have your bad days and good days, yet I wouldn't trade those for the world either...

Hey Sparky isn't that trash juice just great ... Not.. only we have alot more at beast. One thing i still fail to understand. there are a million trashcans in the line but guests still insist on throwing their trash in the line and grass...

No matter how horrible your day is, its all worth all the great friends you make, and the wonderfull/crazy people you meet everyday..

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Sparky... did your people not "double bag" for your protection? In food we always use two trash bags so that we don't get the ripping of the bag half way to the dumpster. If its light enough we just change one bag. They are so cheap it doesn't matter.

Though if you did use two bags then I know why. The park changed to a thinner trash bag this year to "reduce costs" even more. Though enough food people complained we are supposed to be getting that fixed back to the thicker bags.

By the way, you having seen trash juice until you've been to the picnic grove and you throw away all the left over food and empty those trash cans.

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We do the same thing is Rides, double lining, however you get some situations where that just isn't enough and you still get trash juice on you. For the can by Flight of Fear greeter on weekends we would put like 6 liners in it, becaseu we would have to pull it half way through the day because it got used so much.

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Thanks for the feedback guys and gals. This isn't going to be a normal thing so don't expect it. My class had got cancelled and I just started typing away. Looping brakes was right, this is merely a tip of the iceberg. Words will never be able to describe what us ride ops go through. Days are NEVER the same which is a good thing though. I have two "plans" for my life. Plan A: Win the lotto and work at PKI for the rest of my life. Plan B: go to college, get married, yada yada. Needless to say, I'm onto Plan B because Plan A hasn't worked out just yet! :P

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Sparky...What a life...working at PKI forever? Would you stay at the position you are in, or try and move up the ladder? Even after MY MULTIPLE bad actions, I can remember the GREAT times at that park. As said in previous posts by the WONDERFUL LOOPING BREAKS and Sparky...it is like nothing you have ever done. The people you meet become your BEST FRIENDS, and almost family...that is about about several people on this forum. Even if you are moved to the other side of the park...you still feel welcomed in your "home country" be the wonderful people you have shared memories with.

DANK...honestly...sometimes I think you should be BETH (not going to offend anyone by saying BLONDE...and I think mine is worse than blonde anyways) You REALLY should know who looping breaks is...one of the GREATEST guys in AZ...

Have a great day and don't forget to smile!

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I can sort of get where you're coming from Sparky. Even though I'm a merch associate I have had a few days in rides (Beast/Gun and Vortex/Action Theater were my areas when I was sent.). Every ride is different in some way, so you always have to keep an eye out for whatever. Miscatches, bad seats, etc. So yes, there is more to it than barchecks and button pushing. :P

~Shadow~

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