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When you think of central Florida, what do you think of? The first thing that probably comes to your mind is Disney World, maybe followed by Universal Studios, Cape Canaveral, or Sea World. This is because Florida is the number one tourist destination in the world, with the tourist industry (mostly located in central Florida and the Orlando area) bringing in over $57 billion every year to the Florida economy.

It may or may not surprise you, then, to learn about the various accidents and injuries that occur at theme parks every year, and how your family-friendly rides may often end up with a trip to the hospital, or worse. Sometimes, the deaths are related to the design of the ride itself, such as when a little boy died on Mission:Space at EPCOT, probably from the intense G-forces that the ride creates. Other times- such as when two monorails crashed at Disney World, leading to the death of an employee- deaths and injuries are caused by an error, either mechanical or human.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the five central Florida theme parks that draw the most lawsuits are:

    • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Universal Orlando. Lawsuits: 7.

    • Mission: Space, Epcot, simulator. Lawsuits: 5. Claims: Heart attack; cervical damage; unspecified other injuries involving ride movements.

    • The Black Hole, Wet ‘n’ Wild, water slide. Lawsuits: 3. Claims: Unspecified injuries (2 falls from tubes, 1 collision with another patron).

    • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Islands of Adventure, river raft. Lawsuits: 3. Claims: Unspecified injuries (1 slip and fall, 2 involving restraint system).

    • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Hollywood Studios. Lawsuits: 3. Claims: Aneurysm; stroke; unspecified injuries involving ride movements

There are some precautions that you can take to stay safe and enjoy your theme park experience. Heed the warnings that are posted before you get onto each ride.

If you are pregnant, suffer from a heart condition, or do not meet the height/weight requirement, do not get on the ride. Those warnings are put up for a reason, so don’t assume that they don’t apply to you if they really do.

Also, have common sense, and follow the safety instructions that the ride operators give you before the ride starts. Don’t try to stand up or get out of your safety harness, no matter how "cool" you think it makes you look. Many deaths happen on roller coasters when someone gets out of their safety harness and is then subjected to the rest of the wild ride without any protection.

More safety tips can be found at, but if you use common sense and play it safe, your next trip to a central Florida theme park should be an enjoyable one.

One Comment

  1. Good advice, it is so sad to hear of family vacations that people dreamed about that end up with a tragedy. There is no profits in people finding out, so it's important that the message keeps getting out.

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