Have you worked, or considered working in the industry?

Rick_UK's avatar

Part of me would love to work in the amusement park industry but people I know who do so, don't often speak highly about it (complaints are often regarding pay and long hours) - but I guess that's what you sign up for.

Also, the whole don't mix work with pleasure thing. If you're working a six day week, I wonder how much you'd want to take a trip to another park on the seventh.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Vater's avatar

I briefly considered it, until I spoke with a veteran in the industry who gave me some great advice that ultimately led to my decision of not changing careers. I was close to getting married at the time, and I couldn't justify the probable significant drop in salary.

I think if you're serious about it and have a passion to work in the industry, you have to be very young or be willing to make some serious sacrifices.

Fun's avatar

Passion is key when you are feeling overworked and underpaid, that's for sure. You basically give up your summer months for the park. If you can't stomach the thought of only seeing your loved ones for a few hours A WEEK for months at a time, this job is not for you.

There is a bit of luck involved in just finding a full time job. They are few and far between. Despite the rigorous schedule and low pay, they are in high demand.

And of mixing business and fun, it can be done, but if you are an enthusiast, it can be very difficult to fully separate the two. This is not Roller Coaster Tycoon- it is a job just like any other. I have seen enthusiasts come in thinking this is the dream job, only to be totally disenfranchised within a matter of days.

Working at a park is somewhat like taking the red pill. Once you do, you'll never look at amusement parks the same way. In some ways, just enjoying the parks as a guest may be better off than learning first hand how uninteresting the inner workings really are.

Now that I've scared you off, for me it was worth it. The sacrifices I have to make are worth it because the job makes me happy. To each his own!

P.S. Yes, sometimes I do travel to amusement parks on my one day off a week. I go with family and friends, and we still have a great time. I can't say that others feel the same way, however.

Last edited by Fun,
Jeff's avatar

I briefly considered it when I was younger and stupider. I was already in a low-income profession (broadcast), so it seemed like a lateral move. As I got to know more and more people in the business, it was pretty clear that it wasn't a good fit for me.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

I worked on the Blue Streak at CP in 1990. Hard work pulling that maual brake all day and night. Even with the hard work and low pay, I wouldn"t trade my experience that year for anything. Eventhough I can't seem to remember any of the other guys I worked with it was still a great time. It's weird ridding blue streak now, without the person pulling or pushing the manual beake lever.

SFoGswim's avatar

Has anyone read or even heard of someone who blogged pretty thoroughly about their summer working at an amusement park? I'd be interested to read something like that because it's probably the closest I'll ever come to living it.

Welcome back, red train, how was your ride?!
Tekwardo's avatar

I considered getting a side job at carowinds this summer as I only live about 45 minutes from the park...but I work in Winston Salem (Which is an hour north of me, and at least 90 minutes from the park) and it just wasn't in the cards. I'd totally blog about it.

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Corkscrew Follies said:

It's weird ridding blue streak now, without the person pulling or pushing the manual beake lever.

I imagine it is pretty weird ridding blue steak now, you know, what with it being non-operational and all. :)

And what exactly is a beake lever? Industry term? Does it hurt the fowl in any way?

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

When we hear the words "work for a park" most of us naturally think of the jobs unique to an amusement park-- operating rides, maintaining rides, or even being in the design or decision making sections. But most of the jobs needed to keep the park going are really similar to jobs you see elsewhere-- serving food, cleaning bathrooms, emptying trash, directing traffic, operating a register. I guess those aren't what people think of when they talk about working "in the industry."

Jeff's avatar

Carrie: He was talking about the Blue Streak at Cedar Point, which now has computerized (and slow) braking instead of the manual handle.

One perk... I know which full-timer has the brake handle.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Carrie M.'s avatar

Oops, my bad. I think it's got to be bad form to misread whilst teasing someone for their typos. :)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Vater's avatar

And speaking of typos...

Carrie M. said:

blue steak

...or is that a reference to some obscure Dr. Seuss book? :)

You know with my typing about 20 words a minute, I shouldn't have typos or grammer issues. But, i'll try to do better.

I suppose the other option for "working within the industry" would be more towards administration, design (including planning, utilities, engineering) or mechanics (ride maintenance, on-site engineers, etc.).

But with the higher profile usually results in higher standards and less positions. Even with a masters degree in engineering, for example, it's still very hit-or-miss (with a whole lot of misses). But hey, they don't call it a dream job without implying the dream aspect... or knowing ALL the right people

I worked a summer as a games op at the now defunct Pavilion in Myrtle Beach.

Trust me, you aren't missing much.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Vater said:

And speaking of typos...

Carrie M. said:

blue steak

...or is that a reference to some obscure Dr. Seuss book? :)

I think I need to go lie down for a while.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

I worked and I enjoyed the time I had doing it.....but like most jobs, there is always that politics part that comes with it. "It's not what you know.....but who you know". There are still friends I talk to that are in the same position doing the same thing now (going on 5+ years) that they did when I was employed....still under the impression that they are going to get that "big promotion" with all the benefits any day now....well, maybe next year.........well maybe the year after that. Basically, the ones on the top of the totem pole aren't coming down without a good fight....and even then, there's always a "buddy" who is ready and has basically known for the longest time they are getting the position no matter what....

It held me over for 3 summers and it gave me money for school and to pay the bills that I had....I then realized what I was going to college for and it had nothing to do with operating rides, checking restraints, and giving spiels.

LostKause's avatar

I worked at Cedar Point. It was the best and worst time of my life. It was life, times ten. Working at cedar point turns boy into men, in more ways than one.

I could do my usual rant about the horrible treatment from the park was, and how difficult it seemed, almost impossible, to get a full-time position within the park. I could also go on and on about the deplorable living conditions and jaw-droppingly poor service employees had to deal on a daily, perhaps hourly, basis, but I'd get chewed out by my CoasterBuzz peers. ;)

I also worked one amazing year at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in 2000 - 2001. It was one of the coolest jobs that I ever had. They included benefits like insurance and frozen turkeys for the holidays, but the pay was really low. If I could have made somewhat of a living working there, I might still be there today.

One reason it may be difficult to find an amusement employee Blog is because a lot of parks frown on the idea of spreading industry secrets, and a Blog is really kind of going in that direction.

CoasterDemon's avatar

If I had to do it again (after working 3 summers at CP and one as an 'intern' at SFOT, in college) I would totally go for the mom n pop places (like Holidayworld, perhaps even Hershey or Kennywood).

People tend to get lost in the big organizations. There were also some CREEPs I would have had to go through (in one way or another) to get 'up there' at those places. It was really sad for me.

I would look at a park employees disposition to tell me how they are treated. Look at Dollywood or Holidayworld, I would go to those places if I were to do it again. Sure it's business, but businesses still can have integrity and 'higher morals' all around.

My summers at CP (like LK said) were some of the best and worst times in my life. It was a great time, but I would have had to sling alotta BS to get pretty much anywhere there.

sirloindude's avatar

^ and ^^ I can tell you that neither of the two of you will ever get chewed out by me for describing the way CP treated you. I could not wait to get out of there. I love where I work now and don't really look back, but the scars remain every time I go back there, and I filled out my contract and left with people maintaining a good impression of me, too.

Thankfully, I love what I do now and I actually believe my current employer is in an industry better suited to enjoying amusement parks than the amusement industry itself. I wouldn't have nearly as large a track record as I do now were I in some other field.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones


You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC