What are the scariest things in theme parks?

October 31, 2018, 12:40 PM · In honor of Halloween, let's acknowledge that the scariest things in theme parks are not rides like the Haunted Mansion or characters like Frankenstein's monster. They're stuff like this:

Heading to Disneyland thinking it's going to be a slow day and then seeing the park tweet, "Mickey & Friends parking structure is currently full."

Walking up to a park's front gate at 11am, without a ticket.

Finally getting to the load station, only to hear the breakdown spiel.

Bird poop.

Riding the lift up a hyper coaster... and it starts raining.

Getting stuck in a dark ride for an extended period when tower forgets to mute the show audio.

A child that suddenly becomes very quiet, then grabs their stomach and whispers, "I don't feel so good."

That moment one minute after buying a plastic poncho during an Orlando thunderstorm when you realize that you feel worse sweating in that thing than you would have getting drenched in the rain.

People driving electric scooters at Food & Wine with a beer in one hand and at least three down the hatch already.

Getting a good spot to see Happily Ever After, only to have the person in front of you place their child on their shoulders as the show starts. And then the kid holds up an iPad to record the show.

Leaving at the end of the day, then realizing that you forgot to take a picture or make a note of where you parked.

Let's keep the list going in the comments. What scares you most during a theme park visit?

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Replies (24)

October 31, 2018 at 12:55 PM

When you’re in the standby line and watch a big tour group pass you by in the Fastpass queue.

The price of those bubble wands your child keeps pestering you about because every other kid has one.

When you realize the guy ahead of you in line hasn’t showered for a few days.

October 31, 2018 at 12:55 PM

Going to a park for the first time (and likely only time I'll ever visit in my life) only to find that their marquee attraction is down for maintenance.

Standing in a line for 30+ minutes only to discover that there was a single rider line with no wait.

Waiting 20+ minutes to place a food order because workers only take and prepare one order at a time.

Showing up at the front gate only to discover the park is closed for the day (Wally World).

Forgetting when Jersey Week is until it's too late.

The crowds for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

October 31, 2018 at 12:56 PM

Seeing the credit card statement when you get home!

October 31, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Getting stuck for 10 mins in "hell" on Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, on a hot day. This really happened to me.

October 31, 2018 at 1:43 PM

The prices at Disney World!

October 31, 2018 at 2:05 PM

Thankfully, they got rid of one scary item in banning selfie sticks.

Showing up for a long-planned day only to find it's the same weekend a half dozen high schools are doing big trips.

Wanting to pop into a shop for just one tiny little gift and then realizing the folks standing around across the store are the line for the register.

October 31, 2018 at 2:28 PM

Quinceanera season at WDW...

October 31, 2018 at 3:11 PM

Honeymoon trip to Walt Disney World... booked into a hotel that's full of highschool cheerleaders practicing their cheers EVERY night.

October 31, 2018 at 3:36 PM

Mean guests.

October 31, 2018 at 5:09 PM

Planned, saved, and booked a trip halfway around the world to Japan to experience my favorite ride ever, Back to the Future, once again after its nearly decade long closure in the states... only to realize it will be closed permanently forever a few weeks prior to my arrival.

October 31, 2018 at 5:20 PM

Paying $20 to park at a water park only to learn that you still have to take a bus to get to the attractions.

October 31, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Walking on a narrow or crowded pathway and seeing several strollers headed directly toward you,

Thinking a line isn't too bad only to turn the corner and find a completely full cattle pen.

The sign at the queue entrance announcing only one train is operating (except on school-year weekdays).

Seeing multiple closed food stands, with only one or two open registers at those doing business.

The food from said food stands at regional chain parks, unless it is from a chain outlet.

The price tag on almost any souvenir that isn't just generic junk.

Realizing your shoe is untied on an inverted/flying/floorless coaster as "All clear, Dispatch!" is called.

Seeing the person in front of you pull out their phone as you climb the lift on an intense roller coaster.

Getting directed to seat one on Splash Mountain when the other riders are heavier than average adults.

SeaWorld San Diego announcing Tidal Twister after experiencing Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster.

October 31, 2018 at 5:53 PM

Going down the first drop of a rollercoaster when you hear someone in front of you shout "I'm about to puke"

When you have the bubble guts and realize you have to use the park restroom

Standing in line behind some spoiled kid causing a scene to get the parents attention while they're checking recent Instagram posts

October 31, 2018 at 6:18 PM

Discovering that your hotel's complimentary bus service to and from the park actually is shared with several other hotels, and you're at the end of the line for both, packed to the gills each time.

Passing by an attraction that lies on the same site where you enjoyed a better time than what's currently offered there. If anything is still offered there, that is.

Sitting in or near the same car with someone loudly telling his friends and/or family what they'll be seeing next on the ride and how easy it is to explain how they created it.

Being with someone who disparages every ride with, "It's not as good as the one they have at Disney/Universal/Busch Garden/Six Flags/Cedar Fair" et al.

Having a busy day with crowds everywhere and yet no matter it all, there are plenty of people just standing in the middle of the walkway, going nowhere and getting in everyone's way with no cares in their minds at all.

October 31, 2018 at 7:40 PM

Using the word scare in its literal meaning .... 2 episodes stand out ...

1). Going to Alton Towers shortly after the corkscrew had opened. Having never been on anything bigger than a fairground ride the corkscrew turned out to be the scariest thing I had ever ridden in my life. It scared the crap out of me, but after that 1st ride, and time to recouperate, I plucked up enough courage to go on again and ever since I’ve been addicted to riding coasters ... :)

2). I think the next “s**t a brick episode was at Drayton Manor Park. Anyway, it was on one of those large 180deg swinging pirate boats. I sat at the back and was absolutely convinced I was going to fall over the lap bar a die a horrible death in the spinning wheels that enabled the boat to swing. This fear I have never beaten, and to this day I haven’t ridden one again.

I suppose I’m lucky being able to go off-season, and in midweek, to miss a lot of the ’scarey’ things being mentioned, but I can relate to Robert’s comment about getting on a coaster and then it starts to pour with rain. Happened to me on the Mako ... it turned out to be the absolute worst ride I have ever had in my life and something I hope I never have to experience again.


October 31, 2018 at 8:14 PM

Early Access Upcharge Events

November 1, 2018 at 5:52 AM

The monorail stops over water and you know because it's old and worn out, that your stay here will be a lengthy, un-airconditioned one.

November 1, 2018 at 6:27 AM

Trying to negotiate FP+ when your cell service/wifi is acting up. FP+ is scarier than the movie Hereditary.

November 1, 2018 at 7:53 AM

Hearing change fall out of people's pockets when going up the hill on a vertical lift roller coaster, and then seeing that change float by your head when you go over the top of the hill.

Waiting in line for an hour to go on a ride, only to have it break down when you are at the loading station.

Being on a ride with people that loudly recite every line from a ride or pre-show so you can't hear it and enjoy it yourself.

November 1, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Going to a park during a Halloween Haunt to ride a roller coaster which is going to the graveyard and getting stuck on the lift hill for an hour and a half before being evacuated. This actually happened to me at Kings Island last Saturday night on Firehawk and in the selfie I managed to take while waiting to be rescued I looked worse than the scare actors I'd been dodging all evening.

November 2, 2018 at 12:58 PM

Sitting on the curb for 1.5 - 2 hours before a parade starts only to have people invade your space at the last minute.

November 3, 2018 at 6:22 PM

"Getting stuck in a dark ride for an extended period when tower forgets to mute the show audio."

Been there. Never again the Small World times, that song is dead to me now.

And never mind the kid that says they don't feel good...when the drunk girl in front of you in line for Space Mountain says it, and then gets the seat in front of you...that's scary.

November 4, 2018 at 9:54 AM

AngryDuck, that is not just scary on your honeymoon. I must add that I would take the Cheerleaders at the hotel over the Brazil tour Groups. Did that once and will never again. It was like they never sleep the entire time they are at Disney.

November 5, 2018 at 1:48 PM

Having any attraction with an uncomfortably confining restraint system stop...and stay stopped...for who knows how long...

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