Disabled Disneyland visitor sues over ride

Feb. 10, 2011 at 5:16 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A quadriplegic visitor to Disneyland says the California theme park failed to evacuate him from a broken ride and endangered his health.

Jose Martinez filed a lawsuit Monday against the Walt Disney Co., the theme park's parent company, saying it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to have adequate evacuation procedures for visitors with mobility disabilities, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported.

During a Nov. 27, 2009 visit to Disneyland, Martinez was left inside his wheelchair on a ride boat at the "It's a Small World" ride for about 40 minutes while other visitors were evacuated after the ride boats stalled because of a computer glitch near the exit of the final tunnel in the ride, which repeatedly plays the catchy, "It's a small World" song, the suit alleges.

"In my opinion, if you are going to put him on the ride, there needs to be a safe and effective way to get him off the ride," said Shawna Parks, Martinez's attorney and legal director with the Disability Rights Legal Center.

While waiting for help, Martinez suffered from dysreflexia, a medical condition involving sudden high blood pressure that can cause death if untreated, the suit says.

A Disneyland Resort spokeswoman said company officials had yet to see the lawsuit.

"Disneyland Resort is accessible to guests with varying needs, including those with mobility disabilities," Suzie Brown said. "If it is necessary to evacuate an attraction, we have procedures in place for all guests."

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