Line Cutters Beware - T-ShirtWaiting in line is an inevitable part of visiting a theme park. With the exception of slow days, rides with low ridership, and those nifty line skipping services, guests will most definitely find themselves slowly weaving back and forth through the miles and miles of queues.

For me, the worst part of an already less than desirable situation, is when I encounter a line jumper. For some reason it’s the number one most maddening thing that I encounter at theme parks. It doesn’t matter how short the wait may be. When that straggler who’s trying to catch up to his or her friends (who are conveniently way up in the front of the line) slides past me; my blood boils.

Who Are These People?

Earlier this year, I found myself waiting in Titan’s long, slow, hot queue at Six Flags Over Texas. I thought to myself, maybe the cutters had a plan. Instead of paying for a flash pass, maybe they figure they’ll just walk right through the packed queue lines. Typically, no one does anything to stop them. We just let the criminal step by.

My 4-year old daughter can grasp the concept of line cutting and she knows that it’s wrong. Why don’t these people? I’ll admit that many of my theme park trips are solo. But I do understand that visiting parks is typically a social activity. I just want someone to explain to me why there are always so many people with out the rest of their group. Is it that hard to stick together? Do line jumpers deserve some special treatment because their friends already waited 30 minutes?

What’s Being Done?

I facetiously titled this article. I don’t think line cutters should be arrested as our prison system wouldn’t be able to handle the increase. Seriously, I was pleasantly surprised to see an attempt at handling this epidemic on a recent trip to Six Flags Over Georgia. My friends and I were each given tickets as we entered the queue for Batman: The Ride. I asked the employee handing out the tickets and he confirmed that they were doing it to deal with line cutting. I’d imagine that there must have been someLine Jumping Sign at  Six Flags Over Georgia incidents in the ride’s sewer/factory-themed queue. It’s under the station and feels a bit secluded.

While it was at least a good partial effort, the tickets were never checked once we reached the station. Due to the droves of defectors who’d had enough of the long wait and left the line, our ticket numbers would been kind of mixed up anyway. I was glad to see an attempt by the park though. I also noticed signs with a phone number you could call to report line jumpers. I’d love to know how often people actually call the number, but again props to Six Flags Over Georgia for trying something. At the very least, posting the phone numbers could be a deterrent to the would-be violators.

I’m generally a peaceful and laid back guy. But I’m not above telling someone they can’t get by when they, “just need to get to their friends.” If you see a guy wearing an Eat, Sleep, Ride t-shirt waiting in line for any of these rides especially; you might want to think twice before cutting in front of him.

What other policies or tactics do amusement parks currently take? What are some things parks could do in the future to stem the tide of selfish line jumpers? Is anyone else bothered by cutters as much (or even half as much) as I am?

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

10 Responses

  1. Kurt Dahlin

    I couldn’t agree more! You and I are on the exact same wave-length on this issue. Six Flags Magic Mountain broke out the numbered tickets for one of the Fright Fest lines I was in just a couple of weeks ago. I had never seen them used before (they were dated 2007), so I was pleasantly surprised. However, people still cut in line to join their friends and the tickets were never collected once we got to the maze entrance. I’ve also seen the phone numbers posted, but how is that supposed to work? Does someone rush right over to deal with it? If so, won’t that call you out if you have to ID the culprits? If they don’t come over right away, how does a phone call help?

  2. Katie

    I have seen the same problem and have reported it. Just a few weeks ago up at Cedar Point. We were in line for Happy Jack’s Toy Factory. The lines were long due to many ride closures. We saw one kid (about high school age) jump over the queue lines and got himself into an open door at the back end of the disaster transport building. Knowing that is illegal, no ride operators were in line to watch it that night, we reported them to CP police.

    What good that did. They pulled the kid out of line, questioned him, got my information and put him back into line with his family. This could be beyond dangerous and this kid had nothing done to him, his parents were beyond drunk. They didn’t smell like beer, they smelled like a whole bar (which I know Cedar Point only offers beer). Once we came out of the haunted house, they tried to get one up on us and tried to start a fight. What great use these parks have of dealing with line cutters. They really need to do a better job or enforce the damn rules.

  3. Piedude81

    At my home park (Six Flags St. Louis) this summer, and I was at the beginning of the queue for Batman The Ride, and a guy cuts in front of us. There is no backup in the line until the sewer section, so I wondered why he was cutting. Luckily, the staff member who measures kids at the front of the line saw him and pulled him out of line. She chewed him out as me and my friends watched. They didn’t kick him out, but banned him from the coaster for the rest of the day.

  4. Joey

    I used to call people out on queue jumping when I briefly worked at a park and got applause from other queuers! Felt good!

    The problem is judging the situation, it’s all well and good to say “it’s NEVER okay” but sometimes it is and jumping to a conclusion can be a problem. I always used to tell guests that like anything else, there needs to be a blanket rule and everyone must adhere to it with no excuses. The number one reason why queue jumping should be avoided, no matter what the excuse, is that other guests look on and get worked up because they don’t know your story. Arguments between guests are horrible, they ruin the day of both parties and those around.

    At SFOG, I reported some kids waiting at the exit then running to steal seats int he confusion of getting off the ride and quickly had to make an escape. They looked very, very angry with me.

    It feels petty sometimes, perhaps that’s my Britishness shining through. Stand in line, moan about it, don’t actually do anything about it – but sometimes when you visit parks as often as we do we’ve just had enough of seeing it. I would, however, always suggest you check the situation first – ask them why they are skipping the line without animosity, they might have a good and honest sounding excuse. And not only that, you don’t want to start an unnecessary fight.

  5. Matt P

    Line cutters are very annoying and angering, I agree. Six Flags Great Adventure is like a Line Cutter’s Paradise. The security there might be a bit strict, but I have noticed that they don’t catch as many line cutters as they used to. The one time I went, people cut in front of me for I think 3 or 4 of the rides! The solution is simple: put a security guard by the line. Not just by the line entrance like they usually are, but at several different points in the line. They should put designated spots for security guards to stand, blocked off by ropes or in a section of the line that isn’t being occupied. This would catch almost every line jumper.

  6. William

    While on my first trip to Dorney this past summer, my fiance and I were waiting in line for the Linus Launcher which had a good long wait. As we were nearing our turn for the ride, this one woman and *SEVERAL* others following her jump past everyone else in the line to join this one older person that was waiting infront of us. I was completely appaled at this – so were several other people behind us. The situation escilated into a verbal argument of multiple people – myself included – against those people who would not budge.. The noise got the ride op’s attention who called Security. An officer showed up within less than a minute, and he made the entire group go to the end of the line.

  7. Kurt Dahlin

    I have a question for this group. I’m one of those people who when entering a queue area that has lots of hard (steel pipe) switch backs, I walk through the entire route as it was laid out, assuming there are no built-in short cuts to bypass everything when the crowds are light. Every now and then, a group of kids will come running into the queue and either go over or under the pipes to make a direct path to the end of the line, passing those of us walking through the queue. What’s your take on this? Do you say anything?

    • Joel

      I know the situation you’re talking about. That’s still technically cutting, but not quite as maddening to me. Maybe it’s because there’s not much of a line in those circumstances anyway.

  8. Martin

    The line cutting issue is a tricky one. We were in line for the Green Lantern at SfMM in 2012 and there were about 10 people who cut in to be with their mates. We had enough and called to a security guard who had seen the whole thing. He told us that he couldn’t do anything about it, despite the signs…..So, what’s the point of having a policy that your security staff are too scared to enforce? Eventually we asked to be escorted from the park because of fears for our safety from the “gang” that we had identified. We reported the incident to “management”, but never got a reply…..

  9. Steve

    i think that if people wanted to ride the ride together they should que together they shouldnt send one or two people ahead to get a better spot in the line


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