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Posts tagged “layoffs

The amusement industry needs fans more than ever

Shock Wave roller coaster and Oil Derrick at Six Flags Over Texas

As we slip into yet another week of seemingly endless COVID-19 despair, lock downs and quarantines, our nerves just seem to get more frayed. We’re all snapping at one another more than ever, both online and in-person (myself included). The stress level we’re all under is perhaps only eclipsed by a nation at war.

Many amusement parks and ride vendors across the country have had to make significant furloughs or even layoffs just to survive though the end of the year. Anyone who depends on the amusement industry is worried sick about what the future holds. Our beloved hobby – the very thing we write, photograph and video for fun – needs us fans to help promote and support it more than ever.

So what can we do?

Simply put: 2021 needs to see a moratorium on theme park fans’ petty criticism. Both online and in person. Full stop. To put it another way: parks deserve a pass for the next 18 months.

Shock Wave roller coaster and Oil Derrick at Six Flags Over Texas
Shock Wave and Oil Derrick at Six Flags Over Texas during COVID-19 pandemic.

Yes, it’s easy to highlight everything wrong at parks. I get it, I’m guilty of it myself on occasion. But let’s be frank: the very survival of the amusement industry, most notably the smaller parks and many vendors, is at stake.

Posts or stories about rotting wood, employees not smiling or long lines might have a place in our fandom, and those types of posts certainly drum up clicks and engagement. But, when the industry we purport to love so much is seeing it’s very foundation being eroded away, those types of posts can wait.

Outside of being positive, unpaid spokespeople for the industry we love so much, what else can we do? Well, we can put our money where our mouths are.

If your local park(s) are open, visit them! The vast majority who have re-opened have taken extraordinary steps to modify their operations, mitigating the risk far better than any restaurant ever could. My last visit to Six Flags Over Texas earlier this month was so well monitored by staff for masks and sanitation, that brought me a sense of normalcy I haven’t felt in half a year.  That’s why we love parks so much: the feelings they give us.

If your local park(s) aren’t open, see if they are able to sell merchandise or other souvenirs online or over the phone. Or better still, get a season pass for 2021. Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket in what is sure to be a crippling financial year for most facilities.

But, it’s also something we CAN do, instead of sitting at home, moping about when everything goes back to being normal. Because if we do nothing, there may not be a “normal” or a park to return to.

These are unusual times. And unusual times call for unusual solutions. If you’re willing to fight for changes inside the park, it’s time to change your fight to help this industry survive.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below or on our social media channels!