Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deaths in Disneyland

Yeah. Totally morbid. If you don’t like thinking about death, then…


(Not to imply anyone likes thinking about death, but you might see that the value is to prevent your own death/harm and deaths/harm of those you love…)

However, if you can handle it and want to learn through the mistakes of others in order to prevent your own potential mistakes and potential mistakes that your children might make… then keep reading.

Disneyland Deaths

This topic has intrigued me, and I try to learn bout deaths and major accidents in order to take precautionary measures with my own family. I was reading Mouse Tales this week, and it goes into a few details on most of these deaths.

Here are the rides that have claimed lives:

• People Mover – 2

• America Sings – 1

• Matterhorn – 2

• Rivers of America – 2

• Monorail – 1

• Tour Bus in the Parking Lot – 1

• Sailing Ship Columbia – 1

• Thunder Mountain – 1

Notes: Most of these were irresponsible young men who were seeking adventure (and apparently death). Columbia and Thunder Mountain are the only deaths that were Disneyland’s fault (Eisner and his park executive staff got major blame for this). All the other deaths were by guests (and one employee) who ignored the rules. All the families sued. Disneyland won all the lawsuits except for Thunder Mountain, and Columbia, which they settled out of court and didn’t bother trying to win.

Thunder Mountain:

Sailing Ship Columbia

Disney tries to settle all cases out of court and offers good settlements (Columbia was reported at $25 million). However, a few times people have been unreasonable (even though the deceased was at fault), wanted more, continued to court, and of course, lost (so they didn't even get the original settlement). The only cases that could have been won were the Columbia and Thunder Mountain cases. These were the only Disneyland deaths ever that were the fault of Disneyland.

Part of Roy Disney’s Save Disney campaign was to blame this on Eisner and his executives who cut costs on the maintenance. They knew the risk of not maintaining Thunder Mountain properly and for cutting back on the costs of placing more lead ride foremen on the rides and paying for more expensive materials for Columbia. Under Iger’s new regime, a lot more maintenance has been added back to Disney parks (his new team has done everything right so far). These

The lessons learned are to stay in your seat, don’t disobey rules about the water, keep children away from moving vehicles, and stay clear of moving walls. Disneyland deaths occur because people leave caution behind when they enter the park. The atmosphere is that it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, and people buy into that TOO WELL, letting down their guard and making poor safety decisions. It’s proof that common sense is necessary for survival. =^(

Natural (non-ride-related) deaths occurred on:

• Storybook Land – 2

• Matterhorn – 1

• Space Mountain – 2

• Gang Fight – 1

Note: Natural deaths (non-ride-related) include 3 heart attacks (2 elderly men and 1 obese woman), 1 case of a tumor dislodged, and 1 case of a stabbing (not natural, but still unrelated to the park). Also, a horse on Main Street had a heart attack, and then died.

I put this in its own category because if you cram 50,000 people into one area every day for over 40 years, then, yes, there will be many natural deaths.

I think the bottom line for the natural deaths is just to take your health and age into consideration and to make sure you’re accompanied by at least one other adult if you are taking any health risks. That way you can sit out many of the rides.

For every one of these deaths, there are a half-dozen major injuries or so. The causes are all similar.


(1) Heart attack on Matterhorn

So one of those heart attacks was really horrible. A grandfather took his two grand daughters on Matterhorn, and he had a heart attack and died on the ride!!!

When the sled came down. He was dead, on top of them, and they were crying. They had to pry him off!!!

There are only a handful of worse experiences that I could think of for a child to go through.

(2) Tour Bus Death in Parking Lot

The tour buss death was also very tragic. An uncle was with his 7-year old niece, waiting to catch a tour bus back to their hotel. Well, she was too close, and she wandered into the path of the bus. Died on impact.

It makes me want to knock some sense into that uncle of hers. Although I guess a lifetime of guilt should do it.


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