Theme Parks & My First Job

At the end of June, James and I had the opportunity to go to Thorpe Park with a couple of friends who are Merlin annual pass holders and could get us into the park for £15 each. We'd not been to a theme park since 2014 when we first got together so we thought we'd take up the offer and have a well deserved day out with friends. 

It took us two and a half hours to get down to Thorpe Park from our home town and after a pit stop at a service station for a soya latte and a pee, it was getting on for three hours before we got there. Upon arrival, the park had only just opened and was swarming with visitors but we quickly got in line, paid for our tickets and couldn't help but notice on the door prices were £52.50...do people even pay this price? Online prices are currently at £29.99 which is a great saving but it's still mighty expensive. We were at the park for around five hours and managed to get on 7 rides, but even that looking back seems like very little for the price you pay to get into the park in the first place. By the time you've got a bite to eat as well (take your own if you're vegan - the parks are not very vegan friendly) the costs are definitely adding up and time running out.

It got me thinking as to why we as humans are happy to queue up for hours for the sake of rides that last no longer than 30 seconds. Stealth at Thorpe Park lasted 11 seconds (yep I timed it) yet we were stood in line for over an hour. It's not really our cup of tea in all honesty whereas our friends love nothing more than visiting theme parks which is why they're annual pass holders. Having visited Thorpe Park twice now and Alton Towers over five, I can honestly say I prefer Alton Towers not for the rides, but the pleasure of walking around the grounds and feeling the spookiness and atmosphere of the entire park in general.

I hate to be a party pooper but I have never really felt a major urge to go to these kinds of places and I can't help but feel like perhaps it's due to where I used to work at my very first job. At the age of 16, I got a park ranger role at a local family-run kids adventure park which quickly evolved into a miniature theme park. It was just a Saturday job but I despised it and being a tender little 16 year old, I didn't have the confidence to find something else. I worked extra over the school holidays and even their scare fest nights they did around Halloween and of course bonfire night, which earned me a few extra pennies but I really did hate my job there. I ended up bailing on my university degree after completing the foundation course and with my self esteem lower than ever, I ended up staying at the park on a full time basis until I was 20. During this time, I was dumped in every area of the park imaginable, from accounts to the kitchens, cleaning, dressing up as an Elf (definitely the highlight of my park ranger career) on top of my standard running of the rides and dealing with shitty parents. I remember one morning, I turned up and went to check over the toddler soft play and found a nasty poo hidden in the ball pit. True story.

That smell when you enter theme parks is the same everywhere; the cheap frozen chips and burgers they fry and charge an absolute fortune for, the fixed crane machines and everything you touch is sticky...you don't even want to know what the potential stickiness is. I also used to be one of those miserable looking people stood operating a ride and let me tell you, cut these guys some slack. They've probably been there for hours without a break, dealing with awful human beings whilst trying to ensure the riders are kept safe...even when they aren't abiding by the rides rules. To make matters a whole lot worse, the owners of the park were dare I day it...absolute twats. Very verbally abusive towards their staff, not enough breaks, not even for a pee I might add, they didn't support you should a customer dispute arise and to top it all off, the entire family were coke heads. 

I feel like this entire experience has put me off theme parks for life and whilst I totally get that rides need maintaining, stripping and servicing on top of paying the staff, running the parks and marketing, the entire industry just feels like an absolute rip off and so many people are willing to pay crazy prices for what probably amounts to no more than 10 minutes of ride time per day. Madness.

What are your thoughts on theme parks or better yet, what was your first ever job?

Thanks for reading!



2 comments

  1. My first ever job (aside from a newspaper route!) Was a waitress in a hotel restaurant. I actually didn't mind it at first, but I worked every Christmas Day and New year's Eve for three years and the pay was horrendous. Also spending 4 hours serving people Christmas lunch, the last thing I wanted when I got home was a roast!
    I do enjoy theme parks but generally I wouldn't go out of my way to go to them, I'm looking forward to taking Dougie though!
    Hels xx
    www.thehelsproject.com

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  2. My first job was at a sandwich factory, very glamorous as you would stand in a freezing cold for 12 hours doing exactly the same thing over and over and over again. I have to say I'm glad I will never work there again.

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