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Theme Park Oversight Redux

3 comments

Wow did I get a lot of slack for suggesting that, god forbid, the NTSB was justified in investigating the Disney Monorail crash. My point, however, is not to imply that Disney runs an inherently safe or unsafe operation. My point is more, how do we know? Florida and the Federal Government both give the major theme parks in Florida a (no pun intended) virtual free ride when it comes to reporting accidents and injuries. The statutory accident reporting standards and statutory ride inspection systems for the Big Three theme parks in Florida are less than those for the merry go round at the County Fair or the local trolley in tourist town.

My point, therefore, is not that they are unsafe but that really nobody knows. I have sued Disney for injuries allegedly sustained on the Disney transportation system which I know for a fact were never reported by Disney to anyone despite that they knew of the injury immediately. The same is true for lots of lawsuits against the parks on lots of rides. So for everyone out there who comments that they love Disney and therefore it must be safe, my question is: How do you know? I sure don’t and I have tried hard to find out. I can look up every injury on a Delta Airlines jet compare it to an American Airlines jet and decide which airline I wish to patronize. I can research public accident reports on pretty much every public bus injury. You just try and find out how many injuries have been alleged to occur on a particular ride. If you can find that out then you are better than any lawyer I know because our judicial system has also recently bent over backwards in local District Court Opinions that protect from discovery the secrecy of the number and type of other accidents at theme parks even in a lawsuit alleging injuries on the same ride or event.

Alas, we are thus stuck with taking the corporations at their word when they say that all they do is good and safe, fun and wonderful. Sounds a bit like our friends the bankers and the insurance companies. "Trust Us." That is why I am just asking for the theme parks to tell us who gets hurt and when and how. This is required in every single car crash in Florida, on every fair ride injury, why not then in the big theme parks? You would think, if the parks are as safe as these commentators shout, that they would proudly blast these statistics all over to show just how safe they are. I mean if there are no injuries, no accidents, then why not tell us? Who knows, they could even have rides with 5 star safety ratings and 4 star ones? I am being silly now, but seriously, with a ride reporting system then, like me, you could decide if you want to risk your little girl getting her face gashed and permanently scarred for life on a ride that does that. I know about that ride because I represented her. You don’t because the cases are all made secret when resolved. My daughters won’t ride that ride, I know some park employees’ kids won’t either, and I just think you should have access to the same knowledge so you can make the same informed choice.




3 Comments

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  1. Paul says:
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    Here’s an idea. If you don’t like a particular company’s practices, *don’t go*. No one forces you to step one toe over the border into the horrifically anarchistic land of vultures you seem to believe exists at theme parks. If the idea that these folks don’t have to report every frivolous claim by idiots who know a good cash cow when they see one bothers you, DON’T GO. Problem solved.

  2. Matthew says:
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    Well if Disney and the other theme parks told everyone about every accident that ever occurred, then no one would want to visit them. For all I know, a car could hit me the next time I go get the newspaper from the mailbox. What am I supposed to do? Tell my daughter not to get the newspaper because a car might hit her? You can’t live your life doing nothing because you are too afraid you are going to get hurt. In my book, Walt Disney World is the best theme park out there. Yes, people get hurt there, but they also get hurt in their cars driving down the road. It would be impossible to run a perfectly safe theme park.

    And I agree with Paul. If you don’t like Disney World or the other theme parks you speak of, DON’T VISIT THEM! No one is making you go.

  3. Nick Carroll says:
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    I understand the perspective of many of the commenters. I don’t necessarily agree, but I get their point.

    But I wonder where the line is drawn? Should anything be regulated? Should vehicle manufacturers need to meet minimum safety requirements, or should drug manufacturers need to prove their drugs are reasonably free of negative side effects? If those industries (among dozens of others) require regulation, then why should Florida theme parks get a pass?

    As a side note, I visit Disney several times a year with my family. And unless visitors start dropping like flies, I’ll continue to do so. So why the secrecy?