Working at an amusement park undeniably has some ups (access to rides, fun atmosphere) and downs (barfing park-goers and dealing with difficult people in general). What really goes on behind the scenes at Universal Studios in Hollywood? A former Universal employee spilled some interesting details about the job in a Reddit AMA — find out what they had to say about the fun destination.
1. What sweet things do you find under the roller coasters?
“We’ve found all sorts of things. Most common thing is an article of clothing ie. hats and scarves. We also find a lot of cellphones, usually someone wearing shorts with really shallow pockets. Sometimes we find wallets or credit cards. The most money ever found at an attraction was well over 10 grand in Chinese currency.”
2. Is there anything disgusting they do when handling the food?
“The people who handle food are very professional. They get the most regulations out of any department. It’s actually harder to work in the food department than it is to get hire for just about anything else inside the park. FYI: all ride operators have to clean up any mess made inside the ride. So ANY bodily fluid that’s not blood, we have to clean up ourselves.”
3. What’s a horrible secret about Universal Studios?
“‘Horrible secret?’ I can’t think of anything that’s horrible per se. Everyone sleeps with everyone, the hiring staff will hire basically anyone who’s at least 18, so you get a bunch of really immature and horny people in the same building. It leads to a hell of a lot of drama.”
4. How much training do those behind-the-scenes tour guides get? Do they talk badly about guests?
“Every BTS tour is different. There’s one for Simpsons, Transformers, and a few other rides. The people who give those tours are regular ride ops that get trained by the older staff. So usually they’re pretty good about it. The BTS tour guides for the entertainment department are different however. They get paid specifically for that and so I believe they’re trained separately.”
To answer your second question, yes. Every employee talks badly about all sorts of guests. . . . It makes the job more enjoyable when you get to crack jokes. Usually we keep to ourselves if you don’t stand out or do anything to try and stand out. Bottom line: act normally and we won’t have anything bad to say.”
5. What is your go-to story from when you worked there?
“The very last night of training I had to do before I was officially an employee. I was with a group of eight new hires and we all had to complete three days of paid training before we could get scheduled. So on my last day, I had to do a closing shift. This was when Halloween Horror Nights was in full swing so we were getting a lot of intoxicated people. I’m shadowing this guy who’s been working there since the ride was still Back to the Future. These two really rowdy drunk girls walk into one of the fun houses. Now they were supposed to go with a larger group to a different holding room but they didn’t listen and ended up together at the very last room in the underground level of the ride. I’m giving them the safety speech and the drunker of the two says ‘Hold on, let me fix my shirt’ (she was wearing a tube top) and she pulls it down to her belly button. Her boobs are out and I’m trying my hardest to not break eye contact. I look over at the guy I was shadowing, trying to get help with the situation and he just shrugs. So the less drunk of the two tries to ‘help’ her now bare-chested friend by pulling her shirt down even more. I eventually just closed the door and let them figure it out. By the time the ride doors opened and I had to lock them in, she was wearing her shirt properly.”
6. What is the best ride?
“It’s my personal opinion that Forbidden Journey is the most impressive ride. It’s not the longest, but to me, it’s the best. Simpsons has a fun plot to it and lasts close to five minutes. My favorite however, is Jurassic Park but that’s because of nostalgic reasons.”
7. Did you ever catch guests having sex in the park?
“Not me personally but before when Back to the Future was a ride there was a big tree by where Cleatus’ Chicken Shack is. People used to get caught having sex there more than most places. We get a lot of people who make out on the rides though, that’s not too uncommon.”
8. How difficult is it to land a job there?
“When I got hired it was a breeze but from what I’ve been hearing lately, they’re more selective now. The day I got hired was the same day I went in to apply and to interview. Got the job on the spot . . . I recommend you try for Ride Ops. It’s the easiest job and has the best atmosphere.”