The world's most authentic roller coaster and amusement park expert!

Posts tagged “travel

Kris Rowberry Returns to Great American Thrills

Kris Rowberry

Hey everyone! It’s been awhile since we last talked. Two and a half years, to be precise.

No, it wasn’t you – it was me. A necessary hiatus what with me taking a position in the Communications Department of a major theme park here in the south.

But as of this week, that restriction have been lifted, so you’ll be able to expect hearing from me on a semi-regular basis once again.

I’m so sorry.

You’ll also be seeing some changes to the site over the next few months, with some new features as well as a new look. I’ll be sure to keep you all up to speed as we transition back into regular programming.

It’s been a long two and a half years – we’ve got a lot to catch up on.

But, just to be safe, let’s not wait that long to talk to one another ever again – okay?

– KR

Kris Rowberry

Kris Rowberry is back at Great American Thrills!

Advertisements

Five Ways To Be Arrested in an Amusement Park

Nobody’s perfect – we are all human, after all. But there are several ways you can mess up BIG TIME at your local amusement or theme park and end up in the county jail. If you think those rules at parks are for chumps, you better read on and start taking copious notes.

Here’s five ways you can get carted away to jail for misbehaving at an amusement or theme park:

 

Spitting:

no-spitting-iso-prohibition-sign-is-1130

The quintessential bad adolescent behavior! In addition to being a serious health hazard, spitting off of a ride (such as a sky ride) and hitting another person can be prosecuted as assault. Plus, the park can revoke your ticket or season pass as well.

Smoking:

no-smoking-sign

In many places around the country, smoking is being banned in all public places, including parks. Many have set up so called “Cancer Corners” to keep people from smoking directly on the midway. But in some places, you can be cited for illegally smoking – and it can carry jail time in some of the more strict interpretations of the law, especially here in California.

Disobeying Ride Operators:

We have rules for a reason - usually because someone before was dumb enough to warrant making one!

We have rules for a reason – usually because someone before was dumb enough to warrant making one!

Much like a Flight Attendant, a Ride Operator knows much more about the attraction you’re about to ride, despite their age or attentiveness. Purposely disobeying an order from them can not only land you in the hospital from injuries, but can also get you in the slammer for failing to heed posted rules and regulations.

Line Jumping:

line-jumping

Ah, the scourge of park attendees worldwide. But did you know that California has a specific Penal Code dedicated to line jumping? California Penal Code 490.6 gives parks’ the ability to detain you for jumping the line, until the police show up. That’s one way to make your wait times much LONGER, rather than shorter.

Tagging:

no-graffiti-iso-circle-sign-is-1063

This should be a no brainer, but amazingly, you’re not allowed to write on things that aren’t yours – especially private property. Of interest lately is people tagging their Instagram or Twitter accounts…because nothing makes the police happier than you telling them exactly how to find you to prosecute you.

By now, you must be asking yourselves: “Wait, you cannot possibly be serious in saying or implying that people get prosecuted for these, can you?”

Well, hate to break it to you, but I am serious – and I’ve seen it happen. Working for several parks in my career, I’ve seen everything from spitters being arrested, to taggers being tased. In fact, more people than you think are removed from parks every day, and some of them end up making the trip wayyy downtown. Remember that parks are supposed to keep out the “outside world” and keeping up that illusion is part of the services the park offers. Trust me, just follow the rules and you’ll make everyone’s day better!

What do you think? Which person behaving badly would YOU like to see removed from a park for one of these offenses? Tell us on social media or comment below!


The Emotional Connection to an Amusement Park

I debated long and hard about putting out this post – I tend to be an intensely private person at times, but I feel that if I can share, maybe you’ll make the same emotional connection to a park on your next trip to your local amusement or theme park.

Ten years seems like forever when you say it. Broken down, it’s 3,652 days…520 weeks.

And yet, the biggest, sentinel moment in my life still feels like it was yesterday.

On August 1st, 2004, around 8:00am – I lost my mother to an aggressive, rare form of cancer, acute myelogenous leukemia (Learn more about it, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute_myeloid_leukemia)

I would be lying if I told you it didn’t mess me up for the rest of my life. Under the stoic, proud face I put on was a terrified young adult – lost in the world without the woman who had given birth to me and frightened. To this day, I am still scarred and probably always will be.

So why do I share this story with you on my amusement and theme park blog?

Every summer, my sister and I would look forward to visiting our local parks with our family – when we were younger, we couldn’t afford season passes; we made it out to our local parks at least once a year, so each trip was extra special for us.

The last trip we made together as a family was in March of 2004, two months before her initial diagnosis and four before she passed. I was working at the time at (then) Paramount’s Great America, and the park was holding it’s annual “Employee Day”  a week before it opened to the general public. It was basically a dress rehearsal to iron out any issues before the public saw the park for the first time that year.

That’s when we took this photo…(Dad was behind the camera):

No caption could contain the emotion that this photo brings back to me and my family.

No caption could contain the emotion that this photo brings back to my family and I. It still brings me to tears.

For me, this is the moment that I can argue how a park can become much more than just a place to have fun. It’s a repository of our collective memories; they’re time capsules into what makes us human. And despite being 3,652 days removed, the memories for me are still as strong as ever.

And so, ten years after the sentinel moment in my life, I was once again out at California’s Great America – having fun and enjoying myself with friends. Why? Because I know she wouldn’t want me to mope around – so I didn’t.

While this past week was a very difficult one emotionally, as it is every year on or around August 1st – I can take solace in photos and memories like these…remembering the good times, the smiles and most importantly the love. And that’s the true, authentic park experience for me – how about you?

I love you Mom – then, now and forever.


Could Cedar Fair offer a “California Season Pass” instead of a Platinum Pass?

I travel fairly often to visit amusement and theme parks – that’s no secret. But I’m also a big fan of getting the most bang for my buck, especially in this economy. Case in point:

Cedar Fair, L.P. currently offers three different levels, or tiers of season passes:

Your standard SEASON pass, which gets you admission into a single park.

The GOLD Pass, which in NorCal gets you admission to: California’s Great America, Halloween Haunt, Gilroy Gardens and free parking at each park.

And finally, the PLATINUM Pass, which gets you admission and free parking to ALL the Cedar Fair owned parks.

Most of us in California, however – never get a chance to leave the Golden State, which makes upgrading to a PLATINUM pass very cost prohibitive, considering the next closest Cedar Fair park besides Knott’s – is World’s of Fun…in Missouri.

That's a long road trip to use your Platinum Pass to it's maximum potential.

That’s a long road trip to use your Platinum Pass to it’s maximum potential.

That being said, I believe there’s room for Cedar Fair to debut a fourth tier of passes – the CALIFORNIA Pass.

It could be positioned between the GOLD and PLATINUM passes, in terms of perks and pricing. In addition to all the benefits of a GOLD pass, it would also get you admission and parking at Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Water Park.

Now for most people, this doesn’t seem like much to add for it’s own tier – but since the West Coast parks are so far separated from the rest of the chain in terms of distance and topography, most California park fans are content to stay IN the state and will never be able to get the full benefits out of a PLATINUM pass, unlike their counterparts in the Midwest and on the East Coast, where parks are only a drive’s day (or less) away.

As a result, they may not upgrade to the higher cost tier, and forgo even visiting the other parks in California, where they could be spending money. Of course, on the flip side, if a CALIFORNIA pass was added, I know that I’d be much more willing to upgrade to it and happily drive more often to SoCal to get my Xcelerator and Monte fixes MUCH more often.

Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm. Photo by Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved.

Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm. Photo by Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved.

What do you think – would YOU purchase a CALIFORNIA pass if it was offered? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or reach out to us on our SOCIAL MEDIA pages, too!


Week of Big Announcements!

This week, Great American Thrills® is proud to announce not one, but TWO major initiatives regarding the brand and television concept that are sure to rock your socks off!

Major Announcement #1 –Codename: Showbiz”

Some of you have heard rumblings that “Lost Parks” wasn’t the only project we were working on – and I’m happy today to confirm that this is absolutely true.

We will be premiering an entirely new travelogue / roller coaster / amusement park show concept in the next few weeks. And while we’ll need YOUR help to get it to as many eyeballs as you can – we’ll get into that once it arrives. Oh, did we mention this project is ALREADY trademarked, copyrighted AND registered with the Writer’s Guild of America – so don’t even think about stealing it.

 

Major Announcement #2 – “Project Neptune”

Over the past two years, I’ve seen this website go from a simple WordPress blog, to a significantly more complex “destination” on the web – and the web traffic proves. it. As a result – the site isn’t working as well as it should – and changes will have to be done far more than just cosmetic.

While the timeframe for “Neptune” is not set in stone, expect major changes to the website (in terms of design and interface) to begin showing up over the next few months.

So, why the name “Neptune?” Honestly – it sounded cool – so don’t read into it too much!

This February will be the 4th official year of work (on and off) on this project. It’s amazing to watch it all coming together – slowly, but surely – we’re inching closer to our goal of bringing Great American Thrills® to the masses. We’re so glad to have you along for the ride!


Lost Parks Featured in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa’s Village continues to bring in the press coverage! Today, we’re featured in the Sunday Santa Cruz Sentinel!

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Not exactly sure WHEN I changed my last name to Rowland, however…

For those of you who don’t get the paper, you can read the article online, here:

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_24808829/web-episode-series-highlights-scotts-valley-santas-village


KION Central Coast News Features “Lost Parks of Northern California”

Not even a day after our story aired on KSBW – leading off the newscast, no less – KION Central Coast News got in on the “Lost Parks” action, with their own report!

KION Screenshot

Special thanks to reporter Cassandra Arsenault for coming out and recording us! (And for nerding out briefly on Boston area amusement parks, too!)

On a side note – what is it about Boston area-born reporters and the Bay Area? That’s two now!

Second side note – we’re filmmakers – someone reported it – so it’s official!!!

Jump to the story by clicking the link, below:

http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/filmmakers-look-to-preserve-santas-village-through-documentary/-/23047192/23650682/-/14uwndb/-/index.html