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Disneyland Article
A Really Weird Experience The Oddest Places Readers Have Ever Been Stuck On Rides
Julie Tremaine
There’s one moment on the Haunted Mansion — my favorite ride, my only must-do on any given Disneyland day — that I absolutely dread. Sometimes I close my eyes, sometimes I just avert them to focus on something more agreeable to my sensibilities, sometimes I just fix my gaze, staring down my own demon in grotesque horror.

It has absolutely nothing to do with a ghost.

The spot I can’t handle on Haunted Mansion is the moment before you enter the cemetery scene, where the old caretaker is standing there, wide-eyed and holding a lantern so he can better see all the “grim grinning ghosts” past the gates. Next to him is his dog. But not just any dog. A rickety old dog, so hungry his ribs are showing in ghastly detail, shaking with what is supposed to be fear of the paranormal party inside — but to me just looks like starvation and suffering. And that, my friends, I just can’t stomach.

At any other point on Haunted Mansion, if the ride stops, I welcome the pause so I can take in more of the scene. In fact, every time my Doom Buggy hits the ballroom with the waltzing ghosts, I send up a silent prayer to Master Gracey himself for a brief pause in the ride and a little more time to enjoy it. But once I got stuck for 10 painful minutes, watching that sad dog shake and cry, and it was truly terrible.

Ride malfunctions at Disneyland are relatively common. Something breaks down pretty much every day, but it almost always comes back up and running fairly quickly.

The Twitter account @DLStats tracks these developments in real time. At the time of writing this story, 18 rides had temporarily broken down by noon, including: Incredicoaster (11 minutes against 38 minute average stoppage), Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! (21 minutes against 37 minute average, and then more 18 and 42 minute closures later), Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (17 minutes against 61 minute average), Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-o-Ween (57 minutes against 37 minute average), Splash Mountain (91 minutes against 84 minute average), Pirates of the Caribbean (21 minutes against 22 minute average), Space Mountain (111 minutes against 53 minute average), and Haunted Mansion Holiday (still closed as of writing, with a 58 minute average closure).

Those stops can be both good and bad things. Sometimes you get stuck in a part of a ride, like that ballroom scene, and you get an extended break sitting down in the air conditioning in a place you enjoy — or you get a look at something guests almost never get to see, like when theme park vlogger TPMvids got to ride the stretching room elevator back up to the entrance to Haunted Mansion.

Sometimes, like once happened to me on the Matterhorn Bobsleds, you get stuck on an angled part of the track and your whole body weight is resting on what feels like one square inch of one single rib bone for half an hour, thinking about everything that’s ever gone wrong with that ride. Sometimes, in a moment I desperately wish would happen to me, Ursula’s head pops off mid-ride on "The Little Mermaid" ride. (OK, that only happened once and it will likely never happen again, but I still hope every time that I get to witness such a fantastic anomaly.)

Frequently, rides are stopped not because they break down, but because the guests do something they’re not supposed to do, like this guy who jumped out of a moving train on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to recover the phone he dropped, which Disney politely called “operational difficulties” and not “a selfish jerk who ruined the ride for everyone and almost got himself killed.” In that instance, everyone had to be walked off the ride so it could be reset.

It got me thinking about the spots that are truly the least pleasant places to get stuck in the park. I asked SFGATE readers and #DisTwitter users what their least fun ride malfunctions were. Here’s what they said:

“I got stuck on Peter Pan (Disneyland), UP IN THE AIR. After a 90-min wait in 100 degree weather. Had to wait until they manually released each ‘ship’ to drag it thru the rest of the ride,” @StilettoAnna tweeted. “I had a 3-yo with me. BTW: Lights on, magic lost. SAME DAY: had to walk off of Monsters Inc.”

“One of the more memorable experiences I ever had at DLR was getting stuck on Casey Jr. in one of the cages on the backstretch of the ride. It was something,” @dfsingleton responded. “My son was small at the time, but I'm a husky dude. My wife was in there with us, and we were joined by another family of 3 or 4 with a dad who was not small either. Things were fine for the first few minutes after we stopped, but then things took a turn. The other dad became increasingly agitated as we waited for the ride to restart. They made an announcement of please be patient and they would come and get us out. But old boy couldn't wait, forced the door open and somehow squeezed his way out of the cage.”

“I got stuck on Grizzly Rapids once. It was kind of towards the end of the ride. A cast member had to come and turn the raft so we could get out onto the narrow walk way and walk off the ride. It was a little scary but mostly just a really weird experience,” @WeirdGsTravels tweeted.

“We got stuck on Pirates of the Caribbean one time about 15 feet from where the ride ended and you get off, and my son who was little freaked out. Aww memories,” tweeted @ladydianall. “That happened to me on Sunday night,” responded @snagbaggler. “Stuck right before Johnny Depp at the end and kept getting rammed into by boats.”

“I once got stuck on Pirates during the battle scene,” @TanyaH666 said. “We sat in that fog for 45 minutes before they turned it off. My hair was a wreck.”

“No kidding, once got stopped at the part of the ride where the recording says ‘dead men tell no tales’ for about 35 minutes,” added @mamarubinelli. “Now imagine hearing that over and over for 35 minutes straight with no indication of when we might move.”

“Getting stuck anywhere in Matterhorn ... The seats are so uncomfortable and the awkward seated position kills my hips. Avoid at all costs!” tweeted @carlycaramanna.

“We got stuck on the 6th floor of Guardians of the Galaxy on Monday,” @probingweirdo said. “Not the best when you’re terrified of heights.”

My very creepiest, besides that dog? Once I got stuck in the darkest, most ominous room in Indiana Jones Adventure, with nothing but the inky blackness, a car full of strangers and my own wild imagination to keep me company. I have to be honest: After that one, I’m not sure I was ever the same. But obviously I got right back on to ride again. Not knowing what’s going to happen at Disneyland, especially when you think you’ve seen and done everything there is to do at the park, is half the fun.

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