Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

5 Odd And Interesting Facts About One Of Our Favorite Fun Pastimes — Amusement Parks

Left frame shows 1999 Fabio during an interview after his amusement park accident. Right frame shows a Ferris Wheel.

Amusement parks are a favorite activity worldwide. The first ride-centered attractions began with P.T. Barnum’s Traveling Circus in 1871! From the circus, boardwalks developed, with a natural progression to our modern amusement parks. Coney Island opened the first three parks — Dreamland, Luna, and Steeplechase — starting in 1897. By 1903, the phrase “American amusement park” was in use. We haven’t looked back since, although we have screamed on a lot of roller coasters.

Walt Disney was a pioneer in the creation of modern theme parks. His ideas on what a park should be versus what they were at the time made his plans unique. No one in the business thought highly of the plans and told Disney his park would be a failure. Disney did not like the unfair games, open admission, and “carnies” associated with regular amusement parks. His goal was a family-oriented destination. That was in 1953. The mouse lives on and is bigger than ever!

Image from YouTube.

1. Action Park In Vernon, New Jersey, Remains Extremely Dangerous

Action Park opened one of the first-ever wave pools, in 1978. On the first day of operation, nearly 100 swimmers required rescue from the rough surf. The park has had several nicknames alluding to its dangerous reputation: “Accident Park” and “Class Action Park” are among the most well-known. The park closed in 1996 after the death of at least six people in several incidents. In 1998, the park reopened under a different name but reverted to the original name. HBO made a documentary about the park, reporting 110 injuries in only one year. The injuries included 10 miscellaneous fractures and 45 head injuries. Pay up your insurance premiums and have a lovely time!

2. The First Ferris Wheel In The US Was Made To Compete With The Splendor Of The Eiffel Tower

Spinning wheels, in some form, have been around for a long time. Original versions were spun by strong men turning a manual wheel. The idea to motorize the wheel came from George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., who designed the world’s first Ferris Wheel for Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The design was constructed for the U.S. to compete with the tourism and splendor of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Ferris died four years later, penniless, but his invention lives on, cementing his legacy.

3. Head To Ohio If You Love Roller Coasters

Cedar Point, an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, has dubbed itself the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” While that is a bold claim, Cedar Point backs it up with the longest, fastest, and tallest roller coasters on record.

4. Fabio Fought With A Goose And Lost

Fabio Lanzoni is a popular male supermodel and TV actor. His image has graced the cover of more romance novels than anyone can count. He also had a recurring role on Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush” TV series. All that fame and fortune was no help to him on the “Apollo’s Chariot” roller coaster in 1999 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. A flying goose hit him, and the collision gave the actor a broken nose. The goose, sadly, did not survive.

5. Sometimes, The Character Actors At Disney Are The Real Deal!

Disney theme parks take great care in hiring their character actors. The requirements are stringent. A princess must ALWAYS act like a princess. The actors must stay “in character” whenever they are in any public area in costume. Johnny Depp, ever the prankster, has occasionally visited the parks as the characters he portrays in “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” If you’re at Disney and Captain Jack Sparrow seems a bit too real, It might be Johnny pranking his fans!

Amusement parks will continue to be a popular attraction in the US. In addition to the stationary theme parks with stable locations, we also have access to a variety of independent city, county, and state fairs. Whether you enjoy the coasters or the simplistic Tilt-A-Whirl, you are sure to find your favorite ride!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.