A guy jumped from the parachute ride and committed suicide. I grew up going on that ride and it was terrifying! It was this tiny little latch at the top of that cage to keep you in. And it was all shaky in the wind.
Clean-up at the park was pretty disgusting. We'd pretty much just throw water on the blood/vomit until it was rinsed away (maybe we used bleach water for the blood, I can't remember). No gloves or anything for cleanup. Then we wouldn't let anyone sit in that car for the rest of the day, but as far as I knew, they didn't do a more thorough cleaning at any point.
I used to work at a small water park where there were some dry rides up the southern end. There was this 8-year old kid just being a little s**t; pushing in line, climbing up the slide of the playground, knocking other kid's hats off, that sort of bullshit. I warn him several times then ask him to leave, but he doesn't. I go and ask my supervisor what to do and he says "Get the scissors". He means to cut his wristband, without which he can't go on any rides. I call him over, and he surprisingly complies, and before he can react, I grab his wrist and cut off his wristband. Naturally, he starts crying like a b***h. He runs off to get his mum and she comes back about 15 minutes later and comes and talks to me (without her son). She asks why I did what I did, and I explain the situation to her, and how it is standard procedure. She nods and understands, and knows that her son is a demon-child. She leaves, but, lo and behold, 10 minutes later here he comes. He tries to cut in line again and I stop him, and ask him to go back to his mum. His first reaction was to punch me in the balls. Oh s**t, no he didn't. My supervisor sees and immediately calls security. Apparently his mum saw too and she comes running. She doesn't say anything to her child, but goes and tells the supervisor to 'scare' him. When security arrives (30 seconds later) they grab the kid, whirl him around and handcuff him. He's s**tting himself at this point. They grab him and take him off in their golf cart. A few minutes later they return and the kid has obviously been crying, and hard. He jumps out of the cart and runs straight to his mum, who grabs him and walks out. People watching were stunned, but amazingly, and I shit you not, some applauded as they went off. Best day of work I had at that place.
I was managing a few ride photo booths and I was in one of them 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 4, 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 round to the back of the booth to check on some stock, during which point he told my employee that if he saw me again, I was getting punched in the face.
The scariest moment I had was when lightning struck a utility pole below me (my position on the ride was about 50ft up) knocking out power to my ride and forcing me and my supervisors to unload the ride in the middle of a lightning storm.
We had a rip tide water ride where people could ride body boards like a big wave and while I was talking to another guard I heard the whistle go off like there was an emergency. As I approached, a guard told me that there was a nail in someones foot. I thought he meant someone stubbed their toe and their nail pushed back into their toe but it was an 8 year old girl who had stepped on a 4 inch screw leftover from the maintenence the ride had recently undergone. Right into the heel.
As I saw it i got a little light headed but that what I was trained to do so as i picked her up and pulled her out of the water she moved her foot and it started to come out but it was still in there a good 3 inches. I put a latex glove on it and told her itd be ok as I called for paramedics. Her damn brothers came up and said that she was gonna ruin their time if they had to leave and i had to tell them to get away. When the paramedics came they picked her up to put her on the stretcher and when they did, that good ol latex glove slid off her foot and got hooked on the screw in the foot causing her, what I believed by her screams, excruciating pain.
Never found out what happened after that but she should have sued. Big payday.
I worked for the halloween events for a theme park in my area (won't say the name, but it might be on the border between two states).
I got kicked in the face and almost broke my nose. I was given a break for as long as it took for my nose to stop bleeding, and that counted as my only break for the evening (we got under 30 minutes of break time for a 8 hour shift).
Another guy actually got fired because he had a migraine and 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 the "maze" closest to the only place that served alcohol in the park, so we had to deal with drunk assholes and shitty kids fairly often. Someone choked a girl working in the maze.
The maze almost burned down a few times because assholes decided that a dried corn maze was a good place to smoke a fucking cigarette.
I had a lot of fun most of the time, but I had to deal with a bunch of stupid s**t on a nightly basis.
The worst thing that's happened is a guy spitting in my face and starting to film me with his phone while screaming at me that he was going to sue the company I work for because I confronted him when he tried to trip one of my performers during a Halloween event. He was drunk. He was arrested. We all laughed at his mug shot the next day.
One time I saw a pigeon get obliterated by someone's face one one of those pendulum rides that spin and swing, it landed just in front of me, in the queue, and it's 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 when it's little pigeon lover was looking out sadly from their nest which they'd decided to make in the triangular 'legs' of the ride.
Some (mutter mutter) years ago, I was working my summer vacation at an amusement park, running a rollercoaster. I got to sit and push buttons, give the safety instructions, etc.
So, we get the train full of people, I get the all clear, hit the button to start the train up the hill, when I see something out of my periphery. A guy has somehow climbed the gigantic wall surrounding the ride, and has dropped down next to the track, where I am about to send a metal train full of people at 40 mph. I slam on the emergency stop button, which shuts down everything on the ride, and grab the phone for security.
My coworkers come up to see what's happening, and I point to the guy down in the ride zone. He's acting weird and erratic, and is actually climbing on the rollercoaster's track, and is taking off his clothes. Security tells us not to approach him, in case he's dangerous, and to move the people in line away. Meanwhile, I head up the stairs to talk to the people who are stuck in the ride. The stairs were open, metal things, extra narrow, steep, and at this point, damp. In the best of times, I hated climbing them.
I get up and most of the people are calm, except for one woman who is freaking out. She's panicking that the ride is malfunctioning, and that she wants off. Now, I understand panic attacks and how you're completely slave to them. So, I'm calmly telling everyone that I was the person who hit the emergency stop, why I did it, etc. From their viewpoint, they literally could see the guy climbing up the track, security chasing after him, etc. I've called for a manager to let this lady off because I'm not able to do it.
So, the manager finally arrives, lets this woman off with dire warnings about how dangerous the steps can be. By this point, the police are arriving, there's all sorts of stuff going on in the sights of the patrons as they are trying to arrest this guy.
And then, a guy on the ride announces he wants off too. So, the manager lets him off. He climbs over another guest, faces the train, and calmly announces that this entire thing--the half naked man, security, the police-- all of it was just a cover up for the fact that the ride had malfunctioned and that they were all going to die.
And I'll be damned if they didn't believe him. We evacuated that ride, and two people slipped walking down those stairs. I had to fill out massive paperwork to keep people from suing, thankfully we were able to call a cop over to witness. After police left, the ride was started back up, with no issues.
There was this ride the Perilous Plunge and a lady fell from the highest point and died. Also I remember my dad telling me it was cause she was super fat and the belt came off cause it was not made for people her size. Now I never rode this ride because it was ALWAYS closed every time we went to the park.
We had a ride breakdown, surprisingly normal, however the train was stuck in such a way that we were unable to reach two rows of the train. It just so happened that in one of those rows was a lady that was having a severe panic or asthma attack (Our First Aid team took over when she got off) and wouldn't/couldn't calm down or get her breathing under control. Luckily mom was near by and had an inhaler. The ride was a flying coaster so the guests were laying on their backs while stuck and I was able to toss the inhaler and land it right on her chest. Between Mom, First Aid personnal, and myself we were able to get her calmed down while we wait for maintenance to pull the train into place.
I whole ordeal only took 10-15 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. But this woman was the only time I felt someone was in real danger and it scared the s**t out of me.
Worked at a Six flags as a sound technician, so I spent most of my time backstage with the characters and actors. One time I walked backstage to find a headless Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo having sex, costumes just unzipped, not off. Not exactly a horror story but definitely scarring.
I worked at a small amusement park one summer. As someone else said, the biggest issues weren't the rides themselves but kids/parents not following the rules. We had one ride (I think it might be called the paratrooper) and parents would constantly try to get their kids on the ride despite the height requirements. The only protection from falling out of that ride was a lap bar, and sometimes kids would wriggle their way pretty far under that. I wasn't working, but apparently one time a kid actually got all the way under and was holding onto the bar for dear life until the worker managed to stop the ride.
A guy who was very upset that I wouldn't let his kid who was a foot under the height requirement ride. I told him no early in the day, but one of my coworkers let the kid ride while I was on break. The family comes up later and the father who was noticeably drunk, jumps two gates and over the tracks to threaten me with a knife. I called security and he ran.
A guy dressed as a ninja kept riding the coaster over and over with his mom and dad, which was strange enough, but on the third or fourth time around his mom whipped out her boobs and in the photo he was staring at them pretty intently. Security escorted them out.
I worked for the theme park inside the Mall of America as a ride operator for several years back in the early aughts. I cannot speak for other theme parks, but for that one I can tell you that the rides at the one I worked at were/are really safe. They all had fairly state of the art hydraulic systems that were/are routinely maintained. The larger rides are run through several safety tests first thing in the morning before the park opens, and certain large rides like the log ride and the roller coasters are actually ridden by park supervisors each day before they're allowed to be opened.
Probably 98% of the time, the injuries we did have to deal with were the direct result of parents either not supervising their children or actively encouraging their kids to break the rules. The children themselves were usually on their best behavior because they knew that I could remove them from the ride if they broke the rules, but the parenting at theme parks is abysmal. I have sooooooooo many stories of parents putting their children in harm's way on purpose. I could do a whole AMA just on that topic.
The worst mechanical malfunction I ever had was on a ride that I believe no longer exists there called The Might Axe. It made the news in the 90's for getting stuck upside down and the fire department had to cut everyone out. What the news media left out was that the maintenance department could've gotten everyone down in 10 minutes, but people called 911 from their phones and the fire department overruled the maitenance guys and spent 2 hours cutting everyone out of their seat restraints, which cost the theme park a ton of money to fix. I wasn't working at the park when that happened, but afterwards there were strict guidelines put in place for when it did get stuck. During my tenure at the park I got assigned to that ride rotation a lot and had The Mighty Axe get stuck upside down twice. Both times maintenance was able to fix the problem pretty swiftly, but it would result in people trying to call 911 every time, which was very annoying. The worst was watching people try to wriggle out of their seat restraints WHILE UPSIDE DOWN because they apparently thought it would be a great idea to try to get loose and then fall 2 stories into a concrete pit. People are remarkably stupid.
An employee who worked on the big steam train that cruises around the park was crushed between two of the cars, how I remember my dad telling me is that he got crushed between the train coupler and he was alive at first but when they were going to pull it apart he would die. (Now I was 10 when that happened so I could have the details a bit off)
I worked at a certain Amusement Park in Ohio that was considered America's Rollercoast in 2005. That summer, the transformer/generator of a particularly wicked roller coaster of a cyclonic nature blew, and we had to literally pull people back into the station with a rope tied to the car, and about 20 people. Instead of completely replacing it, they just worked at making it useable for the rest of the summer, and throughout the rest of the year, we would have the ride go into emergency shutdown mode at random times. We were told just to try turning it off and on again until the code cleared, without any inspections or anything like that.