Orlando is a tourist destination in part because of all of the amusement parks in the area. Most amusement parks have many safety measures in place to protect visitors. They perform daily inspections, rigorously trained staff members and have emergency response procedures for most rides if something goes wrong.
Despite such efforts, sometimes a trip to an amusement park turns tragic. Which parks have the most deaths on record?
Universal Studios Florida
While there have been many dramatic incidents at Universal Studios, few of them prove fatal. A woman from Florida died after having a heart attack while riding The Incredible Hulk Coaster. A man died after falling roughly four feet from a platform while boarding the Revenge of the Mummy ride in 2004, and he later died from head injuries. The park sees more than 10 million guests annually.
ICON Park is smaller than many other parks on this list, but it was the location of one of the most recent fatalities. A 14-year-old boy died due to issues with safety restraints after falling from the Orlando Freefall ride in 2022. He was nearly a hundred pounds heavier than the weight limit for the ride, which was not posted.
With more than 4.5 million visitors annually, there are many things that could go wrong at SeaWorld Orlando. The water park, Aquatica, has seen at least two deaths involving people who rode Roa’s Rapids. A trainer once died in a drowning caused by a bull orca in 2010. A visitor who illegally stayed in the park overnight also died by drowning in 1999.
Discovery Cove, a SeaWorld Park, has had a handful of tragic incidents. In 2009, a 59-year-old visitor died due to complications of hemophilia and severe infection after cutting his toe on coral during an encounter swimming with fish. The park only allows 1,300 guests per day, meaning less than half a million people visit each year.
Walt Disney World
Despite boasting more than 10 million visitors at most of the separate parks each year, Disneyworld Orlando has not been home to many fatal incidents when considering the volume of visitors. Most of the reported incidents involve either maintenance workers or people with serious underlying health conditions. Reports of incidents involving ride failures are quite rare. People have died due to underlying heart conditions after riding Dinosaur, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Body Wars, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, PeopleMover, Space Mountain and Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.
Visitors can protect themselves by prioritizing amusement parks with good safety records. Following Park rules, reading signage, complying with height and weight restrictions and remaining aware of one surroundings can all help people avoid injury. In some cases, those hurt due to operator negligence or poor design may have grounds to file a lawsuit after an incident at an Orlando amusement park.