Monday Top 10: The Most Hated Attractions in America

August 4, 2014, 10:25 AM · Sure, we love to celebrate the best of the best in theme park attractions around the world. But, now and then, we just can't help but wallow in reliving a terrible experience. Maybe it's cathartic. Or, perhaps, some of us secretly love the campiness of a really terrible theme park attraction. So today we, uh, "honor" the 10 attractions that occupy the absolute bottom of the reader ratings here on Theme Park Insider.

Note that we're calling these the most "hated" attractions in America, not the "worst." Undoubtedly, the "worst" attraction in America exists in some unheralded carnival known only to the unfortunate few unlucky enough to find it. If you are among those poor souls, please tell us about that horrible experience in the comments, and we will all laugh and join in the schadenfreude.

In the meantime, we present the lowest-rated rides and shows from the country's top parks. Whether they are old, ill-conceived, or just darned painful, these are the attractions that not only ticked off a bunch of their visitors, but did so on the biggest stages in the industry. Consider yourself warned.

10. Captain EO

Captain EO

9. The Dark Knight Coaster
Six Flags Great Adventure, Great America, New England

The Dark Knight Coaster

8. Georgia Cyclone
Six Flags Over Georgia

Georgia Cyclone

7. Fear Factor Live
Universal Studios Florida

Fear Factor Live

6. Mind Eraser
Six Flags New England

Mind Eraser

5. TriceraTop Spin
Disney's Animal Kingdom

TriceraTop Spin

4. Ninja
Six Flags Over Georgia


3. Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies
Disney California Adventure

Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies

2. Europe in the Air
Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Europe in the Air

1. Stitch's Great Escape
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Stitch's Great Escape

What is your all-time, least-favorite theme park attraction?

Replies (51)

August 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM · I actually hate Captain EO more than least the preshow for Stitch is fairly entertaining.

Too bad Europe in the Air is such a dog, cause I used to really like the Corkscrew Hill attraction that used to be in that show building.

There really should be at least one Vekoma Boomerang on this list...I nominate World's of Fun's.

Hey, Robert, how come you don't present these top ten lists as a slide show like everyone else? ;p

August 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM · I totally agree with Europe In The Air! What were they thinking!
August 4, 2014 at 10:48 AM · To challenge the great Yogi Berra, I think the Vekoma Boomerang is so hated that no one bothers to hate it anymore.
August 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM · I'd put Primeval Whirl on here as well, or maybe just that whole section at the Animal Kingdom. Stitch's Great Escape is the worst and takes up way too much real estate too. I actually kind of like Captain EO and don't mind it still being there.

Is the Ninja that's listed here the same as the one at Six Flags St. Louis? That one can be a really painful ride.

August 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Such a shame about Georgia Cyclone. I worked at SFOG in the mid 90's and it used to be such a great ride....although Ninja was a pile of junk back then. Haven't ridden it since so can't comment on it today. I will say I visited King's Island for the first time this summer and have to vote for Firehawk as the worst coaster I think I have ever ridden. That is a train of pain for sure.
August 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Before the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow replaced it, Narnia at DHS was God awful. During it's tenure, Narnia had to be one of the worst attractions in America. Although Jack Sparrow is a slight upgrade, it's not even a 5 out of 10 for me.
August 4, 2014 at 10:59 AM · So proud that my local park has not 1, but 2 of the most hated attractions in America, along with 2 Vekoma Boomerangs. Keep it up, Six Flags New England, you keep up the good work of being the World's Worst Park with a Great Coaster.


August 4, 2014 at 12:02 PM · I have not ridden it in years, but I'd say that the Georgia Cyclone was probably my favorite wooden coaster I'd ever ridden at that time (granted I had not rode a lot, but comparing it to say the scream machine in the same park, etc.) Maybe it's just gotten a lot rougher over time. Plus when you're young (like I was when I loved it), you tend to overlook roughness a little more. The Ninja did not bother me at the time either.
August 4, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Georgia Cyclone?? Are you kidding, it is one of the best wood coasters in the country! It is easily a top 20 or 30, used to be top 10. Has some of the best drops and best airtime of any coaster in the USA! I won't argue with the others, but there is no way the GA Cyclone should be on this list. Who ever picked it knows nothing about roller coasters.
August 4, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Also, when we went to Animal Kingdom the only ride my 5 year old niece asked to ride upon seeing it was the Dino Spin ride. So while the adults on this site might not appreciate it, it's pretty much not there for them. It serves its purpose.
August 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Seriously, WHY does one need Dumbo x2, Astro Orbiters, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, TriceraTop Spin, etc...I'm sure I'm probably missing 1 or 2 or 10 spinning rides that go up and down. And why do my kids want to ride all of them???
August 4, 2014 at 1:15 PM · I hate the USH Simpsons Ride. This ride is rough and uncomfortable. Gave me a headache.

I never liked the Jurassic Park water ride in USH. The horrible humongous lapbar. The special effects and props that hardly ever work. The broken narrative. The unconcealed dinosaurs in the water where you can easily see the metal frames. Just not refined.

Hate everything about Six Flags Magic Mountain. This park cannot be redeemed.

Knott's Berry Farms has this kiddie truck ride where the kids can honk a plastic horn. This is horribly noisy. Stop doing it!!!

August 4, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Dan, having been on The Ninja at SFOG and SFStL, I can tell you that both beat your head against the horsecollar restraint. As far as the layout goes, I think that they are similar with a few variations in the terrain, but since my mental facilities were temporarily damaged after riding both, I can't say for certain.
August 4, 2014 at 1:31 PM · The Seas with Nemo and Friends is worse than Stitch.
August 4, 2014 at 1:32 PM · For the anonymous poster who loves the Georgia Cyclone; you're kidding, right? Or you haven't been on many wooden coasters - period. The Georgia Cyclone is easily one of the worst wooden coasters I've ever been on. Want to end your day early at SFOG with a massive headache or a back sprain? Just ride the Ga Cyclone more than once in a row. Time to turn this POC into kindling and do something worthwhile with the space.
August 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM · I've done 10.Captain EO, 7.Fear Factor Live, 5.TriceraTop Spin, 2.Europe in the Air and 1.Stitch's Great Escape. The only one I can think of having no redeeming quality is Fear Factor Live. It was just awful, saw it once, broke half-way through, never even considered seeing it again. The others at least have air conditioning or is a kiddie ride.
August 4, 2014 at 1:59 PM · How can we forget the one everyone loves to hate: it's a small world?
August 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM · At one point GA Cyclone was ranked in the top 5 on the long running Internet Wooden Coaster Poll. The point is that it has some of the best and most extreme drops of any coaster in the USA. If you can't handle it then don't ride, it is truly a great and EXTREME coaster, not for everyone. I'm telling you that some of the best coasters are extreme wood coasters, but very few actually travel off the beaten path to experience them. GA Cyclone is one of the rare great ones in a large mainstream Theme Park. If you ride near the back of the train you will experience something you can't on most other coasters! Extreme negative G's (ie. Airtime) that you won't find on many other coasters. It is in a class above many coasters. This is the way wood coasters used to be, before the large parks ruined most of them and the insurance companies tamed most theme park rides. Hint: Stay off the rear axles seats for a great ride, ride in the front of each car (2 rows per car). It really makes a difference. Of the 130 wood coasters I've ridden, there are easily 100 that should be below the GA Cyclone, maybe even more!
August 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM · I agree with most, Stich should be bulldozed along with Its a Small World. Fear Factor is unwatchable along with Captain EO. I won't even visit a six flags park. But number one on my list is from my home park of Cedar Point, ....the Mistake on the Lake, ......The Mean Streak. That thing used to be one of my favorite rides as a kid and now after added for no apparent reason breaks, retrofits, age, not being up kept, and really mediocre when everything was working compared to other woodies. The thing should follow the Son of Beast at KPI in being destroyed for something better. Really Cedar, tear that timber monstrosity down!
August 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM · We'll you know what they say about opinions, right? As I have mentioned before, my 10 year old daughter's favorite ride at WDW was Stitch's Great Escape. She made us ride it 3 or 4 times. You just never know with kids. And for myself, I'd have to say I don't really get why everyone hates it so much either. Wouldn't kill me if they replaced it but it wouldn't kill me if they didn't.
August 4, 2014 at 3:21 PM · Oh, Apple Butter, if only this list -- like Spinal Tap's amps -- had gone up to 11.... ;^)
August 4, 2014 at 3:27 PM · I agree with Stich's escape, the ride that was there previously, Alien Encounter was awesome and sad they got rid of it just because parents didn't listen to the warning and their kids got scared.
August 4, 2014 at 3:34 PM · It does not surprise me at all that Europe in the Air made this list. I remember when it opened, they touted it as "10x sharper than HDTV" (or some other ridiculous multiplier). It's not even 1x as sharp as HDTV. Either the film was shot with that resolution but the projector can't recreate it, or (more likely) the projector is capable of the advertised resolution but the film was shot on VHS. Either way, it's a low-quality picture that made me nauseous. Corkscrew Hill never ever did that.

My hope for that ride is that history repeats itself. They had a hit with Questor in 1990. They replaced it in the late '90s with the forgettable King Arthur's Challenge. After the 1999 season it sat idle for a year until the Hastings > Ireland conversion in 2001. Corkscrew Hill was part of that and was an immediate hit that ran for 9 seasons, and was replaced with a forgettable ride. At the very least, instead of yet another maze (which they use the EITA queue for) they should invest in a Halloween-themed simulator program to add something different to Howl-O-Scream.

August 4, 2014 at 4:18 PM · I personally enjoy Captain EO, but I understand why many people do not enjoy it.

I love the Georgia Cyclone and in no way should it be on this list. The airtime is incredible and the replaced wood has helped smooth out some of the rougher parts. All in all, it's a fast and thrilling ride!

TriceraTop Spin deserves a spot here.

The Ninja most definitely deserves a spot on this list. The only thing going for it is the lake setting.

Europe in the air is a decent ride, but Soarin outshines it. I don't think it should be on the list.

Stitch>ninja. Just sayin'.

August 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM · Just got back from King's Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I totally agree with Europe in the Air. I had such a headache after leaving that ride. Rebel Yell at King' s Dominion also left me feeling very sick.
August 4, 2014 at 4:29 PM · I have a correction for this: The Dark Knight coaster was never built at Six Flags New England. They started building it but a permit scandal stopped them, and they built a suspended Batman coaster nearby instead, not the inside wild mouse dark ride. It is listed at SF Mexico though.
August 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM · Thanks Robert Niles for making it close to being on the list to ease my pain and suffering. I would like to start a petition to tear down the mistake on the lake or call it King James, either way I won't be riding it anytime soon. :)
August 4, 2014 at 5:02 PM · I think the worst ride that I have been on is Skull Mountain At Great Adventure. When I rode it years ago, I couldn't believe how bad it was, no redeeming value whatsoever.
August 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM · Apple Butter (interesting name btw), I was surprised that Mean Streak didn't make the list. Glad you threw it's name in the ring! I still can't understand why they didn't just let it burn a few years ago when it caught fire. I once loved it- now I ride it once a year just to remind myself how much I miss it from its first few years.
August 4, 2014 at 6:21 PM · I usually take issue with the lists here, but this list is one I have to agree with, especiatially number one. The main reason I think Stitch is bad is because the attraction it replaced was awesome. Sure, some kids got scared, but do a better job warning parents or just not letting youngsters in. I know the prior resident was inconsistent with Magic Kingdom's purpose, but Alien Encounter filled a spot for teens and adults that was needed. I say bring back Alien Encounter.
August 4, 2014 at 6:34 PM · Rather than single out Mean Streak (although, I am NOT looking forward to riding this pile of steaming you-know-what when I visit the Roller Coast next week) we should just say that any Dinn Corp Woodie not named The NEW Texas GIANT should be considered junkite.

Timber Wolf is my local Dinn Corp woodie and it is definitely one of the worst, most painful rides in the country.

August 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM · I'm glad to see Mind Eraser at Six Flags New England on this list. This is unquestionably the worst ride experience I ever endured. It was brutally rough on the head, shoulders and neck; I couldn't wait for it to end. I'm somewhat surprised that Flight Deck at Canada's Wonderland, essentially the same ride, didn't make the list.

I am surprised, however, to see The Dark Knight at my home park, Six Flags Great Adventure, on the list. I actually enjoy this ride - except for the pre-ride video presentation, which gets old awfully fast. The hairpin turns are a blast and I enjoy the drops in the dark.

August 4, 2014 at 6:58 PM · I'm glad to see Mind Eraser at Six Flags New England on the list. This is unquestionably the worst ride experience I have ever endured. It was rough on the head, neck and shoulders; I couldn't wait for it to end! I'm surprised that Flight Deck at Canada's Wonderland, essentially the same ride, didn't make the list.

I disagree, however, with the consensus as to The Dark Knight at my home park, Six Flags Great Adventure. I actually enjoy this ride - except for the pre-ride video presentation, which gets old awfully fast. The hairpin turns are a blast and I get a kick out of the drops in the dark. Of course, I understand that this ride is not for everyone, as on one occasion I was riding with a young couple and as soon as the ride ended, the woman jumped out of the car and threw up.

August 4, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Captain EO is decent, I have seen that about 5 times. A bit cheesy but a great slice of 80s fun

That figment thing at Epcot is far worse

As is maelstrom

August 4, 2014 at 7:16 PM · Stitch is a terrible attraction that started the down fall of Imagineering. Universe of Energy at Epcot needs to be added to this list. It's a 45 minute movie about energy from 1990 with five minutes of broken dinosaur animatronics
August 4, 2014 at 7:33 PM · I would have to agree with Apple Butter... Just rode Mean Streak earlier this evening. I believe that my innards played the accordion up & down my spinal column on that ride.
August 4, 2014 at 7:34 PM · I would have to agree with Apple Butter... Just rode Mean Streak earlier this evening. I believe that my innards played the accordion up & down my spinal column on that ride.
August 4, 2014 at 7:53 PM · Georgia Cyclone has been actually getting work done and kicks total ass these days!
August 4, 2014 at 7:58 PM · I am a bit surprised that EO made the list. Maybe its because I go for the camp factor. Plus, I feel that it works better at EPCOT than Disneyland.
August 5, 2014 at 6:35 AM · Well this list struck a nerve.
I agree with hating Stitch's Great Escape, and probably moreso because of what it replaced.

Alien Encounter was an absolute favourite, my best experience at Magic Kingdom bar-none.

To add insult to injury, when revisiting the park, I was surveyed at the entrance asking which particular attraction drew me back to MK, Lets just say the lady taking the survey did not warn me of my impending disappointment.

August 5, 2014 at 6:55 AM · Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa is pretty awful. It's wooden and rickety. Everyone has a wicked migrane after that rollercoaster.
August 5, 2014 at 8:07 AM · Europe in the Air is a poor man's version of Soarin'. I believe Soarin' should be number 3 on this list right below it because it is a pretty mediocre attraction in itself. Why people would wait at Epcot between 45 minutes to two hours to sit in a chair and watch a so-so Imax film of California sights defies explanation. At least Europe in the Air makes sense with its theme-ing of being in the England area of Busch Gardens.

I rode Mean Streak after much contemplation about two years ago. I really didn't want to get shaken to death just to say I rode it. I was surprised that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, although my expectations may have been set really low.

Rebel Yell has to be the worst wooden roller coaster I have ever ridden. It was very memorable just for that aspect. I remember riding it and when it made the turn at the far end of the track I realized I was still going to have to endure another minute of violent shaking to get back to the station. I don't get headaches often, but that ride gave me a huge one after I walked off of it.

August 5, 2014 at 8:21 AM · I don't know if I'd call attractions like Stitch "most hated." I think "most lame," "most boring" and "most pointless" are better descriptions. I reserve the "hate" distinction for Mean Streak. My one ride on it was so physically abusing that I absolutely refuse to ride it ever again.
August 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Ok. Captain EO is awesome. I might be looking through nostalgia glasses, but I don't care. I will agree with the other disney attractions though. I worked on Stitch's Great Escape. I wouldn't mind if that ride was taken out in favor of something cooler, like I don't know...Alien Encounter?
August 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Okay, I have two things. I've been going to SFOG since I was 8. Yes things there about these two coasters Ga Cyclone and the Ninja, however most people are not give the credit these two coasters deserve.
First, the Cyclone is one of the oldest wooden coasters I know of and is kicking ass while others get built and then torn down. It has the speed, airtime, turns and drops that most wooden coasters don't. Yes it maybe old but it is still one if the top 5 coasters in the park and 90% of people who go will tell you that.
Second, the Ninja does have it's issues but you have to look at the location. It's over a lake which was the point when it was built, giving SFOG an edge, a coaster completely over water. That right there is why it handles the way it does. Yes it could be smoother no one will deny this but it has more twists, turns, and loops then any other coaster I've rode. Any true coaster fan can see how this ride for what it is, a beast. A monument, that deserves it's Recognition as a coaster that is obviously here to stay. I've loved riding these coasters since I was a kid and will continue to do so year after year. Neither of these coasters deserve to be on this list and it's sad that someone put them, classify them, to be so. FYI, you suck.
August 5, 2014 at 12:44 PM · Georgia Cyclone is getting some love from some of our anonymous posters, so maybe Six Flags finally did some much needed maintenance to fix a horrible ride experience, but it is still not a good wooden coaster. The "cyclone" class of wooden coasters are by design intended to create a fair amount of sideways stresses, and when they fall into disrepair like the Georgia Cyclone had before my last visit to SFOG they become miserable to ride and are easily the worst type of wooden coaster.

As far as one of our posters saying that he would rate 100 wooden coasters below it, I don't think so. According to the Rollercoaster Database there are only 124 wooden coasters in North America and 176 wooden coasters in the world. Of the several dozen wooden coasters in those totals that I've been fortunate enough to ride, the Georgia Cyclone was by far the worst.

August 5, 2014 at 7:07 PM · I have to agree with the whole Stitch Great Escape mainly because ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was one of the first rides I ever rode in Disney World and I loved every minute of it.
August 6, 2014 at 5:14 AM · I have ridden the Georgia Cyclone and have to agree with the list. It is a horrible ride that time has passed by... I'm 6ft 195 so not terribly big and the cars are kiddie coaster size and the ride is rough nowadays with a horrible queue.

Virtually agree with this whole list

August 6, 2014 at 12:38 PM · I agree that Stitch is a waste of time at WDW. I bet it is just as bad in Mandarin and Cantonese as it is in English (HK Disneyland). I was in line for this ride in HK when a cast member asked me if I understood Cantonese; which I don't so I jumped out of line--probably a good thing.
August 8, 2014 at 3:56 PM · I would say the new Test Track and the 'refurbished' Journey Into Imagination should top the list. Both the origionals, like Alien, should have been left alone!
August 10, 2014 at 1:45 AM · I had to comment after all these people defending the Cyclone, After the last time I rode it I said I would NEVER get back on it and that still will be true no matter how much improvements they do to it, The ride was ROUGH, no fun at all.

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