It’s just not a good week for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that UK residents Leanne Deacon and her mother have filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney World following a 2005 incident in which Deacon suffered from eventual cardiac arrest and a brain hemorrhage which required emergency surgery. The suit, which is claiming unspecified damages exceeding $15,000, claims that Walt Disney World was behaving as a ‘common carrier’ and thus was subjected to specific regulations guaranteeing guests’ safety. The suit also cites that Disney failed to present ample warnings and safety restraints. For it’s part, Walt Disney World conducted a full inspection of the attraction that same evening, even inviting oversight from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection and found the attraction to be operating successfully. In Florida, amusement parks of a certain size (which includes Walt Disney World) are not regulated by the state.
But, according to various reports when the incident first occurred in 2005, June Deacon (Leanne’s mother and co-plaintiff) admitted to the pair as having ridden the attraction multiple times throughout the week without incident and also acknowledged that Leanne had been complaining of cramps and headaches for several days leading up to the incident. Reports also stated that Leanne refused to acknowledge any serious problems after exiting the ride other than feeling ill, despite intentions of worried cast members who engaged the emergency response.
While details have yet to fully be revealed in this case, it’s interesting to note that the event occurred nearly a month after a four year old child died while riding Mission:Space due as a result of an unknown pre-existing condition. The boy’s parents filed suit citing blame on the part of the theme park for allowing the child to ride in the first place and also for the lack of availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). That case was dismissed, however another later incident involving Expedition Everest presumably resulted in Walt Disney World announcing AEDs to be installed at specific attractions in addition to the pre-existing ones.