How to Prep Your Amusement Park for the Busy Season


July 7, 2006. I remember it well. The talk of the town—aka, the talk of the amusement park—was the newest ride, which had been highly anticipated by the public for months on end. The promise was that it would be the fastest, longest, most upside-down-est ride ever engineered. The invitation to experience it was extended to all, but the unspoken reality was that only those with the strongest stomachs and craziest minds would accept the invite. As it turned out, there were hundreds of individuals like myself who could be categorized as more twisted than the first drop on the insane new rollercoaster. Exhibit A: The line to get on it snaked for what seemed like miles.

However, what I might remember more about that day than the ride itself was how long we had to wait to get on it. Sure, there was the popularity factor, but as we got closer to the head of the line, murmuring from park goers began: “There’s only one guy doing the safety check?” “Why didn’t they hire more people for a new ride?” Down the road, when that day at the amusement park is but a memory, it isn’t just the ride that’s remembered. It’ll also be how long it took to experience and how miserable it was standing in that summer heat for so long because the park didn’t hire enough people or plan for an employee not showing up for work.

And that was just the view from my end as the paying customer. Can you imagine the scheduling chaos within the company? Not only was the employer irritated and scrambling to solve the problem, but fellow employees had to pick up the slack, and their attitudes conveyed they were none too pleased. And the last thing that ride and the park needed during peak season was angry employees walking off the job.

Never let them see you sweat was a popular ad slogan back in the day. Well, we’d say another slogan should be, never let them see you have a scheduling snafu or staffing shortage. With it being June, now is the time to prep for having the right number of employees for the season, the shifts sorted out, and the backup plan in place for when those fall to pieces, as they always do. Amusement park season is about to be in full swing, thanks to kids being out of school and families plotting their summer vacation. Communication between employer and employees about workflow is now crucial, with communication being a key component to a smooth-running business and customer satisfaction.

An extremely helpful tool within the scheduling process is the When I Work Employee Scheduling app. It allows for scheduling, shift changes, available shift notifications, and more through an iPhone, Android, iPad, or desktop computer. Contacting and scheduling employees—and employees contacting coworkers and the employer—can be done seamlessly this way.

Imagine when little Jimmy comes to the park to see his all-time favorite animated character walking in a parade, but that mascot employee called in for a sick day during beach weather. With When I Work Employee Scheduling, the amusement park employer can simply send out a blast notification to let employees know through email or text of an open shift. They can simply text back if they can pick up the shift, alleviating employee shortages.

The app also removes the hassle of planning out work schedules by hand, which you know can take all day to do and feels like it requires a degree in applied mathematics. In fact, you can plan multiple weeks in minutes, and rescheduling is just as easy. Employees can also check their regular shifts through the Web interface, and you can tell at a glance whether you have staffed enough employees for a particular shift. There’s also a feature within the When I Work app that prevents scheduling conflicts and for a quick viewing of who’s currently on the job.

That fateful day in July would have been a completely different memory for me if the employer could have seen which positions were covered and who was available and been able to react quickly. And trust me, you certainly don’t want to see what happens to crowds when they have to wait for more than 10 minutes for their lunch because you didn’t staff enough employees in the concession stand. That’s about the time you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the ability to let your staff know more security employees are needed on site post haste….

However, communication and scheduling has reached new levels of innovation, a necessity for emergencies as well as day-to-day operations. With so many more people at the park, security becomes an increased concern as well. You’ll want to make sure you have staffed enough people per shift, and the When I Work app is ideal for ensuring you’re well covered no matter how big the crowds.