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Darien Lake Park is No Longer a Family Establishment

Posted Mon May 25, 2009 12:00 pm, by Megan T. written to Darien Lake Theme Park

I have never had a worse experience at your park than I did last night.

I am a season pass holder, taking my daughter on frequent trips to your establishment in the summer. I had season passes last year as well. I eagerly renewed my season passes early this year, so we could enjoy the rides as much as possible, since we had had such a positive experience last year.

When we go to the park, we headed straight for the go carts. We then paid five dollars for my daughter to ride on them for five minutes. Something she had been eager to do since last year she was not tall enough. She had driven a go cart at the NY state fair and had a very positive experience. While the cars were waiting to go, an employee proclaimed the rules : do not hit the other cars, keep your hands in the vehicle etc. Only a minute later a very large man (definitly an adult) crashed into my 12 year old daughter on the track, in full view of the employees. One of them got onto the loud speaker and patiently reminded the patrons not to hit the other cars. When my daughter got off she was crying, apparently he had hit her even harder than I thought. There was a mentally handicapped girl on the ride as well, and although she had a bit of trouble driving the car, she did not hit anyone. So a person with a handicap can avoid hitting other patrons on the go carts, but a grown man cant? Why didnt the employees do something? They should have pulled this man off the track. By the time my daughter got off she was terrified, the exact opposite to the very positive experience she had had at the State Fair. The time was 3:30.

At the gate we had gone through a metal detector and bag check as usual. But unlike what used to be the norm our bag was rechecked by a rather rude guard for no apparent reason when walking by the laser light show stage, this was at approximately 4 pm.

We tried to enjoy what was left of our day after that, riding some of the rides and eating lunch at maria's (whose employees were very polite).

Towards the end of the night, we decided to ride the viper. My daughter likes this roller coaster, whereas the other ones she considers "scary". We proceeded up the long walkway, and behind us a group of obviously inebriated teenage boys were making loud animal noises. I attempted to speak to them, but this was answered only by even louder animal sounds, so I tried to just ignore them and get up the path to the ride. We got into one of the lines for the coaster, there were six people ahead of us for those particular two seats on the coaster. We were standing there waiting patiently, when the teen at the front of our line hailed a boy and said he and his friend could "cut" in front of her, thus making them next on the ride, ahead of us and six other people, making a total of 8. I asked that this be stopped, but the teens ignored me. It took me several minutes to get an employee to come over and deal with the problem, when someone finally came, he did make the teen who had cut get out of line. As my daughter and I got on the ride we were hailed by calls of "bitch" by the large group of teens behind us. I went on the ride thinking they would certainly be gone by the time we got off the ride. When the coaster came to a stop in the gatehouse, however, the teens were still there, screaming "bitch" at me, and one of the girls threw gum at my hair, it hit but didn't stick, falling into the coaster. When I told the employee operating the ride of this, he halfheartedly told the teens to "cut it out", this was the only action taken by the employees.

I left the park after this incident, the time was 9:45. We've never left the park that early, but always stay for the laser light show that ends at 10:30. My daughter was disappointed, but I just couldn't take any more rudeness and employee neglect. Darien Lake used to be a family establishment, apparently it is now devoted to immoral adults and drunk teenagers. I have never had a worse experience at your, or any other, theme park.

I have been coming to Darien Lake with my daughter every year for four years, we have been season pass holders for two. While I am there I patronize the shops and restaurants, always leaving a generous tip. Yet this is the way I am treated? This is unconscionable.I'm trying to have a fun experience with a growing child, and this is not the type of thing that sets a good example for my 12 year old daughter.

I would like the lack of rules in the park to be immediately remedied. Your employees, especially those working yesterday (May 24th 2009), need to be trained in how to handle patrons who are not following the rules. Security should have been called at least twice during my visit to handle people who were way out of line, but instead, the only thing they succeeded in doing was to waylay innocent patrons and while ignoring the immorality of patrons who are blatantly breaking the rules as well as the law (in the case of the inebriated teenagers). They also judiciously ignored several patrons who were smoking throughout a supposedly non-smoking park, despite the provision of designated smoking areas. Darien Lake Theme Park should certainly also take steps to make up to me the money and time I spent on an entirely unpleasant trip to their establishment. I expect a strong and expedient response, thank you for your time.


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by Anonymous A. Posted Tue May 26, 2009 @ 5:38 PM

the employees operating the rides are not directly responsible for
taking action unruly pests; However, security/police are, and they
should have been called right away. If i was on that coaster at the
moment, I wouldn't want the ride operator walking away from a coaster
to deal with a bunch of pains..what if something went wrong with the
coaster? Its sad you had to deal with the annoyance. As far as the
gokarts go, you can't really prevent others from making ignorant
choices such as hitting someone with a gokart. It could have been an


by MA Cunningham Posted Tue May 26, 2009 @ 11:07 AM

I think finding a truly "family" friendly place for entertainment is
kinda hard to come by these days. Not that the behavior these patrons
exhibited is in any way appropriate.

1) The man only hit your daughter one time, correct? While he should
have known better being grown and all, it could have been an accident.
If he had continued after being warned over the loudspeaker, that
would have been a different situation.

2) If that were me and those little punks thought I was a "bitch" for
calling them out before, the continued taunting would have resulted in
me throwing such a fit that they would hold up that ride until park
security arrived. "Cut it out" isn't likely to put an end to the
problem and throwing gum at you could actually be considered assault.
You shouldn't have HAD to do it, but sometiems you need to remind
these people that you are a patron too and deserve to be free from
idiots like this.

3) Designated smoking areas are there for a reason. This is
something I would have brought to attention of a supervisor or park
security officer immediately.

Unfortunately, this time of year, most parks are filled to the brim
with groups of Jr Hi and High School kids on class trips and teens
visiting the park after their Prom and Graduation festivities. For
some reason, they seem to forget how to act. I usually avoid going to
any of our local parks with my kids until later in the summer when
there is less chance of finding these unchaparoned brats en masse.

I hope they respond to your concerns. Amusement parks are too
expensive to allow behavior like this.


by Nate! Posted Tue May 26, 2009 @ 7:51 AM

Sounds like they need a few more members for their security staff.
Having nobody to enforce line jumping or smoking will lead to a bad
atmosphere such as the one on your visit.

Hoever it does sound like you got a good staff response while on the
go karts... they repeated the policy and the behavior stopped.

"When I told the employee operating the ride of this, he halfheartedly
told the teens to "cut it out", this was the only action taken by the
This part is of concern to me. If they did not stop the first time,
they should have called in someone with authority to remove them if
they were disturbing you and shouting vulgarities.


by RowdyRetailer Posted Tue May 26, 2009 @ 12:15 AM

Perhaps the man was mentally handicapped, sometimes it is not always

Kids are going to act stupid act parks, that is what they do, trying
to reason with them never works, they will just bother you even more
knowing they are aggravating you. It is usually best to ignore them.

From what I read, not assuming, this continued on with them letting
their friends in front of them etc, and the name calling etc.

Yes it is not right that they do that, but you have to be smart.

You are not due a refund, your daughter was not hurt on the go carts,
she was able to ride the viper that evening, and I think the incidents
you mentioned could have been remedied by keeping quiet.

Good Day


Maybe not a refund since she has a pass...but some kind of food vouchers perhaps? by dottiejean28 Wed May 27, 2009 @ 11:00 AM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Mon May 25, 2009 @ 4:04 PM

I think the employees, including (or ESPECIALLY) the younger ones need
to be trained, and encouraged/allowed, to be effectively firm with
disrespectful and out-of-line park attendees.

Great letter. The last sentence is perfect.


hmm by PepperElf Mon May 25, 2009 @ 10:13 PM

edit by PepperElf Mon May 25, 2009 @ 10:16 PM

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