“The happiest place on earth”?
That’s not even remotely true for Joanne Aguilar’s family, who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a report by The Walt Disney Company, its theme park division, and Disneyland itself New York Post.
Aguilar tragically passed away on January 29, 2022 after complications from a variety of injuries caused her to go into septic shock.
Her family alleges in a court case that Disney was largely responsible for the death.
According to the Post, Aguilar visited Anaheim-based Disneyland with her two adult daughters in August 2021.
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At the time of the visit, Aguilar was recovering from a knee injury and so needed a wheelchair, which Disneyland could provide her family with.
However, during that visit, Aguilar and her daughters soon discovered that the Jungle Cruise attraction at Disneyland did not have a wheelchair-accessible boat available.
Aguilar chose to sail a standard jungle cruise boat with the support of her daughters.
Well, as anyone who has ever driven or operated the Jungle Cruise ride can attest (full disclosure: I have ridden a Jungle Cruise before, and my wife actually operated this ride once), the “hardest” part is the ride just hop on and off.
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It is quite literally a delicate balancing act for Disneyland staff to ensure that larger individuals or groups do not capsize the boat.
It’s just a hassle for drivers to dismount from a shaky boat.
Amazingly, it is at this point that the case takes a sullenly sinister turn.
The lawsuit alleges that the Disneyland “cast members” (the company’s preferred term for “employees”) were seen “giggling and giggling” as Aguilar struggled to get off the boat.
If true, it’s hard to blame Aguilar for feeling “dehumanized,” as the lawsuit alleges.
When the cast members laughed, they probably didn’t laugh for long, as Aguilar lost her balance trying to exit the ride and tripped.
Aguilar broke her femur in the fall and was hospitalized before finally being transferred to a rehabilitation center.
It was at this rehab center in Oxnard, California, that Aguilar toiled for five months before contracting an infection that led to septic shock that caused her death.
The lawsuit eventually alleges that the injuries Aguilar sustained at Disneyland were the primary cause of her death. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for physical pain, mental suffering and humiliation, as well as all medical expenses, funeral expenses and attorneys’ fees.
“My clients went to Disneyland hoping to create lifelong happy memories and are instead left with memories of a lack of dignity and respect for their mother, which ultimately led to her eventual death,” said family attorney Michael Jeandrone the Orange County Registry. “Two daughters are heartbroken, healing and seeking accountability for Disney cast members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her.”
Disney, meanwhile, unsurprisingly is seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that Aguilar’s injuries were caused by her own conduct and negligence and that Disneyland did not discriminate against her.
https://www.westernjournal.com/disney-blamed-disabled-parkgoers-death-employees-allegedly-laughed-victim/ Disney is blamed for the death of a disabled park visitor