15 Central Florida theme park guests required a hospital stay of at least 24 hours between April and June 2019, according to the most recent quarterly report released by the state.
Major theme parks run by Disney, Universal and SeaWorld are required to report such incidents to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) as part of an agreement to avoid state inspections.
Of the 15 injuries, eight were reported at Disney World, five at Universal, and one each at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Typical of the report, many of the injuries involved dizziness, fainting, or pre-existing conditions. For example, two guests during the quarter fainted on Universal Orlando’s Fast & Furious: Supercharged attraction. At Disney World, two guests went to the hospital after riding Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom: a 56-year-old male with a pre-existing condition that “became ill” on May 11, and a 70-year-old man who “became dizzy and nauseous” on June 3.
Some of the injuries involved gentle attractions. On May 31, a 72-year-old man “passed out” after getting off Spaceship Earth at Epcot. On June 20, a 69-year-old woman feel and broke her hip loading on The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
The injuries reported at SeaWorld parks involved younger riders on more intense thrill rides. A 28-year-old woman’s injury after riding Mako on April 16 was described only as an “illness,” while a 29-year-old woman was hospitalized after feeling dizzy and light-headed on Kumba at Busch Gardens.
Language in the report can be often be vague. A January injury at Universal’s E.T. Adventure that allegedly involved an 11-year-old boy’s foot and leg being crushed is characterized in the report as “foot pain.”
“We find that to be a gross understatement,” attorney Ed Normund, who is representing the boy’s family in a lawsuit against Universal, told Orlando Rising in April. “He broke both bones in his lower leg, fractured many of his foot bone and his toes. He has required multiple surgeries and we are concerned that the fractures in the ankle area may stunt his growth because of the proximity to his growth plate at his young age.”
There was no mention on the list of injuries of Legoland Florida — which hasn’t reported an incident requiring a 24-hour hospital stay in more than seven years.
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