Articles Tagged with “Disney World”

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Almost 31,000 people end up in the emergency room from injuries suffered at amusement parks and theme parks. Many are minor, some are catastrophic.  But one thing they have in common…no federal regulation.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission only oversees mobile amusements such as carnivals.  That means that fixed-site or permanent amusements (like Disney, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, Universal) are inspected or regulated by the states, if they so choose.  And in any manner the state chooses.

With the pull back of safety regulations by the government, it is expected that there will be more incidents causing more injuries.  Summer is the most active time at amusement parks, filled with out-of-school children and vacationers trying to take in some fun.  Many states regulate and inspect amusement parks, but at least six (Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) have no regulation at all. And in one case in Texas, operator Six Flags was in charge of investigating its own accident which caused the death of a woman.

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Because of Disney’s corporate thinking, Matt and Melissa Graves lost their son Lane. On June 14, 2016 Lane Graves was killed by an alligator, who snatched him from the shore of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. Probably mistaking the prehistoric creature for a toy or animatronic reptile, Lane walked toward the gator and was taken.

Despite the heroic efforts by his parents, Lane was pulled under water, only to be found by divers the next day. The horror of this loss is magnified by the fact that Matt and Melissa fought the alligator before it submerged with their son.

The dignity displayed by the Graves in refusing to comment on this senseless loss conveys the deep need to grieve their loss and focus on what is important now. But for the rest of us the lesson is clear: Disney needs to learn that they cannot wait until crash after crash at an intersection before putting up a stop sign. Here there was a need for more than just a stop sign.

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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The first jury trial in six years alleging safety problems on a Central Florida theme park ended in Disney’s favor Monday, May 3, when it was decided that that no dangerous condition existed on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror that might have caused a 68-year-old man’s stroke three weeks after riding it.

A Disney spokeswoman was unsurprisingly ‘pleased with the verdict’ and assured reporters that safety is Disney’s ‘primary concern.’ Plaintiff Marvin Cohen of Philadelphia, now 80, can request a new trial and file a notice for appeal in the 10 days following the jury’s verdict.

Cohen’s attorney, Barry Novack of Los Angeles, believes that Judge Jose R. Rodriguez’s rulings before and during the trial prevented his client from pursuing all his claims that the ride’s warnings misled him, and therefore skewed the ultimate result. He plans to review the rulings and could then appeal.
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Tragedy struck on Walt Disney World property when a 9-year-old boy found himself and his bicycle pulled under the right rear tire of a Disney Transport bus at the Fort Wilderness Resort, April 1, 2010. Despite wearing a helmet, the boy lost his life. According to a report by MSNBC, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said there was no evidence that the bus driver was impaired or driving recklessly and criminal charges are not expected, though a thorough investigation will be conducted.

In recent months, Disney theme parks reported several transportation incidents, including a Walt Disney World bus rear-ending a charter bus near the entrance of Epcot (seven passenger injuries), two buses colliding at Walt Disney World (twelve passenger injuries), and a collision crash of two monorails, resulting in the death of one of the operators. These incidents show a potential for increase in annual transportation crashes at Disney: In a one-year period during 2004-2005, there were four deaths and 19 injuries reported by Disney at its Florida theme parks, most but not all due to bus and transportation crashes. Disney has only been required to report incidents at its parks to state inspectors since 2001.

The amusement and entertainment giant paid $35,200 in fines imposed by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is facing a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of its monorail operator.