Amusement Park Employees Share Their Horror Stories
Photo by Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Theme park rides have a reputation for being unsafe (though statistically, they are). Remember that scene in Final Destination 3 when the roller coaster went off the rails? That actually happens, and amusement park employees are left with quite the traumatizing mess when it does.

eldonk asked, Amusement park employees of Reddit, what is your horror story?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.


When a rider craps themselves on a 100 degree day...


I operated a few different roller coasters during my fun-filled summers at this amusement park, but most of my horror stories come from one ride in particular. The train was one of the ones that you had to step into, with a lap bar restraint.

On one particular day, it was over 100* F and the ride had been running as usual for most of the morning. As we were loading the train, a guest came up to me to say that there was an awful smell coming from the front car, and my stomach immediately dropped. Usually with these types of complaints, we'd find that the previous rider had one too many slushees before riding and had lost their lunch. Gross, but we were used to cleaning that kind of stuff.

I started approaching the front car and immediately called for my coworker to direct everyone out of the train and back into the line, and to call our supervisor to close the ride. Instead of a normal puke situation, I found a greenish-brown liquid spread all throughout the front car, from the seat down to the floor. Whoever was the last person to ride the ride had pooped all over themselves and hadn't bothered to tell anyone about it.

Cleaning human feces is one thing - it's absolutely disgusting but it can be done. But trying to clean up human diarrhea in 100+ degree weather, off of the floor of a car where you had to kneel down and stick your head into the car to reach the very front, is a situation that I never would have imagined even in my worst nightmares. The ride was down for the rest of the day, and it took over an hour to clean everything out of the car before we could start really sanitizing it.


Human beings are the worst. I'd have torn it up.


I was a caricature artist for Six Flags, and one day a dad and his son came up and wanted a drawing of the two of them.

Now the way caricature pricing worked was we would charge per person in the drawing. The father and son wanted a simple black and white headshot of the two of them, and a black and white headshot was $10, so for the two of them it would be $20, before tax. I very clearly explained this to them, asking several times "Are you ok with the ending price?" , and they excitedly accepted.

Fast forward to me ringing them up at the register, and I tell them the total: 24 something. The father's happy and friendly demeanor quickly dissipates, and he begins arguing with me about pricing. I calmly explain the situation with pricing and apologize if I wasn't clear enough, and gently remind him that he understood and agreed otherwise I wouldn't have done the drawing. Big mistake. He gets angrier and starts yelling at me, cursing me out for lying and overcharging them "to put a few more coins in my pocket".

He accuses me of preying on parents and their children, thinking I can take advantage of them because "they're stupid f*ckers." He tries to take the drawing without paying, and when I hold it back and tell him he can't, he throws a $10 bill at me and snarls that that's all he's going to pay, that I'm worthless and my drawing isn't even good and doesn't deserve any more than that. I'm really upset at this point, and hand him the drawing wishing him a good day. "F*CK YOU" he yells in response. The whole time his son is standing there, looking embarrassed and terrified.

The dad proceeds to pace back and forth in front of my stand, alternating between coming back to the counter and yelling at me and chasing customers away, screaming at them about how I'm "stealing money" and how the stand is "a huge f*ckin' rip off."

Thankfully his charade lasted all of 20 minutes and police finally got him out of there. Left me pretty shaken though, I had to take my break early and cried over my lunch.


A little science can go a long way - chlorine gas is lethal.


A few years ago a smallish theme park in my state made some kind of mistake when chlorinating the wave pools and made a bunch of chlorine gas and 26 people had to be taken to the hospital.


Sounds both creepy and amazing.

I was working security at a theme park when I was 18. One evening one of the roller coasters that was stopped in the station got rear ended by another. There were some injuries, nothing severe thankfully. I did however end up staying up all night, after the park had closed, sitting on the coaster to ensure no lookie loos or news media tried to get access to the cars. It was dark. Creepy, I was 18 in a closed, deserted amusement park.




One of my supervisors got fired for shooting up in the supplies closet then taking a golf cart and accidentally running over a child. He was rehired after he went to Rehab and then tried to sell drugs to the staff every day.


This could have ended badly.


Lifeguarding at this lazy river tube pool, basically just tell kids to get back in their tubes all day. These two guys like 30 years old are arguing in Polish or something floating all around the lazy river. They are on lap two or three of arguing and really going at it. One of them pulls a knife out of his trunks and stabs the other guys tube. He walked around to the end with his popped tube while guy with the knife proceeds to just hop all the different fences to get outside the park and is not seen again.


When the sh*t hits the fan... literally. Oh, but, breastfeeding.

Many moons ago I was a assistant director of training security at a park known for its cartoon mice. While doing the walk around the park with a group of new hires I got a call about a possible indecent exposure incident at Fantasyland. Knowing that was the most popular place for children in the park (so much more than Toontown) I rushed the new hires through the backstage area to cut travel time. While we were backstage behind the Small World ride one of my trainees pointed out someone dropping their pants and leaning against the building. Before we had a chance to close the distance between us and the guy a blast of brownish yellow liquid exploded outwards in a fan pattern. I stopped the group, got on the radio and informed them of the bio incident then slowly made my way to the guy. When I was about ten feet from him he looked up, smiled, then blasted the wall again. Without a word he pulled up his pants and started to walk away. His pants were soaked. Before he was able to leave the area, Anaheim police apprehended him. After questioning him they called for an ambulance. upon talking with the police sergeant, found out he was a well known homeless man in neighboring city of Orange. The kicker though was, he wasn't the subject of the initial call. When we finally got to Fantasyland we found out that someone was complaining about a woman breast feeding. Three and a half years of working there and that is one of the events that still feels fresh in my mind.


Sesame Street after dark.


Used to work at an amusement park that had a section featuring actors dressed as characters from a certain family friendly show.

The actors for this area were almost exclusively teenagers and were notorious for f*cking all around the dressing room/bathroom/backstage areas.

This all culminated in two of the actors being fired for getting in a fight during a show, because a certain cookie loving monster made a sex tape with a certain Spanish speaking monster who was dating a certain television loving monster.

Not really scary for me, but i think a few children were traumatized seeing a costume character's head ripped off during a show.


Some birthday.

I once had to height check a girl who was both mentally and physically disabled. This is just as they're about to get on the ride too as someone else previously didn't bother to check her height to begin with. So I politely ask her and her carer to come and check her height after lots of "no, no, no, no"'s, and as luck would have it, she wasn't tall enough, of course.

She didn't take it well and started screaming saying she's going to ride no matter what, and after leaving to let the carer tell her to get out - she finally left her seat after about 10 minutes (which is an eternity in roller coaster time) I see her walking off. I mean, yeah it sucks but I'm just doing my job, I'm just relieved that she's finally going, but then as she's walking through the exit, she turns around and screams "I HOPE YOU DIE". So that was nice. It was hilarious but still soul crushing at the same time. Also it was my birthday. I quit not long after.


They... haven't "found all of him?"


Was working the first shift opening the park and doing dry runs with a roller coaster. Well...when it came back there was obvious impact on the front car. One of the groundskeepers had headphones in listening to music working through his shift. He died instantly. The following week was a nightmare and I still don't think to this day they have found all of him.


Number 3 WTF?


A huge storm was coming. I was operating the railroad at the time. Unfortunately, we left the station right before they were able to call us to close the ride. So as we are on our way, suddenly there was a huge downpour. Upon arriving at the station, we were immediately directed to an employee shelter. Now this is where even more of the interesting stuff happened.

1) People were stranded at the station away from the entrance, wanting to ride back. (I had specifically warned that the ride can close at any time before people boarded)

2) We were told that we cannot suggest any shelter because that would make the park responsible.

3) A baby in a stroller was abandoned in the storm near the kid area.


Empty. Your. Pockets. You're not an exception to gravity or inertia.


I worked on the Dueling Dragons at Universal Orlando when in college. For those who don't know, the Dueling Dragons were two separate coasters that "dueled" and had several near misses with each other. They were pretty unique at the time and were super fun.

As you can imagine, Universal told people to empty their pockets before they rode so that their phones and shit wouldn't fly out and smack somebody on the other coaster at 60 MPH. Of course, many times people would ignore this because they're lazy and stupid.

I was working one day when the ride shut down completely. Change had flown out of someone's pocket and hit a guy in the eye, leaving him blind in that eye. The tragic part... the guy was already blind in his other eye. Now the guy is 100% blind.

They didn't duel anymore after that, and the ride was left permanently much lamer. I still feel for the poor blind guy... but the irony is comedic in a dark sort of way.

Edit: Since a lot of people are asking, this happened in 2011.


Dodging go-karts and watching a heart attack. Lovely.


I worked for one summer at a Nascar Speedpark and it was probably the craziest summer of my life. So many injuries but nothing ever happening. When working the go-kart tracks if there was a wreck you were expected to run across the tracks dodging cars and dislodge the stuck car all before more cars zoomed past. The worst day though was on the Fourth of July watching a man have a heart attack because I was the first person to get to the car when it stopped and had to wait with him until an ambulance showed up.


Seems like an overreaction but okay.


Finally, one I can answer!

I was working in an amusement park as a 19-year-old, and was on the turnstile talking with guests and checking everyone off. About 3 in the afternoon, a very young girl, about 6 or so, came up with her father, both in swimwear. Not unusual, since there's a water park attached to the regular park. However, there is a rule in the park that you have to be wearing a shirt to ride the ride, and the girl was in a two piece suit. I informed the both of them that the girl needed a shirt, and we would be happy to save their spot in line if she had a shirt she could run and grab. Her father raised his voice and loudly asked why i was "looking at his little girl" and shouted about me being a pedophile. I backed off and told him he misunderstood, but he kept shouting back to the line behind him about how i was a "sicko," and only stopped when park security arrived a few minutes later. One of two times i felt like I was actually in danger, the dude was furious.


Oh no, not Fabio!


I'm not an employee but was a resident of the area at the time - at Busch Gardens (VA) a few birds got in the way of a moving coaster train during its grand opening and hit the super model Fabio in the face. The news was there to cover the inaugural celebrity ride, but all they'd show for a while was the train returning to the station and Fabio with a face full of blood.


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