Top 10 Saddest Theme Park Events


1. This list's items have to be about or specifically inside the theme park, no parking lot, hotel or transportation incidents.
2. This list can only contain permanent theme parks, no fairs.
3. Waterpark-only places cannot be on the list, but waterparks with other rides (e.g. Action Park) are allowed on this list.
The Top Ten
1 Kings Island's Black Sunday (1991)
2 Space Mountain cancer patient death at Walt Disney World (2006)
3 The Haunted Castle fire at Six Flags Great Adventure (1984)

Those eight victims' ages ranged from 15 to 19. A would-be ninth victim had almost made it to the exit before passing out. She was carried out the rest of the way by an actor who'd already broken character to make his own way out.

At least nobody died in the Universal Studios and Lagoon fires. This one, on the other hand, had eight casualties.

Go to no. 4 and you'll see why I'm so angry that this even happened in the 1st place.

4 Ghost Train fire at Luna Park Sydney (1979)

I don't know how on Earth no one has added this yet! 7 people died, and 6 of them were CHILDREN for crying out loud! Worse yet, everyone aboard the ride could've died because the fire was THAT out of control. One woman lost her ENTIRE family, and her life was only spared since she was craving ice cream.

5 America Sings death at Disneyland (1974)
6 El Toro derailment at Six Flags Great Adventure (2021)
7 Thunder River Rapids causes 4 deaths at Dreamworld (2016)

Those poor kids and paramedics; I can't imagine witnessing what they went through.

8 The slow, painful demise of Geauga Lake (2007)
9 Apollo's Chariot goose collision at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (1999)
10 The Smiler train collision (2015)
The Contenders
11 Universal Studios Hollywood backlot tour fire (2008)
12 Burning of Dreamland at Coney Island (1911)

Granted, not quite as sad as the Triangle Factory fire that happened just days earlier in the same city, but sad (and scary) all the same.

13 Six Flags New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina (2005)
14 The "euthanization" of Topsy the elephant at Luna Park, Coney Island (1903)

Well, I gotta say, amusement parks had some... interesting things before the invention of drop towers, steel coasters, 200+ foot coasters, etc. Gotta fill that void somehow.

15 Mindbender derailment at Galaxyland (1986)
16 Monorail crash in Disney World (2009)
17 Lane Graves brutally killed by a alligator on the Grand Floridian Resort Grounds (2016)

Disney must have realizes this before they actually started destroying Splash Mountain, since they decided not to make it about finding Louis's lost trumpet in time for Mardi Gras in favor of riding through the effing AVERY SALT MINE to get some salt for Tiana's Palace.

And Disney "cancelled" all alligators and crocodiles/references thereto... for about a year. Now they're retheming Splash Mountain to some bs centered around the gator from "The Princess and the Frog".

18 Disney officially confirms Splash Mountain will become Tiana's Bayou Adventure (2022)

Even sadder: seeing it surrounded by construction walls advertising Avery Salt Mine, where many slaves DIED. Disney just slapped up "Tiana Foods" signs over the offending logo, but didn't announce that they'd seen the error of their ways and decided to go with a different theme (ideally they would have decided to keep Splash Mountain, but that would have been asking too much).

Worse, they officially announced the closing date (January 23, 2023) to begin the conversion to a ride that doesn't fit the ride's location in the park or the character/movie they're re-theming it to.

19 The Voyage unconscious rider incident at Holiday World (2021)
20 Carousel Candy shop and kiddie bumper car ride Scamper destroyed by fire at Lagoon Amusement Park (2021)
21 12 year old falls off Log Chute at Nickelodeon Universe (1998)
22 California's Great America announced closure (2022)
23 Animals die at Animal Kingdom (1998)

At least they didn't burn to death like the animals at Dreamland.

In the first year...

24 14 year old dies on FreeFall (2022)
25 DisneyQuest closed and replaced by NBA Experience (2017)

The NBA Experience itself only lasted a few years. Currently there's just a big empty building there.

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