Of course, the last day I can spend at Universal Studios before my season pass expires, something exciting happens and I’m without a damn notebook.
As my dad, Niko, and I were waiting in what was supposed to be a 10 minute wait on Jurassic Park: River Adventure, the single line, for whatever reason, was stalled. I jumped over to the side of the wall to see what the hold up was. Suddenly, one of the ride operators grabbed his microphone and began apologizing for the inconvenience. After five minutes of not seeing a single raft make its way up the incline, I told my dad and Niko to wait in line so I can go figure out what’s happening.
I ran out and headed straight for the exit path which was conveniently located to the side of the souvenir store. If you’re a parent waiting for your kid, you usually sat along the outside wall of the souvenir store where you’ll see the massive final drop of the ride. Then, you can wave your kids to victory as their raft gently rolls down the winded river and to the unloading bay. As I’m heading there, I see a line of 4 or 5 rafts ALL FILLED with riders sitting impatiently.
I called out to the first raft, “how long have you guys been waiting here?”
“Dude, for a long time,” said one guy.
“Fucking forever,” said a girl from the next raft over. I make my way down and see a female ride operator – probably in her early 40’s, brown voluminous hair, pink shirt – talking to the riders as a means of letting them know what’s going on and where they are in the process of having them unboard. Fortunately, I catch them mid conversation
“It’s just some prankers,” she tells them.
“Who? On our raft?”
“No, not you guys.”
“What happened?” I chimed.
“Someone got off the ride and they’re wandering around,” the ride operator told me. “We had to shut down the ride.”
What a fucking adventure they’re having, I thought. But of course, it takes an asshole to ruin the fun for everyone.
I walked back in line and reported my findings to the sibling and the parental unit. Suddenly, everyone around us was listening in and I may have accidentally caused them to change their minds. As I’m talking, two ride operators emerged with two Hispanic males, both wearing black, though one was carrying a button-down shirt in his hands. From where I was standing – a good ten feet away – it seemed seemed like they were COMPLETELY soaking wet. Nobody gets THAT wet, from what I remember. Perhaps they were the ones who got off the ride.
I walked back to see what they were going to do with the riders who were just waiting to get off the damn thing. I made friends with a few moms who were leaning over the barrier to keep their riding family members informed. Venturing onward, I landed in front of the unloading station guarded by another woman who went by the name of Veronica. The unloading station is where the passengers exited the raft. I checked to see if the raft that was currently at the unloading bay was filled with people, but it was completely empty. I asked Veronica what was the hold up.
“People were actually telling me that there were two Mexicans swimming where the drop is,” she said.
“Yeah, someone told me that they saw them splashing around and then another family got off and said the same thing.”
I concluded that it was the two guys who were apprehended and taken to the line queue. But of course, my curiosity was still unfulfilled. I wanted to see what would happen to the people waiting in the rafts.
Of course, if you have people sitting in one spot for such a long time, people are going to make an exit for themselves. Three (or four) 14-17 year old kids somehow slipped free from the lap bar and jumped off the raft and over the barrier that connects to the exit path. Suddenly, three security members sprung up from out of no where and ask me, “Did you just get off the ride?”
“No,” I turned behind me and those kids just disappeared.
“Oh, we saw someone get off the ride on the security cameras,” the guard said.
The kids had climbed the upstairs bridge to hide, I found out.
The security guards scattered. I sit around for what seems like hours but is really just ten minutes. Suddenly, I see the older female attendant making a mad dash for the barrier. I’m guessing the three or four who hopped out of the ride came back for their friends. As the friends yet again made their escape, one of the friends actually slips over the barrier and falls to the floor.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay still?” The ride operator scolded. “Not cool.” The ride operator got him to sit down while she watched over him. I felt bad – not because he failed his escape and was basically being put on time out, but because his friends had abandoned him. His friends eventually did come back and they were all let off the hook as long as they “promised to never do it again.”
Shortly after, a few operators emerged with a ramp and they pull open some of the barrier gates. They were going to start evacuating the guests. I asked one of the moms if she was waiting for someone on the ride. She said yes.
“Are you guys going to get anything out of this?”
“Yeah,” she told me. “They’re getting a front of the line pass.”
A front of the line pass? It was 6:50-something and the park was closing in just a few minutes! The mom rolled her eyes after answering as if to agree with my disappointment of their consolation. Then, the first wave of riders exited from the ride to the applause of a crowd. They waved around their front of the line pass, though I’m not necessarily sure if they used it today.
Once again, I walked back to the line queue to see whether or not the ride had been closed down. Nope. The line that I was in had been completely replaced with a new line of people who were waiting to get in. I asked two guests how long they’ve been waiting…
“I just got here,” said one of them.
“Just three minutes,” said another guest.
Because park supervisors were about to close Universal Studios, I couldn’t stay any longer to ask anymore questions. I’m unaware if whether ride operators allowed any more riders onboard. I’m unaware if there were riders who were still in the middle of the ride when the entire thing was shut down. I’m also unaware if the riders were spotted by surveillance cameras or if the riders were tattled on by the families that rode on the river adventure.
All I’m saying for right now is, DAMNIT. I SHOULD’VE HAD A NOTEPAD AND PEN! ;(
Also, I will say this. Those two guys that hopped overboard? Total assholes. Completely selfish. They weren’t thinking of, not only the people they were riding with, but also the people who were right behind their vehicle. They caused a huge hold up that may have ruined the experience for tons of guests who wanted to get on the Jurassic Park ride before it closed.
Maturity lesson you guys. It may seem cool to be daring, but in the end, you’re going to end up looking like a completel asshole. A stupid one at that. Plus, everyone knows amusement park water smells disgusting… which is why I feel at liberty when I’m sporting that yellow poncho they sell at the souvenir store.