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Disney, Universal and SeaWorld report falls, seizures and other injuries of guests

Gabrielle Russon, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Business News

A 25-year-old woman had a seizure on Universal’s Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure last month while at Disney, an 86-year-old woman fell as she left Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, “injuring her head, arm and leg” in late October, according to a state report released Friday.

Every three months, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services publicly updates a report that is supposed to detail the most serious injuries at the theme parks. Universal Orlando, Disney World, Legoland, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens self-disclose when their visitors are hurt or sick on rides that required at least 24 hours of hospitalization.

But the theme parks’ accounts to the state can be vague or inaccurate, according to an Orlando Sentinel investigation last year.

When Orlando theme parks self-report ride injuries, details can be left out

At Universal, for instance, the park said in 2019 a boy had “foot pain” on E.T. Adventure and a man had a “numbness” on a Volcano Bay water slide.

Court documents told a different story.

The boy’s family attorney said the child broke toes on his left foot, his tibia and fibula. And the man who was hurt at the water park broke his neck and lay temporary paralyzed at the end of ride, according to his lawsuit which was settled in November.

In October, a Florida agriculture spokesman said regulators planned to meet with the theme parks this month how to get more accurate information on visitors’ ride injuries during the state’s annual consultation with the parks.

 

However, on Friday, department spokesman Franco Ripple said the consultation happened Dec. 8. He did not say if any changes were made at that meeting other than more discussions will be happening in the coming weeks. He did not return messages for further details late Friday.

“FDACS always strives to maximize public safety and expects the highest levels of safety and transparency at Florida’s theme parks. These safety efforts will continue into 2021 and beyond,” Ripple said in an emailed statement.

Other injuries listed Friday include a 14-year-old girl having a seizure on the Universal’s Incredible Hulk Coaster on Nov. 27, according to the latest theme park injury report that covers the time period from October through the end of 2020.

A 60-year-old woman “felt ill” after riding Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain coaster Nov. 21.

Two injuries in November were reported at Aquatica Orlando, the water park owned by SeaWorld. A 28-year-old man hurt his back on Whanau Way, a tube slide, while a 44-year-old woman had trouble breathing at the park’s large wave pool Cutback Cove.

A 65-year-old man suffered a hip injury on SeaWorld Orlando’s Sea Carousel.

Legoland and Busch Gardens did not report any injuries.

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