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Carnival Rides vs Theme Park Rides


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I know someone who has traveled overseas to some of the Parks in America such as Disney, Universal and so on, she alway brags about how much she loves rides and roller coasters and what she has ridden. But when it comes to carnivals and traveling fairs she won't step foot on a ride cause she says they're dodgy and unsafe.

Whats everyone's opinion on this? To you agree or disagree? And why?

I'm interested to hear what you guys have to say for this little debate. 

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Do I believe they're safe? Yes

Do I get that feeling that there's a (likely wrong, but) slightly higher chance of something going wrong on them over a fixed ride from a larger manufacturer at a theme park? Yes

Does that stop me from riding them? No (The fact that they're mostly spin n spews stops me from riding them).


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This topic has been discussed previously (maybe in the travelling fairs thread)

from memory there was a divide in people's opinions, some of the belief that carnival rides are more susceptible to safety issues due to the constant pulling apart and rebuilding, whilst others believing that practice is what makes them safe as they are re-checked more often. 

I guess I'm in the former group, I just don't have the level of comfort on a carnival ride as I do on a permanently installed theme park ride. I do have a second take before I go on any of the 'bigger' or more intense Carnivale rides as they feel to be less safe. 

I guess I have the benefit of choice living near the theme parks on the GC so I can choose to skip the carnivals rides at the Ekka or a travelling fair and just head to the parks, a double win as I save money and remove the perceived risk in my mind. 

If I still lived in Sydney though, I'd probably be more receptive to travelling rides as they'd be my only options for regular rides

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@Brad2912 has summed up this entire thread in a single post. I do recall the previous discussion had, and the two sides thing is accurate. 

I'm kinda leaning towards the 'they're safer because each piece is pulled apart and put back together again' but recent events have shown failures - including in Australia (a Cha-Cha critically injured a 5 year old yesterday in Victoria). So then I wanna say the more reputable show companies are more reliable - except the cha-cha was Wittingslow's.

I don't know. We know the stats on theme park ride injuries \ deaths - but would travelling carnival rides be THAT much different? Wouldn't they see a similar number of riders per day?

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Spotty nailed it 3 years ago, after an accident on a carnival ride sparked another conversation.

On 12/09/2014 at 11:55 PM, Spotty said:

For anyone who is stating that these rides are unsafe etc, take a moment to think about this... You are in MUCH more danger of being in an accident on the way to a carnival or show than you are on any of the rides. Whilst the exact cause is unknown, it's likely a FREAK accident.

Yes it's unfortunate that this has happened, but i'd honestly trust my life and any of my friends lives on these attractions. Do you honestly think the owners of these rides spend over a million dollars importing these world class attractions and are going to risk their livelihood along with their families (and any other people riding these attractions) by not maintaining them.

These rides are subject to some of the most in depth testing and inspections in the world before being signed off to operate at any of the shows in Australia. I have 100% faith in each of these rides, and the operators of them that if something WAS found to be wrong at these inspections that they would refuse to operate the ride until the proper fixes have been implemented. Yes they would lose money but it's not worth the risk to put it simply.


having worked in the amusement industry and carnival industry for many years myself I can promise you that the staff at theme parks and carnivals take height restrictions VERY seriously no matter what. However if it's a really busy period of time, sadly if people are in a big group a person can slip through the cracks. These attractions are as safe, if not safer than our attractions at the theme parks. When you think about it, these rides are dismantled almost on a weekly basis so components are checked more frequently than the theme park versions. The staff operating them know the ride inside and out and not just from an operational standpoint.


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I think there's a similar amount of risk associated with both of them, yeah we've had some accidents on carnival rides, but you have to remember (apologies for being blunt) 4 people died at Dreamworld last year on the river rapids ride. It can happen in any situation, but the likelihood is so low that it's considered a freak occurrence for either setting.

Bottom line is that both are ridiculously safe compared to almost anything else you do in life, and we've heard it a million times before. You're much more likely to be in a car crash on the way to the park than you are to be in an incident at the park, yet no one thinks twice about getting in a car to go to work or school every day.

Health and safety laws and regulations are there for a reason, but you can't live your life being afraid of anything that moves, you'd simply get nowhere and achieve nothing.

I reckon there'd be no point riding carnival coasters if it weren't for that heightened feeling of impending doom. They're all pretty rubbish on face value. I simply don't get that on coasters at parks anymore, but it's something carnie rides still deliver for me, whether it's an illusion or not. And that's just the coasters, in general, I find carnival flats are of a higher quality experience-wise compared to flats at parks.

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As I live in Sydney, there's not a whole lot of  amusement parks, so as Brad said, travelling rides are pretty much my only option (other than Luna Park). Even though I visit travelling shows and carnivals pretty often, I think if I lived in Queensland for example, I would visit them less often than I currently do. I'm also relatively young, so I can handle Spin 'n' spews unlike some other people.

With safety, I personally don't have a problem with either travelling or permanent variants. There's risk everywhere in life, you could be killed while walking down the street. And even though it can be a bit unnerving going on travelling rides, they're made by professional manufactures who have made thousands upon thousands of these rides. So, I reckon even though theres risk associated with both, they're safe enough in my books. 

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