PDA

View Full Version : Working at Cedar Point.



w00dland
06-24-2006, 11:46 AM
I got back from Cedar Point about 2 weeks ago and had a great experience, espicially in the rides dept. Now I browsed CP's website for a brief look into working (and in my case, living there) there for the summer. Now college is expensive, and while I already have employment this summer I'm already thinking about next year. Now I know some of you have done this in the past, so my question for you guys is: Is it worth giving up your whole summer to go live (and work at) at the best Amusement park in the world?

Also, obviously being the coaster dork I am I would be very interested in being put on a coaster crew, is this even possibile being an entry level employee?

Do you end up making a good amount of money over the summer?

And finally: Did you have fun? Was the experience overall a good one?
I know this is insanly early to be thinking about, but I'm just looking for some opinions while this is fresh in my head. Thanks in advance.

Raptor
06-24-2006, 03:22 PM
For starters, yes, you have a very good chance of getting on a coaster. If you apply early enough, say in like, January when they first start accepting applications, you can probably even request MF, TTD, or Raptor. If not, all you need to do is ask. I applied in mid-April last year and still got on a coaster. Just put "ride host" as your main choice on the application, and do NOT check "I will accept any job offer." Cause to them that means "I'm a sucker, go ahead and put me in fast food!" Even if you're a ride host but aren't initially on a coaster, you can asked to be cross-trained on one, or transferred, and theres a good probability that you'll get to.

As for money, well... you make minimum wage, work at LEAST 50 hours a week, a minimum of 6 days a week, and no overtime pay whatsoever. Housing is $16-32 a week, so if you don't spend much money on food or gas, you'll end up making a decent amount. However, you'll be working your ass off for it.

Did I have fun? I had tons of fun, learned many new things, and met tons of cool people. I gained so much just from one summer of working there. Would I do it again? Probably not. The housing alone is a big enough reason for me not to do it again. You have three choices: live in horribly run-down Cedars, live in the air conditioned but horribly cramped commons dorms, or live with 15 other people in a madhouse apartment. Its cheap, but it almost becomes more like a summer camp more than anything.

That, on top of the minimum 50 hour, 6 day weeks, getting scheduled more than 8 hours multiple times a week but NEVER getting overtime pay for it (in most places, for every hour you work over 8 hours in a shift, you get over time pay), and the fact that pretty much everyone in immediate charge over you is completely unqualified to be giving orders, so they end up playing favorites and whatnot, makes me not want to ever do it again. I found that most of the management, supervisors, and even many of the Team Leaders were like high schoolers, selecting a few employees to be buddy-buddy with, let them get away with everything, etc, and treated the rest like dirt.

I thought about going back this summer, but after working at Disney, I've seen just how much better a different company can treat you. Disney, and their management, treats their employees like royalty compared to Cedar Point.

HOWEVER... despite all this, I recomend working there for one summer. It's a great learning experience, a great start, and you'll still have tons of fun working on your ride and making friends with your crew.

Raptor
07-28-2006, 01:51 AM
Am I the only one with input for this?

RidePhoto101
07-28-2006, 11:44 AM
I wouldn't trade my Cedar Point experience for anything. Last summer was probably the best summer of my life. I absolutely loved it. I fully planned on working at the park again this summer, and I was offered a Team Leader (TL) position at Olde Time Photo, which I was looking forward to. The only reason that I am not there today is that I got a job opportunity as a travel agent/Certified Disney Specialist that I couldn't refuse. Even though I love my new job today, and I'm making significantly more money doing it, I still sometimes wish that I would have stayed at the park as you only really live once, and it was definately more fun to work in the park than it is to sit at a desk all day.

Now to answer your questions specifically.

1. It is absolutely worth giving up a summer to go work at the park. Remember, its not all about money and you only live once. Have fun while you can before you have more responsibilities.

2. There are a lot of first year employees that get to work coasters. Coaster crews are much larger than flat ride crews, and I'd guess that about 1/2 of the employees in the park work on a coaster, including many first years. Apply early (mid-January) and let your interviewer know that you'd really like to work a coaster. It's not a guarantee, but you'll probably get it.

3. Before taxes, I made about $6,000 working April 30 - October 30. I was still in school at the beginning of the season, so I was only working weekends and a few evenings, but if you can work full time throughout the entire season, you can probably top 1000 hours for the season, or about $7,250 before taxes.

I personally picked up extra shifts at other locations when I could, and by the middle of July I was averaging 65-70 hours per week. Depending on your location, you'll probably average 40-45 during June, and as employees quit or get fired, you'll probably increase to 50-60 before any extra shifts.

4. See above.

mmb088
08-05-2006, 10:21 PM
I've been thinking about applying at Cedar point next summer as well and living there. My question after reading what you two have said so far would be for applications. I saw they do have the online app but after that do you get interviewed or is it over the phone? How does that work? As in mid january it really wouldn't be convienant for me to fly out to Sandusky to go on an interview for a minimum wage job. Thanks for your help\advice in advance.

Raptor
08-06-2006, 12:33 AM
No, it's done over the phone. First you submit your application online, and they'll either respond by calling you, or emailing you telling you to call for an interview, or something. If they don't respond to your application, you can also call yourself as a follow-up and ask for a phone interview.

mmb088
08-06-2006, 12:44 AM
Thank you for such a quick reply.

Marcus
08-06-2006, 07:49 AM
Working at Cedar Point is kind of like jumping off a pier. You're excited about it, but you kind of don't want to do it because of all the bull that comes with it, like hitting your head on rocks. To work at Cedar Point, you have to not think about all the things Raptor mentioned(such as no overtime) and just jump off the pier. And when you surface, you'll have $5,000 in your pocket and a whole lot of memories. Plus it's not so bad with two thousand other people jumping with you, all of which are in the same position, and on a strict diet of smoking, drinking, and especially,....especially.....complaining. You can go up to any other seasonal employee and easily strike up a conversation just by complaining of being overworked and underpaid, and they will relate.

Also I would recommend in your interview mentioning your passion for roller coasters. Such as "Ever since I was little I loved roller coasters..." or something like that, will usually secure your chance to get on a coaster crew.

The secret to surviving is just finding a way to make your work location fun so that when you wake up the next day, you actually want to go.

RidePhoto101
08-06-2006, 02:49 PM
How did you manage to walk away with $5000? I spent all of my money on food and gas. I walked away with only my $800 bonus check, and I still think it was worth every minute of work.

Marcus
08-06-2006, 09:56 PM
OMG that was back in 2004, which was my first year, when I didn't have a car so I had no gas or insurance expense. I was 17 so my dad still paid for my cell phone bill. I was on an extremely Strict diet in which I would try to go a whole week only eating on $20...which consisted of...
$1 a day on cafeteria fries- $6
14 fifty cent burritos at common store- $7
10 fifty cent mountain dew can- $5
Miscellaneous-$2
Like I said I didn't have a car, so I never went shopping or out to eat.
I was only 17 so I never went to Louies or spent money on alchol
I didn't know that many people at CP at the time so I never did any outside activities
And with all my free time, I just worked more more hours
Also this was over a course of only 3 and a half months
By the end I had $5000 which I used to pay for the beautiful car I bought, a 98 Black Camaro.
And could I do it all again? NEVER

RidePhoto101
08-07-2006, 12:08 AM
Haha, well I was only 17 last year, so I wasn't spending much on alcohol either. Most of my money was spent on gas driving back and forth to Toledo. I also spent a lot more money on food than you did, typically $10-15 per day depending on how long I was working. I'd spend like $7-8 per meal in the cafeteria, but I ate like a pig.

I had originally planned on living at Bayside this year (I processed in March 17) to save money on gas and hopefully make a little more money, but when I was offered the travel agent job all of my Cedar Point plans sort of went out the window. I couldn't pass up the extra money to stay at Cedar Point, so I ended up quitting on March 21.

I love my new job, but looking back on it I wish that I would have stayed at Cedar Point this season. After all, working at the park is sort of a once in a lifetime opportunity and you have plenty of years to make money later in life. I had so much fun working at the park compared to my relatively dull desk job as a travel agent.

I'm now hoping to have another chance at that type of experience next year when I'm hoping to Disney through the Walt Disney World College Program. My goal is to get a Professional/Management Internship with Disney after I graduate in 2009 and who knows, maybe after I have more experience I'll end up in a management position with Cedar Fair later in my career.


...So what made you leave your merch job at CP and move to SFGAm?

Marcus
08-07-2006, 07:49 AM
Ahhh. That gets a little more complicated. But mostly it was because
-More money, Six Flags gives me up to 60 hours and they pay overtime
-Department change, I always wanted to try ride operations and merch was so understaffed they would have never let me transfer
-Escape the Drama, got way too caught up in it this year. Six Flags houses me on a campus with only 8 other domestic employees. The rest are international and they pretty much keep to themselves.
-Benefits, Housing is $60 a week but it gives you access to a olympic pool, weight room, indoor basketball courts, squash courts, library with internet access. Plus ride nights every other week which include 2 hours of extra ride time after park closing on 2 roller coasters and 2 flats. Also free games and free food.
-Friends, this gave me a chance to meet a lot of new people, and I got to network with many supervisors and full-time managers. Also my best friend is working here with me and we haven't worked together since 2004.
-Pride, nothing like your relatives asking you "where you're living now?" and only being 19 and replying, "Southern Milwaukee"
-Change of scenery, hardest part of working multiple years at Cedar Point is knowing when it's time to walk away

Looking back on it, go back 3 months ago and ask me if I would of still went to Six Flags knowing what I know now, I most likely would have still gone to Six Flags. I'm curious to see where I'll be at next season.

RidePhoto101
08-08-2006, 01:37 AM
Now as someone who has worked for Cedar Fair, Disney, and Six Flags, which is the best. I am currently debating doing either the Disney College Program or working for Six Flags next summer, but I can't decide. I know that I regretted giving up my summer at Cedar Point this summer to take a desk job and I really want to have at least one more summer of fun working at a park before I have to get a "real" job.

The biggest advantage I see to doing to college program is that it qualifies me for a Professional/Management Internship with Disney that actually carries a decent salary and a chance at a permanent position with the company. The down side is I don't really have an entire semester free to take away from school, so I would be forced to do it over the summer and settle for 12 weeks of Quick Service Food & Beverage.

Working at Six Flags I would give up the opportunity to do the PI with Disney, but I would have more opportunities to do something other than food service. With previous merchandise experience in a park and 5+ years of retail including 2 years in a management position, I would hope that I have a chance at a supervisor's position in merchandise at Six Flags.

What are your opinions of each company? Pros and Cons...

Raptor
08-08-2006, 02:43 AM
Why would you only be able to do food service over the summer? I know a few college program cast members in operations that were only here for the summer...

Completing the Disney College Program (I say completing because sadly a lot of people don't) would look better on your resume' than Six Flags if you can get something other than quick service foods. But, even then, it might look better, because hey, it's Disney. Also like you said, you can then go for the professional internship.

RidePhoto101
08-08-2006, 11:24 AM
Disney's published policy changed for this year. In previous years you had to be a college program alumni to get a summer only internship. This year because of the number of openings the park had available, they opened up QSF&B and Custodial to first-time participants for the summer only program. I'm not sure if they make exceptions the the rule, but that is what I have heard from WDWCP recruiters.

I think I could put up with food service for 12 weeks, but I would be much happier in either operations, transportation, hospitality (I'm a hospitality minor), or full service F&B. I just don't really want to be asking "would you like fries with that" for an internship.

I guess I'll find out next Spring when they start interviewing for summer positions...

Ron Stoppable
08-09-2006, 12:58 AM
Hey guys, I work as a rides op at PCW... I was just wondering if working at Cedar Point is the same thing as working at any other park. Like for the rides, are the rides divided up into ride groups, so you're not stuck at the same ride all day? and is the "manager-favoritism" really bad there?

SheikraTTD
08-09-2006, 01:11 AM
How old do you have t obe to work at Cedar Point? 16? Because that is what I was thinking....please answer....

Raptor
08-09-2006, 01:58 AM
You have to be 18 to work rides, 16 to work everything else I think.

Hector
08-09-2006, 07:17 AM
Is it worth giving up your whole summer to go live (and work at) at the best Amusement park in the world?

Simply put yes. It's an experience you'll never forget, and it will change you. Most of the time for the better since you have such an extremely wide variety of people your exposed to, you lose a LOT of your preconceived notions and stereotypes of many groups of people.


Also, obviously being the coaster dork I am I would be very interested in being put on a coaster crew, is this even possibile being an entry level employee?

Extremely easy, the return rate is so low you'll have no problem getting any ride you want as long as you apply early enough. The way they generally fill the ride is they put a few returners on the crew (for third in charges, but not always the case) and then fill it up with people who request it.


Do you end up making a good amount of money over the summer?

I'm going to say no. While their are exceptions to the rule, most of the time you'll spend the money on many different things (especially if you find the other coaster dorks and road trip to other parks)


And finally: Did you have fun? Was the experience overall a good one?

Like I said, the place WILL change you. I was there for four years and probably would have gone back if I lived any closer then about 2,260 miles away. I'm so glad I worked there, but I'm also glad it's over. I made some of my best friends I've ever had there.


are the rides divided up into ride groups, so you're not stuck at the same ride all day?

No, your pretty much stuck. Camp Snoopy, Gemini Children's Area, and Kiddy Kingdom have the most rides clumped together. There a few "triangles" and pairs of rides as well, but the only (non-kiddie) coaster with another ride is Corkscrew and Super Himalaya. The rides are supposed to rotate postions every half hour, and they are pretty lenient about working other rides if you want.


and is the "manager-favoritism" really bad there?

Yes.


How old do you have t obe to work at Cedar Point? 16? Because that is what I was thinking....please answer....

Cedar Point hires as young as 14, just not coasters. As Raptor said, you have to be 18 for all rides, including everything from the smallest Hampton to Top Thrill Dragster, except the train which you can be 17 (not conductor). However, to qualify for housing, you have to be 18 or 17 and graduated from high school.

RidePhoto101
08-09-2006, 11:27 AM
Hey guys, I work as a rides op at PCW... I was just wondering if working at Cedar Point is the same thing as working at any other park. Like for the rides, are the rides divided up into ride groups, so you're not stuck at the same ride all day? and is the "manager-favoritism" really bad there?

Work Halloweekends... you'll end up transferred all over the park depending on where they need people. Even if you don't stay, there is still a very good chance that you could get to work a few different rides if a particular ride is short that day. I know people that got to work 10+ rides in a single season because they always volunteered to go to another ride when they needed extras.

That said you won't get to work controls on any ride you haven't passed visuals for. If you are working on a coaster, you will probably be at entrance or checking restraints. If you are on a flat, you might get to operate it, but they will have a TL train you on it before they leave you alone.

Raptor
08-09-2006, 12:41 PM
are the rides divided up into ride groups, so you're not stuck at the same ride all day? and is the "manager-favoritism" really bad there?

All of the coasters are their own "location", so you would only be scheduled at one ride per day. However, you change your position on that ride every 30 - 45 minutes. And Cedar Point's staffing is so unbalanced that theres a very good chance you'll be trained on several other rides in your area. The problem is, its not always your choice... and once you're trained at more than one ride, they can pull you to another one. But mostly, learning a lot of rides kept the summer interesting, and I was glad I ended up being trained on 6 or 7.

And yes, you do have to pass a visuals test before you can operate the controls. You should be able to do this after your second day of work at the ride. Just observe the ride, ask your team leaders questions about the ride system, and look through one of the ride's manuals. The tests aren't that hard, and you can re-take them.

And even though I've only worked at Cedar Point for one summer, I can tell you that th favoritism among managers, supervisers, and Team Leaders towards regular employees is really bad.

RidePhoto101
08-09-2006, 01:26 PM
Just wait for your first evaluation, that'll tell who the real favorites are. Favorites can get promoted quickly, especially outside of the rides department, while other employees who work 4-5 years won't get promoted. Then again, in many cases managers have favorites because those are the hardest working people and they deserve it, while others slack off and won't get respect from supervisors and managers. It happens at Cedar Point the same as it does all other jobs.

Hector
08-09-2006, 04:59 PM
I know people that got to work 10+ rides in a single season

*cough* (http://www.thrillnetwork.com/boards/showpost.php?p=629354&postcount=20)



That said you won't get to work controls on any ride you haven't passed visuals for. If you are working on a coaster, you will probably be at entrance or checking restraints. If you are on a flat, you might get to operate it, but they will have a TL train you on it before they leave you alone.

Only rides that have multiple ride units (trains/ boats) on the same "track" require visuals to operate controls. Snake River Falls requires them whereas Wicked Twister, Woodstock's Express, and Jr. Gemini do not. Some positions also require lift walks (physically walking to the top of the lift and blocks) in order to work certain positions on coasters. They need to know that you CAN go up if needed (and it does happen)

As for circulars, ("flats") you should be taught, and allowed to run, controls on your first day on the ride, and even be left alone depending on the ride your at. The only exception I can think of is Monster which is still run manually and requires extra training but no written test.

Raptor
08-10-2006, 12:18 AM
Just wait for your first evaluation, that'll tell who the real favorites are. Favorites can get promoted quickly, especially outside of the rides department, while other employees who work 4-5 years won't get promoted. Then again, in many cases managers have favorites because those are the hardest working people and they deserve it, while others slack off and won't get respect from supervisors and managers. It happens at Cedar Point the same as it does all other jobs.From what I observed, the people chosen as favorites by the managers and supervisers were not the hardest workers, but rather, the people that partied with them at Louies. :rolleyes: Supervisor and TL/ATL "favorites" can get away with being 5 - 10 minutes late without being marked late, getting their break before its scheduled, get their favorite position more often, and what not. It's bad. It made me so close to quitting many times. But in the end, I am glad I didn't.