Articles Tagged with “theme parks”

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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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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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We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.

in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.

This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride. http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/13/us/florida-disney-monorail-evacuated/index.html?hpt=hp_t2