At the beginning of the 2016 season, Kings Island opened with a new updated parking lot entrance with some self-service lanes. When the crowds entering the park are heavy, it is clear that many people have difficulty scanning their pass. With practice, getting these scanners to read your pass is easy. You need only understand the distance and angle that the scanner is designed to work.
This week, we’re focusing on parking lot hacks. I admit this is post is self-serving. Please read these instructions before you get to the entrance, so I don’t get stuck waiting behind you to get into the parking lot! If you have a Park Hack that relates to the Kings Island parking lot, now would be a great time to share it! You can use the Share-a-Hack link at the top of the page. Or type it in the comments below. We want to hear your thoughts and strategies for navigating the sea of cars.
(Because I came up with the idea to share this tip while the park is in its off season, I did not have access to take a photo of the actual interactive gate screens. I have attempted recreate what they are like from my memory in the image above. When you pull in, I believe you need to touch the screen to begin. Then you hold your card or printed ticket out so that the barcode is readable. If all goes well, you will hear a small beep and the gate will open!
This is a quick reminder that the Kings Island Park Hacks book is now available in both Kindle and paperback formats! The book has been revised and updated several times since its initial release back in December. It is now 118 pages. If you got the early Kindle version, make sure you set it to update automatically. The audio version is coming soon via Audible!
The new parking lot entrance is a major improvement. The vehicles fan out wide across many more lanes of access. There are signs above each lane that tell you if that lane is open or closed. It also tells you if it has an attendant. If you have questions, or are paying with cash to get in, these lanes with the attencant are the ones you want.
If you have a Gold Pass, or paid for your parking online, you will have a scannable barcode on your card, a printout or on your mobile device. If you are not confident that you can scan it, I’d recommend that you also aim for the attendant lanes, just so you’re not holding up the traffic for those who self-scan. The attendant can coach you how to hold the code so that it scans quickly.
If you’re ready to scan it yourself…
If you’re like me, you want to move through the gate smoothly and quickly. We move like water in a stream flowing over and around rocks people! Stay sharp and move swiftly. If you have a helper in the passenger seat, have them hold the paper or the pass and have it ready to go as your turn approaches. I tuck my Gold Pass under my leg, so that I pull up and it is ready to go.
If the screen is prompting you to touch it to begin, push the button on the screen. If it is just telling you to scan, go for it! I’m leaving this part of the guide flexible to that it is useful whichever way the system is programmed. I just hate it at store self-service kiosks when I’m trying to shove my money in and it is waiting for me to tell the screen that I want to pay. Watch for interface obstacles and try to keep moving.
The knack to getting the scanner to read your barcode is probably already familiar to you. If you’ve used a Kroger gas pump or almost any store with a station where you can do your own price check, you’ve done it. There is a nearly invisilble laser that shoots downward from the opening. See the image above to get the idea of the angle and the distance. You want to hold the barcode as flat as possilble and act like you’re “showing” it to the electronic reader.
Imagine the viewing angle is about 45 degrees down and about 6-8 inches away from the scanner. The scanner works very quickly, so it is ok to gently sway the barcode around in front of it, until you hear the beep.
Another problem in this noisy place, is that sometimes you can’t hear the beep. Ask your helper to keep an eye on the gate arm. If it lifts, you’re good. I don’t konw how many times I’ve been behind a person who persists in trying to get the thing to scan, only to realize the gate’s arm has been lifted for the past 30 seconds!
One more bonus tip
There is a lane on the far right. It doesn’t have the wide display telling if there is an attendant or self-service. But it does have the green arrow or the red ‘X’. If you see the green arrow and you are confident you know how to scan, you can confidently swoop far around the crowd of people and head in. Many people are timid about trying something different. This far lane, is a great way to avoid getting held up waiting unnecessarily. Just keep an eye out for other fast-moving park hackers. Remember, “smooth like flowing water.” This isn’t NASCAR!