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11 Amusement Park Secrets From People Who Work There

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Thanks to Reddit AMAs, or “Ask Me Anything,” we now know more about the behind-the-scenes of amusement parks than ever before. Here are 11 facts about working at an amusement park, straight from actual employees. 

1. Disney princesses have to be creative liars.

In order to be a “face character” (not in a full-body costume), you have to be pretty quick on your feet. One cast member who was Mulan had children try to speak to her in Chinese on occasion. She would respond, “I bet Mushu if I could go an entire day without speaking Chinese, he'd feed the chickens for me tomorrow.” The same woman also played Silvermist the fairy. When kids asked her to fly, she would say, “I’m saving my pixie dust for later.”

2. There are no special roads to get into Disney World, but there is a special parking lot.

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Disney employees have to enter the park with everyone else. They show an ID to the attendants to get in for free. But they do have their own “HUGE” Cast Member parking lot that shuttles them to the underground behind-the-scenes area. 

3. The rides are checked every day.

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The Six Flags Rides Department has employees who ride the attractions every day, and maintenance happens every day too. According to one employee, “The maintenance on the rides is required every day before any operation or person is allowed to ride. They will inspect tracks, ride units, safety systems, and ride operation thoroughly before handing it over to any operations team.” Another anonymous ride operator at an unnamed amusement park confirmed that their company’s employees do that too. 

More: 8 Things That Will Get You Banned From Six Flags

4. They don’t have to deal with puke THAT often.

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One former Six Flags employee explained, “People don’t throw up nearly as much as you would expect...I worked a majority of my time at a ride called Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth: a spinning wheel that raises and tilts with the guest against the wall. Couple people threw up.” A former Disney World janitor also wrote that he didn’t have to clean up puke “as much as you would think.” 

5. Ride operators have to listen to the same songs over and over again.

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A former ride operator at Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster had to listen to the song “Ready to Go” on repeat every day. Apparently the park’s management sometimes asked employees for song requests, but never actually played the songs.

6. People ask if they’re going to die on rides a lot.

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When it opened in 2003, the Top Thrill Dragster was the tallest roller coaster in the world at 420 feet, and its ride operator dealt with terrified riders every day who asked, “Am I gonna die?” Their go-to reassurance was that the ride was “certainly safer than their shower/bathtub and their car.”

More: 17 Horrifying Vintage Pictures of Disneyland Characters

7. They are not allowed to talk to people who threaten to sue.

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One redditor asked a Six Flags employee, “When working in Customer Service how many people would come complaining about ‘fake’ injuries they had sustained on rides and talked about suing?” Apparently, that’s not a good strategy to get what you want. When someone threatens to sue at Six Flags, the employee has to stop talking to that person and call security immediately.

8. They are required to carry water with them at Disney World.

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It’s hard to not sympathize with employees working outside during hot Florida summers. But at least we know they’re hydrated: The former janitor wrote, “They actually require you to have a water bottle with you since it can be so hot down there.” 

9. Photographers have their pictures taken too.

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A front gate photographer at King’s Island was asked, “Have you ever had anyone ask to take your picture instead?” The photographer responded, “Yes. At least once a day.”

10. Disney Princesses do their own makeup.

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Each character has a precise makeup routine with a distinct profile and colors. The actors learn how to do their own makeup in training.

More: 11 Defunct Disney Rides and Attractions

11. People who work at Disney World the longest have more input on their job.

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According to a former cast member, “There is a bit of a hierarchy with the people who have been there the longest. Twice a year (I think) they do something called bids where they can request where they want to work. For example, if you play Belle you may have a preference to work in MK, Epcot, or one of the restaurants. The longer you have been there the higher you are on the list so you have a better chance of getting what you want. Around bid time you will hear all the performers talking about who is higher on the list and who bid what locations.”

From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]


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