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The Most "Thrilling" Job You'll Ever Have!

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Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

 These days are busy for full-time Rides Operations Manager, Erick Massey. He’s working to hire 500 people to staff the many rides at Carowinds everything from the massive Intimidator, to the cute little swings in Planet Snoopy (major thrills for the toddler set!).  Each ride needs a staff of trained ride operators and Erick helps oversee the whole crew. We were wondering…what is he looking for in a ride operator, and what is the job like? Here are his answers.

1. What are you looking for in a ride operator?

“We’re looking for people who are energetic, and project a positive feeling at their ride and throughout the park. I look for people who are outgoing and who will help us make our guests feel welcome throughout the season.”

2. What is the job like?

“It’s a little bit of everything, some days you’ll be outside on a perfect day, 70-degrees, blue skies, and people who are having fun in part because of you! Other days it might rain, or be a little cold, people might be disappointed that the rides are shut down, (for safety reasons.) Every day is different, and every day the ride operator is responsible for safety as well as hospitality. The ride operator has to be confident and mature to handle a variety of situations.

3. Which is the toughest ride to operate, and which is the easiest?

“They all demand attention to detail, and they’re all considered a machine so you need to be 18 to actually operate the ride. Of course The Intimidator is one of our top coasters, we staff that ride with some of our best ride operators. They get to work the premier coaster at the park, actually one of the most incredible coaster experiences in the world (Intimidator named a Top Ten Steel Rollercoaster of 2012 by Amusement Today Golden Ticket Awards.) The Intimidator is fun but the lines are long and the energy levels have to remain high all day. That’s probably one of the more demanding positions. We try to find the right fit for each ride operator, if they like working with kids and families, they’re perfect for Planet Snoopy, if they’re really personable they can go to a ride where they’re on the microphone, if they want someplace cool and don’t mind getting wet, they can go to White Water Rapids there’s lots of options.”

4. So it’s not all fun and thrills on the Rollercoaster’s?

“Well, we like to think it’s fun, we think it’s better than working at the mall, cutting lawns for your Uncle’s landscaping company, or babysitting your neighbors three kids. Coming out to Carowinds is a summer tradition for so many people, the ride operators playing a crucial part in creating that fun and those memories. We appreciate them and their work and are always looking for ways to show them that, there’s random free candy treats, and freezer pops, there’s plenty of rotation between operators and managers so everyone gets breaks, we have appreciation events and ride nights where the ride operators get to ride the rides! It’s also a job where you’re going to make new friends and meet new people. Many people stay in touch with their summertime Carowinds co-workers for years after they’ve moved on to other jobs, it’s an experience that can truly last a lifetime.”

5. Where can this kind of experience take you later in life?

It’s a great stepping stone for any career you want to pursue; we give recommendations to former ride associates who are moving on to bigger and better jobs all the time. Many go on to pursue careers in the tourism and hospitality industry, we have a lot of Managers, Directors, VP’s and General Manager’s who started as associates in this park and other parks, we like to think our team atmosphere and training creates an experience that anyone can take to their next job anywhere!

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