Having lived near several very popular theme parks over the past few years in various states, I encountered several situations that seemed like serious breaches of etiquette. I understand that theme parks are meant for people to let loose and have fun, but at some point, their misconduct impedes the enjoyment of the park for everyone else.
First: While waiting for a ride with a standard wait time of 30-45 minutes, the group in front of me lights up their cigarettes. The park has designated smoking areas throughout the park, but the people waiting in line insist on smoking in a confined space surrounded by many other guests. I asked them politely to put out their cigarettes, as the smell makes me and other people in my group nauseous, but only one out the three smokers puts out their cigarette, while one other smoker curses under his breath.
Second: At another park, I was on an indoor ride that had a few bumps, but nothing scary (little children were allowed to ride). To be silly, a couple of girls (14-16) decided that it would be fun to scream at the top of their lungs the ENTIRE ride. Riders missed out on some of the speaking parts of the ride, and being directly in front of them, my ears were ringing by the end. I understand screaming on the outdoor rollercoasters, but this was a confined space. I turned around and mentioned to the girls that it was rude to have screamed the whole time, and they probably ruined the ride for most of the people on the ride. It seems like a petty situation, but when you wait in line for an extended period of time for a 2 (or less) minute ride, you want to enjoy it!
Third: Every year I attend the special Halloween festivities set up a particular theme park. These festivities are geared towards adults—VERY gory haunted houses, people jumping out with chainsaws and yelling, serving volumes of alcohol, and having scantily clad women throughout the park—not to mention that the festivities only occur from 8pm-2am or so. First, I have a problem with parents bringing younger children to the park during these festivities (not really appropriate for anyone under 16), but that is their parental decision. My problem is when the parents bring large groups of teenage or pre-teen kids to the park and let them run crazy. I know that many kids are not so rude and disrespectful, but during the nighttime festivities, we had groups of 5-8 kids cutting their way through lines, and cursing out anyone who challenged them. On a few of the rides/haunted houses, employees managed to catch the kids and send them to the back, but this happened at least once in every single line. Many of the adults would not stand for the cutting, but their reactions and behavior demonstrated a complete lack of respect for decorum.
Remember—we all paid the same amount to get in, and we all want to have fun, but the line is 2 hours for everybody… Other people at the park have taken off work, traveled long distances, paid lots of money, and want to enjoy the day with their families and friends. There is no need to ruin everybody else’s visit for rude antics.
I know I am missing many other instances of bad theme park etiquette, but these left a distinctly negative impression on those theme park visits. 0916-10