The amusement park is heaven on earth for a thrill-seeker. There are roller coasters, carnival games, live shows, parades, fireworks, and several other exciting attractions that ensure the adrenaline keeps pumping. But sometimes, things go terribly wrong. No matter how accident-proof the rides may seem, there's no guarantee that they are actually safe. Here are some amusement park horror stories that will make you think twice about hopping on a ride.
1. Good Riddance
I used to work at a small water park where there were some dry rides up the southern end. There was this eight-year-old kid just being a little brat; pushing in line, climbing up the slide of the playground, knocking other kids' hats off, that sort of stuff. I warned him several times to stop and eventually asked him to leave, but he didn't. So I went to ask my supervisor what to do and he said, "Get the scissors."
That meant he was going to cut his wristband, which would prohibit him access to any rides. I called him over, and he surprisingly complied. Then, before he could react, I grabbed his wrist and cut off his wristband. Naturally, he started crying. He ran off to get his mom and she came back about 15 minutes later to talk to me without her son.
She asked me why I did what I did, and I explained the situation to her, making sure to emphasize that it was standard procedure. She nodded and explained that her son is known to be a demon-child. She then left, but, lo and behold, 10 minutes later, there he was, approaching us. He tried to cut in line again and I stopped him, telling him to go back to his mom. I couldn’t believe what he did next.
His first reaction was to punch me in my sensitive parts. My supervisor saw and immediately called security. Apparently, his mom saw it too and she came running. She didn't say anything to her child—instead, she gave my supervisor the go-signal to “scare” him. When security arrived (30 seconds later), they grabbed the kid, whirled him around, and handcuffed him.
He was wetting himself at that point. They grabbed him and escorted him off the premises in their golf cart. A few minutes later, they returned and the kid had obviously been crying. He jumped out of the cart and ran straight to his mom, who grabbed him and walked out. People watching were stunned, but amazingly, some applauded as they went off. Best day of work I had at that place.
2. The Ocean Motion
I'm an ex-employee of Calaway Park. I was often stationed at the Ocean Motion; you know, the swinging boat ride? While working on rides is probably the most tedious thing in existence, the Ocean Motion was always my favorite because it had a shelter and a stool, so if it was ever raining, you'd stay dry and you could sit while the ride was operating.
One day, the Ocean Motion was doing its thing, swinging back and forth. It was pretty full and the lineup was getting long. All of a sudden, I heard a "POP" noise, and tons of this black inky fluid started spraying right up through the center of the ride while the boat was in mid-swing. I was freaking out—but it was just the start of my nightmare. I hit the emergency stop button, but the ride didn't stop.
While the boat was in its downswing, all the black inky fluid came falling down on the ride passengers. At that point, I was mashing the stop button. Stop, stop, stop, stop. Emergency stop. Anything. Why wasn't it stopping? The boat was still swinging. Then, I noticed that the wheel that was usually used for braking and slowing the boat down wasn't raised at all.
So of course it was not going to stop! I immediately pieced together that it was likely hydraulic fluid that went up—a hose must have cracked or something. I grabbed the phone and called security, as was the procedure. Usually, you would call during instances when you had to close the ride for a few minutes for any reason. Then they just log it in their records and the day goes on as normal.
So I called security and I was like, "Send everybody," and they were like, "What?" I elaborated: "Mechanics. Managers. Maybe even paramedics. The Ocean Motion just spewed oil or something all over the passengers and it won't stop. It literally won't stop." Of course, the Ocean Motion is located at the farthest end of the park, so even with people rushing, it would take them a few minutes to get there.
And you guys know how a pendulum works—conservation of momentum, and all that? The Ocean Motion was at peak swing and it just kept on swinging. By the time I hung up the phone, everyone in line figured out what was going on and just noped the heck out of there. But here's where it gets really freaking gross. Imagine you're a 12-year-old kid going on the Ocean Motion for the first time.
Due to some unexpected failure, you've got hydraulic fluid in your face creating an awful stench. Not to mention, it has been in full swing for well over five minutes. You want to get off and you're feeling sick, but you can't. So what happens involuntarily? You throw up. Of course, the Ocean Motion is still in full swing, so the vomit goes everywhere; on pretty much everyone in front of you...on their heads, in their faces...
But it gets worse. Now, imagine you're in the exact same situation and someone just vomited on your face. How could you hold it in at that point? MORE people start vomiting. This cascading chain reaction caused like five people to vomit all over each other. When the managers, mechanics, and medics all got there, they were dumbfounded. At that point, there were very few options.
No one wanted to go under the boat and do the repairs because the boat was still swinging wildly. Plus, stopping the boat should be the primary concern. So they basically positioned people at either end of the ride, waiting for it to swing by, then when it was at its peak, they tried to grab it and put some friction on it before letting go, to take a bit of its momentum.
It took another good seven or eight minutes to actually get the boat stopped. I know the managers tried everything—full refunds, dry cleaning for all the clothes, any number of things—but it didn't stop the lawsuits. I believe there were some rather large out-of-court settlements. I worked there for the rest of that summer, but I've never gone there as a patron since.
3. Teenage Antics
When I was a lifeguard lead manager, this happened. It was mid-July, and it was 100 degrees outside. Not a cloud in the sky. It was hot for me, since. I was wearing a set of khaki shorts and a thick polo shirt. I had the guards go on water runs as needed, and they were permitted to rotate in by swimming in the pool. This was to keep them happy, and to keep them from dropping like flies in the deadly summer heat.
Naturally, the cycles of the day began like any other. We delegated starting spots and determined the final rotation based on the number of guards who had shown up, which was all of them. For that, I felt lucky—but I’d quickly learn how wrong I was. At our park, we had a slide that was about 60 feet high. This slide had three channeled slides that started off as a pipe and then became fluted channels. One pipe, and the most popular, was this slide that went down at an 80-degree angle.
It was completely open. You sat and slid down 60 feet within two seconds. Quite a thrill really, if not a quick one. Two guards manned the ride, one at the bottom and one at the top, to control the antics of the guests at all times. As midday came around, I settled into my usual rhythm, occasionally serving as a master arbitrator for the minor problems that our guests had.
Bored, I began watching the slides go down. Four people came every 15 seconds, like clockwork, as they should. The technique was flawless on the part of the guards; almost robotic at times. If I were to approach these guards, they would likely be lost in their own world of thoughts and repetitions. At the top, I noticed one of the guards turn around as a teenage male prepared to get into the slide.
This was a problem. Teenage males were the trolls of the park, with their antics being a perpetual source of problems for all staff. Then, I saw the kid take two steps backward. My blood ran cold. I knew immediately what he was about to do. He must be stopped, I thought to myself. But, alas, what was I to do? I had no way to contact the lifeguard up at the top. There was no phone, no radio. I blew my whistle twice. The guards nearby looked at me, and the guard at the top turned around. He saw me pointing at the kid.
Too late. The kid ran and jumped clean off of the slide. Now, up to that point in my life, I had been afraid of things. Getting in trouble at school, failing something miserably. They all made me a tad anxious. A lot of things had made me scared, and a lot of things had made my stomach churn. But nothing, in all of my life, had made me as scared as I was at that moment.
Seeing a young man fall to his impending doom gave me the queasiest feeling. I felt, by some extension of logic, that I was responsible for the tragedy. Never, in my life, had my stomach dropped so fast. I watched—and waited—in horror. To his credit, he assumed the proper position of arms and legs being crossed. But he was clean in the air, flying like a lead brick. As he was flying, his body turned ever so slightly.
It was something he noticed and fruitlessly tried to correct. Instead, he fell some distance before hitting inside the flume and chaotically tumbling down the ride. I called the paramedics immediately, and we had to backboard this kid out of the splashdown flume.
4. Anger Issues
I was managing a few ride photo booths and I was talking to an employee when a guy looked at our prices, picked out the package of four photos for $20, and said: "$20 for one photo? That's unfair to families." I told him that the price was $20 for four, and if he'd like a single photo, it was $10. He got very close to my face and growled, "Are you getting smart with me?"
I told him no, tried to walk him through the different prices, and he kept saying, "Are you getting smart with me?" Finally, I just walked away, around to the back of the booth to check on some stock, at which point he told my employee that if he saw me again, I was getting punched in the face.
5. Dropping Out
I worked at Raging Waters in San Dimas, California for a few summers in high school and college. It was a great job—the park was walking distance from home, I got to work on my tan, and there were pretty girls everywhere. Anyway, this was in the summer of 1987—I was just 17 years old. I was on lifeguard duty at the top of this attraction called Drop Out.
Drop Out was our huge slide that went up about 70 or so feet and went straight down—no twists or turns—just straight down into a shallow slip of water. I was doing my thing, telling people to lie down and cross their arms across their chest so I could gently nudge them over the edge. It didn't take much for me to slide them over, either. Literally, a slight tug was all it took.
Mid-shift, out of nowhere, a group of 20-somethings got to the front of the line. It must have been about four guys; maybe a girl, too. The one alpha guy of the pack told me, "Hey, let me slide myself off." And before I could say anything, he hoisted himself up on top of the horizontal platform of the slide and took a running hop over the ledge. Big mistake.
I think what he was trying to do was a cannonball and land with his back against the slide—that's my theory. Like they say when something bad happens: everything was in slow-motion. The guy got lots of air, and I don't think he realized that the drop is almost 90 degrees down. In mid-air, he tried to self-correct his jump—his arms and legs wildly trying to feel for anything to grab on to. It never happened.
Thinking about it as I write this, it was sort of like Wile E. Coyote when he runs off a cliff and for a split second or two, he hangs there in the air until he realizes he's screwed. Somehow, he free-fell between both slides (Drop Out has two identical slides about two feet apart)—but that’s not the worst part. He hit every iron crossbar that held up the seven-story deck.
Those aqua-green cross-beams above the point of the drop on each slide weren't there in '87. If they were, the guy never could have jumped. So the guy falls 70 feet, hitting pretty much every steel girder on the way down. The aftermath was horrific. He landed at the base of the slide with just about every bone in his body broken; compound fractures everywhere. He ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and settled for about a tenth of what he tried to sue for...
Yep, the jerk tried to sue the park and me. Luckily, there were dozens of witnesses who saw and heard me yelling at the guy to get off the slide. It was also passed along to me by one of the managers later that he was royally loaded out of his mind. Lots of near-drownings and lost bikini tops at that job, but this Drop Out story is the one everyone wanted to hear that summer.
6. Too Spooked
I work at Carowinds amusement park. They have this Halloween event called "Scare O' Winds" or something like that. Employees dress up in these scary costumes and run around, scaring the visitors. A big rule is that you cannot touch the costumed workers and they cannot touch you. This is the story of the time I broke that rule.
So my brother and I were waiting in line for a children’s ride of some sort when out of the blue, some guy dressed in a zombie costume came up to us and scared us. In fear, I screamed and punched the guy in the face as hard as I could. He screamed in pain because I had just broken his nose. Security got called and they took my picture while the authorities and amusement park security talked to my dad and the injured employee.
I can't remember what happened afterward, other than telling the officer what I did…and saying sorry to the employee.
7. Warning From Zeus
I operated rides for four years. The scariest moment I had was when lightning struck a utility pole below me (my position on the ride was about 50 feet up), knocking out the power to my ride and forcing me and my supervisors to unload the ride in the middle of a lightning storm. It might not seem like a crazy situation, but when you're that high in the sky so close to all the lightning bolts, it's actually terrifying.
8. Oscar-Worthy Performance
I worked at an amusement park not too far from where I live now. It was Halloween and me and a few other park staff got dressed up and all gored out. I worked with one of my best friends and we were doing this "bit" (if you can call it that) where I was basically being targeted by a zombie. We were having a great time until we encountered this young couple.
The boyfriend was burly while his girlfriend was small, and they were both pretty shaken. My friend nodded and started running toward me with his knife and so I screamed bloody murder as this couple was passing by. The boyfriend’s reaction was so hilarious, it’s unforgettable. He threw me and his girlfriend over his shoulder and booked it out of the park!
My friend chased us to the gate and security stopped him before he could leave. But all in all, we laughed about it and he and my friend shook hands in the end. I got a hug too, which was nice.
9. Totally Screwed
I once worked at a water park as a lifeguard supervisor. We had a riptide water ride where people could ride bodyboards on big waves. Once, while I was talking to another guard, I heard the whistle go off, which meant there was an emergency. As I approached, a guard told me that someone's foot had been impaled by a nail.
I thought he meant someone stubbed their toe—but it was so much worse than I thought. It was actually an eight-year-old girl who had stepped on a 4-inch screw leftover from the maintenance the ride had recently undergone. Right into the heel. As I saw it, I got a little light-headed, but I still did what I was trained to do. I picked her up, pulled her out of the water, and she tried moving her foot.
It started to come out but it was still in there a good three inches. I put a latex glove on it, then told her it was going to be okay as I called for paramedics. Her brothers then came up and had the audacity to say that she was ruining their day, and I had to tell those jerks to go away. When the paramedics came, they picked her up to put her on the stretcher.
When they did, my good old latex glove slid off her foot and got hooked on the screw in the foot, causing her to scream in excruciating pain. Never found out what happened after that, but she should have sued. Big payday.
10. Hollywood Horror
I was at Hollywood Horror Night and this zombie was trying to scare me...but he ended up grabbing me and tripping me. He then scratched my arm really badly and accidentally spit on me. I ended up spraining my ankle, and a Pyramid Head from Silent Hill had to carry me to the health center. That was an awful but memorable night.
11. Fly Like A Bird
I worked at an amusement park, but the most memorable incident happened before I worked there. My co-workers would all tell the story of this woman who went on this very fast and very high jet ride that hit a bird mid-flight. What ended up happening was horrifying—part of its beak went into her arm.
12. Hard Knock Life
I worked during the Halloween events for a theme park in my area and I got kicked in the face. I almost broke my nose because of it, but all I was given was a short break to wait for my nose to stop bleeding. That also counted as my only break for the evening—we got under 30 minutes of break time for an eight-hour shift.
Another guy actually got fired because he had a migraine and he had to go to the first aid area until it was over. It took something like two hours, and they fired him for it. We were also at the "maze" closest to the only place that served drinks in the park, so we had to deal with tipsy jerks fairly often. I had a lot of fun most of the time, but I had to deal with a bunch of stupid stuff like that on a nightly basis.
13. Ending It All
My cousin had a summer job at a really run-down theme park. It was probably awesome in the '50s...but not so much anymore. But that’s not the darkest part. One day, one of her co-workers dove in front of a roller coaster for no reason. He decided to end his life right in front of innocent children. Everyone said he was a normal person, but clearly not.
14. Phantom Hunters
There's an amusement park in my town that's supposedly haunted, according to some hot shot that was in my class. I called it nonsense, but he insisted it was true. So my friends and I went to go check it out—rumor had it that there was some phantom roaming the park. We were walking around and we heard something scuffling near us. That's when a freaking maniac came out of nowhere.
We freaked the heck out, but it started laughing. Turns out, it was two kids from our class who overheard our conversation and they were just trying to mess with us. After collecting ourselves, we continued the search. At some point, another person dressed exactly like them appeared, and we freaked out once again. It turned out to be the kid from my class who told us the myth.
By that point, we thought we had debunked it, so we decided to leave. On our way out, yet ANOTHER person jumped out dressed the same way. So original, we all thought. We were all tired and we knew it was yet another person who wanted to mess with us, so we pulled off the dude's robe...except there was no kid under there.
It was some weird fleshy body and it started to yell at us. We ran out of there screaming. Freaking Retroland, man.
15. Down She Goes
I used to work as a lifeguard at a small waterpark. The park was so small that during the week, some of our only customers in the first half of the day were day camps. About once every month, we would get a special needs day camp—why they thought it would be a good idea to take special needs kids to a waterpark, I don't know.
Well, I was at the top of our biggest attraction which had a platform that's about 40 to 60 feet tall and two slides; one open and one enclosed. Anyway, this one kid came up with one of the counselors. It was clear that the kid couldn't really communicate, however, I could tell he was scared to go down. Since the counselors were familiar with the park, they wanted him to go down the open slide as it is much slower and less intense than the enclosed one.
The kid was still reluctant to go down, so he stepped out of line for a bit. After some time, he finally mustered the courage to go down. It went well initially...until disaster struck. He got stuck a few feet down. He was kind of a bigger kid with a poor bathing suit and the slide hadn't been waxed in a while. Normally, when that happens, people just push off the wall and they are good the rest of the way down.
But this kid had a different first instinct—instead of pushing off, he stood up. I started panicking seeing a special needs kid standing up in the air on a slippery surface. Luckily, the counselor immediately reacted and went slowly down the slide, grabbed the kid, and together they slid down to safety. But my ordeal wasn’t over yet. The slide is poorly designed to the point that you can't really see people at the bottom.
I'm trained to send people down when I see the bottom is clear, but given the circumstances, I was distracted. By the time I noticed, it was too late...And, to make matters worse, the person I sent down was a 300-lb semi-truck who was hauling down the slide. This semi-truck of a lady literally plowed through the special needs kid at the bottom.
Luckily, the kid was alright, but that was the worst day of my first year at the park.
16. Good Riddance
The worst thing that's happened to me involved a guy spitting in my face and filming me with his phone, all while screaming that he was going to sue the company I worked for. He acted that way all because I confronted him when he tried to trip one of my performers during a Halloween event. He was tipsy, and he was apprehended. We all laughed at his mugshot the next day.
17. Pigeon Vs. Pendulum
One time, I saw a pigeon get obliterated by someone's face on one of those pendulum rides that spins and swings. It landed just in front of me, in the line, and its claw grabbed the air in its last motion as a trickle of blood ran off the edge of the ride and into the water underneath. The worst part was seeing its little pigeon lover looking out sadly from their nest which they'd decided to make in the triangular 'legs' of the ride.
18. Sky High Panic
This was the only time when I was truly scared while at work. We had a ride shut down, which was normal; however, the train was stuck in such a way that we were unable to reach two rows of it. It just so happened that in one of those rows, there was a lady who was having a severe panic or asthma attack. We couldn't calm her down or get her breathing under control, so naturally, we were freaking out.
Luckily, her mom was nearby and had an inhaler. The ride was a flying coaster so the guests were laying on their backs while they were stuck and I was able to toss the inhaler and land it right on her chest. Between the mom, the first aid personnel, and myself, we were able to get her calmed down while we waited for the maintenance crew to pull the train into place.
The whole ordeal only took 10 to 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour. People stuck on rides always seem to think their lives are in danger when in reality, they're safer in the seat than I am standing on the catwalk next to them.
19. Ruined Childhood
Worked at Six Flags as a sound technician, so I spent most of my time backstage with the characters and actors. One time, I walked backstage and what I saw was so bizarre, I’ve never been to forget it. I found a headless Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo getting it on. Their costumes weren't off, just unzipped. Not exactly a horror story, but definitely scarring.
20. Feeling Helpless
I worked at Kings Island on a ride called Diamondback. One day, the train came back and this kid (who was 10 or 12 years old) was completely unconscious. He was slumped over in his seat being held up by his mother. For those of you who don't know, the seats on Diamondback are lap bars, so this kid was literally folded in half, just slumped over.
Also, the ride is smooth as silk, so he didn't hit his head or anything. Anyway, we immediately called 9-1-1, and while we waited for the authorities to arrive, all we could legally do was offer a subpar first aid kit (two gauze pads, a box of band-aids, etc.) and water, since the staff was not trained to provide immediate care.
I had to stand there completely helpless while I watched his parents try to wake him up. Their story was horrifying. They said he passed out while going up the first hill (which was 230 feet high) and they had to hold him up to keep him from flopping around throughout the entire ride. When the first aid cart got there, they lifted him off the seat, put him onto a stretcher, and wheeled him off the ride.
Thankfully, he regained consciousness near the entrance. My area supervisor asked us all if we were okay to keep working and he said we could all go home if we weren't feeling well. It was terrifying. I thought the kid was dead and the image of him slumped in his seat is still etched in my mind. That memory isn't the worst part though.
Standing there, legally unable to do anything even if I knew how, while the mother was crying, just trying to get a response, is the most haunting memory I have and I think it will be for a while.
21. Seeing Brown
My first job out of high school was at a theme park. Nothing crazy, just a lot of poop. Kids would poop on rides, adults would poop on rides...it was a daily poop fest. At the time, I was under 18, so it was always awesome when it happened because I had to shut the ride down and call in for clean-up instead of doing it myself.
Diarrhea on a rollercoaster is not fun for anyone on the ride.
22. In A Trance
I used to host graduation parties at a waterpark. This one kid had the bright idea to do a ton of substances (don't know what kind) behind the putt-putt windmill. A short while later, a hypnotist came as part of the entertainment for the school's all-night party. This kid happened to get hypnotized while under the influence. Big mistake.
I'm not an expert on hypnotism, but I know it takes a pretty heavy toll on your brain. The consequences were seriously disturbing. Shortly into his hypnotic state, he went nuts—shaking, convulsions, the works. He looked like he was in a freaking zombie movie. Scary as heck. Then, at one point, he blacked out. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and was apparently in critical condition for a few days.
It happened in front of the whole school. The party was canceled early. There was tons of left-over pizza for me and my co-workers, plus time and a half pay. SWEET night.
23. A Near Miss
Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, during the mid-2000s—a severely handicapped kid strapped into an electric wheelchair hit forward when he shouldn't have and flipped into the Men In Black ride vehicle. He ends up completely upside down, semi-pinned under his chair. Chaos then ensued. They pulled the kid out and he was okay, but everyone was terrified when it happened.
24. Satisfying The Itch
I work in retail at Adventureland in Des Moines, Iowa, if any of you are familiar with the place. I'm loaded with whack stories. We have these slushie fountains in certain stores, and I happened to be working in the waterpark area one day when this chubby little kid came in, shirtless. I wish I could unsee what he did next.
He went up to the slushie machine, took a straw, and unwrapped the paper off it. He then proceeded to scratch his stomach with the straw before putting it back in with the rest of the straws. It was actually pretty gross.
25. Quick Thinking
I was working in Legoland in Denmark on a train ride. There were two of us per shift and I was standing in the line, waiting for my partner to come back with the train. All of a sudden, someone from the line called me over and said that there was a boy who wasn't breathing. I quickly ran over to the boy and saw his father completely frozen, just crying his heart out. I yelled to the food stand across the path and told them to call the emergency crew.
After some time, I decided I couldn't wait for them and started to give him mouth to mouth. I had the kid out for a solid minute and I was starting to really freak out when, all of a sudden, he slowly started to wake up and breathe again. The father sank down in relief that his boy survived, then the emergency crew came and got the boy to a hospital.
The next week, they came again and I was thanked by the boy's entire family. They said they were extremely grateful for what I'd done, and they even tried to offer me money, but I refused. I was just happy that the boy was alive.
26. It Gives Me Shivers
I worked at Paramount Park several years back as a lifeguard. The grossest thing I remember is that the giant wave pool is not drained or refilled. When the wave pool was turned off at the end of the night, the sight was utterly gruesome. You could see sunscreen oil slicks on the surface and all of the band-aids and hair ties would settle into a giant disgusting mass. A few times, I saw guards go in to pick out money, but I can assure you it wasn't worth it.
After the waterpark closed, I filled in on ride duty. One time, I filled in as a height-checker because the girl who did it before me had her arm broken by a psycho dad who tried to take her wristbands, which were used to indicate kids' heights. Apparently, he tried to grab them for his kid, who was too short to ride safely.
27. What The Heck, Mom!
I was working at Cedar Point when this mom begged her son about 9 or 10 to go on the Millennium Force with her. He was nervous and did not want to ride, but he was also nervous about waiting without her. So he agreed and sat down. When the ride started, it kicked them out really fast and I could hear him screaming. I lost it when his train came back and he had Einstein hair plus the look of "What the heck, mom!" on his face.
I couldn't stop laughing. Poor kid. I hope that didn't ruin roller coasters for him.
28. Well, That's Uncomfortable
I worked at a theme park for seven years, and I was often stationed at the water park area. We have a slide that is about 100 feet tall, and it rockets single riders straight down into a lengthy trough at the bottom. Last summer, we had an issue where the water levels were incorrect—for a few weeks it was too low, and guests were complaining about their backs getting scratched.
So the plumbers raised the water level; however, being that this slide rockets its riders at an ungodly speed, this created an unexpected—and memorable—effect. It became a sort-of involuntary high-speed "bidet" for people who rode the slide. One woman came down and just laid in the trough, waving one of the lifeguards down.
When they reached her, she was screaming that a massive amount of water went up the wrong end. We called the paramedics and they had to take her to a hospital.
29. Six Flags, Red Flags
My dad worked the Log Flume at Six Flags as a teenager, and his boss refused to give him a water break even though it was ridiculously hot. He ended up fainting and he landed face-first onto the metal lap bar, knocking most of his front teeth out. He ended up suing Six Flags, and he got full dental reconstruction. They also paid for his college.
30. Parenting Fail
My friend Rob used to work at Walt Disney World in Florida. He was standing at the entrance of the line and had to tell a family that their child was too short for the ride. The parents could ride it if they wanted to, but one of them would have to stay with the child. They said okay and walked away. Well, the child was young enough to be wearing one of those child-proof leashes.
And, maybe 20 minutes later, he saw the kid a little ways away...by himself...tied up to a light pole like a dog. Rob decided to wait a minute before calling it in—he thought maybe they were in the bathroom (not that that made it okay). 15 minutes later, the kid was still tied up to the light pole, so he decided to call security.
It took security maybe another 15 minutes to get there, so the kid at that point had been tied up for at least an hour. They eventually arrived, saw the kid, and said, "Hey! Wanna come with us? We're gonna take you somewhere fun!" The kid was excited and agreed to go with them. Rob's shift wasn't going to end for another three hours, and he didn't see the family come back for that entire time. Well, they ended up paying the price.
The next guy who came and replaced Rob, however, did see them come back and they freaked out. By the time the parents found a manager and figured out what happened, their child was already with Social Services. They were from out of state. They had to go back without their child and return at a later date for a court hearing.
31. Squirrel Crossing
I worked at a small-town amusement park in Iowa. I ran the rollercoaster pretty much every day that summer, so I got to witness quite a few things firsthand. The one that sticks out the most HAS to be the time when the coaster came back with a huge blood splat on the front of it along with its horrified passengers. The front seat had a pair of 15-year-old girls with bits of blood and hair all over them and they were crying their eyes out.
The people in line were about as confused as I was initially until a kid from the middle car jumped out laughing as if he had just witnessed the coolest thing in his entire life. He told everyone that the rollercoaster had run over a small group of squirrels on one of the drops and it appeared to have hit every single one of them.
The ride was closed for about 20 minutes while another employee and I cleaned the entire car. For the rest of the day, I was forced to explain that we did NOT run a person over. To this day, I still wait for it to happen again randomly because I'm constantly hearing from my riders that they nearly hit a squirrel.
32. Under The Wave
I was at California's Great America one day with my mom and a few friends. We were in the wave pool having fun when all of the sudden, whistles started blowing and everybody had to get out of the water. When I realized what was happening, my blood ran cold. I saw the lifeguards pull out a kid who was around four years old (probably too young to be in the wave pool in the first place) and start performing CPR on him.
They were performing CPR for a long time and his mom and little sister were just standing there crying their eyes out. The mom kept screaming, "My baby, my baby!" People were watching for about 10 minutes before the staff made people leave. You could just tell by watching it all that he was dead and their efforts were futile. It was so sad. I was freaked out for a while.
33. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
I think it was one of the Dungeons, maybe the Hamburg Dungeon. One of the maintenance guys decided to work on the drop ride and didn't realize there was still a cart live. It took his head clean off.
34. Look Out!
There is a real short, Wild West-themed rollercoaster that my girlfriend and I were going to ride. We got on, but didn't strap in. Then, the ride attendant, with no sense of urgency, ordered everyone off the ride. I did get off, but on the "wrong" side, while my girlfriend was on the right one. So I crossed back over to be with her.
My hand was still on the rollercoaster as I made my way over, and the rollercoaster that went before us (maybe 30 seconds before we got on) came rocketing backward to the station at maybe 30 to 40 mph. It scared the living heck out of me. One rather large gentleman didn't get off in time and got taken to the hospital. It was the closest I've been to getting seriously injured.
35. What A Brat
My wife worked at Cedar Point as one of those picture takers at the entrance. At the end of the day, a 12-year-old girl came up to her booth and asked to see her picture, so my wife gave her the little Viewmaster device. The girl looked at it and handed it back...and then proceeded to pepper spray my wife in the face and run away.
She didn't even take the picture...she just straight up attacked her. No idea why.
36. I've Got The Spins
When I was at Universal Studios Orlando, we had a situation where a kid got pretty messed up on the Cat in the Hat ride. The way the ride works is that you sit in a carriage that has no door; just a small opening on either side. It spins around and only spins in one direction. Anyway, we always loaded the guests in a way that when it spun, the smallest guest would be pushed into the largest, instead of being pushed out of the car.
Well, one employee messed up and did the opposite. It was a total disaster. The cart spun, and the kid plopped right out onto the tracks. The mom reached in to grab her son, and when the cart spun a second time, it dragged the kid along with it under the tracks. Ride operators e-stopped the ride, and it was promptly closed for the day.
The spinning mechanism was removed for a while, and safety nets were added to the cars after that. I think they redesigned the cars with doors and re-added the spin since the incident. It was probably a good five years ago when this happened.
37. Plane Surfing
I worked at an amusement park near my city for a month one summer. There was this one ride that was pretty much just a bunch of fake airplanes that slowly rose up and turned in a circle slowly. Anyone could go on it, babies, pregnant ladies, etc. Each one could hold about 250 lbs. One day, I finished checking all the seatbelts and proceeded to click the start button.
Now, from my operating booth, there was one airplane I couldn't see. While I walked to my booth and started the ride, some kid (around six or seven) decided it would be fun to undo his seatbelt. But he didn't stop there. The kid decided to climb out of the plane and, by the time I saw him, the plane had risen about 10 feet in the air.
He didn't decide just to crawl onto the ground though— he was standing on the dang wing of the fake airplane. I freaked out because the kid looked like he was gonna fall, so I slammed the emergency stop button. Usually, the emergency stop button brings the ride back down to the ground, but this time, it just stopped spinning and the planes just hung in mid-air, frozen as the kid stood on the wing.
I had to call maintenance to lower the planes and I seriously thought the kid was going to fall. His parents said nothing to him and got mad at me for not keeping him in his seat.
38. Can't Hold It In
I was visiting Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and was stopped right at the gate of the Chaos ride since all of the cars were full. Little did I know this would secure the front row seats for the best part of my entire trip. A man who had gotten on the ride just before me had placed his video camera on the operator's booth so he wouldn't have to take it with him on the ride.
As the ride was starting up, one of the operators noticed it and got the bright idea to start filming, thinking, "Well, this will be a nice memory that the father and son won't have to put any work into preserving at all." She was so, so wrong. Halfway through the ride, the owner of the camera lost his breakfast, lunch, and what looked like dinner from the night before.
Seriously, this guy had a lot in there and a lot came spewing out of him. Before the operator with the camera realized what had happened, he stopped barfing. She quietly closed the camera and put it away as the ride slowly came to a stop. The man apologized for the mess, gathered his camera, and left with his son in embarrassment. None of the operators said a word about the fact that it was on film.
All I could imagine was him sitting his family down to watch the home movie of their trip to Cedar Point. He was probably like, "Hmm, I don't remember filming this...Oh God! Oh God, no!" as his entire family watched the recorded history of his weak stomach.
39. The "Code V"
For a spring semester, I was an intern at Walt Disney World. I worked in a fast-food restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Basically, you're at the "happiest place on earth" but serving the angriest people because they're all exhausted and hungry. Anyway, one day, I was working in the front of the house during a storm. Well, customers like to complain when the weather is bad and ruining their vacations.
I get it, I guess...but some take it to the extremes. Now, on this particular day, the dining room was PACKED with people just trying to hide out from the rain. I got a call on my radio saying "Code V" which is the code for vomit. Being the intern, I got to clean it up. Luckily, they had the stuff that looks like pencil shavings that just soak the mess up, and I just had to sweep it.
I went to the table and this poor little girl was in a high chair with the mess all over the table and the floor. I got it all cleaned up and asked the manager if I could run to the nearest gift shop and get her a new t-shirt (Disney is awesome like that.). I came back and no joke, 15 minutes later, I got another "Code V"—AT THE SAME TABLE.
This time, the mess was just on the table, but I noticed it was not located in front of the little girl. I didn't question it and just cleaned it again. I started talking to the mother (who was very overweight and quite older) and then came to the realization that it was the mother who had thrown up BOTH TIMES; not the daughter.
She said she "didn't know" it was coming the first time, and the second time, she felt it but didn't want to lose her spot at her table. So basically, I learned that day that people will do anything to keep their spot.
40. The Price Of Ignorance
Many moons ago, I worked for a major theme park here in Orlando. I worked at a Log Flume ride. Now here's the thing folks: there are rules to riding rides. If someone who works there tells you to ride a certain way, there will be no issues and you will be safe. If you ignore those rules, bad things could potentially happen—and in this case, they did happen.
This one guest was riding the flume, and instead of sitting all the way back and holding on to the handrails as they were directed to do, he scooted all the way forward and wrapped his legs and arms around the seat in front of him. He did this right before they went down the final drop. As a result, the seat broke and the person was jerked back suddenly. He instantly broke his back.
41. Human Floatie
At Walt Disney World Florida, my family went to Typhoon Lagoon for the day. They have a "ride" where you get fins, a mask, and a snorkel and you just swim through a pool with a reef, fish, and cute little sharks. I was a teen and having such a good time with my mom. We're both strong swimmers and we were literally swimming through the ride, dropping the gear, getting back in line, and going again.
That is, until a guy who got in the pool behind me didn't know how to swim, panicked, and did what any drowning person does. He grabbed the nearest thing and tried to stand on top of it...which was teenaged me. Thankfully, a lifeguard saw it all and hopped in to help. I didn't drown or really get hurt, but those few seconds of having someone hold me underwater were terrifying.
42. Too Much To Handle
Every seventh grade class at my school had a Physics Day at Geauga Lake near the end of the year. This was meant to be fun, but it also allowed us to apply the formulas and calculations we had learned. My partner and I were next in line to ride an old, rickety wooden rollercoaster when the next set of cars pulled up. When I looked up, my blood ran cold. There was a very heavy-set young girl passed out in her seat.
Immediately, the staff jumped into action; but due to her size, they struggled for several minutes before eventually pulling her free and dropping her on her face. We later learned that she had died because she suffered an asthma attack during the ride and was unable to access her inhaler. I still think about her nearly 20 years later every time we go to an amusement park.
43. A Tragic Loss
The first time I went to Six Flags over Magic Mountain, an employee walked onto the tracks of The Revolution Roller Coaster and was struck by the train. He ended up dying. I was in a different section of the park when it happened but we knew something was up when they closed half of the park and saw news choppers circling above.
Once we got home, we heard all about it on the news. At the time, they were reporting it as an intentional act—that man planned to end his life that way.
44. Thrashed Around
The airplane ride is super dangerous...I got pretty seriously injured when I was five years old because I rode on it when it had a hydraulic valve failure. It lifted me up to the top, then just free-fell to the bottom, and the boom struck the ground. It did this twice. Then, it did the same thing again, but only lifted me a couple of feet.
This went on for a couple of minutes before the operator noticed. I still have back pains today from that.
45. Should Have Sued
This lady in front of me passed out and smashed her head against the metal rail. I had been a lifeguard and was literally right behind her, so I did the only thing I could think of—I took off my brand new shirt (I was wearing a bikini top underneath) and placed it under her bleeding skull. All the employees just stood there and watched. It was the first ride of the day.
I wound up fighting with the front office to get my money back and just left.
46. Avoiding A Lawsuit
I was at Legoland when I was seven years old, and I was waiting in line for a ride. This little kid was running through the line and his mom was doing nothing to supervise him. When I was standing near one of those metal "You must be this tall to ride" signs, the kid pushed it onto me and it hit me right on the side of my forehead. I immediately started bleeding a lot.
Naturally, my parents were furious and confronted the kid's mom, who said that I must have done something to make him push it at me. What a witch. I ended up having to go to the emergency room to get the skin glued back together. The next time I visited, they had rubber measuring poles. I like to think it was because of me.
47. Pure Evil
Brisbane, Australia; 1987. Water Park. Some vandals had stuck razor blades into the seams of the water slides with chewing gum. I got sliced on my leg as I slid past—but that wasn’t the worst part. The chlorine in the water stung my leg in a way I never imagined. They managed to put razor blades in at least three of the slides and about 20 of us were cut.
The kids who were planting the razor blades were taken in by the authorities and the water park had to shut down that day. I still have a fear of water slides today.
48. Shelly In Shock
This story has managed to stick with me for a long time. I was on break and the park was hot; like 94 degrees out with the humidity squeezing my neck. My friend was a park medic who only had been working for about four months... let's call her Shelly. Well, we were talking and an alarm came in over the radio saying that a guest had passed out next to her child.
She immediately left our conversation and took off running. The next time I saw her, I was clocking out and she was walking over to me, crying. I asked her what was wrong—and what she told me was chilling. An old lady came to the park with her granddaughter. The grandmother was waiting on a bench while her daughter played in a splash zone.
The grandmother collapsed at one point and the daughter ran over just as the woman started bleeding from her eyes, nose, mouth, and fingernails. Shelly arrived at the scene moments later, and a manager was by her side in panic. Shelly immediately checked her vitals as the girl grabbed her arm and begged her not to let her grandma die. The grandmother died shortly after. Shelly quit that day.
49. What A Bugger
I was riding the Superman ride at Darien Lake near Buffalo, NY, and got hit right in the eye with a bug. I was wearing my contacts and upon impact, my eye was burning so bad. I was alone at the park. When the ride came to a stop, the pain was only getting worse. I had to crawl out of my seat and wave to a worker who didn't speak much English. 20 minutes later, help arrived and they washed out my eye.
I couldn't find my contact afterward, but I was too flustered to care. It was so much worse than I thought. I called my ride and went to the ER. Long story short, the impact with the bug had torn my cornea open and pieces of the bug and my lost contact were embedded in my eye. The doctor said my eye would heal and eventually push the pieces out. Tons of antifungal eye drops and numbing drops were given to help me.
A week later, I went back to the doctor and he said my eye healed over the pieces. I went into surgery the next morning.
50. First Time's A Trauma
I was a ride operator at Carowinds and there was this little girl who was absolutely terrified of the ride I operated because it was old and super bumpy. Her family had summer passes so they came quite often. and every single time they rode my ride, she opted out of it. Well, one day they managed to convince her to get on the thing, so I gave the signal and let 'er rip.
Well, this ride is one heck of a jerker, and so on the final turn, it banked so hard that the little girl slammed her head on the inside of the cart and split her ear wide open. She bled all over the seats, and it was terrible. I felt so sorry for her but we weren't even allowed to help due to liability issues. All we could do was give the mom some towels and clear the ride while we waited on first aid to arrive.
The poor girl must have been so traumatized after that ride.