Jump to content
JAHill

Former Employee Stories

Recommended Posts

I was reading the former employee Q&A topic posted recently, and thought about something.

Former park employee stories are some of my favorite things to read about. This board has always been ripe for discussion about visiting the park, but something I've always thought was missing was a dedicated thread for former employees to post their best stories and memories from working at the park. No matter what department you were in or at what time, I'd love to hear some interesting, funny, heartwarming, or scary stories from those of us who spent our summers in the blistering heat to keep the park going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked in Guest Services from 2015-2018. I think my favorite memory was when a young woman and her mom came in to the office looking for some information on KI's accessibility policy for guests with disabilities. I was going through the process with them, and one of the questions we ask when doing our assessments is "is there anything else I need to know to keep you safe today". The teenage girl mumbled something, so I asked if she could say that again because I missed it. Her mom said "Oh nothing, she was at the campgrounds with her friends yesterday, and they were being mean to her and she is having a bad day today because of that." So I went and filled out the paperwork needed for her to safely ride, and when I came back, I also printed out 15 dollars worth of in park credit called "Beagle Bucks" to give to the girl to help make her day a little better. I handed the sheet to the mom and went over the information, and then handed them the beagle bucks and explained what they were and said "I hope this can help make your day here the best day ever". The mom welled up and could not get words out. She simply reached her arms out as an embrace, so we all had a mini "group hug" as she kept saying "thank you so much" over and over. It was such a small gesture. 15 dollars to buy a stuffed animal or a couple of blue ice cream cones, but it changed their whole attitude and day. I loved days like that in the office. There were so many times were you would get wore down by tough situations, but then you helped someone solve a problem, and you could feel their gratitude, and it you remember why you love the job and the park.

 

(more stories to come!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll throw in an incredibly cringeworthy story that I think about often. It's funny now, but at the time it was brutal.

I was working Zephyr in 2012. One day a kid told me hello after looking at my name tag. The name wasn't correct except for the first letter.

I was having pretty rough day and I replied half-heartedly, without even really thinking, "Can ya read, man?".

His mother, clearly angry, proceeded to tell me the kid was blind in one eye.

I meant to apologize, but instead asked "Oh, he is?"

It was a girl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a funny... that wasnt funny at the time...

When you work rides, one of the most frustrating things you deal with is guests that insist you look for their lost item.  Whether its glasses, wallet, keys, phone etc - it seemed as though it was a never ending parade of people that were constantly holding up ride cycles due to negligence in securing items.

As a member of The Beast crew, we were obligated to do a quick "sweep" of the seats & car on behalf of the guests.  (Many times the lost item had simply fallen between padding or occasionally under the seat and we'd find it. - It was actually rare that an item in someone's pocket flew out of the train.)  The problem was, with literally THOUSANDS of people riding in those seats - not only do they get greasy, grimy, sticky, wet, dirty, smelly and just generally gross - they also collect lots of trash (park maps, refill cups etc.)  We had a "pattern" we'd follow where we'd run our hands in a certain direction around the seat edge, in between the pads then under the seats.  If we felt any trash as a part of that check - we'd pull it out and toss it.  If the item wasn't found, we'd ask the guest to check back later or with guest services.  The ride ops HATED doing it, and we griped about it to each other all the time away from guests... but it was "part of the gig" so we had to literally grin and bear it.

Well, one particular hot Sunday afternoon I was working unload on Beast.  Now mind you, this was 1999 so smart phones - even just plain 'ol cell phones - were not a common thing.  But pagers were.  (For you youngins - pagers were a cellular device that would text you a simple message or a number to call.)  Well if memory serves me, a train came in and of course some man got out and freaked because he was missing (I think) his pager.  Soooooo...

As the load-side gates were held, I did the quick sweep of the seats, then around the padding, then across the floor under the seat.  Well, when I reached under the seat, I felt something damp and squishy and proceeded to pull it out thinking it was just like a wet park map or something to throw in the trash.   I stood up, opened my hand, looked at it and realized...

 

I was holding poop.

 

Well, not really... but we'll get to that in a bit. 

Of course there was a station full of waiting guests that were all watching me intently during the checking routine... and ultimately saw me holding a "turd" in my hand.  There was literally a collective "GASP" from the guests when they realized what I had found.  I even saw one lady mouth to her husband "He's holding $^#@!"

I was simultaneously:  A: Shocked B: Grossed out C: Utterly embarrassed D: completely baffled at how _ _ _ _  got under a seat. 

So what did I do?  Well, I threw it away of course!  I then immediately freaked out to the crew lead about needing to go sterilize my hands.  We were on minimal crew - so I couldn't go anywhere until a relief area manager could come to Beast to fill in.  I actually used water from the water cooler to wash my hands as best I could (No hand sanitizer then) and I think we had some general ride cleaner on hand that I doused my hands with. 

When certain "ecological" issues arose - we'd sometimes call ecology to clean it up or we'd make an "incident report" or such.  I cant exactly remember what we did in this particular situation.  But I do know the end result was that after being closely analyzed, the determination was made that what I had picked up was indeed - NOT poop.

You see, at that time in the park -  several of the midway games had prizes that included "Bugs Bunny" stuffed animals.  (Not Six Flags - go figure.?)  And it turns out the "poop" was actually a very wet, very dirty stuffed "carrot" that had fallen off the hand of a Bugs Bunny stuffed animal.  It had simply turned into a very wet, mis-shapen and dark brown blob. (Don't ask me how... it probably had been there for months....)

So there you have it... the day I pulled poop out of The Beast, which wasn't poop after all, much to the horror of myself and everyone else in The Beast's station.

P.S. - Yes - the guys pager was found... on the floor behind his row.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked Rivertown Potato Works in 2004.  Sadly, I had to watch the original Tiques get removed for Backlot, and during that part, the demo crew hit a sewer line.  The smell flooded the entire back end of the park, I-Street around the Eiffel Tower, and a good chunk of Coney Mall.  

We had a lot of trays from other nearby food outlets, like Rivertown LaRosa's, what was the WINGS, and even some Skyline (this was after they removed the Rivertown Skyline foot long location, the next nearest one is Coney Mall).  We always got very busy after the water park closed, particularly after the train rolled in, plus Tomb Raider was still new and there was a lot of activity in RT due to that.  

I would love to catch up with some of my co-workers from back then.  It was a pretty smooth work environment. We got along really well and it translated to how we worked. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently work in landscape at the park, been there a year now. My favorite weekly ritual with another good coworker is to mow the tower legs every Friday. It usually takes us around 1.5-2 hours to mow, weed eat and blow clippings. But the satisfaction I get from putting in the nice straight burnt in lines, making the tower legs look pretty is definitely something I am proud of. It’s something I enjoy while working and also as a guest in the park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, KI_Landscaper83 said:

I currently work in landscape at the park, been there a year now. My favorite weekly ritual with another good coworker is to mow the tower legs every Friday. It usually takes us around 1.5-2 hours to mow, weed eat and blow clippings. But the satisfaction I get from putting in the nice straight burnt in lines, making the tower legs look pretty is definitely something I am proud of. It’s something I enjoy while working and also as a guest in the park.

Please tell us how you the mower into those 4 areas? With the concrete and iron fence, getting a mower in there could not be fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, KI_Landscaper83 said:

I currently work in landscape at the park, been there a year now. My favorite weekly ritual with another good coworker is to mow the tower legs every Friday. It usually takes us around 1.5-2 hours to mow, weed eat and blow clippings. But the satisfaction I get from putting in the nice straight burnt in lines, making the tower legs look pretty is definitely something I am proud of. It’s something I enjoy while working and also as a guest in the park.

Definitely seems like a satisfying job! Thanks for keeping the park beautiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember this like it was yesterday. I was sent to the Demon because they were short handed and needed the help. So, I volunteer because I’m stuck in Octoberfest and I will do anything to get out of wearing that dam lederhosen. I stroll over thinking this should be cool and low and behold they give me the lovely job of sitting muenchen, which is basically telling people your to dam small to ride. After 2 AWESOME Hrs of that I’m sent up top to the platform to make sure everyone is buckled and ready to go.  We get everyone off and I turn around to let the next batch of riders on when I see this rather large chesty woman walk over and try to get into the car. I know instantly that this isn’t going to go well. She strolls over and tries to get into the car and miraculously she manages to squeeze herself in.  Now you have to close the top bar for the train to depart, but we have a slight problem. Her rather large chest prevents the bar from closing. I get the great job of telling her that if the bar does not close she will not be able to go. Well, she starts *****ing up a storm telling me that she’s not leaving until she gets to ride the &@$#ride. I have no clue as to what to do and I notice that my great co- workers are looking at me basically saying let’s go. So, I tell her once again the top bar won’t close and there’s nothing I can do make it close. She the proceeds to grab her chest and lift them up and yells close the bar. I calmly pull the bar down and the dam thing still won’t close because she’s to big!!! So everyone is starting to yell get out or let’s go. I have no clue on how to handle this so I yell take a deep breath and suck in your stomach. She does and I push on the top bar locking  it into place and give the thumbs up and away they go. I can still remember the shade of blue on her face as the train came back into the station!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked at KI in the East Pie section of what was then Hanna-Barbera Land (in its last season as it turned out) for a few months in 2005 (got fired - won't get into that here). One hot summer morning I was working Beastie and wasn't feeling great, but didn't feel so bad that I felt I needed to go home. I bent over to check a guest's lapbar and puked all over the guest. I felt horrible and went to go clean up, leaving my poor coworkers to deal with the mess. Needless to say I did get sent home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From 2017 and 2018 I had the privilege of working as a Park Ambassador. It was a job that was a dream come true for me. I basically had the opportunity to do what was needed to make a guests day, get to explore the park and hope not just guests but associates were doing well and if they needed help with anything. 

In 2017, Our last day of the season, I was back by Dinosaurs Alive talking to some guests when a lady approached me asking if I was able to help her with something.

I was delighted to help her and it was even more awesome was, her daughter just hit 48in height requirement. However, her mom was scared/not a fan of rollercoasters. She wanted someone to ride with her daughter, which at the time I was able to. I tried to help make it one of the best memories they ever had. I told the mom and the girl that they could choose up to 3 rides, and ill take her to the front of the line and she can choose any row to sit in (granted the park was dead to begin with so not much benefit in skipping lines) she decided on doing Adventure Express, Mystic Timbers and The Beast to ride. She really liked Adventure Express and at the time she did not like Mystic Timbers as unfortunately it was rather chilly and the cool air kinda took her breath away and it scared her a bit (although I her she loves riding it now) The Beast she really liked too.

Well as we got off Mystic Timbers her mom was so ecstatic and happy, she wanted a picture of me and her daughter together (both with her phone and from the ride) well I went ahead and got the photo taken care for her and she was almost in tears with just joy and excitement. Actually as we went towards The Beast, she had to Facetime a family member and had to tell them how much of a great time she was having and told me to say hi.:lol: Everytime I worked and they saw me out in the park, the girl always had to run up and give me a hug. 

I loved getting the privilege of doing stuff like that. The excitment kids got from a gesture like that all way down to just a "I love Kings Island" sticker always helped me feel better knowing they are enjoying there visit. Granted not everyone did, but I would try as hard as possible to make sure they did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, I'll chime in. As it says in my About Me section, I've worked at the park for 10 seasons, both in Food and in Park Services. While Food was a good start (as it was my first real job), I enjoyed Park Services much, much more. 

One story that comes to mind is this: I was cleaning up Coney Mall (specifically on the pathway near Shake, Rattle and Roll/Jukebox Diner) after it had recently rained and was having trouble trying to figure out where all the rainwater was supposed to go. So, the guy who was (at the time) over all of Park Services came and helped me correctly get the water into the nearest drain (IIRC). I thought this was a really cool example of servant leadership. :D

Also, every once in a while, I was taken behind the scenes and got to see some really cool stuff, including some Wild Animal Safari remnants.

EDIT: I also got to be in an employee training video, cleaning up ice cream in Action Zone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh boy! Former employee stories!

And you sure bet I got several!

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I don't work at the park (yet:P). My dad did in the late 70's and early to mid 80's. Here it is:

1. It was my dad's second season at the park (1979) and my dad was a I believe he was a food operations manager for a lot of the restaurants. But on a particular day he was working at Thrillburger (which was demolished to make way for Coney BBQ and was recently Coney Potato Works) and was directly across from Sweet Tooth (which was a candy and sweets shop and now houses a Subway). On that day he was working and suddenly about 4 or 5 security officers were rushing to Sweet Tooth. About a minute later they were dragging one of the employees away in cuffs. Curious, my dad asked what was going on and the security guard answered him. He said that this guy had tapped the hot water boiler to Sweet Tooth with a garden hose and was spraying the people on Red Racer as they went by and it was The Racer crew who had called security because the people who came back after the ride were drenched in scalding hot water. Imminently, my dad knew who it was and when my dad told me this story he said the guy who did it was a bit mentally unstable.

2. This next story takes place at Sweet Tooth. My dad was working with several people manning the stand. All of a sudden, he hears this girl screaming. He runs to the front and he sees this girl passed out on the floor and there's blood over part of her shirt. He calls the F.A.S. and they were on their way. Next my dad investigates why she was bleeding so bad. Apparently, this girl was pouring a guest some ice cream and the ice cream machine got froze up. She one of her fingers up the spout into the machine and tried to un-jam the stiring blades. Well, the good news is she got the machine fixed. The bad news is she had part of her finger cut off! So, when the Medicart (that's what they called it I was told) arrived, they put her on the stretcher and they said there was a chance they could reattach the part of the finger that was cut off. And to (I guess) keep it preserved, my dad fished around the ice cream machine for the girls finger and poured some ice cream to keep the finger cold! And my dad to this day still remembers sanitizing that ice cream machine!:lol: 

So yeah, these are a couple of stories of Kings Island that my dad told me. Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you ever think anything smells bad, try cleaning underneath one of the park dumpsters.  

Caught a kid in the act of defecating on the floor in the Rivertown restrooms near Larosa's.  

The most thrilling ride in the park is Top Thrill Astrovan, but you have to be in the select few who have been lucky enough to do so.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, 139Signal27 said:

You mean to tell me that THIS isn't what got you fired?

Nope. It was for a few safety issues:

1. Accidentally let a guest who was too short ride Beastie. This was back before they had the height check station in the kids' area (only at the front of the park or at Guest Services) and the same year that the minimum height on Beastie had changed to 40 inches from 36 inches. On top of all that, we were short handed so we didn't have anyone to work greeter, which left height check responsibilities mainly to whoever was working load side in the station. For safety reasons, you couldn't let the incoming train pass you either, so it was kind of hectic.

2. Let 4 people (dad and three kids) ride in a helicopter on what was then Yogi's Skytours (now Woodstock Whirlybirds)

3. Accidentally left an exit gate unlatched (it was closed, just not latched) at the umbrella ride (now Peanuts Offroad Rally, though it was in a different location at the time)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RPW was also 'fun' during rain.  Due to the trees surrounding the stand, the drains often get clogged, and when it rained, there'd often be a bit of water in the store.  It was similar at WINGS as well (back before all the trees around that building were removed), though, not as bad.  I also recall the back/storage areas of WINGS and LaRosa's in RT to be pretty messy (we often got relocated to those 2 in the event that PW was overstaffed or to help close, on rare occasions, we even got sent to the restaurant across from Vortex, I forget what it was called before Happy Days [*calling KIC historians]).  Also, closing WINGS was a chore, mostly with cleaning the floor.  I shudder to think what closing Festhaus must be like.  PW was easy to close. Barring rain, we usually left within an hour after the parked closed.  

One of the bad parts was the fact that the receipts wouldn't print unless a purchase was made with a credit card, so bigger orders were tough to manage (you'd be surprised how problematic that is despite how few menu items are at PW).  I eventually just brought my own writing implements to work on weekends if I thought I'd be working register.  It also surprised me that people under 19 (serving age) were allowed to work register if the stand (like PW) served alcohol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Oldiesmann said:

Nope. It was for a few safety issues:

1. Accidentally let a guest who was too short ride Beastie. This was back before they had the height check station in the kids' area (only at the front of the park or at Guest Services) and the same year that the minimum height on Beastie had changed to 40 inches from 36 inches. On top of all that, we were short handed so we didn't have anyone to work greeter, which left height check responsibilities mainly to whoever was working load side in the station. For safety reasons, you couldn't let the incoming train pass you either, so it was kind of hectic.

2. Let 4 people (dad and three kids) ride in a helicopter on what was then Yogi's Skytours (now Woodstock Whirlybirds)

3. Accidentally left an exit gate unlatched (it was closed, just not latched) at the umbrella ride (now Peanuts Offroad Rally, though it was in a different location at the time)

At least they really take safety really seriously. I’d assume there as strict now a days?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ben43065 said:

At least they really take safety really seriously. I’d assume there as strict now a days?

I worked in the Rides department in 2017 and 2018. They're as strict now as ever. He's just scratching the surface, too.

Off-hand, I don't know that I have any specific stories to share. I do have to just generally put it out there that working in the Rides department was one of the best jobs I've ever had. People aren't exaggerating when they say that you can become family with your crew. That might not be everyone at every ride's experience, but it definitely was mine. Even at the Ship Which Shall Not Be Named.

It was definitely fun (and occasionally groan-worthy) to get to know your "regulars." Some of them were great. Some of them were very excited and talkative 12 year-olds whose energy you could appreciate but maybe not return after being at work all day, so you become maybe a little less excited to see them reach their twentieth lap in a row while continuing the story they've been telling you for the previous nineteen laps. But even then, that's a fun problem to have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...