Five injuries and illnesses at Central Florida’s theme parks were included in the latest quarterly injury to the state of Florida.
As part of an agreement to avoid major inspections, parks have to report any guest injury or illness that requires at least a 24-hour hospital stay on quarterly basis to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Between January and March, the following injuries were reported:
- Feb. 15: A 42-year-old woman riding Universal Orlando’s Incredible Hulk Coaster experienced syncope, temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure;
- Feb. 15, A 69-year-old woman on Epcot’s Gran Fiesta Tour injured her ankle;
- March 13: A 71-year-old woman experienced motion sickness on the E.T. Adventure at Universal Orlando;
- March 13: A 72-year old woman “became ill” while riding Kilmanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom;
- March 29: A 25-year-old woman suffered a hip injury on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at SeaWorld’s Aquatica Orlando water park
No injuries requiring a 24-hour hospital stay were reported at Legoland Florida or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Flaws with Florida’s self-disclosure system were exposed in an Orlando Sentinel investigation in 2020. For example, when Universal said a New York visitor experienced “numbness” after riding a slide at its Volcano Bay water park, the reality was the guest had broken his neck and was unable to move at the end of the slide.
Similarly, Theme Park Tribune reported in 2019 that Universal described an 11-year-old guest as experiencing “foot pain” after riding E.T. Adventure. According to a lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother, the real injury was the boy having his foot and leg crushed when his left foot became stuck between the ride vehicle and the off-loading platform.
“We find that to be a gross understatement,” attorney Ed Normund, who is representing the boy’s family in a lawsuit against Universal, said of the “foot pain” description in April 2019. “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.”
Universal’s attempts to get the lawsuits dismissed have been unsuccessful. Depositions have been taken in the case recently and it is currently scheduled to go to a jury trial in August.
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