Many of us have happy childhood memories of summer and amusement parks. Whether they were on the boardwalk or larger theme parks – it is usually equated to simple childhood fun.
The thrill of swinging, spinning and dropping at rapid speeds, with music in the background, is incredibly exciting for children. Even the occasional upset stomach doesn’t do much to hinder their enthusiasm.
I recently visited an amusement park with my family and found the experience interesting. An amusement park adds an intriguing dynamic to watching parents, children and other individuals interact. The mix of sometimes happy / not so happy, often hot, excited, and frequently exhausted children and parents can be curiously daunting.
Overall we had a wonderful experience and the majority of people that we observed and interacted with were friendly and very well mannered. However, there was a small minority that definitely had some room for improvement.
The following amusement park etiquette guidelines might be helpful to keep in mind.
Follow the rules – It goes without saying, but follow park rules. For instance, if your child is not tall enough for a ride, complaining and acting rudely to a ride attendant who is powerless to modify the rules, is futile. If it says not to bring open food on a ride – than don’t bring open food on a ride.
Be patient – If you are going to a popular amusement park there is a good chance that you will be waiting in line for a ride. Acceptance of this fact is difficult for children. They just want to have fun. Preparing them ahead of time to be patient if there is a wait may be helpful. It also helps to praise a child that is waiting patiently.
Never cut in line – This is simply rude and unacceptable. The dilemma is how to politely handle the situation. A few options are available depending upon your comfort level. First, politely explain where the end of the line is – “Excuse me sir, the end of the line is down there”.
The few times that I confronted people who cut directly in front of me I was pleasantly received. They apologized for the error and moved away. The second option is to get the attention of the ride attendant and ask him/her to intervene. Lastly, you may want to contact security or management to report the occurrence.
Be considerate of others – Amusement parks are busy and loud with lots children. Overtired and excited children sometimes do things in haste that they otherwise wouldn’t do. It doesn’t excuse the behavior. A calm, gentle reminder to be considerate of others is usually all that is necessary. For example, throwing your garbage in the waste receptacle, not pushing in line, or not kicking the seat in front, is the polite way to behave. Teaching children to always be aware of others and their surroundings is a valuable lesson.