How to Theme-Park

(And not be a total tool)

I recently joined a few connoisseur groups, following the parks on social media I frequent often. I found that these people, my people, understood my somewhat odd fascination with theme parking in general and subsequently, do not judge me for it; unlike the rest of the regular Facebook, non- theme-parking people (NTPP). You know these people. Those who love to berate you on how “brave” you are! How stupid you must be, or clearly, that you don’t know how to have fun because you’re not sitting on a hot dirty beach in Jersey. Hell nope, and no thank you. I don’t wish to catch hepatitis from a shore public bathroom. But hey, you do you, boo.

I am, however, a sucker for a well- choreographed show, a glitter hand tattoo, and a bucket of over-salted popcorn in my commemorative (insert new ride here) special popcorn bucket. I love that I know where each bathroom is, what place sells the best sale merch at the end of the season, and that I know the nicest bartenders who know my preferences and smile when I come in. After all, I know their anniversary, their kids’ names and hobbies.

This place to me? While it seems like a fresh hell to you, it’s home to me.

While you may go to the store seeking the newest and shiniest beach gear, which makes your life easier on those hot summer days, we are in the shops looking for new lanyards, pins, and viewing old park maps on eBay. We love it, okay?

So, don’t judge me, and I will not make fun of you over and over as you sit on the New Jersey State Parkway while you move inch by painful inch to nirvana.

Now, just like I am forced to visit the beach (I’m from there so I must), you are sometimes forced, or asked to come down for the weekend to experience my theme park. No, I don’t own it you silly sausage, but I’ve walked more steps there than in any place on earth, so I consider a little piece of it mine. Just like when I lifeguarded on the beaches you consider yours; I ask you to be respectful of the places people frequent, live and love.

With no further ado, I have come up with a list of DO’s and DON’TS for theme parking. I may offend you, but it’s what I do, so, you’re welcome in advance.

DO: Research your ticket options before you come. This includes parking. Nothing pisses people off more than you standing there, chatting up the parking attendant or ticketing agent about shit you could have looked up on your phone in the car ride over here. Be prepared for that shit. You’re an adult with 2019 internet access.

DON’T: Yell at people for simply doing their job. If you think these people are getting paid enough to take your shit, think twice. While “The customer is always right”, they aren’t always humble about it. Screaming that phrase in their face, spitting, throwing a toddler tantrum or overall acting like a cockslap, will only get you stabbed in the parking lot. Don’t be that guy. You’re not as important as you think.

DO: Move to the side If you are a slow walker, have a tantrum-y kiddo (We have all been there, Susan, all we ask is you try and take that hot mess to the side so we can move on by), or simply need to STOP to look at a map, phone or stare into space. I literally get stabby when I *almost* bump into you because you decided that the middle isle of any walkway was a good time to not move. (Unless there is a legit emergency or major issue. See below. Don’t look at me like that, Susan.)

That being said…

DO: Be kind. If there is a mom out there struggling and you see her alone, offer to help. For instance, if you can tell she has a special needs child, don’t be an asshole. Be a human, offer to help her to the side (Like I have done before when they are blocking the whole walk- way). She’s embarrassed and tired, she doesn’t need your douchbaggery.

DO: Be respectful in lines. ANY lines. This means food and rides. Not everyone thinks your farts are funny, wants to hear you snapping your friends’ asses with your over-priced Under-Armor shirt, or hear about your latest conquest (gag). It’s not church and please feel free to have fun conversations but be respectful that there are people in front of you and behind you. And for the love of GOD, recognize personal space and WEAR DEODORANT!

Speaking of lines…

DON’T: Cut lines. I don’t care how old you are. You don’t get a free pass because you’re a “wild teen”. I will video that shit and find a way to send it to your mama. I will also tell you to get yo ass to the back of the line. THAT and I’ll say it loud enough, so people stare at you. Don’t mess with a forty-year-old mom, kid. I got no time for blatant fuckery. If I have to wait, so do you, you little, snot-nosed ball of twated hormones.

DON’T: Be that drunk, tits in your face, stained wife beater, person meandering through the little make pretend streets and puking in bushes. Take that shit to Jersey where it belongs and maybe go to rehab.

DON’T: Wear white and have no bra underneath. Everyone is happy for your new 8,000-dollar tits, Brenda, really. I mean, good for you. Be the best version of you and be happy! We don’t all need to see them though. I’ll ask if I want to see them, trust me. I’m not shy.

DO: Understand that no one controls the weather. Mother Nature can be a real asshole sometimes, and sometimes she literally just wants to piss on your good time. BUT THAT IS NO ONES FAULT. Screaming at employees and writing nasty shit online only makes you look like a belligerent fucktwad.

DON’T: Get mad at lifeguards because they don’t have “the common decency” to look you in the eye, or acknowledge you exist. They are doing their job. They are making sure people don’t die while you just want to know how the hell this life jacket works, and can you put it on my kid. No. He can’t. Ask another employee. He’s busy making people not die and not getting sued.

DO: If you have a legitimate complaint, bring it up in a way that will give the respect the representative deserves. She will be more receptive to help if you are kind and understanding. Bad shit happens. Things get stolen, people get hurt. All in all, no one is at fault for accidents. So if you were the dick that bought your phone on a roller coaster, I implore you to go back to the front of the line where it tells you not to do that. Leave the real complaints and real problems for Customer Service. She’s not replacing your phone because you didn’t remember the basics of Kindergarten based listening.

I know this list could be longer, and for those like me reading this, I’m sure have MANY more things to add here, but these are the basics. All in all, we are just asking you to NOT be a DICK. It’s often people like us that fight for the progress this place makes; voicing our opinions, signing petitions, etc. We love it here, and while you like to visit on the rare sometimes, we think of this more of a home away from home; a zen place, a long walk, a cup of coffee, an intense ride to work off a stressful work week. It’s what we do, live for and love.

And I promise, if I see you at the beach, I’ll be sure not to step on your blanket, get too close to your set up, or play loud music so you can hear it five towns away.

Because I’m not a dick.

It’s called RESPECT.

Here’s to you and a healthy summer!




Published by Mandy Greenfield

Writer. Studio Artist. Lover of animals. Sarcastic mama. Hiker. Visual thinker. Kilts and coffee. Funny person. Having fun doing anything inappropriate. Likes medium roller coasters.

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