Anyone know how to get a prof. theme park job??

Wednesday, March 5, 2003 1:36 PM
I'm interested in getting getting a job in the theme park business. I don't mean running a ride or part time, but rather a professional job (I'm 28). I want a full time job but don't have any experience with the business. Does anyone know how to get a good job in this industry or does anyone know anyone? I work in mortgages now and it just isn't that fun.

Thanks for any tips.

Zimm

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 1:40 PM
WIthout any experience.. you have a few choices. Most of them involve starting at entry level.

Take the job in rides, or foods or merch. Impress people with your work. Work your way up. With no experience, you're kinda stuck with that as your starting option. Friends probably won't call in favors to get you a job if you don't have any previous work in the field.

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June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
Technical Services - 2002-2003
Frightzone Screamster - 2002-2003

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 1:44 PM
Well, full time jobs are very limited, so your best bet is to apply when an opening is posted, which, is sadly rare. If you have banking finance experience, they may use you in vault rooms / data entry / or accounting in some capacity.

Your best bet is to apply for a evening job as a cashier or guest services, and when your supervisor or HR asks why you have a second job, you explain that you are considering a career change, and are working to earn some extra money and insight into the industry. See what shakes, and there may be a full time gig soon enough.

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The Empire will Strike Back....
"What do I know, I only work in an Amusement Park?"
"You are paying to get in. Period."

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 1:45 PM
Well you could jusst apply for a job. Look on some of those online resume companies. Six Flags parks offers 8-month internships.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 3:11 PM
The problem with most full time positions is they are only advertised within the park and mainly they promote from within the system already.

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June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
Technical Services - 2002-2003
Frightzone Screamster - 2002-2003

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 4:07 PM
That's exactly it... I can count on one hand the number of "outsiders" hired at Kennywood in the last ten years.

Most parks, corporate or family, will take care of "their own" first, and it really makes sense when you think of it.

Parks hire thousands upon thousands of people seasonally. Certain folks stand out in a crowd. Why hire an accountant with a cute resume who you don't know at all, when there's someone that you've observed working in rides for the past six years who just graduated with an accounting degree? You hire the person you know. You know their attitude, you know their learning ability, and as is so often the most important thing, you know them.
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If you could just see the beauty... these things I could never describe. Pleasures and wayward distraction; is this my wonderful prize? --Joy Division

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 4:54 PM
Search, my friend.

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl
My shirt in my photo seems to be for "Aging Bull"

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 5:35 PM
The only way in would be through your proffessional experience. Which in your case is all back of the house, ie accounting.

If you wanted rides, foods, retail or what ever you would need serious operational management experience and knowledge of the field. For you the best way to get that is to start as a front line grunt.

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Thursday, March 6, 2003 8:25 AM
Thank you to those who responded. It was rather discouraging though :0( I guess getting a job at a park is very unlikely. Anyone know about associations (other than IAAPA) or other companies related to theme parks since theme parks are out?

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Thursday, March 6, 2003 10:49 AM
Work weekends over a summer. It's not that bad. They really do tend to hire from within though...

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"Know thyself!"

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Thursday, March 6, 2003 6:35 PM
How is the pay? I have heard that the pay is low for professionals/non professianals as compared to outside corporations. Some people may be willing to trade the enjoyment of the industry for low salary. I wont. I have talked to a professional park employee who indicated that vacations are not allowed in summer months, sure would be a downer for an enthusiast wanting to travel around.
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Thursday, March 6, 2003 7:12 PM
Whomever you talked with does not have the heart to take the ride.

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The Empire will Strike Back....
"What do I know, I only work in an Amusement Park?"
"You are paying to get in. Period."

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Thursday, March 6, 2003 7:31 PM
As long as we are on this subject, how do they hire on the corporate level?

I know the head honchos of SF and CF worked their way up, but what about the rest of the positions?

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Friday, March 7, 2003 6:33 AM
A lot of the corporate in SF are hired from the park levels. Justy like how full timers are often taken from the seasonal ranks.

While the park would prefer to hire from the seasonal pool, Zimm, it is not that uncomon for a park to hire from outside. Especially if the park is looking for a higher full time position. Just the other week i saw an add in the Plain Dealer in Cleveland that SFWOA was looking for a Food Service Dept manager. That would indicate to me that the park has no candidate that they are confident in, in taking that position. Because if they were, then they would bid all in house and take the person that they have in mind.

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Friday, March 7, 2003 6:37 AM
Meangene, that's not entirely true. Often companies must advertise and interview for a specific position even if they have a qualified in-house candidate they want to promote. This way it will at least appear they're trying to be an equal opportunity employer.
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Pun is the death of wit.
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Friday, March 7, 2003 10:48 AM
I have experience on the entry level and professional level of several parks.

First off, the statement about vacations being inflexible is true. I don't know of any seasonal parks that would allow you to take vacation during the season. For example, Cedar Point from April to the end of October.

Second getting a full time job in a park without having worked for the company isn't impossible but it isn't likely. I know someone who got a job at a Paramount park but said person had experience with another chain.

My experience as a seasonal at one park led to me being hired by a second park and that experience eventually led to a full-time job at a third but I was told it was rare that they would bring someone in from the outside.

A reason for this? I think for one thing, if you don't work in the environment you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. The sacrifice these people make, particularly at the seasonal parks, is unprecedented in my opinion. 6 day work weeks, 70+ hours per week are not uncommon.

The pay is generally less than you could make outside the parks. The people working there usually aren't there for the money. Working in a park is in your blood.

Bottom line, the easiest way to get a "professional job" in the park is to start as a seasonal or entry level position and put in your time to work your way up.

If you are flexible, you might look into a full time job that comes open that you may not necessarily love (like a job in Food Services) in order to get your foot in the door. From there, maybe you can make your mark and move to a more desirable department.

Dick Nunis, who I believe is the Vice President of Attractions for the Walt Disney Company, started his career with Disney driving the Jungle Cruise boats in California. Dick Kinzel, CEO of Cedar Fair, worked in Food Services for many years. You will find similar stories in almost all of the corporate parks.

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Friday, March 7, 2003 11:13 AM
SF parks do not often advertise publicly for position openings. Just last year there was an opening in the same department that was not advertised because they had a candidate already. What you said is partially true though, because in the case last year, the opening was placed for bid within the company allowing anyone within to make an attempt on the position. For the park to advertise publicly shows that they do not have anyone in mind at the moment.

Wahoo is right on the mark when he talks about people from the "outside", overwhelmingly i have seen people come in without much park experience and fold after a year or two. They can't handle the pressure and odd nature of the industry.
*** This post was edited by meangene 3/9/2003 12:21:52 AM ***

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Friday, March 7, 2003 12:25 PM
What about getting hired or applying for jobs at a roller coaster engineering company or manufacturer such as Intamin? Anyone have any insight on this question?
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Friday, March 7, 2003 1:09 PM
Dick Kinzel was a salesman who sold 'product' to Cedar Point.

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The Empire will Strike Back....
"What do I know, I only work in an Amusement Park?"
"You are paying to get in. Period."

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Friday, March 7, 2003 2:42 PM
I hope you're ready to take a substantial pay cut.

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NICK

WOOD: It does a body good.

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