The last month or so has been packed with theme park trips. I’ve ridden both of the new U.S. wing coasters visited a park for the first time (Six Flags St. Louis), and boosted my coaster count to the 240′s. I’m working on coaster reviews and trip reports that’ll cover my adventures. All of this traveling has reminded me of some of the more fun and annoying theme park experiences. This post is about an experience that falls in the latter category.
Why Is It So Important to Ride With Your Group?
I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at doing things alone. I’ll go see a movie alone, eat lunch by myself, even go to theme parks alone. And, I can definitely see why people would want to experience a ride with your friends or family, but you’re not really going to be able to high five your friends two cars ahead of you. So why does it matter if you’re on the same train? Is it that tough to just wait for a train or two after your ride?
As soon as I enter the stations I see people negotiating with other guests who are just going about their day trying to enjoy a ride. They’re asking them if they’ll move ahead of them. They’re yelling to their friends a few rows away as they try to do the math and make sure they’ll ride together. I swear I thought I was on the floor of the stock market for a moment. Not every ride is an 8-person rapids ride or big shoot the chutes water ride.
The next time it happens, I may use the opportunity for an impromptu interview to see where their heads are at. I just went to Carowinds last weekend with a group. There were four of us and we didn’t have to wheel and deal to make sure we were on the same train at all.
The Flip Side – It Can Be a Good Thing
There is a flip side to this pet peeve. I’ve probably shaved off hours of wait time over the years as I’ve been asked to move ahead of people so that a group could successfully ride “together”. Maybe I should make a new shirt so I get asked even more often. Also, single rider lines and ride ops that ask for single riders from spots left by groups have been good to me. So these coaster riding groups aren’t all bad. I just wonder how much time and energy they waste just so they can be on the same train.
Theme Parks Aren’t Supposed to Be Stressful
I’ll close this little rant with an uncomfortable story. A few weeks ago, my friend and I were at Six Flags Great America waiting for Viper. For about the 1,238th time in my life someone asked me if we could move ahead so that they could ride with their friends. I automatically agreed and we moved ahead.
We boarded the train and enjoyed our ride. When we returned to the station, we were asked if we’d be riding twice since we had a platinum flash pass. I said yes without thinking and then realized that we just messed up that group’s master plan of riding together. They gave us the meanest look. Not only did we have a flash pass (which actually didn’t shorten our wait on Viper), but we also prevented them from riding with their group. I felt a little guilty, but also very annoyed at the whole situation.
Just get on the darn rides people!
Ah. There, I feel better now.
What’s your take?
I’m really interested in hearing what others have to say about this. Again, I acknowledge that I’m often a lone rider and I visit theme parks pretty often. So, I’m sure I’m biased and more annoyed than the average theme park-goer. Are you working hard in the station trying to figure out how your group can ride together? Are you as annoyed as me? Leave a comment below.