Smiles….for only $25 million

This February is a special time for me as it marks my 14th anniversary working at Morey’s Piers.  14 years….and what A Wild Ride it has been….

My journey started all the way back in the fall of 1996.  I was fresh out of college, the job market was booming and you practically had employers bidding for your talents.  How times have changed!

During my college years, I worked as a Lifeguard Supervisor at Splish Splash Waterpark on Long Island during the summers to help pay my way through college.   After I graduated, I needed a full-time job and I really wanted to stay in the waterpark business.  So that fall, I stumbled across a job opening at Raging Waters Waterpark located in Salt Lake City Utah.  At the time, the park was owned by the Morey’s and they were looking for an Operations Manager to head out to Utah and help manage the operations of the waterpark.  So after two grueling interviews in Wildwood I was offered the job and off to Utah I went.  After that summer season ended, I re-located to Wildwood, NJ to work full-time at Morey’s Piers and as they say….the rest is history.

As I look back at my career, the amusement industry has changed so much.  For the better, New Jersey has evolved to be one of the most regulated states when it comes to amusement rides.  Since the late 1990’s, the entire landscape of the amusement industry has changed with corporate consolidation of many amusement parks and waterparks.  And as the years went on, these parks were bought and sold, and bought and sold again.  As our industry soon learned, a piece of our past and nostalgia was lost to Wall Street.  Family run parks like Morey’s Piers are very unique in so many respects.  Parks like Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, and Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana are two of the few great “family-run” parks still left.  And guess what….they are thriving.  Amusement parks are such a great part of our history and Americana.  Sure, family run parks often are more limited with their access to capital….after all you don’t see them building $25 million dollar roller coasters every year like the “big boys.”  And that’s ok, as it allows some of us to really focus on what matters…putting smiles on our guests faces the good old fashioned way…by offering spectacular family experiences in clean, safe and friendly environments.

14 years is a long time to spend at one job.  For me, maybe I like the comfort.  Maybe I have seen that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Maybe I found my passion and home very early in my career.  Who knows?

So as I sit here reminiscing over the past 14 years, I hope that the future is just as exciting.  Where it will take us?  I have no idea; and if you asked me to predict where the amusement industry will be in 2025, I couldn’t even guess.  But one thing is for certain…the smiles on our guests faces are priceless when you see them getting off our rides, or climbing out of one of our pools or lazy rivers.  It makes my day and reminds me why I enjoy doing this for a living.  It doesn’t take a $25 million dollar roller coaster, 800 feet in the air to put a smile on someone’s face.

Happy Anniversary to me….


DavidMac says:

February 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

great article.. thanks!! I didn’t think about how rare family owned parks were. I guess I always took Morey’s Piers for granted because they are in my own backyard. But we do have a special thing here…

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