The boy who was severely injured in 2000 on Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin at Disneyland has died. At this point it is unclear if there is any direct correlation, but the child suffered severe brain damage from the accident. Everyone at The Disney Blog sends our condolences to his family.
The cause of this tragedy and Disney’s culpability may still be debated in some circles, but it did come during a sad streak of safety and maintenance related accidents and deaths that began during the regime of Paul Pressler as President of Disneyland. Prior to those deaths, no death had ever occurred at Disneyland that was not in someway the guest’s fault.
At Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin Disneyland Cast Members were found to have improperly placed the child to the exterior of the ride vehicle, which at the time did not have doors that closed, just a lapbar. To be fair, the pressure from management on Cast Members at the time was more focused on guest volume than safety. Now the attraction has a whole new ride vehicle with doors that must be latched shut before the ride vehicle can be dispatched. No more inside and outside seating.
Another innovation that came from this tragic accident was the widespread use of ‘Stop Mats’, which are weight sensitive mats placed along side the track of attractions with moving vehicles, at Disney’s theme parks. When the Stop Mats sense a certain amount of weight on them, the attraction automatically executes an emergency stop or “E-stop” (or, in certain cases, triggers an alarm).
A Stop Mat system could have prevented some or all of the injury in the Roger Rabbit case and likely has prevented similar injuries since its been implemented. If you look carefully at the floor in many Disney theme park attractions you will now notice these mats nearly everywhere. All in all a good thing for Disney to have implemented, even if it sprang from tragedy.
(via the LA Times)