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Efficiency or interaction; which do you prefer to be emphasised within ride operations?

Efficiency or interaction; which do you prefer to be emphasised within ride operations?

  • Interaction

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  • Undecided

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Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. Ride operations are a very important element of theme parks; how they are influences how much the ride queues move, and they can indirectly influence the sort of experience guests have. There are arguably two main things you can prioritise when operating rides, and they are efficiency and interaction.

Different parks will prioritise a different one of these things.

A famous example of a park that prioritises efficiency is Europa Park. The sole objective of the staff on these ride platforms is to get you on and off the rides as quickly as possible, and the airgates and restraints are opened as soon as is safely possible, the staff run down the platforms checking restraints with great urgency, and there is a general sense of pace about their operations; the staff at Europa do not mess around, and not a second is wasted!

However, an occasional criticism I’ve heard of Europa Park is that the park is too cold in atmosphere due to the ride staff being so efficient and not focused on interaction, and that the experience feels impersonal, like you’re a mere cog in the machine rather than a valued guest.

In order to combat this, some theme parks focus more on interaction in their ride operations; these parks don’t mind sacrificing a few pph for the sake of making guests feel valued and providing a more personal experience when operating rides. They might chat to their guests as they check restraints, or play games with riders before they send the train; for instance, I know that a common one in some parks is something along the lines of “Let’s make some noise! I’m not sending this train until you all scream as loud as possible!”. One example I can think of of this is the Happy Valley theme parks in China, where the ride staff apparently do a little dance with riders before opening the airgates on any of their roller coasters.

So with this in mind, I’d be keen to know; do you personally value efficiency or interaction more within ride operations? Do you not mind a less personal experience if queues move and things flow like a well oiled machine? Or do you not mind sacrificing a few pph for a more personal experience?

I don’t know how popular this will be, but personally, I would always come down in favour of efficiency. I personally had no issue with the staff at Europa Park; they were perfectly pleasant, and they kept the queues moving like I’ve never seen anywhere else! And now I’m becoming more interested in ride throughputs and operations, I personally find a fast moving queue caused by good ride operations a genuinely beautiful thing to watch! In my mind, I don’t really care about much else as long as the ride operations are functional and keep the queue moving, which is always the case at parks focused on efficiency. If I’m on and off the ride quickly and operations are good, I’m happy.

And to be honest, some attempts at additional interaction within ride operations, although well intended, often make me feel more uncomfortable than happy. Although that could be because I’m an introvert who sometimes struggles with smalltalk and doesn’t really enjoy forced participation…

But what are your thoughts? Do you prefer for efficiency or interaction to be prioritised within ride operations?


Donkey in a hat
Can't you have both? Is it not possible to use that interaction to create efficiency? I'm thinking of things like the Cedar Point ride hosts on their microphones giving it the old:
"Alright guys, welcome to Valravn, the fourth most expensive ride in the park. We've got exactly 30 seconds to get this train out of the station, please take your seats quickly and pull your safety bars down. OK aaaaaand 'all-clear' means you're outta here!"
Boom, job done.
Or the Volcano guy who used to do his job with a bit of human beat-boxing.
"Boom ch-boom
I know, I know
You dug Vol-ca-no
At the end o'the riiiide
Exit to the left siiide
Boom ch-boom"
Or the Thunderbird team - while the platform hosts were checking restraints, the ride op in the booth had a Big Book of 5000 Kids' Jokes and would read one out to every train load before dispatch.
Or the Psykė Underground team who would literally sprint along the train checking restraints, but not forgetting to give each rider a high-five as they went.

So you see, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive, you can have one without sacrificing the other, they can co-exist in perfect harmony.


From CoasterForce
Staff member
Social Media Team
Howie articulated the ideal balance but if I had to pick then efficiency all the way.

Don’t mind a bit of banter from the dispatch op with the mic, but the bar check ops need to be on the boil imo.

Just wish some riders were efficient. The amount of faff with photos, securing items, sitting down and that “I’m pretending to be really scared let me compose myself” ****! That’s when I’m more than happy for ride ops to interact!


Hyper Poster
I think what Howie wrote is the best. Love US ride ops for doing those kind of things. They literally waste no time and offers a fun and personal experience. Sadly, you wont find those niceties in Europe, seems to be a US thing.

I love nice ride ops who chat between dispatches but when the train is in station then work needs to prioritise the dispatch not niceties.

Ferrari World have the worlds best staff and one time I experienced one of their super sweet ride ops was trying to beg a Chinese lady to remove her camera, sunglasses, hat, purse and scarf before riding Fiorano GT Challenge. The lady barely knew English and refused to hand over her loose articles. The whole thing took over 20 minutes. The ride op always kept his calm and addressed the lady as "mam" or "madam" while literally begging her to remove every loose article. At Europa park they would probably have thrown out the lady from the ride if she refused for more than 30 seconds. Imagine stopping the ride 20 minutes to beg a rider to follow the rules.


Staff member
Social Media Team
Imagine stopping the ride 20 minutes to beg a rider to follow the rules.
That's actually foul. :D

Don't mind the support for a confused guest, but don't stop the ride. Stand them to one side and work on the problem, but no need to screw up the whole process.