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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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Arlington, VA
I woke up this morning thinking about some of the experiences I had last night at HOS Pass Member Preview Night, and about similar experiences I've had over the years at various haunts, and decided that I wanted to post about it. Honestly, pass members should know better.

First off, I am writing this entirely from a guest's perspective. I welcome thoughts from former and current park employees, and I encourage everyone to read Franco's epic post about how to be a good guest from a ride ops perspective, as well.

Regardless, things that I observed last night and comments that I have seen on this forum prompted me to share the standards my friends and the have developed for ourselves in an effort to be as considerate of other as possible.

Before I begin, I am not trying to be sanctimonious and judgmental. The recommendations below are based on other guests' decisions and behaviors that have ruined my experiences in the past. As in all other parts of our lives, good manners dictate that we consider the impact of our choices on everyone around us, and not just on our own pleasure. It is analogous to rubberneckers: In satisfying their own curiosity, they selfishly create massive traffic jams behind them. Violating the norms articulated below creates those same bottlenecks and interferes with house performance, ruining the scares for everyone around you and behind you.

So, here are my thoughts on how to be the best guest you can be.

1. Never stop in the maze. Seriously. Just don't. Despite how well designed and decorated many houses are, no one should ever stop inside one. When you halt your forward progress, you ruin the experience of every person behind you. In order to prevent stacking, everyone has to keep moving and at steady pace. Do not pause to get a closer look at a prop. Do not stand still to admire a particularly well executed room. Do not dally to chat up an actor you know. Do not loiter to let your child check out a specific scene or say "hi" to one of the monsters. Do not halt at the entrance of a room, because it is too scary to enter. And for the love of all that is holy, do not stop inside a maze to take a selfie. I have been forced to wait, not moving at all, more times than I can count because of some self-absorbed guest in front of me. Similarly, I have managed to catch up with the stragglers at the back of the group in front of me repeatedly. In both cases, my immersion was killed; my anxiety was quelled; and the actors were no longer able to scare me.

2. Maintain a reasonable speed through the houses. We are not teenagers in B horror movies. We do not need to creep through a maze, dramatically telling everyone in earshot that we are too afraid to go in that room. We especially do not need to experience the houses physically attached to five other people from begining to end. Similarly, we do not need to creep along at a snails pace admiring the sets, as if we were in a museum. The mazes are designed for people to trigger the scenes at a normal speed. Once again, all you are doing is ruining everyone else's experience. I was literally never able to make it all of the way through Circo Sinistro last year without catching up with the house-tourists in the group in front of me. In facts, several times, I was forced to experience the entire house behind an unreasonably slow-moving group.

3. Do not take your terrified, young child into the houses. There is already a thread dedicated to the debate about whether children belong at adult haunts, and I am not interested in arguing about that here. I only want to address the ways little kids can ruin other guests' experiences in the mazes. If your child is scared and begging not to go into the house, do not force him or her. Terrified and crying children are upsetting you everyone else, and usually prevent the scare actors from doing anything while in their earshot or site-range. Ultimately, he or she may come to a complete halt, reasonably unwilling to go forward, because everything in the house is designed to be frightening. The result is that your child is unhappy, and you have just stacked the house, minimizing the fear factor for everyone else. The houses are not children's attractions. Even when children are not afraid, the same norms about adults not stopping apply to them as well. A kid pausing to investigate the props or chat with a monster may be fun for him or her, but ruins the scares for both everyone else with you and all of the people now lined up behind you, unable to move forward. I actually got trapped in a virtually empty house behind a man and his son "touring" the maze. He actually held his kid up to take a closer look at a spider at one point. Needless to say none of the actors moved or made a sound, when they were around, because no one wants to terrify a child.

4. Do not hit the actors. Don't yell and curse at them. Do not punch them. Do not try to scare them back. They are hired to scare you, not to absorb your abuse. Enduring retaliation from the guests is not part of their job description. If you think that you might become more belligerent when you are drunk, don't go into houses inebriated. I believe everyone has seen aggressive drunks at the park abusing the scare actors. Don't be that guy.

I am sure I am missing things, so, please add your own thoughts. The point is to make HOS fun for everyone.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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Feb 12, 2011
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5. Do not go out of your way to make it clear to everyone around you that you're "not" scared. Pointing out a hidden actor ("I SEE YOU BEHIND THAT BOOKSHELF!"), making loud, sarcastic quips to an actor ("HEY MAN NICE OUTFIT HAHAHA"), or projecting general commentary throughout the maze ("DUDE THIS ISN'T SCARY, WHY WOULD ANYONE BE SCARED OF THIS?") not only makes you an asshole, but also suggests that you probably are, indeed, scared.
 
Sep 29, 2009
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How about some tricky if/then scenarios? Anyone feel free to help me refine this one.

8. If you have to stop for an emergency (ex: you drop/lose something), move to the side if possible. If the space is too narrow to let people go by, keep going and tell someone at the exit. If the item is breakable (ex:glasses) notify the first attendant you see, and keep going unless instructed to do otherwise.

For what it's worth, I just had this happen in Lumberhack due to one of those darn dangling fabrics. It's quite known that Lumberhack is very wide throughout, but what if this happened in a more confined maze like Catacombs?
 

horsesboy

DarKoaster stalker
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Jun 16, 2013
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Don't lock arms and walk through the scare zones arm and arm with a large group of people. Seriously I saw at both KD and BGW several groups of teens doing this presumably because they didn't want to be separated or have the monsters single one out. And I am talking about groups as large a 10 not BF GD situations. It made it hard to navigate.
 
Apr 30, 2015
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Nicole said:
I woke up this morning thinking about some of the experiences I had last night at HOS Pass Member Preview Night, and about similar experiences I've had over the years at various haunts, and decided that I wanted to post about it.  Honestly, pass members should know better.

First off, I am writing this entirely from a guest's perspective.  I welcome thoughts from former and current park employees, and I encourage everyone to read Franco's epic post about how to be a good guest from a ride ops perspective, as well.

Regardless, things that I observed last night and comments that I have seen on this forum prompted me to share the standards my friends and the have developed for ourselves in an effort to be as considerate of other as possible.

Before I begin, I am not trying to be sanctimonious and judgmental.  The recommendations below are based on other guests' decisions and behaviors that have ruined my experiences in the past.  As in all other parts of our lives, good manners dictate that we consider the impact of our choices on everyone around us, and not just on our own pleasure.  It is analogous to rubberneckers:  In satisfying their own curiosity, they selfishly create massive traffic jams behind them.  Violating the norms articulated below creates those same bottlenecks and interferes with house performance, ruining the scares for everyone around you and behind you.

So, here are my thoughts on how to be the best guest you can be.

1. Never stop in the maze.  Seriously.  Just don't.  Despite how well designed and decorated many houses are, no one should ever stop inside one.  When you halt your forward progress, you ruin the experience of every person behind you.  In order to prevent stacking, everyone has to keep moving and at steady pace.  Do not pause to get a closer look at a prop.  Do not stand still to admire a particularly well executed room.  Do not dally to chat up an actor you know.  Do not loiter to let your child check out a specific scene or say "hi" to one of the monsters.  Do not halt at the entrance of a room, because it is too scary to enter.  And for the love of all that is holy, do not stop inside a maze to take a selfie.  I have been forced to wait, not moving at all, more times than I can count because of some self-absorbed guest in front of me.  Similarly, I have managed to catch up with the stragglers at the back of the group in front of me repeatedly.  In both cases, my immersion was killed; my anxiety was quelled; and the actors were no longer able to scare me.

2. Maintain a reasonable speed through the houses.  We are not teenagers in B horror movies.  We do not need to creep through a maze, dramatically telling everyone in earshot that we are too afraid to go in that room.  We especially do not need to experience the houses physically attached to five other people from begining to end.  Similarly, we do not need to creep along at a snails pace admiring the sets, as if we were in a museum.  The mazes are designed for people to trigger the scenes at a normal speed.  Once again, all you are doing is ruining everyone else's experience.  I was literally never able to make it all of the way through Circo Sinistro last year without catching up with the house-tourists in the group in front of me.  In facts, several times, I was forced to experience the entire house behind an unreasonably slow-moving group.

3. Do not take your terrified, young child into the houses.  There is already a thread dedicated to the debate about whether children belong at adult haunts, and I am not interested in arguing about that here.  I only want to address the ways little kids can ruin other guests' experiences in the mazes.  If your child is scared and begging not to go into the house, do not force him or her.  Terrified and crying children are upsetting you everyone else, and usually prevent the scare actors from doing anything while in their earshot or site-range.  Ultimately, he or she may come to a complete halt, reasonably unwilling to go forward, because everything in the house is designed to be frightening.  The result is that your child is unhappy, and you have just stacked the house, minimizing the fear factor for everyone else.  The houses are not children's attractions.  Even when children are not afraid, the same norms about adults not stopping apply to them as well.  A kid pausing to investigate the props or chat with a monster may be fun for him or her, but ruins the scares for both everyone else with you and all of the people now lined up behind you, unable to move forward.  I actually got trapped in a virtually empty house behind a man and his son "touring" the maze.  He actually held his kid up to take a closer look at a spider at one point.  Needless to say none of the actors moved or made a sound, when they were around, because no one wants to terrify a child.
4. Do not hit the actors.  Don't yell and curse at them.  Do not punch them.  Do not try to scare them back.  They are hired to scare you, not to absorb your abuse.  Enduring retaliation from the guests is not part of their job description.  If you think that you might become more belligerent when you are drunk, don't go into houses inebriated.  I believe everyone has seen aggressive drunks at the park abusing the scare actors.  Don't be that guy.

I am sure I am missing things, so, please add your own thoughts.  The point is to make HOS fun for everyone.

This is really thought out. And it makes sense. The first thing i highlighted with red is that i will admit it is really hard for me at times not to stop and look at things. My first thought is how do they do that? or what is that made out of. I just thought it was funny because i am that person sometimes (minus the stopping)
The next two paragraphs sum up life as a volunteer/ scare actor/ customer of a haunt.
First off i understand what life is like with young children. There are many things id love to do or watch, and even places i like to go, but i have a child. Her comfort both emotional and physical come before my wants. That being said, I know a haunt is not the place for her. I just wish people would grow up and think of their child first.
Second touching people is always a bad idea i so agree with you Nicole. I have had a gun pulled on us before because one of our actors did their job. Its crazy.
 
Mar 11, 2016
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How about teeny bopppers and pre-teens being supervised at all times by their parents. No parents, no entry.

This was ALWAYS a problem we called security about. And to this day it's still an issue that needs to be reined in similar to under 16 or whatever can't be in the malls without an adult.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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acrossdapark said:
How about teeny bopppers and pre-teens being supervised at all times by their parents. No parents, no entry.

This was ALWAYS a problem we called security about. And to this day it's still an issue that needs to be reined in similar to under 16 or whatever can't be in the malls without an adult.

Having worked in theme park haunted houses, I found that drunken young adults were consistently and significantly more problematic than teens and pre-teens. Obviously, a crying child is disruptive to the flow of the maze, but such instances were far and few between compared to aggressive guests that risked the safety of the actors and other guests. Ultimately, I think such a rule punishes the vast majority of young folks who enjoy the mazes like everyone else, while failing to combat the issue.
 
Apr 30, 2015
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Nicole said:
Was it loaded?
Merboy said:
Peej1212 said:
I have had a gun pulled on us before because one of our actors did their job. Its crazy.

*record scratch*
Yes it was loaded. And i was there supervising a group of actors and one jumped out, scared the guy good, the gun came out. Luckily we had a police officer that was a volunteer he would follow trouble groups through and tackled the guy. we were all just glad that no one got hurt.
 
Mar 11, 2016
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Joe said:
acrossdapark said:
How about teeny bopppers and pre-teens being supervised at all times by their parents. No parents, no entry.

This was ALWAYS a problem we called security about. And to this day it's still an issue that needs to be reined in similar to under 16 or whatever can't be in the malls without an adult.

Having worked in theme park haunted houses, I found that drunken young adults were consistently and significantly more problematic than teens and pre-teens. Obviously, a crying child is disruptive to the flow of the maze, but such instances were far and few between compared to aggressive guests that risked the safety of the actors and other guests. Ultimately, I think such a rule punishes the vast majority of young folks who enjoy the mazes like everyone else, while failing to combat the issue.

Obviously having packs of them roaming unsupervised, engaging in fights, cutting in line, cursing and screaming at people while knocking people over isn't a concern? Oh and my favorite one, whole groups of kids using the RAP passes to go through a maze then see the same group later running around.

Could have fooled me considering I know some of the things security and the JCC officers were called on fairly regularly.

Drunk guests was a fairly regular one just as calling on unsupervised children wreaking havoc and not just during HOS either.

I will again say crying children in the mazes are no different than screaming adults who either can't handle their selves or drunk, pushing people over, running through, screaming uncontrollable in peoples ears, etc. At the end of the day it's all totally subjective in what an individual perceives to be a problem and what they don't.

You can't make everyone happy.
 
Apr 30, 2015
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True you cant please everyone all the time, just like you cant make a person take responsibility for their kid if they believe they are not in the wrong. i think a lot of what Joe was referencing though was his time inside the theme park haunted houses. Inside the houses the problems an actor faces can be completely different than what a patron or a fellow actor posted outside of one can face. It is like you said all a matter of perception. Just my two cents.
 
Mar 11, 2016
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You can take responsibility. That's the problems with parents today in many cases they don't take responsibility. This goes to the fact of parents dropping very young kids off unsupervised who then cause an issue for others to have to deal with. I.E. other guests, security or ultimately the police.

This takes away time from personnel who should be serving the guests and patrons, not playing babysitter because of some irresponsible adult.

EDIT: I had to actually look this up because I couldn't remember. Disney parks has a 14 and under rule. Under that age you have to be accompanied by an adult or someone over 14 at all times. SEAS has no such rule.
 
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acrossdapark said:
You can take responsibility. That's the problems with parents today in many cases they don't take responsibility. This goes to the fact of parents dropping very young kids off unsupervised who then cause an issue for others to have to deal with. I.E. other guests, security or ultimately the police.

EDIT: I had to actually look this up because I couldn't remember. Disney parks has a 14 and under rule. Under that age you have to be accompanied by an adult or someone over 14 at all times. SEAS has no such rule.
Your statement is correct yes i can take responsibility, and i do for my child. My child is closely monitored when we go out places, but like i said I cannot make someone do that for theirs. And unless the park implements rules such as what you stated above there will be no changing what currently happens.
 
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You're correct and that's why it has fallen on the park and the staff as well as others to play babysitter unnecessarily.

And I am in favor of the park system implementing such a rule. It gives the park system leverage to act appropriately and/or discourage others from the practice.
 
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