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IndyGuy4KI

Helping out ride ops!

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I wanted to make a thread after speaking to some ride ops at CoasterStock and seeing some of the regular guests reactions to ride ops during the day. 

On Saturday it was a very warm day with a very busy park. I don't think most people remember that if you are hot, they are hot. Rode Ops are not just casually walk around like us, they are working hard to send out trains safely and efficiently. I think that some forget that they are just doing they job to make your ride safe and adhering to the park/ride rules.  I saw several guests being grumpy at the ride ops when they are just trying to do their job.

Most of what I just said should be understood by most of us here. With a lot of us here at the park a bunch, we can do our part to be understanding towards the ride ops when we are there. 

Some things I always try to do:

  1. When I am at the park I try to ask ride ops how their day is going as well.
  2. If I am riding solo, I pull the restraint down in the other seat.
  3. Try to be ready for them to check my restrain when they get to me.

 

Maybe some former and current ride ops can chime in here to let us know what we can do to make their lives easier?

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 One of the things I noticed Saturday that's very helpful is, when they say you can't hold onto items on a ride, have that stuff in the bin already. There were a lot of hold ups due to people not putting their stuff in the bins. Also.... some people's kids need to be monitored, and not sent out on their own in the park. I know everyone likes to believe that their kid isn't horribly behaved in public, but after watching someone's child in line for Vortex that was eating mulch, and jumping over railing into "not a place to wait in line" areas, I was a little annoyed, and I can only imagine that the ride ops were too. Ride ops and other staff of the park are not there to babysit children, they have extremely important safety things to do. 

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Whenever I've been to other CF parks, I always try to wear KI gear and I usually get comments from staff and just talk about differences between the parks from the perspective of having KI as my home park.  I've also noticed those ops tend to make more of an impression on re-rides.  I had some fun experiences with the MIA Corkscrew crew last time I was up in Muskegon.

When I go as a single rider, whenever I try to put items in the bin myself (at least when I used to have to carry a backpack for medical stuffs), the groups behind me at the loading gates take my seat.  I want to help ops in that regard, but I don't trust the guests from pulling a fast one on me.  

When seat belts have to be tied over the restraints like on MT and the HW woodies, I try to mimic it so it goes faster for them as well.  They're really appreciative of it at the later.

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Op here! Something as simple as asking one of us how we are can really make our day. Also, guest interaction makes us feel really good. If an op asks how your ride was, at least clap or something haha. It is so awkward when a train comes back into the station and no one says anything. It's also really helpful when we come to check restraints if you put your hands up so we can check. Also, if you're on a coaster and there is a belt PLEASE fasten it before you pull down your lap bar haha. Something a lot of people don't know is that on all RMC coasters and Lightning Run and maybe some other coasters I'm unfamiliar with, all the restraints must be opened every time the train parks. So if you're on one of those coasters and the restraint beside you is pushed down when you get in, you could pick it up and if it was up when you got in, push it down, and let someone know its been opened so they don't have to have the panel op unlock and lock it again. One final thing, a lot of the parks we work at have certain rules we have to follow when it comes to re-riding, opening gates, assigning seats, so pretty please do not get upset when an op tells you to walk around the station to ride again, pairs you with a stranger, asks you to take off your hat, tells you they can't reopen gates, or something of that nature. 

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Along the lines of being ready to be checked when the ride ops get to you, especially on belted coasters is having your hands up in the air, making it easier for them to check.

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On Diamondback it actually seems to go faster if guests hand their bags to the ride op to take them all over at once to put into the bin rather than everyone going over and swarming the bin before coming back to start getting into their restraints. And it prevents the situation mentioned where people in line get confused and enter the station thinking no one is riding that row. 

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Please just be nice. The sheer number of grumpy folks ride ops deal with on a daily basis is higher than you'd think.

If your child is too short, it's not because the ride ops have decided to ruin your day. It's because that's the rules that you as the rider must follow and ride ops have to enforce. They didn't invent the rules, so please, PLEASE don't rip into them over it. If you don't want to deal with ride ops checking your child's height, *please* go to a height station in Planet Snoopy or International Street and get them a wristband. I can't tell you how many sighs of relief I had in my ride op days because of those colored wristbands. As someone who worked rides with a 48" height restriction, the 48" wristband color very quickly became my favorite color.

I personally loved conversations with guests, especially when I didn't have to start them (although starting them wasn't a bad thing.) I got a lot of questions about how my day was, how long was my shift, etc. If you can mix it up, that's cool, but even those questions are appreciated. Just something to acknowledge that we're people meant a lot. A lot of green sheet folks would start those kinds of conversations with me, especially at Viking Fury, and it was always a highlight of my day.

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All of what I have seen so far is definitely accurate! I'll contribute a couple of things:

-Rides are machines; they break down. Other times we may have to close due to weather (high winds, thunderstorms). We can't control the weather or if/when any kind of downtime occurs, and the best we can do is just roll with it and know what to do when dealing with it. We never know exactly how long a downtime is, and we literally mean it when we say we're not sure how long it will be before we reopen! I had one day at WindSeeker when we closed due to a technical delay (not for high winds this time!), and I was telling the guests in line the usual "we're not sure how long this will last," "I can't say when we will reopen," those types of things. They understood, except for one who wasn't having it and gave me a hard time (to which I calmly responded) before she huffed out of line. I didn't think much of that ordeal until I was greeting at the entrance a few minutes later when a group of about 10 guests who were exiting the line started asking if I was okay and complimented me on how well I had handled that one guest. My heart felt so full thinking about how the other guests had pretty much stood up for me, as they knew I was just doing my job. I still appreciate them making sure I was okay afterward.

This brings me to my second point:

-Guest compliments! Not very many know this, but guests can go to Guest Services and leave written compliments for any associate whom they see going above and beyond or just doing a great job in general. I have received a few of these written compliments during the time I have worked at Kings Island so far, and it's always a pleasant surprise. I have also had guests compliment me verbally. When life as a ride op gets challenging and tiring, a compliment, whether written or verbal, goes a long way even if it's as simple as the "You look tired, but you're doing your job well!" compliment a guest told me a few days ago! :D

ALSO, pertaining specifically to Vortex, as a Vortex ride op: Those of you who have ridden Vortex know that its restraints do not come up on their own and are heavy to lift. Anyone who sees this post who hasn't yet ridden Vortex: please know that all you need to do to open your restraint (should you find it down when you board) is to push down and pull up really hard!  A lot of guests I see just give it a small tug and then stare at it (or even sit on the closed restraint), and then I have to help them. There's nothing wrong with that, but it helps us Vortex ops a lot when guests know the memo and pull their restraints hard enough to open them. Sometimes even when I'm there as a guest, I help guests in neighboring seats open their restraints if they appear to be struggling, as long as I'm back in my own seat in time to be checked! Capacity/efficiency is one of our big priorities, so anything that saves us time while also helping us do our job safely is greatly appreciated!

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I like a lot of what I’m seeing in this thread.

I send emails to the park quite often about positive experiences. I always address it to the department head and cc Mr Koontz and the KI GMS. I figure the people that should know should see it and the GMS is for the written record.

I typically leave complements to people that keep their cool, maintain their composure, and maintain professionalism despite a bad situation. Often I have left “good GR” for people who properly dealt with a rude customer. At least if their day is ruined the next day starts off right. To be clear, I put in the comments exactly what I saw. Especially if I can cite particular behaviors that I think made them stand out. A simple, “Sally was nice and made my day.” Sounds so fake and really doesn’t give much traction in the long run.

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On 5/20/2019 at 4:27 PM, TombRaiderFTW said:

A lot of green sheet folks would start those kinds of conversations with me, especially at Viking Fury, and it was always a highlight of my day.

What do you mean by green sheet folks? Just curious.

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^ Sure! So I don't know if this is super well known in the enthusiast community, but KI has some alternate systems in place for people who are able to ride the rides but have some kind of disability that keeps them from physically waiting in the queue. There are two or three different kinds of sheets, and they're generally referred to by the color of sheet they are given. The sheet communicates to the ride operators what rides the guest can or can't ride and is used to track the guest's wait times. Folks who use the green sheets walk up the exit and hand the sheet to a ride op, who will check that they can ride, check what time it is, check how long the line is, and then write down when they can return to ride the ride based on what the wait time is. So if I'm at Adventure Express, it's 2:00pm, and we have a 15 minute wait, I'll write on their sheet that they can return to ride AE at 2:15.

A lot of the time (at least at the rides I worked), folks who used green sheets would stand to the side at the exit and wait for their time to ride. Sometimes, if I wasn't in the middle of something, they would strike up a conversation. Often, they would happen to be very friendly people whose conversation often ended up being a highlight of my day. Obviously that's not a rule for everyone who uses a green sheet; that was just my experience in the shortish time I worked at the park. A few memorable groups took time to ask what my name was and thank me by name and wish me a good rest of my day as they left. I thought that was really sweet.

Also, it's a common misconception among people who witness the systems being used but don't know the details of it that the people using them don't have to wait to ride. That's actually completely untrue. There ARE wait times built into it; they're just not waited out in the queue. :) It's a very clever little system, and I'm really glad the park has it. It gives folks who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ride the ability to make memories together on the rides, and I think that's awesome.

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I always try to do what ever I can to make a ride ops job easier. If I'm riding alone I put down the restraint next to me and when they're checking  mine I always put my arms up and get out of their way the best i can (leaning back and sucking in my stomach) and I always make sure that I say thank you to them once they're done.  I try to talk to them some times but that's not always the easiest. 

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12 hours ago, TombRaiderFTW said:

:)It's a very clever little system, and I'm really glad the park has it. It gives folks who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ride the ability to make memories together on the rides, and I think that's awesome. 

That is really cool! I never knew about that. I'm sure I saw people like that but didn't realize what was going on, lol.

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Buckle your seatbelt! It causes you to lose your rhythm to stop and buckle someone's belt. Also, don't take it personally if I pull the belt out of your hands and buckle it for you. I do it all day long and can do it much faster than you can. 

If you are the parent of a small child, do not insist on putting your child's restraint down before sitting down. It is literally our job to ensure they are safely restrained so just let us do it.  I can't count the number of times I have had to stand there and wait because a parent insists that THEY are the only ones that can make sure their kid is in right... and I promptly have to open the restraint to fix whatever they messed up because they put their kid in the restraint wrong. Please just let us do what we have been thoroughly trained to do. 

Be ready to ride before you walk through the gate to board. Tie your shoes, put your phone in your pocket, fix your hair, whatever it is you need to do. You can't even imagine the amount of time that is wasted on loading platforms each day waiting for people to finish tying their shoes or putting their hair in a ponytail. Also, please pull down your own restraint. I pull down empty ones all day, you can pull yours down instead of just staring at me like it will magically lower. 

If you are sitting next to an empty seat, go ahead and open that restraint when you are getting off the ride. Banshee's seats have to all open before we can lock them and it's a huge help when guests open our empty restraints for us. Also if you see someone struggling to get out, unbuckle their belt or push down on their restraint for them - again, huge time saver. 

Most importantly- remember we are all human beings too and work a lot of long, hot hours each week. Listen to our directions, whether it's over a microphone or direct. A smile or a thank you goes a LONG way. We all wear nametags so please call us by name. And a written compliment left at Guest Services is a HUGE deal in all departments. 

 

 

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Isn't really about operations, but something that would that we would really, REALLY appreciate. 

The Bat has a lot of wildlife around it, with a family of groundhogs being the most present. (The mom in the family is named Tom Cruise btw.) We absolutely love having these groundhogs out and about near the queue line. So please, please don't throw rocks/glass or jump the fence and try to chase them. It happened a lot today for some reason. Not only are you endangering the animals, but you're potentially endangering yourself. If you want to SEE the wildlife, don't MESS with the wildlife.

 

And now something to contribute for operations:

Drop Tower has really weird, complex, and at times frustrating seat belts. Once the ride is over and people try to get it, many get stuck and can't unbuckle. To make everything go faster, all you need to do is pull down on the restraint and bring it to you as close as you can, and THEN unbuckle. Bringing the restraint down just makes unbuckling a LOT easier. If you can't do it, just sit back and let the associate coming around help you out. 

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I am curious if I am helping or annoying the ride ups in Planet Snoopy when I jam my car keys into the seatbelt buckle and get my kids out more quickly.

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