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Top 10 Stories That Make You NEVER Want to Go to an Amusement Park

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Michael Wynands.

Some of the scariest theme park horror stories are about accidents at amusement parks. Whether it’s a woman falling 75-feet to her death at Six Flags Over Texas, the Mindbender Incident at Galaxyland or an employee death at Disneyland, these are some of the deadliest amusement park rides and some of the deadliest theme park accidents. WatchMojo counts down ten of the biggest ride malfunctions at theme parks.

Special thanks to our users Eric Falch, Andrew A. Dennison, Lucas Salusky, Emma Martin, MichaelMaikeru64, Tsurakii, urbanwatch69, Matthew Galezowski, governmentfree, chelseycastro90, Noah Bigsby and Spideyfan-0913 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Worst%20Theme%20Park%20Horror%20Stories


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Script written by Michael Wynands.

Top 10 Stories That Make You NEVER Want to Go to an Amusement Park

In some parks, the only real theme… is “horror.” Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stories That Make You Never Want go to an Amusement Park.

For this list, we’re investigating some of the most harrowing true stories to ever come out of Amusement Parks and Theme Parks from around the globe. Be warned that we may be discussing some truly upsetting accidents, that involve dismemberment and death. You won’t be hearing about any urban legends today though… these are verified accounts of real events.

#10: A 75-Foot Drop at Six Flags Over Texas (2013)
Arlington, Texas, USA

Have you ever sat down on a ride and had the distinct feeling that the safety bar across your lap wasn’t as secure or snug as it should be? Usually the ride takes off, and your fear is quickly replaced with exhilaration. Sadly, for Rosa Ayala-Gaona Esparza that fear was totally justified. There was apparently some discussion as to whether her safety restraint was securely locked before takeoff that day at Six Flags Over Texas, but ultimately, the machine operator okayed it. During the ride, she was flung from the cart and fell 75 feet to her death from the rollercoaster known as “Texas Giant.” Worse, even, her body was partially severed during the fall.

#9: Employee Fatality at Disneyland (1974)
Anaheim, California, USA

For many families, there’s no place more magical and wholesome than a Disney park. But as the tragic death of a young boy following a gator attack at Disney World proves, even the “happiest place on earth” can’t always guarantee your safety. Meanwhile, in 1974, a young Disneyland California cast member, Deborah Gail Stone, died while performing her duties as hostess of America Sings, a musical animatronic attraction. On the 9th day of the attraction’s operation, Stone was caught and crushed between a rotating wall and fixed one. Sadly by the time emergency crews got to her, the young high school grad student had succumbed to her severe injuries.

#8: The Mindbender Incident at Galaxyland (1986)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The Mindbender, part of the Galaxyland Amusement Park in Canada’s West Edmonton Mall, holds the prestigious title as the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster. But as Icarus knows all too well… those who climb too high, are bound to fall. Not only did the Mindbender’s reputation take a serious hit when this fatal accident occurred in 1986, but the unfortunate incident also happened during a live concert, ensuring a large audience was there to witness the event. Missing bolts from the left-side wheels allowed a car to derail and crash, tragically killing three people. The accident prompted a thorough investigation and instigated numerous new safety and operation protocols, and the ride is still operational today.

#7: A Truly Intense “Mission: SPACE” at Disney World (2005-06)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA

The “Mission: Space” attraction at Disney World’s Epcot park quickly earned itself a reputation when it opened in 2003. While many love the extreme thrills offered by the ride, it’s proved too much for others. Between 2005 and 2006, just under 200 riders required medical assistance. Symptoms included nausea, vomiting, dizziness and in more extreme cases, difficulties breathing, arrhythmic heart palpitations and chest pain. In 2005 and 2006 respectively, a 4-year-old boy and 49-year-old woman died after going on the ride. While Disney was ruled not to be at fault in both cases, they did alter the ride after the 2006 incident, offering a tamer version alongside the original.

#6: A Shocking Day at Kings Island (1991)
Mason, Ohio, USA

Theme parks are designed to be exciting. But electrifying? Not so much. On one truly unlucky day in June 1991, this park claimed the lives of 3 people in two separate incidents. In a case that makes for a solid argument against being a good Samaritan, two men were electrocuted to death by a faulty underwater pump. How? They’d gone into a pond to retrieve a third man who had fallen in. Of the three, only the third man survived. That same day, a woman, fell from a ride to her death. Considering there’s a cemetery on the property, and in light of these deaths, many believe the park to be haunted.

#5: A Deadly Crash at Expoland (2007)
Suita, Japan

A leftover from the 1970 Osaka World Fair, it was once considered one of Japan’s most popular theme parks. Now, all anyone seems to remember about Expoland… is the incident. In 2007, the Fujin Raijin II roller coaster derailed, claiming the life of a 19 year old, and injuring another 19 people in the process. A formal investigation revealed that the roller coaster had been improperly maintained. The park closed temporarily then re-opened briefly, only to shut down for good in 2009. The owners simply couldn’t regain the public trust they had lost.

#4: The Deadly Ride at Battersea Park (1972)
Battersea, London, England

Battersea Park is a 200-acre area of green space in London, England, that’s been reinvented numerous times over the years. Nowadays, it’s a public space with sports complexes, a boating area, walking paths and more, but from 1951-1974, it was also home to the Battersea Fun Fair, an amusement park with various attractions. The crowning gem of the Fun Fair was The Big Dipper, a thrilling wooden rollercoaster, but the ‘70s were hard on the ride. First, it experienced a serious fire in 1970. Then in 1972, the Big Dipper suffered a critical train detachment that took the lives of 5 children. Ultimately, the fun fair closed two years later.

#3: Medieval Siege Weapon at Middlemoor Waterpark (2002)
Woolavington, Somerset, England

For the most part, Middlemoor Waterpark is a humble establishment. They have a man-made lake where you can partake in watersports and a go-kart track, among a few other odds and ends. The ill-fated catapult, however, was not technically a Middlemoor offering, but rather a “visiting attraction” or extreme sport installation being hosted at the Waterpark. Having operated with minimal injuries for a couple of years, the inevitable happened in 2002 when 19-year-old Oxford university student Kostydin Yankov missed the net and died. The trebuchet owners were charged with – and acquitted of – manslaughter.

#2: Various Accidents at Action Park (1980-87)
Vernon, New Jersey, USA

The story of Action Park in New Jersey could fill the squeamish with enough doubt to avoid amusement parks for the rest of their lives. 6 people are known to have died at the park, in a variety of ways. Rides fatally malfunctioned, faulty wiring delivered lethal electrocutions and subpar lifeguarding resulted in multiple drownings. Local doctors allegedly called it “Class Action Park”, due to the high number of injured patients they received courtesy of the establishment, while the original park had a reputation for under-age and poorly trained staff and lax to downright negligent safety standards.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable, or in this case, dishonorable mentions:
- Rocket Launch Simulator Gets Too Real at Overseas Chinese Town (2010)
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

- Banzai Pipeline Collapse at Waterworld California (1997)
Concord, California, USA

- El Pendulo Mechanical Arm Failure at Tibidabo Amusement Park (2010)
Barcelona, Spain

#1: The Haunted Castle at Six Flags Great Adventure (1984)
Jackson, New Jersey, USA

Haunted Castles are always a bad idea… because when something scary happens… you never know whether it’s all part of the fun or a life-threatening malfunction. Well, in 1984, when smoke started building up in this spooky attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, people made the right call and fled for their lives. Sadly, 8 teenagers did not make it out in time, becoming trapped in the blazing structure. Their burns were so severe that they could only be identified with the help of dental records and jewelry. Adding insult to fatal injury... due to legal technicalities, Six Flags escaped any and all legal responsibility.

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