TRAPPED UPSIDE DOWN, and 5 Other Nightmare-Inducing Theme Park Emergencies

We go to Disney World all the time, and we ride a LOT of the attractions, without ever thinking about what might go wrong.

You think this is scary…

Sometimes things do go wrong, though, but most often, the ride will stop, riders will be evacuated, and the ride will close until whatever caused the issue is fixed. Sometimes weather just closes down rides. But sometimes things with rides go SO awry that it’s straight-up nightmare fuel. 

Disney Vacation Planner

We’re looking at the ride scenarios that literally give us nightmares, and they’re all things that have actually happened.

Being stuck upside down on a ride

Recently, according to CNN, nearly 30 people spent at least 30 minutes stuck upside down on a thrill ride at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon. The ride, AtmosFEAR, which moves in 360 degrees, stopped in its top position, suspending riders upside down. Riders were panicking, screaming, and calling for help. The ride was manually lowered, eventually, and all riders were evacuated.

©Oaks Amusement Park

Similar incidents have also happened. In 2023, a roller coaster at a Wisconsin festival got stuck and left eight people trapped upside down on it for three hours, according to CBS News.

Animals escaping

According to USA Today, a camel escaped a petting zoo at Cedar Point in Ohio and took a walk around the walkway near the park’s Millennium Force rollercoaster. Videos show the camel greeting visitors, but also nearly kicking a person. No one was hurt, but can you imagine if something like that happened at a zoo or theme park like Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

It’s bad enough when the camels are spitting on you

Granted, this is why the bathrooms at Animal Kingdom lock from the inside. This is in case a dangerous animal escapes and Cast Members can lock up guests inside the bathrooms for their own safety.

Getting stuck on the incline of a roller coaster

We’ve been witness to Disney World visitors being stuck on the incline of a roller coaster. In 2023, our reporters saw guests trapped on Expedition Everest on the incline of the roller coaster for about 30 minutes. We can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been.

Guests stuck on Everest

This has happened at Universal Orlando, too. According to Fox News, riders on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster at Universal Studios were stuck on the coaster’s steep incline, almost in a vertical position for at least an hour in 2023.

Being stuck on the Skyliner

Back in 2019, Disney World guests got on the then-new Skyliner and found themselves stuck in a gondola in the sky for up to three hours, according to NBC News. Rescuers had to physically go up to each gondola and lift people down to the ground to safety.

Disney Skyliner at International Gateway Station

Granted, this doesn’t happen often, and you’re now more likely to be terrified by being on the Skyliner during a storm.

Sitting in a sinking log

Before Splash Mountain closed, it seemed to close a lot, but according to Fox News, there were several issues where the log vehicles were sinking into the water. In one incident, riders posted video of a log submerged in water but still moving.

Splash Mountain

We hope this is something we haven’t seen since Splash Mountain was re-themed to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, at least in early previews. Like Splash Mountain, though, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has been experiencing quite a bit of downtime.

Being stuck on “it’s a small world”

Just how many times can the human brain hear “it’s a small world after all” before completely losing it? Well, if you’re “lucky” enough to get stuck on “it’s a small world,” you might find out the answer to that. It’s happened to us, and let’s just say that cute song can get annoying fast.

“it’s a small world”

Let’s just say it’s more a world of tears than a world of laughter by the time you finally get off the ride after listening to that song for an hour or so.

So we didn’t mean to give you nightmares about what MIGHT happen on theme park rides plus the likelihood of any serious incidents happening are low.

Check back with AllEars again soon for more.

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One Reply to “TRAPPED UPSIDE DOWN, and 5 Other Nightmare-Inducing Theme Park Emergencies”

  1. Reference scenario 2 “Animals Escaping:” My daughters and I were at the Columbus (OH) Zoo about 25 years ago and a full-grown male moose escaped into the nearby guest areas – potentially very dangerous. Employees immediately cleared the guests from the area (but we were still close enough to watch) and animal handlers carefully coaxed the animal back to the large moose habitat. It was all handled very smoothly and professionally. I’m sure Disney would have similar procedures.