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    14 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From Theme Park Employees That Are Just...A Lot

    "We'd just hose the ball pit balls until the water stopped coming off brown."

    Over the years, redditors who worked at theme parks have been sharing their stories and secrets from behind the scenes. Here are some of their most shocking, useful, or disgusting revelations:

    1. This warning about ball pits:

    Engdao Wichitpunya / Getty Images

    "Don't EVER go in the ball pits. Little kids track all sorts of food and grime into the pit and regularly pee in there since they confuse it for a pool. The balls are only cleaned once a week, and even then they are just put in a net bag and hosed off. You just keep spraying until the water stops coming off brown. They are then air dried and not sanitized in any way."


    2. This sneaky carnival game trick:

    "The park I worked at, the games were easier to win earlier in the day so that people would carry around the giant prizes and entice other people to play."


    3. This tip that'll ease your mind next time a ride is down:

    "Former Six Flags employee, my park is the safest in the country because we call the rides down for rain, for vomit, for lost items (they could be obstructing the track). So if a ride is down, it’s probably not for a mechanical reason."


    4. This reminder to be nice to workers (or else your go-kart will suck):

    Vgajic / Getty Images

    "I could individually control the speed of your go-kart, so if you were a dick to me, you were going to lose every race you were in."


    5. This reminder to wash your hands often:

    "Vomit (with no visible blood) is either cleaned up with a sawdust-like material to soak up the liquid and then swept into a dustbin or hosed off with a garden hose. The coaster seat or table is USUALLY not sanitized or anything. So, you are sitting in dried vomit particles."


    6. This software factoid that I hope is no longer the case:

    "I worked at Dollywood when I was 18. Most ride operators are minimally trained, I even accidentally pressed the harness release, panicked and started the roller coaster...shoulda seen people's faces as the train started rolling and harnesses popped open. Also, the software running the ride was Windows 95, this was 2006/2007 on a ride built in 2004."


    7. This horrifying water ride tale:

    -pureeyephoto- / Getty Images

    "About eight years ago, I managed a whitewater rafting ride (the big donut tubes that can sit six people) as a side job while in college. One day, the water filter broke down. The managers kept the ride running for over two weeks anyway. The water smelled so bad and turned dark green/brown. The inside of the rafts smelled like a month-old porta-potty. We were instructed to tell guests the water filter was broken but the water was clean, which I'm pretty sure was a lie. Thankfully, being a shift leader, I didn't need to go anywhere near the water, but I felt bad for my employees and the guests who rode despite looking obviously disgusted by the smell."


    8. This revelation about park food:

    "Overpriced and frozen, dropped on the floor and picked up with unwashed manager made me wash off moldy tomatoes to serve to customers because she forgot to order fresh food."


    9. And this one:

    "Worked a churro cart next to a large pond in the park. At night, it was impossible to keep the bugs out of the cinnamon and sugar bin."


    10. This wave pool warning:

    Fernanda Reyes / Getty Images

    "Kids poop in the wave pool constantly. All we do is clear it out for 10 minutes and then let people back in."


    11. This secret sign at Disney parks:

    "If you see a [costume] character rub their eye, it means they need to go backstage because they're going to pass out, feel sick, or are having some sort of costume malfunction. I had to do this twice as Lilo because that costume was frickin' terrible."


    12. This practice that has hopefully changed post-COVID:

    "If you get on a ride with 3D glasses, the glasses are usually only sanitized with water."


    13. This reminder about food prices:

    "[I] work at a UK theme park. At our hot dog stands, we sell a hot dog and chips for £8.99. The total spent by the company is around 20p per hot dog and 40p per portion of chips. Look at those sweet, sweet profit margins!"


    14. And finally, this duty that does not make me feel great:

    Sergio Mendoza Hochmann / Getty Images

    "One of my friends was a ride operator for the summer and told me at the end of the day, one of her duties was to walk the track and pick up all the bolts that fell off the coaster that day."


    If you ever worked in a theme park and have a story to share, let us know in the comments!

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