You’d imagine children to be the ones to have intense meltdowns at amusement parks. Surprisingly enough, adults are the ones that throw the biggest tantrums at such places, and usually, for the most ridiculous reasons.
In this article, amusement park employees share the biggest adult tantrum they’ve witnessed on the job.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I worked at Disney several years ago. One job I had was working with the various characters, and let me tell you what, people lost their minds over the characters. I was threatened, screamed at, followed, called names, spat at, all manner of rude things for either taking the character away or not letting people cut the line.
But the one that always comes to mind is one mother. We did allow Make a Wish kids to cut the line and meet the characters first (for obvious reasons). One time when I did this, the mother got very angry and said “I wish my kids had cancer so they could cut the line!”
I had no response except to pray the poor Make a Wish family hadn’t heard her.
Worked on a ride that had a height requirement. One of only a few in the park. This ride had flight simulators that were no joke. They could go completely vertical and if the harness didn’t hold you correctly, you could have a less-than-ideal riding experience.
There was a woman and her child who tried to come in- the child was too short. We explain this, give the kid a pass to jump to the front of the line when he’s tall enough, and he’s fine. Mother, however, was not. She’s freaking out at us immediately. I wasn’t really listening to what she said, but she wouldn’t go away and was causing a huge disturbance. We call the manager on duty. She does the same thing to him. It’s at this point that she says the one thing I remember.
“Are you telling me you care more about my child’s safety than if he has a good time or not?!”
My manager looks stunned, but responds quite calmly, “Yes, and, quite frankly, it concerns me that you don’t.”
After that she left. Adults are far, far worse than children in amusement parks.
I worked those not-quite-rigged games where you pay $2 to try to win a stuffed animal or basketball. One family was so upset over losing $10 that they threatened to wait for me at my car and knife me after work. The whole family.
Was working one of the kiddie rides one day, and this kid in line stuck his head between the bars in the gate. It took me and 2 other adults to pull the bars enough for the kid to get his head back out. Afterwards the kids mom comes running over and starts yelling at me for letting him get his head stuck. I told her that she should have been with the kid in line. She did not like that response. She stood there yelling at me for a good 5 minutes, claiming that I’m irresponsible and should not be allowed to work the kid rides. I called a manager over on the radio and he took a “formal complaint” from her writing down what she was saying in his notebook. After the lady left he showed me his notebook, and there was a drawing of a dragon eating her and her kid.
Near the Bank of Main Street in autumn.
Old dude looking around at the leaves on the ground muttering to himself. He spots me and eagerly heads towards me. In my head “what is this nonsense?”
To him “Good morning sir, is there an issue?”
Angrily “Walt would be spinning in his grave if he saw all this trash.”
I scan the ground, there is no trash only fallen leaves.
“Yes, this place has become a disgrace!”
I apologized, thanked him and two finger pointed to City Hall.
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I was running “wac-a-mole”
Some guy lost and punched the winner in the throat. Called security and he was kicked out, and they gave the winner some free stuff to apologize.
I don’t know if anything else ever happened.
I worked in the kiddie area of one of the SeaWorld parks. There was a little coaster there called the Shamu Express, which you had to be 38 inches tall to ride. This crusty man came up with his baby- had to be like 18 months old, in a diaper- wanting to ride. Went off on me when I said she couldn’t. Almost comically he picked her up and held her against the 38 inch sign, feet dangling in the air, trying to make it look like this baby was as tall as a four year old. He started making fun of me, read my name tag and made fun of my name as he stormed off.
When I was in high school I was a face painter at a weekend festival involving a blue colored train who has adventures.
Obviously we were just doing little trains on the kid’s cheeks. However, one child threw a huge fit that he wanted his face to look just like Thomas the Tank Engine. Which frankly looks really freaking creepy. However his dad insisted and paid extra.
Cue to five minutes after I spend 15 minutes carefully painting this kid’s face to have his mom go ballistic on me that I’ve ruined her family’s day and now her child looks like a demon.
I was 16 and just sort of stared at her in shock and horror while the guy running the tent came over and escorted her out.
Whenever I worked on our most popular roller coaster, every couple of ride cycles there would be a kid crying and saying they didn’t want to ride. We were not allowed to send a coaster if a kid was screaming about not wanting to ride. We would either have to talk to them and try to calm them down or just let them out and have them wait in the exit for their parents. I’ve witnessed countless parents try to tell me that their kid was just being a baby and to just start the coaster down the tracks anyways. Not only is it policy, but it’s just a badd thing to do to a child. This coaster was a huge wooden coaster that was pretty rough and intense in some parts and if a kid is super scared it might even traumatize them. I’ve had parents tell me to shut up, not to talk to their kids, that I can’t let them out of the seat, basically they just wanted to force their crying child to endure an intense coaster when they clearly didn’t want to. It was really upsetting honestly.
I had to turn away many children who were just too short for a ride which was the main attraction of the park. So many freak outs, but safety is paramount as this thing launches you like 300 feet into the air.
The worst wasn’t even a freak out really. This guy was angry that his child was too small to ride and after I told him that his child could be seriously injured if allowed on he casually told me that it was “no big deal, (I) can always make a new one if necessary.
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Worked at a trampoline park for two years. Had a 13 year old kid poop his pants on the trampoline (yes 13).
Yells at me for letting this happen, saying I should’ve shown him to the restroom or something. I think she was just livid that her 13 year old dirtied his pants, and refuses to accept any sort of responsibility for the situation.
Still had to clean that up.
My cousin works at an amusement park. One of the attractions is a aquatic exhibit underground that includes sharks. One part of the exhibit is a glass tunnel within a shark tank so sharks can swim on all sides of the people inside. Some Russian couple was annoyed that they could not take a picture inside the crowded tunnel without other people being in the photo so they complained and asked my cousin to order others to make way for them to take a picture. My cousin refused as employees can’t order people to move away for the sake of a photo, so after a while of bickering, the Russian couple stormed up indignantly. It’s shocking how some people can act so entitled.
I worked at a water park many years ago, and this one attraction had three slides. I was a “loader,” so I was up top, waiting for a person on my particular slide to clear a certain part, then send the next in line. This kid comes up with his father, and I measure him. Turns out he’s an inch too short (height requirement was 4 feet). His father loses his mind, saying that his kid has already been on the slide multiple times. I tell him that he shouldn’t have, as someone wasn’t doing their job properly. He leaves, then comes back with a head lifeguard who then tells me to let the kid go. I then ask “If we have rules for this kind of thing, but don’t enforce them, then what’s the damn point?” I didn’t get an answer as she walked off, so I reluctantly let the kid go and restrained myself from calling the father whiny.
I worked at an indoors theme park and there was a ride that was intended for kids between ages 2-5. it said so on the huge sign right before the ride’s entrance, yet this man made his way inside and hopped on along with a little kid. I walked up to him and told him calmly that he had to get off otherwise I wouldn’t be able to start the ride since it was designed for small kids that weighed less than 30 kg, and he got mad and refused to. He started yelling at me in his language along with his wife, who was waiting outside the ride, and it got so bad that two of my coworkers had to come help me. He wouldn’t listen to us till I said I would give him a free ticket for another ride if he got off and he literally went “free? alright” and finally went away.
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A guy got pissed I wouldn’t let his INFANT son down the raft ride in the water park. Fought with me, tried to explain how dangerous it was, there was a height limit for a reason, etc. The guy just wasn’t having it. Said “He’d show me” and went to the parking lot. I told security about it and said he’s up to something. The dude comes back into the park. Security guys have him go through the metal detector and it turns out he had a gun. Cops came and arrested him.
I worked at an amusement park in rides for about 5 years. Every once in a while, a company would buy out the park after hours for employees and their families. One year, I was working a ride that you boarded while it was moving (slowly). The park had been bought out by a large chain store and we were in the process of closing down to the public. Anyway, I’m loading the ride and these three girls around 10 years old come up the line. I board them and they are all set. Not 60 seconds later, dad comes barrelling up the line and started yelling about boarding his kids while the ride is moving. He’s inches from my face screaming while I try to explain its how the ride functions. He’s NOT having it. I switch with a coworker to call security and our operations office to send a supervisor but since we’re clearing out the public, it’s going to take a while. In the meantime, this guy is screaming at all the employees, while continuing to let his kids stay on the ride as it cycles. I finally called security again and they and a supervisor sprint across the park. The supervisor tries to talk him down but it wasn’t doing any good so security escorted him out. Later, I was called to the security office to write a witness statement and found out the man had squared up to start a fist fight with the security full-time supervisor. He was escorted from the park and security called his company. Last I heard, the company was going to fire the guy.
I worked one summer as a ride operator.
Some background: At this particular theme park, after the maintenance workers finished going over the ride (they checked every ride, every morning), we had to run the ride three times with no one on it to make sure it was working properly.
This particular day, I was opening one of the park’s roller coasters. On the second test run, the coaster would not return to the station. I called maintenance, they looked at it again (by this time a line was starting), and I ran another test run. Same thing. Maintenance closed the coaster so they could work on the ride, and I told the customers they would have to leave the line.
The man second from the front of the line… he didn’t yell, and he didn’t have a “tantrum,” but he raised his voice in that I-Am-The-Customer-I-Have-Ultimate-Authority manner.
He said he had come to the park just to ride this coaster.
I told him we couldn’t operate the ride for his safety.
He said the maintenance guys should have tested it before the park opened.
I told him they had, and they did, every day.
He kept grumbling on his way out.
The ride ended up being closed for the remainder of the summer. I didn’t feel bad for that guy.
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I worked at six flags and some lady’s kid threw up on the ride I was in charge. The team members job was to notify me when someone threw up so she did and the lady got mad. She said she was a pre school teacher and that if one of her kids threw up she wouldn’t tell other teachers. Also she didn’t like the team members reaction when she noticed the vomit she gagged which is a normal human response. She said they should train us better for reactions to those types of sensitive occasions but people hardly ever throw up on rides. She also said she was going to sue because she didn’t like the way the situation was handled. She took my name because I was in charge and said, “Expect a call from my lawyers.” Nothing ever happened but now I have something fun to talk about.
I worked at a theme park in the games section years ago while in school. Had a little boy and his mother attempt to win a stuffed animal for him. Poor kid tried and tried but couldn’t get it. It was after about the third or fourth time when his mother started to flip out. She yelled, cursed, threatened, then even tried grabbing me from behind the counter. The best part of it all was when she started blaming me, a 16- year-old high school student, for rigging this theme park game and stealing her money as if I was pocketing it.
I felt so bad for the kid from all the embarrassment and attention his mother drew, ended up giving him a stuffed animal. Next day I come in and get called into the loss prevention office. They fired me, charged me with a $400 fine and banned me from the theme park for giving away a $5 stuffed animal.
I worked at a Six Flags. Two very large ladies were trying to board a ride that was little more than a carnival ride with some extra lights. It was called Condor, which consisted of some cars that go up to the top of this Central hub, about 50 feet in the air, then spin around. Anyway, these two very large ladies were trying to cram themselves in the same car. We were desperately trying to get them to go in separate cars, preferably on opposite sides to balance each other out. They would have none of that, and launched into this tirade long and loud about how we’re discriminating against them, and they’re going to sue us and the park. Eventually security tossed them.
Character performer here.
One story that sticks out in my mind is the day I was working near Splash Mountain in Critter Country. There was a family of three – a mother, father, and their son, who was probably about 10-12 years old – having a very loud argument. The son wanted to ride Splash Mountain, and the parents didn’t, so the father was screaming at him because the “line was too long” and they “weren’t waiting in the sun all day for him to go on a damn ride.” He was reaming this poor child until he seemed to be on the brink of tears.
My attendant heard the commotion and tried to tell the father he’d need to settle down, but the parents were having none of that. The mother started shrieking and ranting about how the attendant couldn’t talk to her husband that way and that he’s their son, they can do what they want, ruining their vacation, etc, etc. Security had to be called to talk to the parents, and only when they were threatened to be removed from the park did they actually cool their jets.
I think the attendant and I both took pity on the son. He looked utterly crushed and humiliated. So my attendant knelt down and asked if he wanted to ride Splash Mountain – a big smile spread across his face and his eyes lit up. We escorted him to the front of the line.
I hope the parents were just in a bad mood or something (not that it’s an excuse) but my god. I can’t imagine what kind of hell that kid is living if that’s a daily occurrence..
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I worked at Busch Gardens when I was 16 – they had a little Renaissance Fair game area and I was a wench there. We had a game called Whack A Toad where a rubber toad the size of about 8 inches long & 3 inches wide was placed on a little catapult – whack catapult with mallet, try to get it in bucket 10 or 15 feet away, get cheap stuffed animal if do. Well the catapults were on swivels for aiming and this game is right at the front beside the walkway so…. errant rubber frog breaches the 3 foot stick fence and slaps middle aged mom with fanny pack right upside her head. We used to throw these things at each other for fun, it did not hurt to get pelted by one! This woman goes nuclear! Starts sobbing, then screams in horror 3 times while flailing her arms, then yells “I can’t do this! I can’t do this! I can’t take it anymore, I CAN’T TAKE IT!” Throws herself on the ground, sobbing in the middle of the walkway – other passersby barely looking down at her as they just walk to the side to get around her or step right on over her. Her husband eventually coxes her to a bench, her 2 boys just stand silently and unmoving against the fence, like they know the drill. The dad stood near her for 20 minutes with a far off look on his face, not really looking at her or responding to her, while she sobbed and yelled about how he was a failure and the boys a disappointment, and she has to do everything, she planned the whole trip & isn’t having any fun, why can’t any of them help her with anything?! Then out of nowhere, she suddenly stops ranting, sniffles hard, just stands up and marches up the path without a further word. The dad and sons just automatically followed after, about 5 paces behind her, not looking at each other or saying a word.
I worked at a children’s theme park, the kind of place you would expect 5 year olds to be having meltdowns. Instead, the adults were some of the worst humans I’ve ever encountered. One particular incident sticks out most in my mind. The ride was one where children drive little cars around a track, but the kid has to be over 6 years old. My friend was loading children in, asking them their age in the way we were trained. Frequently, you get a child who is younger than 6, and you have to tell them they can’t go on the ride. The children, for the most part, are fine with this, they move on. Their parents, however, are livid.
So the kids are coming in, and the loader tells one he’s too young for the ride. The child’s dad takes this as a personal insult, and starts shouting at my friend, telling him this is absolutely unacceptable, he wants a refund, he wants to speak to a manager, ‘what do you mean my kid can’t go on this ride’ sort of thing. The rest of us are out on the track hearing some blustering wondering what’s causing the hold up.
The loader calls a manager, also security because this guy is making threats now. Manager arrives, tells my bud to swap positions with one of us out on the track so he’s no longer in the line of fire. Manager seems to be dealing with it, ride begins, everything’s fine.
THEN, out of nowhere, we see this dude climbing the fence surrounding the ride, shouting that he’s going to beat up the guy who wouldn’t let his child on the ride. He jumps down onto the track, we emergency stop the ride, leaving loads of 6 year olds sitting in their cars just wanting to go for a drive. Security rush out, grab the guy, and pretty much have to drag him off the track.
Guy who was loading the children has to sit in the back for a while to calm down. The guy who jumped on the track ends up getting a refund for his park tickets and the manager gives him a couple of fast track passes for other rides for the inconvenience’.