During the first three months of 2009, Orlando area theme parks reported seven injuries – with six of those injuries occurring at Disney theme parks or water parks. In exchange for reporting injuries requiring a hospital stay of longer than 24 hours, Florida theme parks are exempted from State ride-safety inspections.
The injuries are as follows:
At Florida’s second-busiest theme park, Universal Studios Orlando, a 68 year-old man’s left arm went numb after he rode E.T. Adventure, a ride that invites you to "[bring the kids and board your flying bikes as you soar across the stars to help E.T. save his home planet."
At Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, four injuries were reported during the first quarter of 2009. First, a 75 year-old woman felt light-headed and nauseous after riding Space Mountain, where guests are "blast[ed] off on a journey into outer space . . . [and] feel the wind race across [their] face . . .." Next, a 56 year-old man experienced chest pain after visiting the Haunted Mansion, a "spooky tour of an ominous haunted house." Third, a 46 year-old woman lost consciousness after riding Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which warns riders that they "may need an extra dose of courage" and to "get ready for a journey through dark and creepy surroundings." Lastly, a 40 year-old woman broke her left ankle after exiting Astro Orbiter, which "takes [g]uests of all ages for a flight aboard a rocket-like spaceship . . .."
There were two other reported injuries at Disney during the first quarter of 2009. The first was a 59 year-old man who had chest pain after riding Spaceship Earth at Epcot, "a 16-minute omnimover ride through time and space for Guests of all ages . . .." Finally, a 67 year-old woman suffered a cervical injury after crashing near the end of Toboggan Racers, a 250 foot "waterslide race" at Disney’s Blizzard Beach.
Notably, there were no reported injuries at either SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay during the quarter.
The major theme parks are exempt from all State and Federal ride injury reporting requirements. The incidents reported above are based on a voluntary agreement between Florida and the big theme parks to report certain ride related incidents meeting only certain criteria. Therefore, there may have been many other injuries that the theme parks chose not to report that could be of interest to consumers before deciding to participate in a certain attraction.