Disney World is a magical place that is filled with wonder and excitement. Families often make a trip to Disney World for summer vacation, and the memories last a lifetime with parents and children alike. There’s also plenty of quality restaurants and refined entertainment at Disney World, so grown-ups can enjoy themselves as well. As a matter of fact, some couples even choose to have their honeymoons at this popular location.
However, for all the awe and effortless fun that Disney World brings, accidents do occur there. The eye-catching attractions and fascinating rides at the theme park don’t always function the way they should, which has led to some pretty serious accidents. Unfortunately, some people have even lost their lives during their trip to Disney World. What was meant to be a fun and memorable vacation, turned out to be an unthinkable tragedy for these families. Disney World is thought of as a whimsical and innocent place, and for the most part the theme park has maintained its reputation. But when a death occurs on the grounds, it definitely makes families much more cautious about planning their next family trip at Disney World.
10. Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur Death
In 2005, a 30-year-old from Indiana lost consciousness after riding Disney’s Animal Kingdom ride, Dinosaur. Shortly after the ride, he had a heart attack and passed away. After the case was investigated, it was determined that the amusement park ride was operating correctly at the time of the man’s death. The ride was not the cause of death; further investigation revealed that the man had an artificial pacemaker.
Years later in 2013, a woman who was on the Dinosaur ride potentially may have stopped other injuries or deaths from taking place on the Disney attraction. She found a loaded pistol on the ride and reported this to the authorities. The family who owned the gun stated they didn’t know Disney had a policy against weapons, and expressed that they had a concealed weapons permit.
9. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Death
In 2006, a boy from Kentucky was found unresponsive after the Rock ‘n’ Roller ride came to an end. His father gave him CPR until the paramedics arrived on the scene. On the way to the hospital, the boy was pronounced dead. The Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster ride was shut down, so that the cause could be investigated. The next day, Disney decided to reopen the ride, since the inspectors determined the ride was functioning at normal standards. The boy passed away because he had a congenital heart defect, which of course was no fault of Disney. The Disney ride is available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
8. Disney Bus Accident
A nine-year-old was crushed to death by a Disney bus at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in 2010. The boy was riding his bike with a friend, who was 11 at the time. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the victim appeared to have run into the side of the bus when he turned his bike into the road. He was dragged under the right rear tire of the bus, and was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident. The preliminary report for the accident stated that the driver, who had 30 years of experience with Disney at the time, was not driving recklessly, and was not otherwise impaired at the time of the accident. It was determined that charges would likely not be filed, pending a thorough investigation of the accent. The boy’s mother sued Disney World for $15,000.
7. Javier Cruz
Javier Cruz had a job dressing up as Pluto in 2004. He was getting ready for an appearance in Frontierland, a daily parade that takes place on the Disney grounds every afternoon. Cruz’ foot got caught on the Beauty and The Beast float, and he tripped in front of the float. He couldn’t get out of the way in time, and was struck and killed. Workers had to lift the float off of Javier’s lifeless body with a forklift. OSHA fined the Disney park $6,500 for a serious violation of employee safety. Javier Cruz was a father of two, and was 38 years old.
6. Indiana Jones Deaths
Disney World experienced negative press due to some very unfortunate incidents in 2009. Many of these incidents had to do with the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular attraction. In a seven week period, three employees lost their lives. The tragic incidents culminated in the death of Anislav Varbanov, who was 38 years old. Varbanov was a performer in the stunt show, and while rehearsing a tumble, he injured his head
The show also had its share of malfunctions. One performer fell 30 feet when a restraining cable failed to work properly. Another performer fell 25 feet when a prop ladder collapsed without warning. Yet another performer was pinned by a trap door that malfunctioned. OSHA cited Disney for failing to provide proper fall protection for employees.
5. Deborah Stone
In 1974, Deborah Stone was killed while working at the America Sings attraction at Disneyland. Stone was a hostess at the time, and her job was to greet each new audience. She was 18 years old, and was working at Disneyland in order to help pay for her education. She intended to start college at Iowa State University.
After Stone ushered a new group of people into the ride, she got too close to the moving theater wall. She became crushed against the stationary section of the stage. People could hear her screaming, but Stone died before the moving wall could be stopped. After Deborah Stone died, America Sings was closed for two days. Disney implemented safety precautions to prevent further incidents from occurring.
4. It’s a Small World Death
In 2010, a cleaning professional who had been subcontracted by Disney to maintain the It’s a Small World ride was cleaning the boat when it was accidentally turned on. The 53-year-old man was dragged under the boat and suffered several serious injuries as a result. He was airlifted to the nearest hospital, where he died. Even though the ride is not fast-paced, the weight of the boat and the tracks that it is positioned on in the water, made it impossible for the man to escape safely. Unfortunately, this is not the only tragic death that occurred on this Disney ride.
3. It’s a Small World and Toy Story Deaths
Two women lost their lives riding the It’s a Small World attractions at both Disney World in Florida, and Disneyland in California. On Christmas Day, a woman riding the attraction lost consciousness after getting on the ride. The woman in California also lost consciousness after getting on the Toy Story Midway Mania ride. The two women marked the first time that Disney reported two deaths in one quarter since 2007, according to the Orlando Sentinel. It is believed that the motion of the rides caused these women to lose consciousness, even though both attractions are very mild. The woman who passed away in Florida had a confirmed pre-existing condition.
2. Brandon Zucker
In 2000, when Brandon Zucker was just four years old, he tumbled underneath one of the taxicabs on the Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin ride. According to a Disney policy, a Disney employee had to be notified of the incident before the paramedics were called. The proper protocol was followed, but it took 10 minutes to get Brandon from underneath the car. The young boy suffered severe brain and nerve damage as a result of the accident. Disney changed their policy concerning alerting medical professionals in the event of an accident as a result of the incident. The corporation also claimed to have nothing to do with Zucker’s injuries. Brandon Zucker never spoke or walked again after the accident and passed away in 2009, when he was 13.
1. Marcelo Torres
Marcelo Torres passed away due to an accident on the Big Thunder Railroad. The roller coaster is only available at some Disney parks, and has had its share of problems. In 2003, one of the cars on the ride derailed because it hadn’t been maintained properly. The car hit Torres, and he died from internal bleeding and blunt force trauma. Ten other people were also injured during the incident. Disney took the blame for the horrific incident, and settled with Torres’ parents out of court. Marcelo’s mother and father donated $500,000 of their settlement funds to Brooks College to help future animators. Marcelo Torres was a graphic artist.