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Disneyland Lawsuits
  • When someone gets hurt at Disneyland, the case will go to trial in Orange County, California. The Disney lawyers make sure they fill the jury boxes with local citizens, who appreciate the fact that Disney is the county's top employer, top money making business and the reason for the big tax breaks in their community.
  • New York social worker Vicki Prusnofsky was stopped and questioned by two Disney Security Guards after they saw her leave one of the shops wearing a Mickey Mouse pin and earrings. Which she had bought on a previous trip. They searched through her bag and found a roll of film she had just bought - but for which she didn't have a receipt. They went back inside the store where the cashier vouched for the fact that Vicki was just there and had indeed purchased the film. All is well, right? Wrong. She was hauled off to Disney Jail, fingerprinted, strip searched and put into a cell with "whores and thieves" for hours.
  • Since Disney security and Disney nurses are always the first, and usually the only emergency people to be on the scene of an accident, they will of course be the only "medical" or 'technical" people who can verify the incident and can give their official testimony on just how serious it was. Disney employees are always well groomed, well educated and articulate. They present a terrific image to a jury or court of law. But of course, they're still Disney employees, being paid by Disney. Aren't they going to back their actions, and the procedures of their employers up?
  • The Autopia ride is Disney's biggest injury causing ride. In 1975 Sandra Varela had to bring her car to a stop when the seven in front of her halted on the track because a large tree branch had drooped down, blocking the road. Apparently, no one on the Disney staff was around to remove it or check the ride before guests were allowed on to make sure it was clear and safe to open. The car behind Sandra's rammed her, causing whiplash and severe back injuries. She had to have several operations which cost over $120,000 and cost another $50,000 in lost wages. Although all Sandra asked from Disney was reimbursement for her medical bills, they refused to have a thing to do with her, so she sued. In court, Disney's lawyer called her a "psychologically neurotic, hysterical woman". Unquote. And the lawyer also stated that the operations she had only turned her into a "surgical invalid". Sandra's lawyer said her only chance at winning the case was to get it moved to another venue. Out of Disney Territory, which they were unable to do. Despite testimony, X-rays, and notarized documents from all of Sandra's doctors and witnesses, and the fact she had several operations and $120,000 in bills to prove it, she lost the case and didn't get one penny out of Disney. It took the jury only two hours to decide to award her nothing.
  • Seventeen year old Terri Dorsett was at Disneyland with some classmates when one of them, unbeknownst to Terri, dropped a Mickey Mouse pen into her bag. They were stopped by a Disney security person for shoplifting. Even though the other girl readily admitted that Terri had nothing to do with it and she had dropped the pen into Terri's bag as a 'joke', they were both taken to Disney Jail, fingerprinted and not allowed to call anyone (remember, these are minors).. Terri's dad ended up spending $15,000 to fight charges which Disney insisted on pressing, all the way to court before Terri was acquitted.
  • One guest stumbled off a sidewalk curb during a parade because she said not only was the street poorly lit, but there was such a crush of people that it was impossible to see the ground. She suffered severe injuries and had to have hip replacement surgery. Disney's lawyers argued that if there were so many people that she couldn't see the ground, what good would better lighting have done anyway? She lost the case.
  • A pregnant woman rented a wheelchair at the park and while being pushed by her husband, a rod between the chair's wheels broke, causing her to fall. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she miscarried. Disney said there was no proof the couple didn't do something to make the rod break, and so no damages were awarded.
  • A lady was injured on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride when a stack of barrels, which lunge forward to give the illusion they are about to fall on you, really DID fall on her when a cable snapped.
  • Jaime and Elena Boruchovas were watching a parade at Disneyland when a float went out of control, hitting lights as it went down, causing them to explode. Elena's leg was severely burned and she was rushed to the hospital with a Disney Damage Control Rep right behind her who spoke flawless Spanish. She gave her a Minnie Mouse doll and offered the couple a check for $1,222 - they were so sorry! Just sign on the dotted line! Only problem was that the paper was in English, which neither of the Boruchovas spoke. And the Damage Control Rep didn't seem to want to be bothered to translate it for them and help them understand what it was that they were really getting into. Of course. They signed it, and the Disney Rep personally drove them to the bank right from the hospital emergency room to make sure they cashed that check. Now wasn't that nice?

Upon returning home, the leg became infected and skin grafts were necessary. Disney refused to have a thing to do with it, saying the paper Elena had signed when she was given the check just happened to also have a clause on it that released them from any liability. The lawyer the Boruchovas got said Disney was "relentless. They hid witnesses. They forbid employees who were witnesses to talk to us. Finally one did - the person who played Minnie Mouse". She felt so bad about Elena and her employer's BS that she spoke up. Elena got $100,000.

  • When a sudden power failure (and oh, California had them like mad in 2001) turned off all the lights and electric cars in the Alice in Wonderland ride, a little girl was thrown violently backwards against the car's back bar, fracturing her skull. She was trapped under her car's safety bar which went into frozen lock down because of the power being out, in total darkness with her fractured skull and Mom sitting next to her helplessly by, trying to keep her calm until help came. Disney generously settled for $737.35, I drip sarcastically. No emergency back-up lights, power sources or emergency safety releases were installed in case future power failures caused future problems.
  • A woman was thrown from a Dumbo Elephant ride into a hollow below where she was struck repeatedly on the head and neck by passing elephant "cars", helpless to move or get out until someone noticed her, stopped the ride and got her out. Disney refused to pay her a dime and a jury agreed, saying it was "her fault".
  • In the mid-1970s the People Mover was altered to be made safer after many serious accidents. One has to ask why it was not built with safety in mind in the first place and why it took 'many' serious accidents before the changes were made. In 1972 a 5-year old boy was exiting a people mover car when his left foot got caught under it, severely damaging his muscles and nerves. He had to have his three middle toes amputated and two skin grafts.In 1973 a 12-year old boy had to have 2 toes amputated because of an identical accident. In fact it took over seventy five disfiguring accidents in a 5-year period before Disney cared enough to do something about it. They settled out of court with each family for about $15,000.
  • Park rides cited in the most personal injury lawsuits from 1954- 1992
    Most dangerous first
    1. Autopia
    2. Matterhorn Bobsleds
    3. Haunted Mansion
    4. It's A Small World
    5. Pirates of the Caribbean
    6. Parking Lot Tram
    7. Mad Tea Party
    8. Jungle Cruise
    9. Alice in Wonderland
    10. tie - Space Mountain & People Mover
    • Once Upon a Time in the 1980s, the Disney-owned Aruda Corporation built a "Planned Community" called Country Walk, a lovely little subdivision of upscale homes and condos in Dade County, Florida. For seven years the little elves and dwarfs hammered and sawed and whistled while they worked to make 322 pretty homes and condos for rich people to buy. Woohoo! When they were done, Disney sold the Aruda company, took their money, dusted off their coveralls and left town. Buh-bye! Thanks for the $$!

    In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit - the 2nd worst hurricane in U.S. history - causing $30 billion dollars in damage. The devastation was indescribable, the name "Andrew" permanently retired from the hurricane name list because of the magnitude of it. Country Walk wasn't just damaged like everything else had been - Country Walk was blown to smithereens, obliterated. And the people of Country Walk were pissed.

    But!...(you say) ....but you just said Hurricane Andrew really did a lot of damage, didn't you? Why, yes, I did. However when the skies cleared and water evaporated and people started to see the carnage, Country Walk was really, and I mean really destroyed. And I mean, vaporized. When the Nice Insurance Gnomes came to Country Walk they found all kinds of surprises. It was so bad they even called Structural Engineers in to be witnesses and gather evidence. Bracings had been so inadequate that gables had been sucked off the roofs. They found row after row after row after row of nails that were just decorative - they didn't even go into anything! Words like "sloppy construction" and "lousy workmanship" were generally the more polite terms being used to describe it all. It was found that Country Walk had suffered considerable more damage than the surrounding subdivisions. One man's house was finished three months before the building permits were even issued for it. In other words, Country Walk was built to substandard, shoddy, cheap, crap, rip-off, thanks for the $$ blueprints and very substandard.

    A lot of people sued. And Disney coughed up $7500 to each of them which is the Basic "We Don't Have To, We're Disney" Nothing Settlement. They were nice enough to admit, though, that they knew there was a hurricane risk there and probably should have built the homes better. So what more could you want; they said they were so sorry!