View Full Version : Anyone ever worked at an amusement park?

08-31-2008, 02:00 AM
Hi guys,

So what I'm looking for are some answers on closing security procedures at amusement parks.

How did you make sure that everyone was out of the park? Has anyone ever been left behind in the park? What happened then? Are there night watchmen who patrol the park to make sure that no one sneaks in during the night? Anything else I should know?

I'm sure that procedures vary by park, but I'm just looking to add some realism to the story I'm working on.

...and if anyone happens to have worked at Idlewild Park (specifically the Storybook Forest side), then I'll give you twenty rep points if I can interview you.

I'll post the story in Share Your Work once I've finished it.

Thanks so much!

08-31-2008, 04:49 AM
Worked at Astroworld back in the mid to late seventies. Although the park 'closed' to the public at night, it was never really 'closed' in terms of operations. It was at night time that major maintenance took place. Rides repaired, painting done, pavement mended - you get the idea. So there was always someone in the park, and security was always present.

Not sure how big of a park you're talking about. Astroworld was your typical 'six flags' type of park - in fact, later it became a six flags park.

The park had a high fence, with barbed wire around the 'back' sections. Sure, it might be possible to climb it, but it really wasn't worth that effort. "Sneaking in" would be hard to do. Employees passed through a security gate, where you showed your ID pass/badge.

It would probably be possible to hide till 'after hours', there were some blind spots in the park, not covered by security cams or on the regular security beat. How do I know? Well, I heard they were great places to 'make out' and - uh, other things.

But if you came out of hiding after hours, you would still be dodging work crews and night security. Not impossible, but it wouldn't be a 'walk in the park'.

08-31-2008, 06:16 AM
I don't know if this really helps, but I work the local Renaissance faire every year, and at closing time, there's a group of security people we call the Sweep. They gather at the absolute back end of the park, and when the closing cannon goes off, they start walking, herding people ahead of them. They check behind tents and stages, and we have to be able to produce ID to prove we work there or else we're herded out, too.

09-01-2008, 10:41 PM
I've worked at the Orlando theme parks - Disney, Universal and Sea World, as well as Six Flags New Orleans. Each has its own procedures, but they're remarkably similar.

There's always a security Sweep identical to the one that Anonymisty mentioned for the Ren Faire. It seems like the bigger/better known the park, the slower the sweep -- for example, Disney won't actually kick you out, they'll just follow along behind you unplugging things as they go. Six Flags was a lot more proactive at telling people it was time to leave.

Like others mentioned though, there's always a place to hide during Sweep, as well as a way to sneak in. But also as mentioned, there's never a time that the parks are truly abandoned. Night cleaning and maintenance crews work all night, every night. Around the time that their shifts end, the earliest food service and merchandise employees come in.

No night watchmen per se, at least at the ones I've worked at, but there's always at least a handful of Security on site. The employee entrances are manned by Security 24/7. Also, the night workers tend to know who's supposed to be there and who's not. I used to hang out at Universal in the middle of the night a lot (employees are allowed to be on site whenever they like), and I was always being questioned until the night crew got to know me.

Hope this helps!

09-02-2008, 09:19 PM
Thanks to everyone who has responded so far! I really appreciate it.

The "Sweep" is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for (plus, it sounds kinda creepy), and it fits perfectly into my horror story.

So, I've got a follow-up question too now that I know about all the activity after the park closes. After hours, what was the lighting like? Did the parks pretty much burn the same amount of electricity after hours as they do when the park is open? Or is it reduced except in the areas where people are working?

Thanks again! :)

09-03-2008, 03:20 AM
Again, speaking of Astroworld in the seventies - after 'the sweep' the lighting was diminished. Yeah, there was a definite change. Most of the signage was turned off, shop lights were turned off - 'street lights' were left on. Sometimes work crews had their own worklights with them, if they were painting or repairing something for instance. But definitely an overall lower level of illumination.

So you might see a very very bright pool of illumination where a crew was doing some maintenance, and just the minimum streetlights or path lights elsewhere.