I don't typically write opinion pieces on the site, I don't really like to. I started this site to have fun, and really, it all happened by accident.
There are a LOT of Theme Park related sites out there. A LOT!!! Some sites get along very well together. The owners of sites like Westcoaster and The Coaster Guy are people I'd consider close personal friends. In the instance of Jim from Westcoaster, going on 13-14 years now.
Even though we mostly cover the same parks, we do it in very different ways and it just kind of "works". If we have issues, we discuss them behind the scenes, no need to bring in our readers.
Then there are sites out there that do their own thing, don't have any "partners" or "recommended links" and that's TOTALLY fine too. Everybody runs their site differently and that's good. I may not agree with everything every other site does, but that's why I don't run those sites. I do this site as a hobby, I don't get paid to do it, what we make from our ad's barely covers what we've put into the site itself. But it doesn't cover gas to/from the parks or admission (Annual Passes).
Sure, because I have had some history with writing for other sites I did have some "in's" with a few parks, but that came from a LOT of years of cultivating relationships that just continued here. And every park we've dealt with since has come because of a lot of hard work.
But that's not what this is about. It's about having fun.
From day one I told my wife that if I ever complained about having to go to a park to do an update, or complained about putting in a little bit of extra time for the site that I'd be done. This is a hobby, plain and simple. Sure, I complain about my computer being a POS, but I would have done that whether I started this site or not.
Even when I wrote for other websites, mainly MiceChat, I had fun writing the articles. Even though we didn't always see eye-to-eye on things I will be forever grateful to them for allowing me to learn on their site.
Now on to why I started this site. Last year when I left MiceChat as their Six Flags (and periodically other parks) reporter I had NO intention of starting another site. This may be hard to believe but those who I'm close friends with and my family can back me up on this.
Then something happened. Six Flags Magic Mountain had a Fright Fest press event. Even though I had reached out to them (that cultivating relationships again) and told them I was no longer writing for MiceChat, they still invited me to their event, as a kind of "thanks" for years of friendship. Because they had invited me, I felt that I needed to at least share my pictures and experience, so that's when I started the "free" website.
I put up that Fright Fest article in early October and I figured that was going to be the end of it. Maybe I'd put up some personal blog stuff once in awhile, maybe some running stuff, but as far as a full-fledged theme park site, wasn't even in the cards. Not going to say I hadn't considered it, but the timing wasn't right.
For about a month, that was the only thing on this site. People were looking at it, people were messaging me asking if I was going to do more, I talked with my wife about it, talked with some dear friends about it and decided to give it a go, just to "see what happens".
The "official" kick-off of what was known at the time as "Park Journeys" was November 7th, still using the free site. Since that day we've grown, we've added content and we've added admins to the facebook page although the site itself is pretty much run by one person,
And now we're getting ready to kick off what will be our biggest few months yet, covering all of the Halloween stuff that we love.
All of that is to say, we've been having an absolute blast. We love theme parks, we love coasters, we love spending time at parks and riding rides. Sure, once in awhile we feel we have to point out some negative things. As much as we visit the parks it's inevitable.
To borrow from an old bumper sticker that was about fishing:
The worst day at a theme park is better than the best day at work
Which brings me to the point of this article: When your hobby becomes your job, your source of income, where does the fun go? There is a LOT of Theme Park site bashing that goes on, sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes for everybody to see. There are some sites that won't allow links to other sites, we aren't one of those sites. If another site has good content, has an "exclusive", we are going to share it. And we are going to give full credit. Sure, that may mean a decrease in our AdSense by about $0.30 but hey, we can get that out of the ash tray of our car.
All of this is to say, we aren't getting involved. The people who need to know the behind the scenes things that go on between sites know it. We want our site to be fun. We want you to enjoy our updates, and know that we are having fun doing them (other than having to deal with that crappy computer thing).
Every person who has EVER done an update for our site, and has reached out to me beforehand can attest that the very first thing I always say to them is ... have fun!! Our updates come second, fun always comes first. I wish I had more pictures from the Colossus event last Saturday, but I was having so much fun with my friends that I kind of forgot to take more. That's the kind of fun we're supposed to have at a park.
So to our readers, know that we are having fun doing this. If we ever stop having fun doing this, you are going to know because that's the day this site is over. We aren't looking at this as our career, we aren't looking to make $$ from this, it's just an extension of our hobby, an extension of our FUN hobby.
And we ask you, that if we ever start to complain about things too much, start asking you to complain on our behalf ... tell us. Call us out. Tweet us, send us a message on Facebook, send us an email. Call us out. Sometimes when you are so insulated you don't realize things.
And lastly, THANK YOU to all of you, for your support and for your kind words both in public and in private. It makes us happy that so many people are enjoying the site, and it's really hard to believe it hasn't even been 9 months yet.
- Gregg and Chris
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