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The Ride Op Workout


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One of my favorite parts of visiting a park is watching the various ride crews do thier job. I guess it comes from having been a ride op a few times in my life, but its always interesting to see how each park does things differently.

 

When I was at Knotts a couple of Saturdays ago I was standing on the exit ramp of Perilous Plunge watching the crew. Man that has to be an exahausting job! It's not just checking belts and lap bars. The guy and girl that were working were climbing all over and inside that boat adjusting, tugging, etc. Each boat had at least 2 people that couldnt ride due to thier size...all because they were two skinny suprisingly.

 

They were working their butts off (it was cold outside but they were sweating), but it would still take like 5 minutes at least for the dispatch due to all the adjusting and checking. Not to mention the girl was wearing a Ghost Town uniform complete with a long sleeve shirt and suspenders!

 

My question...which rides do you think or have you seen are the most tiring for a ride op?

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Here at SFSTL, it has to be the eagle. They do it pretty quick, but the same thing they check the lap bar and seat Belt. Depending on the ride crew working the ride 2 takes a while, but when they have three and both trainsrunning they can get going pretty good!

 

Time is waisted when the stupid riders ask stupid questions like why do I need to where Both, BECAUSE ITS THE RULES! CAN"T YOU READ!

 

HERES YOUR SIGN!!!! Love that one!

 

 

LOL

 

We can thank the lady at Holiday World for her dangerous antics for the ride of her death for that addition.

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The most tiring ride to operate in my opinion was working on Roman Rapids @ BGE. Before the time the ride opened, I had operated every ride in the park as well as off-season "operational cycles". When RR finally opened, each of us (crew) were "hand-picked" by management based on a variety of factors and conditioning/physically fit was one of them.

 

For each hour, you walk (turntable-style loading platform) about 1.86 miles per hour. Each shift would rotate positions roughly each hour, but the rotation was that you could end up on the platform for 3 hours before your first break..lol

 

I recall drinking ALOT of fluids just to stay hydrated during those hot Virginia summers (the humidity was unreal at times) and eat at least 2 bannanas each morning to prevent any leg cramps. I would estimate 3 gallons of water and about 1/2 galllon of Gatorade for each shift.

Want to excercise?? Have fun (cough*watching wet t-shirts*cough), then work a rapids ride...wheeeee..lol

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Ive only worked a few so far, but the bumper boats at Coney. Normally, its just easy press the button to start the ride. HOWEVER, things get interesting when all of the boats run out of gas at the same time, and they start stalling in the middle of the ring...

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I'm no expert, but Xcelerator seems like a tough workout. When they do the Xcelerator buckle, they have to lean all the way down and slam it.

 

Another one is X. The operators have to slam the butterfly restraints onto your shoulders instead of you pulling them down.

---Brent

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The most tiring ride to operate in my opinion was working on Roman Rapids @ BGE. For each hour, you walk (turntable-style loading platform) about 1.86 miles per hour. Each shift would rotate positions roughly each hour, but the rotation was that you could end up on the platform for 3 hours before your first break..lol

 

Yeah, I've done it...IN FLORIDA!

 

Almost any ride at Cedar Point is tough, mostly due to the hours: 10 to 14 hour shifts, six to seven days a week is the norm there.

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I am a ride op at sfmm and i will tell you the coasters are alot easier to operate then all the flat rides.For one thing alot of the times you are at the ride by yourself and it gets boring and you have to do many more things at a flat rides.At coasters you usually have a crew of 6 or 7 and you get to be at panel.The rides i hate most to operate are buccaneer and atom smasher.

 

~Chris-O

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Id say a big dark ride like tomb blaster,Duel or other laser gun dark rides.

cause you would have to turn on each room as a car goes through and check security cameras.you cant foucus on 1 and getting people out in a fire

so i think a darkride looks most difficult.....

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Almost any ride at Cedar Point is tough, mostly due to the hours: 10 to 14 hour shifts, six to seven days a week is the norm there.

 

Yep! Exactly. I was a ride op last summer at CP and every week I put in 70 hours. Not to mention, the humidity there on the lake can be killer. Plus, CP really stresses numbers. They put a lot of pressure on the crews to up capacity, no matter how good you are doing, so you are always moving at a fast rate.

 

Though my main ride was MF, I also had stints at Turnpikes/Calypso, Raptor, Wildcat, and Mantis. Of those, Wildcat was definately the most exhausting. The coaster is fairly old fashioned and requires a lot of pushing and pulling to slow or speed up the cars, and let me tell you, those cars are not light. And though I never worked it, I've heard that the skyride is one of toughest jobs and that you really get a workout. Pretty much, the crew IS the brakes. You'll notice pretty much all the guys wear gloves for the job and a lot of them have some arm mass.

 

-Scott "I have no problem standing up for hours at a time or holding my arm parallel for lengthy periods anymore" P.

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I felt sorry for the ride-ops at Thorpe Park last summer. The sound levels in the station on Colossus and Inferno were insane, with loud music and even louder english kids and teenagers.

 

It must also be hard to be a ride-op on Speedmonster with the loud engine sounds from the speakers in the station area as each train is launched. It really sounds like something that could give most people a headache after a very short time.

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Some of the high capacity rides at Universal Studios would be stressful. Because, if you don't dispatch in time on rides like Mummy/Men In Black/ET Adventure, everything backs up, and gets stuck at various points along the course. And, you have to work your butt off to get back to normal operation without stacking more than one train.

 

This is also vaild for Space Moutain, Dudley, or any of those rides.

 

In addition, I think that "spieling" could be stressful at first (on rides such as Jaws at USF or doing long preshows by yourself (Shrek 4D.) However, after a week or two, when you're comfortable with the script, it becomes far easier and enjoyable.

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At Busch Gardens Tampa (now Busch Gardens Africa), the skyride ops probably had the most tiring job. They had to stop a moving car and pusch (<- BGA humor) it back onto the track. And trust me, these cars weren't light.

 

Golfie

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i would think any ride at tusenfryd is hard. Because they have usually only two ops on each coaster maybe 3 on the very peak times.

 

During my work period there they would have to let people in to the boarding area check restraints and belts and dispatch after that they had to close and open the boxes for loose items.

 

and all of this is done by 2 ops. And on the Looper youl have to manually open all the restraints that means one pedal to push hard down for each car(about 7)

 

So if you wanna be a sport star. Start you career opping Speed Monster, Thunder Coaster or the Looper

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I worked at Hersheypark for five years, and by far the toughest ride to work at that time was the skyride. You had to bring the car to a stop to let people out, then push it hard enough so it would go around the curve to the other side to let more passengers on. Sometimes one operator would do both the unload and load, walking the car around the turn. That made for a very long and tiring day.

 

dt

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I'm a ride op at Tusenfryd, and as people have said, some rides can be pretty tiring. Speed Monster is tiring because of the short cycle times, so you never get to rest and the restraints are super hard to push down each time! The spiel and the engine revving are not that bad though, i tend to not notice them after a while. Only two ops on this one, maybe three in peak.

 

Thundercoaster is also a tiring one. There are usually only two operators working on it, which makes it a race to prevent stacking. Checking twelve belts on each side, then twelve restraints, all while bending your back and going as fast as you can really works you after some hours.

 

However, it's not so bad as it sounds because on both Thundercoaster and Speed Monster you usually get into a good rythm with the other op, which makes it a lot of fun and the time flies by.

 

Loopen is pretty alright, because it only runs one train, so you get some time in between to relax. Supersplash can get really mentally tiring because of the loud noise coming from the water roaring right next to the station. Gives me a headache.

 

But perhaps the most tiring one can be the Skycoaster, where I spend most of my days (I'm a Site Controller). Since it's a small one we have to manually brake the flyers, which really works on your legs and shoulders. Also, the lines can get very long because of the low capacity, which means you never really get a break in between. I still love the Skycoaster, but a hydraulic landing pole would be nice

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But perhaps the most tiring one can be the Skycoaster, where I spend most of my days (I'm a Site Controller). Since it's a small one we have to manually brake the flyers, which really works on your legs and shoulders. Also, the lines can get very long because of the low capacity, which means you never really get a break in between. I still love the Skycoaster, but a hydraulic landing pole would be nice

 

No kidding. I worked at Zero Gravity for a while here in Dallas. The skycoaster only had the manual pole as well. To top it off, the ground was entirely gravel, and you basically were water skiing on rocks to stop the group. Though it was always fun to catch a big group really high and get pulled hard. Was dangerous but fun!

 

Also, while working at SFOT, the Cliffhanger (old intamin Freefall) was a very tiring ride. You were constantly jumping from car to car to check the restraints. It used to have 3 loading platforms, but now there are only 2. You worked your ass off, but time flew by.

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Out of my experience, one of the main reasons rides become hard/tiring is not just park policy, but the GP.

 

Especially the GP who don't follow instructions! Seriously, how many times can you tell someone to NOT pull down on the restraint, stay behind the yellow line, keep off the handrails, quit playing with the airgates, and stay seated, etc before you get the urge to strangle them?

 

The one that really got me was people playing with the turnstyles. That irritated the hell out of me. Ive seen kids (and adults too) do everything from swing on them to climb on them like its a jungle gym, to spin them like its the wheel on the Price is Right.

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I worked at Hersheypark for five years, and by far the toughest ride to work at that time was the skyride. You had to bring the car to a stop to let people out, then push it hard enough so it would go around the curve to the other side to let more passengers on. Sometimes one operator would do both the unload and load, walking the car around the turn. That made for a very long and tiring day.

 

dt

 

Same as what they have to do at BGA.

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My brother worked Autopia at DL for a year and lost a lot of weight, and he's always been a little plump. From what he told me, there are some watch towers located sporadically around the track, but most of the monitoring happens by a few CMs running around the track. A CM has to be ready to jump in and take over the wheel in case a guest becomes too unruly or a child gets tired from pushing the heavy pedal. According to my brother, the latter happened often.

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Knoebel's boat ride seems to offer quite the workout and adventure...

 

Yup.. I used to do that. When one boat would get stuck on the far end like where the girl is landing now, we would get a running start , leap from one side and then land on the boat from the other side. And that was at the far corner near the Old Smokey bridge! Lots of fun..

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Just by looking at them, I think the ride ops at the Mummy would get more of a "mental workout". It is so LOUD in the loading station and to work couple hour shifts must be hell. It also sucks that they have to wear those uniforms all day...I give props to anyone who works at the Mummy...

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