After a couple of weeks off, RD is back with a rather comical look at what we are calling Theme Park Olympics. But don't let the title fool you, these are things you SHOULD'NT do in parks.
For years now, I've been a grumpy man seeing the behavior in parks I visit around the world. However, we here in the USA do some much MUCH better than others; in fact, if there were a Theme Park Olympics, we'd get the gold medal for bad behavior. So let's look at this special breed of competitor - the ASSLETES - and their behavior, as ranked by park.
Let's start out with our first category: the 500 person LINE JUMPING competition. In this competition, the name of the game is to walk past or around as many guests as possible, as the line isn't moving, and our competitiors feel they don't have to stand in line! This is something that is pandemic across the USA - I have seen it at every major park I've been to, no matter how good or bad they are. Some of the worst of this is when there is the new attraction that has just opened; that three hour line means that line jumping is going to be a multi-player competition.
Who wins this for the worst? That's a tough call, as there are so many good assletes doing it. Some of the worst I've seen has been in the mid-Atlantic region, with Six Flags America having one of the worst problems of them all. During the time I was attending the park, even the smallest attractions would have chronic line jumping issues; apparently to the local clientele the lines are just suggestions, and you aren't bad-ass until you've jumped up and over every single guest in the queue. (Of course, having utterly awful operations at SFA tends to breed this bad behavior.) In a close second place, California's Great America comes into play. On one particular visit, I saw people go up the exit ramp, argue for a minute with a ride operator, and then get on the ride, completely bypassing the line. Coming up in third would be Six Flags Magic Mountain, where the entitled set come to play - and to line jump. Q-Bot? Nahhh. We're from Orange County. We don't need them. We're too entitled to stand in lines. I have actually been pushed aside by these assletes on rides where the line was moving at a very good pace- just because they wanted to ride without a wait.
For our next competiton: The 250 pounds of CRAP competition. In this sport, our assletes must carry as much junk with them onto the platform of a ride, empty their pockets of as much stuff as possible, and to make a general nuisance of themselves to slow loading of a ride as much as possible. Extra points are scored if these assletes argue with the operators that they must carry their (phone, camera, mainframe computer, luggage) onto the ride as it is IMPORTANT!
In this category, our assletes excelled primarily in Florida and the west coast. Nearly every park in the USA had a good chance of achieving this select status, but there were some who out-did themselves to win the gold.
In first place, with the gold medal for the 250 pounds of CRAP competition comes Busch Garden's Tampa! I have seen the worst of the worst for this there on numerous occasions, with their assletes carrying things I have rarely seen in a theme park before. On my last visit a few years back, I saw people actually trying to board one of the coasters with a 5'0 stuffed elephant, and saying that it was safe to ride with it. At the same park, somebody boarded with an early tablet, expecting to ride with it. And then there are the handbags of DOOM that I saw on nearly every ride. In second place with the Silver comes SFMM again - with the most badly behaved assletes as far as hauling things onto the ride. The difference here is our assletes at SFMM would actually bicker with the operators to bring their 250 pounds of crap onto any given ride, including ones where it would be assured that the items would go flying off to Ventura County. We're talking projectiles at 100 mph folks. In a close third for the Bronze medal, we have the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, tied with Disneyland. Our assletes here feel that the entry price also includes freight charges to haul their junk onto EVERY ride in the park, despite some of them not being the best to get things into and out of. And this, my beloved readers, is in light of Disney's very family friendly policy of sending packages to the main gate, where you can then pick them up at the end of the day. People love to board rides with everything and anything, from that unfinished Dole whip (WHY???) to Balloons & bags.
Our third competition is a sport of sports: The Bounce Your Basketball as often as possible competition. In this competition, our assletes win a basketball, and must dribble it as OFTEN as possible, hitting as many guests as possible along the way. Extra points for style & grace if you start throwing the ball over the heads of other people in line for the attraction, and you get a special award if the ball rolls off underneath the ride.
This personally is one of the WORST OF THE WORST things parks do: Give away basketballs fully inflated to park guests for winning something. As it is a hazard waiting to happen; I've seen these tokens of glory rolling all around a theme park loose because our budding assletes can't keep a hold of their balls. Our GOLD medal goes to Six Flags America, where the balls are flying! I have on numerous occasions been hit in the head, back, leg & arm by our assletes thinking the loading platform of a coaster is, in fact, a basketball court. And what is worse? SFA does nothing to stop this behavior. No signs, nobody cares - despite basketballs whizzing around everywhere. In a close second for the silver, Six Flags Over Georgia, where I have fallen due to runaway balls. Assletes here will get two or three during a day at the park, and then spend the rest of the day juggling their balls and dropping them often. Our third place winner in this category goes to Kings Dominion. They tried hard, but fortunately their operators attempt to limit the endless thunk thunk thunk on platforms.
Our final category in the Theme Park Olympics is the Empty Cup Splash & toss. In this category, our assletes must consume a large soda (or any food really) and then miss the trashcan by as far as possible. Style points are added if you can land the trash underneath a ride, and extra points if the trash is in a place that nobody can get to, ensuring that everybody can see where you've thrown your trash.
Here, just about every park in the USA could be credited for a win; however, some parks out did each other for this award. Our assletes did their best to make their park look the worst, and the Gold Medal was a tough call. Give a big round of applause to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom - where the trash is ample & placed so you can see it on every ride. I have seen people chuck their trash off the platform of ROAR, and into the audience below. Underneath the V2 coaster, I saw everything from sandwich wrappers and bags of popcorn, to the jumbo-sized drink mugs lining the ground underneath the ride. Our Silver Medal goes to SFMM, where littering isn't just a sport, but an art form elevated. I can say that I have seen littering in that park standing right next to the trash can with ZERO attempt to insert trash into the bin. Why throw it in the garbage, when it becomes part of the scenery! Coming up with the bronze medal is California's Great America, where trash seems to be organically strewn under and around rides as if naturally growing from the topsoil. The assletes here take pride in dumping trash as far away from trashcans as possible, and it shows.
Now mind you, I don't blame the parks entirely for these assletes; after all, parks can't control their patrons. However, I do blame parks for not doing the right things. Line Jumping is something parks need to eradicate by enforcing policies they post on rides & on the park maps. Basketballs should be obliterated from parks - or at least given out deflated to guests. These are things that can be done to end these Theme Park Olympics - and not a moment too soon.