Park Spy — Summer 2023


The question: My kid is scared of heights but wants to join his friends for a trip to your park. What do you recommend?

Fear of heights is not uncommon among the children (and adults) of the world. As such, this question, or some variation of it, is one every aerial adventure operation should be prepared to address. Depending on the attractions you offer—zip lines, ropes course, and/or other at-height elements—and the nature of your programing, your ability to help a customer manage that fear will likely vary.

As always, it’s not about who can best meet the Spy’s needs, but rather who can best handle the Spy’s question. In this case, everyone the Spy spoke with was ready with a solid response, with attitude and level of detail being the key distinguishing factors between a good call and a great one.

Been asked a thorny, funky, or downright funny customer service question? Send it to [email protected] for the Spy to pose to other parks! We won’t tell anyone the question came from you. Plus, if we use it, we won’t call your park for that mission.



First Contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: OK. If they are unsure about it, I would recommend signing up for the level one course, because this is a non-refundable activity. So if he gets up there and backs out before the tour is done, unfortunately we cannot offer a refund. Those spots are already reserved and sold. But the first section of six lines is only $49 a person.

API: OK. Are there multiple courses? Or is it the same course, just shorter time?

Staff: Our course is progressive, so everybody is doing the same thing. It’s just different where everybody hops off, if that makes sense.

API: So it wouldn’t be a change of height then, it would be a shorter zip tour.

Staff: Yes, you are correct. So, if somebody signed up for level one and a person signed up for level two, once they get done with level one—’cause everybody’s going to be doing level one—that person will hop off and the person who signed up for level two will keep going.

API: That makes sense. If I only book the level one tour for my child and he decides he wants to continue to level two, is that possible?

Staff: Yep. You can just let the guide know, and he will go ahead and charge the credit card on file. No need to get out of your gear and rebook.

API: Great.

Staff: Do you have any other questions?

API: No, that’s all. Thank you for your help.

Staff: Have a great day. Goodbye.

Score: 7

Comment: Explaining the refund policy upfront was helpful. And it’s good to know that if the Spy kid has a good time, it’s easy to extend the tour. He provided the right info with a matter-of-fact attitude.



First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: How old is your child?

API: He is 10 years old.

Staff: (enthusiastic) OK, he would be going on the [name]course. This course is a step above the little kid course, which is basically on ground level. The course starts off at a green level to get used to everything and then progressively goes to the blue level. So, the kids will be able to test out the equipment and get a feel for everything before the course gets a little more difficult.

API: Cool. If he gets up there and realizes he really does not like it, is he able to get off?

Staff: Yes, he definitely can get off the course at any time. However, if he starts the course and does not finish, you will not get a refund. If he just does the training portion at the beginning and realizes he does not like it, then you would get a refund.

API: OK, that makes sense.

Staff: Any other questions?

API: No, I think that was all. Thanks!

Staff: You’re welcome. Have a good day!

Score: 8

Comment: A solid explanation of the progression built into the activity and the refund policy. It would’ve been a nice touch if she’d mentioned unprompted that my child could get off the course at any time, but I’ll let it slide since she had a wonderful attitude.



First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: (sounding chipper) So, we start off on a progressive course. We start off low and slow so they can get used to it. If they are too scared, they are more than welcome to get off the zip line at any time. Unfortunately, if you do get off the zip line, we do not offer refunds.

API: OK. I just wanted to make sure it was possible to get off the zip line once he started.

Staff: Yep, he can get off anytime. Typically, once the kids get up there and start the course, they end up having a great time and forget they are scared. We start off on our lowest and slowest line to get you used to getting off and on the platforms and things like that. Then we work our way up to the tallest ones, so that way you are used to everything and how it feels. It is also a fully guided tour, so you will have two zip guides the whole time. They will help to catch you into the platform and help get you off.

API: Oh, great. Thank you.

Staff: Yep, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to give us a call back.

API: Great, thanks again. Bye.

Score: 9

Comment: And that’s how it’s done! She was friendly, explained the course thoroughly, normalized the need to manage fear, and best of all, made me feel comfortable entrusting her team with the Spy kid’s emotional and physical wellbeing.



First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Like what age group are we talking about? And height?

API: He is 10 years old and about 55 inches.

Staff: (long pause) Umm, I don’t know.


Staff: Hmm, that is a hard one. That is a real hard one. It sounds like he is too big for the smaller course.

API: Right.

Staff: Um, how scared of heights is he?

API: He isn’t absolutely terrified of them but also hasn’t had a lot of experience with heights or an adventure course.

Staff: OK. (silence)

API: Is the whole course the same level?

Staff: Um, no, the course does become a little more advanced as it goes on. I mean, you could try course one.


Staff: And if he doesn’t go up, for whatever reason, I am certain they will give you a refund.

API: OK. And if he does go up and realize he doesn’t like it after a little bit, is he able to come down?

Staff: Yes, for whatever reason he needs to come down the guide will stop the tour and try to get him down.

API: OK. Thank you.

Staff: Yep, goodbye.

Score: 4

Comment: Maybe she had molasses in her teeth, but man, this call started off slow. Things eventually turned around, and I got most of my questions answered. That said, while she’s certain about that refund, I’m not so sure given how uncertain she was about everything else.



First Contact: Male (delightfully cheerful).

API: Stated question.

Staff: Let’s see, how old is he?

API: He is 10 years old.

Staff: Well, the 10-year-old, umm, actually, let me just give you the lowdown real quick.

API: Thank you.

Staff: I would recommend just doing the kids’ course. It’s a little bit more fun in this situation because the normal adventure park course is obstacle oriented, whereas the kids’ course is only about 15 to 20 feet above the ground. By the time you are on the zip line, you are only a few feet in the air. There are a couple higher zip lines that are about 10 feet in the air.


Staff: And they can go around it three times. It is about a half an hour if there is nobody there. But I think the kids’ course would be perfect and the best thing for him so he can have fun. And then, after that, if he wants to try the adventure park course he can. There are no real zip lines in the adventure park. The kids’ course has five zip lines.

API: Oh, great.

Staff: So, yeah, like I said, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes. If he is apprehensive of the heights, then it may take a bit longer. But that might be better, as he can build up his confidence.

API: Exactly. If he did decide to try the adventure park course after the kids’ one and realized he doesn’t want to be up there, would he be able to come down?

Staff: Yes, we will get him down, but there are no refunds.

API: OK, great.

Staff: Also, the adventure course has different levels, so if he does decide to try that course out, I would stick with level one. The level two course is over 40 feet high. Will an adult be coming?

API: Yes.

Staff: OK. On the kids park, we usually do not allow parents to go since he is 10 years old, but with this case we can let you go on as a chaperone.

API: Oh, thank you. That would be great.

Staff: Yep, and it would be a half-price ticket for the adult, as they would just be chaperoning the child, not riding the actual course.

API: Great. Thank you so much for all this info.

Staff: No problem! Goodbye.

Score: 10

Comment: You could tell this guy takes pride in his work. He went into great detail about our options and made several recommendations about how to ensure the Spy kid has the best experience possible. While not every park is able to bend its rules, I appreciated that this one was flexible enough to let me chaperone (at half the price) even if Spy kid is a bit on the older side for such things.

Identity Revealed: Radical Ropes



Most everyone provided the Spy with the information needed to make a decision as to whether the Spy kid would be able to manage an outing to the park despite his fear of heights. When it comes to winners and losers, the difference was in the details and delivery.

Those that provided unprompted information about refund policies, course progressions, and support were more helpful than the staffers that made me dig for answers. This is generally true for customer service calls—although, the line between too much information and not enough can, on occasion, be tricky to walk.

Additionally, while no one made me feel ridiculous for suggesting that Spy kid try an aerial activity despite his fear of heights, some were better at normalizing that fear and its potential impacts on the experience than others. Those that explained how Spy kid might build confidence over the course of an outing also gave me confidence in their ability to provide a positive experience. 


About Author

Olivia Rowan, Publisher — [email protected]
Dave Meeker, Editor — [email protected]
Katie Brinton, Senior Editor — [email protected]

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