About Me

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I am a consultant and general counsel to International Ride Training LLC as well as a practicing attorney in Avon, Connecticut. A particular focus of mine is the legal needs of the amusement and tourism industry. My focus on the amusement industry derives from my pre-law career as an operations manager with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and Universal Orlando. Having started my career as a ride operator at Cedar Point in 1992, I progressed through the seasonal ranks and ultimately became the Manager of Ride Operations and Park Services at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I also worked in Universal's operations department during the construction and development of Islands of Adventure. Today, I am an active member of the New England Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions. I have been invited to speak at amusement industry meetings and seminars and have worked on a variety of matters relating to this industry.

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This Blog/Web Site is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice). By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher and / or author nor can such a relationship be created by use of his Blog / Web Site. By using thisBlog / Web Site you understand that any statement on the blog site are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Wiggin and Dana LLP or International Ride Training LLC. By using this blog site you understand that the Blog/Web Site is not affiliated with or approved by Wiggin and Dana LLP or International Ride Training LLC. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

13 Reasons Why You Should Feel Safe Going Back To Amusement Parks This Summer

We’re in a strange time and, while I’ve been away from writing for quite some time, I think circumstances warrant a brief revival of the blog.  Is this my last article?  Probably not.  But maybe.  We’ll see how things go over the next few months.  The reason I’m back is because I've been recently asked by a friend to explain why it will be safe for her to go back to her local amusement park - something that I know raises a lot of eyebrows in the current environment. I thought this might be a question that others are interested in so ... here goes. 

For background (for those that don't know what I do these days), I am still a lawyer as I’ve been for the last 15 years, but I’m also a consultant to the theme park industry specializing in operations. As many of you know, I've been involved in ride operations in one form or another for 27 years.  Through our company, International Ride Training LLC, my partners, the amazing duo of Cindee Huddy and Patty Beazley, and I advise amusement parks around the globe on the best way to manage people and, in particular, run rides. We don't do anything with maintenance, foods, games, or retail. We know rides and, more generally, operations - and hopefully without sounding too arrogant - we are pretty good at what we do. 

Since this whole thing began, we have done pretty much nothing except help the amusement industry get ready to reopen in a manner that is safe from both a traditional ride safety perspective and from a public health perspective. So I know – very, very well - what is being done behind the scenes to make sure that it is safe for you to come to the park this summer.  Our industry is, however, an unfamiliar one to most people who see only the end result in the park but have no idea what it takes to actually operate on a daily basis.  Because of this, many in government and in the general public instinctively believe that an amusement park, water park, or family entertainment center cannot open in a COVID-19 world.  In short, those people are wrong and are operating from a lack of understanding about what parks can and will do to limit exposure.  So I thought I would share those things with you so you have some better idea of what to expect when/if you return to the park this summer.  I should also add that I work with parks all over the world, so I'm not speaking for any one particular park specifically. While every park may do things slightly differently to get ready to welcome you this year, in general, you can expect to see some or all of these precautions the next time you visit a park this summer.